by Claudia Wolender, Oxfam volunteer
After successful rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth it was Brisbane’s turn to show our support for action on climate change. Despite a forecast of rain, the day turned out to be beautiful and sunny, lifting the spirits of the 4000-plus Brisbanites who turned up at King George Square on Saturday 9 April. The energy in the air was remarkable; so was the positive, family-friendly atmosphere.
With the help of amazing volunteers, Oxfam brought the faces of our Pacific Island neighbours into the space by holding up some of our beautiful photos from the striking new exhibition Land is Life. People commented on how powerfully the images portrayed the impact of climate change on poor people in developing countries, with one person observing, “Wow, we think of these islands as paradise, and look what we’re doing to them…” We were encouraged to see how many people agreed that the Australian government needs to act on climate change.
Among the several inspirational speakers, Sean Kelly from Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s speech gave me goose bumps. He emphasised how important it is for young people to get involved with social justice organisations, convincing us all that our voices will be heard and that we will make a difference. Personally, I believe the feeling of belonging to a broader community is super-important in motivating young people to get involved with grassroots organisations. By keeping up all their good work, more experienced activists will continue to guide and inspire us.
Oxfam gathered over 350 signatures urging the Australian government to take action on climate change. We also distributed around 400 “Get Smart on Climate” booklets.
We were extremely pleased with how the day turned out. It was a fantastic feeling to share an intense couple of hours with like-minded organisations and positive people. The general consensus was that, as the biggest per-capita carbon polluter in the developed world, Australia has an obligation to commit to meaningful action to reduce our emissions. Together we can do it!