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.
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 winner of the Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra‘s pilot Women Taking Climate Action Award 2021is 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 email@example.com.
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.
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!
The scale and pace at which humans are altering the climate system has almost no precedent. Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last two thousand years.
Climate change and its impacts are accelerating, and more impacts are on the way. Lack of action, despite decades of warnings, means we are now seeing these alarming changes unfold at a faster and faster rate. In other words, our climate is not merely changing, the rate of change is now accelerating.
Every fraction of a degree matters. Every additional increment of warming means more extreme weather, including increases in the intensity and frequency of heatwaves, damaging rainfall, and droughts.
Responding to climate change means doing everything possible to reduce emissions, while also adapting to the impacts that can no longer be avoided. Past inaction means that more impacts from climate change are on the way but the right choices made today will be measured in lives, livelihoods, species and ecosystems saved.
The findings of this latest report are unmistakable: only stronger action this decade can prevent climate catastrophe.
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.
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!