The Road to Rio

I’m flying over an ocean, in the semi-dark of a plane, in an in-between time zone that feels like 3am for several hours until suddenly the breakfast tray wakes everyone up with a start.

I peer over the shoulder of the boy in front of me at the flight map. Are we there yet? Are we even close? My eyes are still blinking, adjusting to the light, when I see from the screen that we’re flying past Easter Island.

Despite my sleep deprivation, the irony of the situation is enough to trigger some deep thoughts.

I’m hurtling towards the biggest international conference in two decades on sustainable development – in other words, how to ensure civilization’s survival into the future. And I’m flying past an island whose sombre statues serve as a monumental warning that there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed.

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Milton, Ulladulla & Wollongong

From Canberra, Isaac and I headed to the coast.

Our destination: the small town of Milton and it’s larger neighbour, Ulladulla. We’d been pointed there by several NSW AYCC volunteers who had mentioned a particularly enthusiastic and talented young organiser by the name of Matt Robertson.

Matt, 16, lives in Milton and is a high school student at Ulladulla High. He recently set up an AYCC group and recruited a large number of students to join, so Isaac and I were keen to meet him and see how we could help.

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Sydney University ‘What Matters’ Campaign

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On The Road…

Those of you who’ve been asking ‘what’s next’ after the book and documentary will have heard me talking about my vision of a road trip with AYCC volunteers traveling to communities all around Australia talking (and listening) about climate science, impacts and solutions. Well, it’s actually happening! It’s hard to believe that only seven days ago we were wrapping up the first day of the training weekend for the tour, which we’ve called the ‘We’re Worth It’ tour. As in, young people’s futures are worth caring about and protecting. Sure, the transition to a low-carbon economy won’t be easy – but it’s worth it, if you care about young people (and all people, really).

So, here are my quick reflections on the past ten or so days. Eight days ago today, I’d woken up early (and I mean EARLY – they sky was still dark) on Ellen’s fold-out couch in Melbourne after my first two Melbourne book events.

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Quick Message Post Q&A

ImageThanks to the people who have sent such lovely, supportive messages re: the documentary and Q&A. If you want to learn more about the journey Nick and I went on, and some of the VERY interesting interviews that didn’t make it into the final cut of the documentary, you can order my book from AYCC’s online shop or buy it at most bookstores from tomorrow. You can learn more about the book at www.madlands.com.au 

It’s been a long day of media interviews, so I’m going to sleep now – but for the people who have been emailing asking what they can do to help, I would suggest:

1. Learning about the science, impacts and solutions so you can answer questions from people in your own lives who aren’t sure about climate change.

2. Donating to the Australian Youth Climate Coalition to help build a generation wide movement to solve climate change before it’s too late. And as of tomorrow I’ll have a fundraising page up raising money to give copies of my book to every federal politician to help them understand the science better.

3. Getting involved in your local climate action group and supporting campaigns like the 100% Renewables community campaign!

Goodnight all 🙂
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Madlands Book Trailer

www.madlands.com.au

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Talking to Australia About Climate Change

Nick Minchin, Professor Richard Muller and I at the University of Berkeley, San Francisco

Tomorrow, I’m co-starring in a climate change documentary aiming to reach those Australians who still have questions about the science of climate change.

On Friday, Melbourne University Press is releasing my first full-length book. It answers all the questions a soft sceptic would have about climate change science and impacts, in an easily digestible way.

And on Monday, I’m embarking on a 100 day book tour with a group of up-and-coming AYCC leaders to change hearts and minds in person as we travel to outer suburban, regional and rural Australia.

How did I get to this point?

Wind back the clock six and a half years ago to December 2005, in the middle of a snow-filled winter in Montreal.

I wake up in a small loft filled with young climate activists from around the world. To my left is Fawzia, an environmental journalist from Bangladesh. To my right is Ben, an environmental educator from Micronesia. I can smell coffee coming from our kitchen downstairs. As I walk down in my pyjamas, I see a group huddled around their laptops, writing media releases, blogging, reading the day’s agenda and preparing policy responses. We are the youth delegation at the Kyoto Protocol negotiations, and we’re there to make an impact.

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Posted in change, climate change, I Can Change Your Mind on Climate, learning, life, Madlands book, Qanda | 17 Comments