add voice, Events

Calling women taking climate action!

Applications for the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra’s Women Taking Climate Award 2022 are open!

Spread the word!

Do you know a woman who has been leading the way on climate action through her innovation, communication and service?

Does she come from the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria or Western Australia?

If so, tell her about the Zonta Club of Melbourne-on-Yarra’s Women Taking Climate Action Award.

Applications close on Friday 26 August 2022.

Let’s celebrate women in our community who are walking the talk of gender equality and climate action!

Events, Advocate, add voice

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!

Events, Webinars, Facts, Advocate, add voice

‘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!

Events, add voice

Calling Creatives!

How would you like to take some climate action with a difference?

Can you, or anyone you know, create a new photo/image for Zonta Says NOW? If so, please enter our digital competition!

We need a photo/image that more accurately reflects our mission of creating a gender-equal, sustainable world by educating girls, advocating for women’s rights, and inspiring more female leaders.

We are calling on photographers, graphic designers and other creatives to come up with inspiring digital photos/images that we can use on our website, on our pull up banner and in our online publications.

Hobbyists, students or professionals are encouraged to enter.

Image format:

  • JPEG file format
  • At least 4 megapixels, with a minimum size of 2592 px by 1520 px
  • No added watermarks, borders, graphic or text elements

Entries to by 30 September 2022.

The prize:

Seeing your work acknowledged and being used to inspire gender equality and climate action!

We will ask Zontians to vote for their favourite images.

Events, Webinars, Advocate

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!

solar panels on roof
Events, Advocate

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

Events, Facts

All we want for Christmas…is a sustainable world

The Jacarandas are blooming and this is a reminder that Christmas is nearly upon us in Australia. Zontians have been sharing their ideas about sustainable shopping for this festive season. 

Eloise suggests to think about:

  • Packaging – select items with minimal or no plastic wrapping.
  • The longevity of the product – avoid single-use products and also ask yourself, “Is this something low value and likely to be discarded or left unused within a year?”
  • Provenance/source of the product – is it manufactured locally?  If it is not something made by club members themselves, e.g. the Zonta Club of Central Goldfield’s delicious shortbread, is there an opportunity to support some of the many social enterprises that support women or migrants such as SisterWorks

Carole believes that the best presents are those that help women and girls.  She gives donations in the recipient’s name to the Zonta Foundation for Women’s Endowment Fund to help future generations and purchases tickets to Zonta Club events.  She is also trying to wrap family presents this year using re-usable fabrics such as heirloom linen, tea towels, pillowcases, and ribbons.

Sandra and Sharon noted that One Million Women has just created a LoveEarth Marketplace where you can discover brands, organisations and community groups that are providing solutions to help us all live climate action in every aspect of our lives. 

Val’s family and friends have been telling her about Zeroco that reuses ocean waste products to make recycled plastic containers for re-fillable home cleaning and personal care products.  They also found Aeriel where you can track your carbon emissions, and that also offers ways to offset your carbon footprint.  

It is amazing what you can find when you start looking. Some councils also promote apps such as ClimateClever to help you control your climate footprint.

Let us know what tips and products have caught your eye so we can find out more about them. 

Check out our 5Rs of Waste Management leaflet and be part of the solution for a sustainable future.

Best wishes for the holiday season!
Don’t forget to reuse your Christmas decorations to reduce your carbon footprint.  When they eventually need replacing, choose environmentally friendly options.

Events, Webinars, add voice

Love Earth Festival – Zooming in on the Highlights

One Million Women know how to put on a show, even in a pandemic! This year’s LoveEarth Festival on 5 December was enjoyed by hundreds of women and men around the world – all on Zoom.

Hosted by Natalie Isaacs, the founder of 1MW and lively co-host Bernie Hobbs, the award-winning science writer and broadcaster with the ABC – this event had it all: connection with country, mind, heart and soul.

Highlights for me:

  • Auntie Bea Ballangarry’s welcome to country that prompted spontaneous acknowledgement of country around the world via the chat line
  • Alice Skye a young first nations singer-songwriter who nailed singing live on Zoom
  • Christiana Figueres, who led the historic Paris Agreement, and made me ferociously optimistic – I enjoyed the line ‘men created climate change, women are going to solve it‘,  (even though I knew it wasn’t entirely accurate!)
  • Paul Kelly’s song, Sleep Australia Sleep, got me Googling the lyrics as I was so touched by his words. (Think animal kingdoms…)

Sleep my country sleep, as off the cliff, the kingdoms leap, count them as they pass on by.  Our children might know them, but their children will not, we won’t know ’til it’s gone all the glory we’ve got.

Just like the boiling frog, as we go, we won’t feel a thing…

Paul Kelly from Sleep Australia Sleep
  • Craig Reucassel, the ABC TV climate crusader, who stressed the importance of taking on one new action at a time and making it a habit before taking on another action
  • Kathy Jetnei-Kijner a young poet who lives in the Marshall Islands that are only 2m above sea level and will be one of the first nations lost to rising sea levels. She read a poem she had written for her daughter to give her hope. I lost it with the line ”They’re marching for you baby…”
  • Missy Higgins singing ‘Going North’ and sharing how living in Broome in the north of Western Australia taught her that we are all part of the land – we are not separate from it
  • Margaret Kein Salamon a climate psychologist from New York who urged us to be non-judgemental, to talk about the climate emergency from a personal perspective. Don’t be scared to say how you feel. This prompted a flood of sharing on the chat line that was very moving. There are a lot of worried, angry, frustrated and frightened people out there – and also a lot who are motivated, optimistic and empowered to take action!
  • Mary Robinson – yes the first woman president of Ireland and climate champion. Such a wise, inspiring woman who urged us to take three steps  [In Step Two, I mentally inserted Zonta Says Now!]:

Step One: We must take the climate crisis personally and make it our own issue. 

Step Two: We must get angry and be active about those who are not doing enough – join an organisation

Step Three: Imagine the world we are hurrying towards; new jobs, new opportunities and make it a just transition.  Don’t neglect those who helped build the economies

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and climate champion
  • Yes, I was so inspired by Mary’s words, that I rapidly wrote down more of them!

Women globally have woken up to the fact that we have to be there at the table. 

There has to be parity of decision making. We need women to be half of the cabinet, half of the board in business.  We need women to be involved at every level – we need their voices.  

Yes, I say to all women globally, this is our time, our century and we must step up and take that responsibility… We must walk tall, take our place and make it the century where women’s leadership will lead us forward.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and climate champion
  • Uncle Kev Carmody, acclaimed singer-songwriter, rounded out the event with his haunting rendition of Earth Mother’s woman child.

Throughout the event Natalie and Bernie kept the virtual event personal, feeding off the comments in the chat line. One Million Women are doing some great work and their new initiative is the Marketplace where they showcase a range of sustainable products – check it out.

My verdict? A thoroughly enjoyable, educational and moving morning. Congratulations to the One Million Women team for putting it together!

Advocate, Events, Facts

Natalie Isaacs online and in-person

What makes a climate action warrior? Join the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra online on Wednesday 18 November from 6.30-7.30pm (AEST) to find out!

The club’s inaugural ZEDx event (a special Zonta event similar to a TED talk) will feature Natalie Isaacs and all are welcome to register – no matter where you live.

Natalie Isaacs has been described as a climate action warrior and, as the founder of One Million Women, she is gathering quite an army. One Million Women is a global movement of women and girls – from every corner of the planet – building a lifestyle revolution to fight the climate crisis through behaviour change. Men are welcome to join and make up around 20% of the movement.

Natalie reckons that by 2028, women will be responsible for two-thirds of consumer spending – and every dollar we don’t spend or spend on the right thing, shapes the world.

Tickets are $20 each from Humanitix.

Please use this flyer to share the event through your networks.

Proceeds from the event will support the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra’s inaugural Women Taking Climate Action Award ($1,000) and other Zonta projects to empower women and girls.

Webinars, Videos, Events

TED Countdown

Did you catch the six hours of presentations of the TED Countdown on 10 October 2020? This amazing event brought together over 50 speakers that covered many subjects relating to how we can change climate change.

This event marked the global launch of a year of accelerating progress on climate action leading up to a major Countdown Summit in October 2021. The Summit will be held in Edinburgh in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow.

At COP 26 all 195 countries that signed on to the Paris Agreement will be asked to ramp up their commitments so that emissions can halve by 2030, and halve again by 2040, so that we have a chance of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

TED Countdown showed just how doable this is. There were scientists, artists, royalty, pop stars and even Pope Francis gave a heartfelt presentation. The event was in five sessions each hosted by high profile activists including Al Gore, Jane Fonda and Chris Hemsworth. The sessions focused on urgency, leadership, transformation, breakthroughs and action.

My favourite sessions? It is hard to choose…

  • Johan Rockstrom who describes how we have ten years to transform the future of humanity – or destabilise the planet.
  • Christiana Figueres, my hero, who personifies stubborn optimism.
  • Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the mayor of Freetown in Sierra Leone who is planting two million trees a year.
  • Rose Mutiso who is helping African women become scholars and thought leaders.
  • Karen Scrivener who has pioneered a new form of cement that creates 40% less carbon emissions (Cement is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon footprint!)
  • Sophie Howe, from Wales, who in her government job, advocates for future generations – that resulted in funds for a planned new motorway being diverted to expanding public transport and cycleways.
  • Prince William and Pope Francis were also not to be missed.

There are millions of amazing people taking action to transform our world to create a sustainable, fairer future. Through Zonta Says NOW we are too.