By Kit Shepherd and Christine Thomas,
Christine Brauer and Jenni Hagland led us with two evenings of Climate Parties in a new venue at Brown Sugar Café in Bondi Beach. The evenings were cosy and engaging, with tapas-style nibbles created by our resident foodie, Victoria.
Climate Parties bring people together to raise awareness around climate change and creating a sustainable future. They do this through playful activities which inspire the community and transform feelings of overwhelm into action.
The ‘parties’ usually come in a sequence of three, although we didn’t need the first:
- The Facts: a case for urgent action.
- We dived in to the second: Emotions – how do feelings impact our ability to act?
- And the third (two weeks later): Agency – creating the future we want.
During the ’emotions’ party we did an exercise identifying the many feelings that we have in relation to climate change, noting that some inhibit us from acting and some propel us. In fact it is useful to note those feelings that rouse energy in us, and let that energy lead us forward. Rachel Carson’s 1962 environmental science book Silent Spring had such an immediate impact, apparently as she allowed the reader to feel the subjectivity of the creatures and plants that were being impacted by the use of chemicals in the environment.
In the third party, Agency – creating the future we want, we learnt it is a powerful thing (and the Transition Towns movement uses this exercise a lot) to imagine the world that you want to live in. And, as someone said in snowboarding, where you look is where you go. So with the climate situation, it is important to decide where you are going to put your attention! Some of the visioning was done in small groups, by means of a brainstorm, using post–it notes with the ideas all posted on a board, to be shared with the whole room.
Here are some of the ‘yearnings‘:
- Corporations forced to pay tax
- Tax cars – increase fuel excise
- FOGO(food organics, garden organics, all collected in green bins)
- Arts and Culture for all
- Sustainable Transport – public electric vehicles, bicycles, walking path
- Advertising banned
- Elimination of bottled water
- Gyms powering cars
- No homeless people –social housing, redesign
- Green cities
- Healthy soil
- Efficient distribution
- Accelerate R&D for renewable technology
- Understanding how natural systems work – knowing the consequences of our actions
- Loving our neighbours
- Community composting and gardens
- Shared wealth – everyone’s basic needs taken care of
- New political system with citizens assemblies to make decisions
- Indigenous wisdom of caretaking the planet, including animals
- Communities with a high level of civic engagement
- Edible public gardens everywhere
- Sustainable fishing and cleaner oceans
“Change is about collaboration and working together. It’s time to speak of climate action, not problems. Together this is a race we can win.”—Bertrand Piccard. Together as sticks we can bend; alone we break.
Three carefully designed events that you (can also) host for your friends, spark a conversation around climate and raise awareness. Their playful activities inspire community and transform the feeling of overwhelm into action.