As we celebrate our second birthday, the team at 1 Million Women has found ourselves in the midst of the biggest week in the whole history of our national campaign. Maybe you’ve seen us on TV, or in the newspapers over the past few days? We’re now a nation-wide organisation of tens of thousands of women and girls – about 42,000 members and a further 20,000 on our Facebook.
It’s not surprising that things have been heating up for our campaign, because we’re all about getting on with climate action, and that’s the biggest political challenge in Australia right now. At issue is whether we’ll put a price on carbon pollution to propel our nation down the decades-long path to a low carbon, more sustainable economy.
Several weeks ago we decided we should find out what our 1 Million Women community wanted. Using an online survey, in the lead up to Mother’s Day, we asked members if they wanted the Australian Government to put a price on carbon pollution in 2011 – ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Don’t Know’. We got a huge response. An overwhelming majority, over three quarters (75.6% to be exact) of the 3000-plus respondents said ‘Yes’, with the balance fairly evenly split between ‘No’ and ‘Don’t Know’.
We also had over 1300 women leave us beautiful messages about what they’ll tell their mothers or daughters or other loved ones about the importance of taking action on climate change and protecting the environment. And all but 3 out of 3174 respondents described practical actions they were taking to cut pollution in their own lives.
So when our biggest week ever arrived, we were ready:
• It all started on Monday morning May 30th when Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined the 1 Million Women campaign and helped us to launch our new 10,000 Teens program at the Ravenswood School in Sydney, with nearly 1000 girls
• But that was just a warm-up for the huge weekend coming up with the Sydney Ice Bear, (a polar bear carved out of a 9 tonne block of ice) symbolic of the greatest challenge humanity is facing, including a public event in front of Customs House, at Circular Quay, from 12 noon to 1.30pm on Sunday (June 5th, it’s World Environment Day!)
• And the Sydney Ice Bear in turn would coincide with the ‘SAY YES’ rallies for climate action being held around the country this Sunday, coordinated by Get Up and including great organisations like our Ice Bear project partners WWF Australia and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)
This is what I’ve been saying to audiences of girls at school after school, and it’s a similar message to what I use with every audience
Tell all your friends and become a leader of change for your generation. Help the 1 Million Women campaign to spread the word, to get on with action to cut carbon pollution, and also to raise our voices, the voices of the women and girls of Australia, with a simple message for our political and business and community leaders:
We’re getting on with climate action and you have to do the same. Time is running out, there’s no time to waste, and there’s so much to be done.
We can’t dodge this. We can’t make excuses about energy prices rising, or how we have to wait for other countries to act, or wish climate change would just go away of its own accord. We have to get on with it.
– Natalie Isaacs, CEO and Founder 1 Million Women.