The Hobo Guide to Australia’s Climate Election
It’s Planet Earth, May 2019. The past five years have been the hottest on record. Cities worldwide, including Melbourne, are at threat of running out of water. Constant threat of natural disaster destroys the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable communities. The climate crisis is upon us, and it has been proven that human activity is responsible. The truth is simple, and frightening:
Climate change will subside only if people change.
So we’re stepping up. Over the past year, there’s been an incredible surge of worldwide climate activism. Our newsfeeds are overrun with images of impassioned crowds waving ‘THERE IS NO PLANET B’ signs. Children are fearing for their futures and taking a stand. School Strike 4 Climate protests have gained worldwide traction. It’s inspiring, but greatly unsettling, to see children acting like politicians because our politicians are acting like children (see: climate denial).
Just this month, the efforts of Extinction Rebellion in the UK have resulted in their government setting the global precedent in declaring a climate emergency. Home-grown movements such as the Stop Adani convoy, Films for Change screenings and unending ‘die-ins’ by Extinction Rebellion Australia, have championed an opening of our national conscience. 64% of Australians have ranked climate change as the nation’s number-one threat in 2019. The number one political issue web-searched in the lead-up to this election is climate change.
In this climate crisis, sustainability needs to be the foundation of our global society, and not an ‘inconvenient’ pursuit, or ‘burden’ falling on individuals.
It’s imperative that we demand support from our government in reducing our environmental footprint.
Australia has no choice but to make this our climate election. So here’s how we’re gonna do it.
Part One: Get Informed!
The Vote For The Planet movement is a stark and sensible reminder that we have more than two choices this climate election. #votefortheplanet has hit the ground running armed with hashtags, moral integrity and a fully fledged climate policy scorecard. Their website compares all parties based on a set of environmental policies, coupling clear graphics with real-time updates — an uncertain voter’s best friend.
The Australian Conservation foundation has also created a scorecard, awarding Liberals, Labor and Greens 4%, 56% and 99% respectively for their climate change policies, based on a comparison across 50 policy measures.
Meanwhile back in ‘conventional politics’, ABC has launched a Vote Compass quiz that places your political ideals between the Coalition, Labor, Greens and One Nation, based on social and economic values. Let’s address those parties for a hot minute.
It’s pretty plain to see that ScoMo and the COALition won’t be getting the environmentalists’ vote. The crux of the government’s climate change policy – the ‘Climate Solutions Fund’ – is essentially a weak resurrection of climate denier Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan. And, well, our Environment Minister just approved the groundwater management plan for Adani so that the coalition can wield their jobs around central Queensland throughout the election campaign. #nojobsonadeadplanet.
Unfortunately, it would appear that a Labor party represented by Bill Shorten is unlikely to clean up the mess. Shorten has given a strong indication that he will not be reversing any environmental approvals if elected, stating that if the Adani project “stacks up environmentally, it should go ahead.” Whilst Labor presents a stronger plan for climate action than the current leaders, it’s looking like Bill’s definition of environmental sustainability isn’t lining up with ours. Integrity over ambiguity, please.
The Greens are currently the only ‘mainstream’ political party to support the phase-out of fossil fuels and hold a 100% renewable energy target for 2030. They generally tick the most enviro-boxes, notably presenting the most proactive waste and recycling scheme (more important than ever, seeing as though China is quite literally done with our rubbish). Who knows, maybe Shorten will open to Greens leader Di Natale’s proposition for negotiating climate policy, should ALP be elected.
Sure, the Greens (and independents) mightn’t win against the LIB or ALP, but that’s why we love preferential voting: we can vote for who we believe in, in the order we see fit, without accidentally making a Prime Minister of Pauline Hanson.
Part Two: Get Involved!
Yep, it’s an enviro-political shitstorm. Don’t get depressed – get active.
Once you’ve decided what voting for the planet means to you, get out there and tell people why! Get in touch with your preferred party and do some campaigning. Even if you’re time-poor, you can always join in on election day. You’re already at the polling booth, right?
You can even volunteer directly with Vote For The Planet at the polling booths or by creating and distributing educational content.
Utilise social media. It’s raining resources for climate-conscious voting – share them! Even if they’re getting few likes, they’re being seen and sewing thought-seeds with zero effort from you. Win.
Sharing your everyday activism is a great motivator for both yourself and viewers. Our personal favourite ventures are outreaching leafleters and sharpie-ing traffic light poles (it’s not graffiti if it’s morally motivated, right?).
Have conversations! Talk to your friends, your classmates, your parents and grandparents about voting climate. If you’re hesitant to be seen as forcing your beliefs, take a gentler approach and remember the power of positive messaging. In conveying the urgency of our climate disaster, we must be careful to inspire indignation, not surrender. Rather than focusing on how fucked everything is, ignite the fight in others by instilling hope that we can make an impact. Because we can.
We choose to #votefortheplanet and we urge you to join us. We invite you to share with 10 friends why you’ll be voting for a sustainable future and encourage them to do the same. Let’s not underestimate our power! We may each be only a drop in the ocean but our movements create ripples, from which we make waves.
Cover by Bob Blob, inset by Joel de Vriend via Unsplash