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World Oceans Day 8 June 2022

Can we protect the coral reefs that are the home of this beautiful clownfish?

Our climate is inextricably linked with the oceans. The June Edition of the Zonta Says NOW NEWS celebrates the UN World Oceans Day and describes a range of ‘current’ ocean-related issues.

Over three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods – with women making up nearly half of the people involved with small scale fisheries and over 70 per cent of the aquaculture workforce. We need everyone, men and women, young and old to be involved in actions to protect our oceans.

Women are at the forefront of protecting our oceans. Learn how Dr Syvia Earle, Dr Penny Chisholm, Dr Sasha Tetu and courageous adventurer Lisa Blair – are all contributing to the science that helps us understand the wonders and threats to our oceans.

A big threat is plastic litter that physically ensnares, or fills up the stomachs of our marine creatures, leading to their death and starvation. Huge garbage patches of plastic cover thousands of kilometres of ocean. Humans are not immune from microplastics – with scientists estimating that we eat on average 5 grams of plastic a week, equivalent to the weight of a credit card. What is that doing to our health and that of young children?

On this World Oceans Day, here are three actions you can take:

Take action today!

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‘Bee’ plastic free and have a cup of tea

Where would we ‘bee’ without our pollinators?

You may think that 21st May 2022 is all about the Australian Federal Election – but after you have voted, take some time in nature to watch the bees, have a cup of tea and appreciate the world around you.

Yesterday 20 May was World Bee Day. Bees maintain our biodiversity and around 75 per cent of our food crops rely on bees and other pollinators. Let’s thank and protect bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, which are increasingly under threat from human activities. ‘Bee’ engaged with this quiz.

Today (21 May) is International Tea Day. Tea is the most consumed drink (after water) in the world and many countries rely on it for their income. Tea production and processing contribute to the reduction of extreme poverty (Sustainable Development Goal 1), the fight against hunger (SDG 2), the empowerment of women (SDG 5) and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15). Who would have thought that drinking tea empowered women?

Tomorrow (22 May) is International Day for Biological Diversity. Be inspired by these women who are taking action to protect biodiversity through their leadership, art, and sheer determination. They all took a first step on their journey to protect biodiversity – what will yours be? Here are 22 actions to choose from.

Reducing plastic is a simple way we can help protect biodiversity. In March 2022 the UN mandated to develop a plastic pollution treaty by 2024 which is wonderful news. For practical tips on reducing plastic, get involved with Plastic Free July!

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It’s 2022 – what will we do?

Time to get off the beach and back into action!

Happy New Year! The summer break is becoming a distant memory, and now is the time to focus on the year ahead.

This year, there are many opportunities to share the messages around Zonta Says NOW to gender equality and climate action. Here are two that you can start planning for today!

International Women’s Day (IWD) – 8 March

The UN women’s IWD theme for 2022 is Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. The theme recognises the contribution of women and girls working to change the climate of gender equality and build a sustainable future.

On Friday, 4 March 2022, UN Women Australia will be hosting five live events concurrently in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, and a live stream virtual event. These will all include a virtual interview with the indomitable Jane Goodall, so join online or in person if you can.

Many Zonta clubs are holding IWD events, so please support them too.

Zonta Says NOW and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 66th Session – 14 to 25 March

The CSW is the most significant global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

This year’s priority theme is Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

Zontians from District 23 and the USA Caucus submitted a proposal to present a session on Zonta Says NOW in the NGO CSW/NY parallel event.

We have just heard that the proposal has been accepted! Our session will be from 8.00 am to 9.30 am on Tuesday 15 March EST – that’s New York time.

So please mark your calendars for 15 March from 8.00 pm to 9.30 pm in Western Australia, 10.30 pm to 12 am in South Australia, and 11 pm to 12.30 am in Victoria and Tasmania. Please share the save the date flyer below.

The free session will be on Zoom, and we’ll circulate registration details, program etc., when they are confirmed.

2022 – Bring it on!

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Ending Violence Against Women

At Zonta Says NOW, we are working at both ends of a runaway train. We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and close the gender equality gap. Together we strive to create a gender-equal, sustainable world by educating girls, advocating for women’s rights and inspiring more female leaders.

One way we advocate for women’s rights is through the Zonta Says NO to violence against women campaign. This campaign will be front and centre during the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that runs from 25 November to 10 December.

In Australia,

  • one woman a week is killed by an intimate partner;
  • violence against women has increased during the pandemic; and
  • family and domestic violence is one of the most common reasons given for homelessness from people seeking help from specialist support services.

Zontians will be wearing orange to raise awareness of this critical issue, with many events, marches and social media campaigns planned during this time.

Two Zonta online events will also highlight issues and actions you can take.

Event 1: Zonta Says No to violence against women online summit on 30 November

This Zonta International event is on 30 November Chicago time (CST) and will consist of three sessions:

  • Violence against women is a men’s issue from 9:00 am to 10:30 am CST (WA 30/11/21 midnight , SA 1/12/21 2:30 am and Vic/Tas 1/12/21 3:00am)
  • Taking your Zonta Says NO action to the next level from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm CST (WA 1/12/21 4:00 am, SA 1/12/21 6:30 am, Vic/Tas 1/12/21 7:00am)
  • Young voices for change from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm CST (WA 1/12/21 9:00 am, SA 1/12/21 11:30 am, Vic/Tas 1/12/21 midday)

Register on Eventbrite today! Tickets are US$10 (for all three sessions), with proceeds going to the Zonta International Foundation for Women

Event 2: ZEDX – Changing men’s violent behaviour towards women on 25 November

The Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra is hosting this free online webinar. It starts at 7:00 pm AEST. (WA 4:00 pm, SA 6:30 pm)

Over the 16 days, the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra will look at how culture in sport, male youth education and gender stereotypes can contribute to GBV in Australia and address how we can prevent violence before it occurs.

Zonta has always supported the victims/survivors of family violence, but we also need to prevent violence from occurring. Preventing violence means considering the responsibility of perpetrators, who are most commonly men. If men’s behaviour doesn’t change, we are never going to keep women and children safe.

This webinar panel discussion speakers are experienced practitioners and researchers who will provide insight into gender-based violence prevention from various perspectives, including academic evidence-based research, social workers in the field and facilitators of men’s change behaviour programs.

Tickets are free and available from Humanitix.

Create the world you want to live in by supporting these events and taking action to end violence against women!

solar panels on roof
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Congratulations to Margaret Hender – walking the talk of climate action

Congratulations to Margaret Hender, founder of CORENA and winner of the ZC Melbourne on Yarra’s Women Taking Climate Action Award 2021

The winner of the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra‘s pilot Women Taking Climate Action Award 2021 is Margaret Hender from South Australia.

Margaret is the creator of CORENA (Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia) – Australia’s first solar revolving fund.   The idea of CORENA was conceived when Margaret was on the ‘walk for solar’ from Port Augusta to Adelaide in 2012.

What is a revolving fund? CORENA uses donations to provide interest-free loans to small not-for-profit organisations to install solar, invest in energy efficiency, get off gas, or purchase electric vehicles.  Repayments are used to fund further projects. 

So far, CORENA has successfully loaned $800,000 to fund 44 projects, generating almost $200,000 in savings for the not-for-profits. CORENA loans have helped many child care centres, specialist schools, housing associations for the disabled and community resource centres throughout Australia.

Many women involved in not-for-profit organisations are daunted making investment decisions related to energy – which is still a very male-dominated industry. CORENA’s key positions are all held by women and they are able to offer independent technical advice and support.

The pilot Women Taking Climate Action Award was developed by the Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra to acknowledge women who are taking innovative climate action that engages with women.

Funding for the $1,000 award was raised through a Climate Action webinar with inspirational guest speaker, Natalie Isaacs, the CEO of 1 Million Women.

The Award was open to any woman living in District 23 (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Northern Territory and Western Australia). The judges were Suzanne Lees and Dr Jasmine Schuijers from the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra and Carole Theobald from the Zonta Club of Perth who is the convenor of Zonta Says NOW to Gender Equality and Climate Action.

Competition for the award was very strong and judging was complicated by the diverse range of activities and experience levels of applicants. Applicants will be invited to speak at club and Zonta Says NOW meetings to share their work and passion. Knowledge gained from the pilot will be valuable to review the criteria for future years.

If you and/or your Zonta Club is interested in becoming involved with Zonta Says NOW, and/or supporting the Climate Action Award, please contact Carole Theobald via

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Monday is a big day for climate action in Australia

Improved Climate Bill

The improved Climate Bill will be tabled in the Australian Parliament. It has been revised to reflect feedback from the inquiry process and introduce a new, short-term emissions reduction target of 60% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

As Zali Steggall, the independent MP for Warringah, puts it in her media release:

“Climate change is the single biggest threat to Australia’s prosperity and largest opportunity for economic development,” she said. “These bills will ensure Australia gets a share of the estimated $1.7 trillion per annum invested globally in the net zero transition.”

“The Government hasn’t done the work and is letting Australia down, scrambling to negotiate a last minute plan with the Nationals. We must act decisively in this next decade to set Australia up.”

“There is a new wave of opportunity, and we need leadership and commitment to be part of it.  We need to set ambitious targets to drive investment and uptake in clean technologies.”

“I call on the Morrison Government to pass the Bills without delay and go to COP26 with a strong, responsible position on climate.”

Sharma Case Appeal to be heard

In May this year, the Federal Court found that the Minister for the Environment has a duty of care to protect young people from the future harm caused by the climate change impacts of a proposed coal mine extension project (Vickery Extension Project).

The case was brought by eight children led by Anj Sharma with the assistance of Sister Brigid Arthur, their 86 year old litigation guardian.

The day after the decision, the Minister of the Environment announced she would appeal to the Full Federal Court.

Since then, the Minister has approved the extension of three large coal mines: the Vickery Mine extension, expansion of underground mining at the Russell Vale Colliery, and expansion of the Mangoola mine.

Three judges heard an appeal from 18-20 October, and you can see progress on this Federal Court link.

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Mass Mailout for Climate

Thousands of people around Australia have not given up on the Climate Change Bills. A concerted effort is underway to get them reintroduced into Parliament.

The recent IPCC report showed we are in a climate emergency. We must achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 to have any chance of preventing runaway global warming. Are you worried and don’t know what to do?

A Different Approach Community (ADAC) has been writing 227 letters a month to all Federal parliamentarians since 2019, asking for urgent action on climate change. They have devised this ingenious Mass Mailout for Climate campaign and have asked community groups to send letters to their MPs:

Throughout September, an expected 30,000 letters will be collected in a post office locked bag in Canberra and delivered to independent parliamentarian Zali Steggall at a media photoshoot event in October.

Visit the Mass Mailout for Climate website to view videos of Zali Steggall describing the campaign, get instructions on where to send your letters and some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

UPDATE: The pandemic stopped the letters being presented, but follow progress on the Mass Mailout for Climate Website.

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Update from Climate Act Now

Last month, the Energy and Environment Committee published its inquiry report into the Climate Change Bills.

Over 96,000 people had signed a petition in support of the Bills and 99.9% of the 6,500 submissions made to the enquiry supported the Bills. However, on 3 August, the chair of the Committee publicly presented the report back to the House of Representatives with a recommendation that the Bills be ‘not adopted’. Therefore, the Bills do not get to be debated or voted on in Parliament at this time.

Zali Steggall, the MP who introduced the Bills had the opportunity to introduce an accompanying, dissenting report to the House to show how strenuously she objected to the government’s decision not to recommend the Bills be adopted.

You can watch a video, and read the full transcript, of the proceedings here.

What happens now?

The report on the Bill has been referred for further discussion in the Federation Chamber at Parliament House. Zali Steggall is incorporating amendments from the inquiry process so she can re-present it.

On 9 August the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be publishing its latest climate report and indications are that it will not be good news. It is likely that Australia’s climate change policy will come under increasing scrutiny as the world prepares for the COP 26 conference in Glasgow starting on October 31st.

What can you do?

  • Write to your local federal MP asking them to support a debate and vote on the Climate Change Bill
  • Write to your local newspaper in support with a letter to the editor
  • Call in to your local radio station
  • Talk with your friends and neighbours about climate change impacts and how your community and lives might be impacted

For more information visit Climate Act Now and take action through the Mass Mailout for Climate


Climate Act Now

If the world does not act now, and forcefully, the catastrophic effects of climate change will be far greater than the current pandemic

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

In its Statement on Climate Change, Zonta International affirms that climate change requires swift and decisive actions and the time for such actions is now.

Please write to your MP asking them to support the Climate Change Bill that is working its way through Parliament.

Let your MP know your views on this important climate legislation. Remind them that climate change threatens human rights, such as right to life, food, water, health, education livelihood and safety.

Ask them to uphold the principles of climate justice agreed to in the Paris Agreement and ensure that the most marginalized groups do not bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

Australia is a signatory to the Paris Agreement. However, according to the Climate Action Tracker,

  • Australia has not implemented an effective climate policy.
  • The Australian government has initiated a gas-led recovery rather than a green recovery, and has continued to signal its support for the coal industry. 
  • The government has shown no intention of updating its Paris Agreement target nor adopting a net-zero emissions target, with the Prime Minister specifically ruling this out.
  • Renewable energy investments have dropped to 2017 levels due to the uncertainty in government policy direction.
  • There is a lack of climate action, despite rising climate impacts such as the catastrophic bushfires that enveloped several states in late 2019 and early 2020.

For the last six months the Climate Change Bill has been working its way through the Federal Parliament. The Bill was introduced by independent MP, Zali Steggall. The Bill is currently with the Environment and Energy Committee that is expected to report in June on the public consultation process that took place between January and March.

For the Bill to be debated in parliament, either:

a) the government must agree that a debate should take place, or 

b) a majority of MPs in the House of Representatives must support what is called a “suspension of standing orders” to pause planned business and debate the Bill. For this to happen, at least two coalition MPs will need to vote in favour of a debate.  

Please use the links on the Climate Act Now website to email your MP, the Prime Minister and the Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister.

Now is the time to add your voice and stand up for a gender equal, sustainable future!