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Afghan Women at the Forefront of Climate Change

Join researchers from Monash University for the launch of an edited collection of stories, essays, photos, and artwork by Afghan women.

This project, conducted by students and supported by Monash Gender Peace and Security, showcases stories, artwork and essays from young Afghan women. These women are still living in Afghanistan and have written about their experiences of gender-based oppression and climate change. They provide an insight into why the voices of marginalised women are so important if we are to solve the climate crisis.

The night will entail presentations, voice recordings from the women, and Afghan music – and will also be available on Zoom. 

Launch event details

Date: Wednesday, 26 October 2022 

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm AEDT

Location: Monash Clayton Campus (Room and Zoom TBC)

Register for this free event via Eventbrite here

Many thanks to Dr Diane Kraal, who spoke to our Think Tank meeting last year and kindly let us know about this special event.

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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!

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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!


Zoom in to Sydney on 5 April

Earth Day 2022 may not be until 22 April, but the Zonta Club of Sydney Breakfast is getting in early with a special Zoom meeting on 5th April. Register on Humanitix for the free Zoom link.

The club is delighted to host Sian Murray and Ami Bateman, the Founders of Pleasant State – a Profit-for-Purpose BCorp Certified Australian household brand that came to life during the pandemic. Their mission is to provide locally manufactured, ethical non-toxic household cleaning products and remove single use plastic products from landfills and our oceans.

Since launching Pleasant State with crowdfunding that raised over $87,000 from over 1,500 customers in 2020, they’ve built a community of over 25,000 amazing people, and together in 2021 they saved 50,725 plastic bottles from landfill, provided 25,363 litres of toxin-free cleaning⁠, and raised $10,053 for Take 3 For The Sea.

Their goal for 2022 is going to be even bigger as they work together with their dedicated and growing customers and partner communities to prevent a total of 150,000 plastic cleaning products from going to landfill, and build a business that will take them from a crowdfunding success story, to an iconic brand you see in all forward-thinking Australian homes.

Want to know more about how these women stepped up to form their own ethical business? Register with Humanitix to attend this free event today!

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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.

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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!

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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


TED Countdown Summit – Summary

For four days in October, the TED Countdown team brought together over a thousand activists, industrialists, scientists, artists, investors, politicians and many others – to collaborate and commit to action on climate. This event was designed to spread knowledge and hope before COP26.

Some talks have already been released, including the unedited talk from the closing event of the Summit. This features a discussion between Patricia Espinosa (Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC), Laurence Tubiana (CEO of the European Climate Foundation) and Gonzalo Munoz, (the UN’s High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP25). They talk about their experiences from Paris, their fears and the human-ness of the COP process. They talk of the importance of building trust and generating urgency to accelerate action.

On 30 October, a live stream event took place that featured snippets from many of the talks. The video of the event has been released (2 hours 32 minutes) and gives a taste of what the four days must have been like!

Check out the following as you work through the video:

16:35:00 Amina Jane Mohammed – the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

21:36 John Doerr and Ryan Panchadsarum’s six objectives to decarbonise and transform society. (See their book called Speed and Scale).

46:06 Ermias Kebreab, Animal Scientist on how seaweed added to animal feeds reduces methane emissions from livestock.

1:14:25 Enric Salla, Marine Ecologist on rewilding our planet and the 30 by 30 campaign that aims to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030.

1:19:00 Shweta Narayan, Climate and Health Campaigner, on how the climate crisis is a health crisis. It is impossible to have healthy people on a sick planet.

1:20:11 Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, Clean Air Advocate who shared the heartfelt story of her 9-year-old daughter, Ella. Ella was the first person in the world to have air pollution noted as the cause of death on her death certificate. Soot is now being found in mothers’ placentas. Air pollution is an invisible global pandemic.

1:23:42 Ma Jun, Environmentalist, talks about the power of transparency in China to hold governments and corporations to account for their carbon emissions.

1:34:28 Xiye Bastida and Shiv Soin – two impressive young activists listing six key demands to stop global warming.

1:41:53 Solomon Goldstein-Rose explains that we will need five times as much electricity by the end of the century and how we need a range of renewable energy sources to meet that demand.

1:49:46 Vishaan Chakrabarti, Architect and Author talking about the Goldilocks sweet spot of housing – 3 storey buildings where the rooftop space is sufficient to provide power to meet the energy needs of the inhabitants using solar panels and batteries – and where combined wastes are composted.

1:55:32 Monica Araya from the Drive Electric Campaign. Aiming for all new sales of electric vehicles by these dates: 2030 buses, 2035 passenger cars and 2040 freight vehicles. The full talk is available here.

2:05:40 Sophia Kianni, Climate Knowledge Translator. Did you know that most knowledge about climate change is in English, so this is a big problem for the 70% of the global population who do not speak this language. Sophia set up an international youth-led nonprofit called Climate Cardinals to translate climate science into hundreds of languages – using 6,000 volunteers, from 41 countries. Phenomenal!

2:09:19 Farwiza Farhan, Forest Conservationist talked about Sumini’s story. Sumini leads a team of women to save the forests, yet cultural norms exclude her from being part of the decision making processes in her village in Indonesia. We need more women in the position of leadership!

2:11:51 Nemonte Nenquimo, Indigenous Leader from the Amazon, passionately asks us to respect the forests. She talks of the forest as being her home her life, full of knowledge. She points out what she uses to eat, heal, make baskets, and how Cowari (non-forest people) think of the forest as a place of resources to extract. Mother Earth is waiting for us to protect her.

2:14:22 Sister True Dedication, Zen Buddist Nun explains why it is so hard to change the direction of our civilisation. What is missing is insight and how awakening involves the whole body, not just the mind. When we are rushing to do something, are we saving time, or losing it?

Well worth a look.

The Summit’s home page details the program so you can search for individual talks as they are released.