As a campaigner for sustainability and climate action, it can often feel as though the work you are doing makes no difference. Facing off against governments and multinational corporations with vested interests in the fossil fuel industry seems futile. Almost a waste of time…
However, today I gave a presentation to a local high school that reminded me that no matter how enormous the problem, it can be overcome by the courage and commitment of individuals who are willing to fight for the cause. In particular I spoke to a group of students from Wodonga Senior Secondary College who were involved in the Student Representative Council and Environment Club about the challenges they were facing in keeping up attendance, hosting events and gaining student support. As we were talking, I realised that there were many parallels between what these young eco -crusaders were facing and how I was feeling about the effectiveness of my own sustainability work.
Some of the ideas that were discussed during the presentation included the importance of celebrating successes, staying positive and hosting social events that are focused around bringing people together and having fun as well as learning and personal development. Suggestions for events included movie screenings, pizza nights and information sessions. We also spoke about how being involved in the fight against climate change can sometimes become overwhelming or isolating and how to overcome these issues by staying informed, looking after yourself and linking up with likeminded people.
It was fantastic to be surrounded by a group of dedicated students who were seeking to make their school and local community a more sustainable and environmentally friendly place. Being able to share my experiences and offer advice to these students also reignited my own passion for sustainability, education and community development.
Climate change is the biggest moral challenge of our time, however it is also an opportunity to change the structures of society and make the world a better place based on fairness and respect for the earths ecosystems. The fight against climate change will not be easy. However as the renowned cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world, in fact it’s the only thing that ever has’.