By Anna Lycett

    On a wintry Wednesday morning just over a year ago, four mums from Melbourne’s west made their way to Myrtle Wine Cafe in Footscray. This was the beginning of West Melbourne Parents for Climate Action.

    For Angela, who arranged the catch-up, it was a chance to connect with other parents who felt the gravity of the climate crisis, who worried about their children’s future and wanted to do something about it.

    ‘My husband and I had gone deep down the rabbit hole reading the climate science following the 2019–2020 bushfires. I had begun to wonder if I had lost the plot. Why weren’t more people talking about this? How could everyone be too busy to protect our children’s future and keep our planet safe for them?’

    To keep global heating below 1.5C – the threshold to prevent dangerous, irreversible changes to our climate and environment – there can be no new fossil fuel expansion. While Australia finally had its ‘climate election’ last year, the federal Labor Government is still approving new coal and gas projects.

    Unless a lot more pressure is put on governments, they are not going to act with the urgency required to secure a stable climate and a safe future for young generations. Some damage is already locked in, but the future is still in our hands: every fraction of a degree matters.

    Angela first engaged with Australian Parents for Climate Action (AP4CA) when she attended a webinar on transforming climate grief into action. A non-partisan and largely volunteer-led organisation, AP4CA aims to empower parents, grandparents and carers to advocate for climate action in their communities. 

    ‘It was a relief to confirm that no, I am not insane, nor am I alone. Yes, there are other parents, local parents in fact, with the same anxiety and anger as me’ she says. ‘We could share what we were all doing, inspire one another, organise and act together.’

    Erin, who also attended the first meeting, became more aware of the climate crisis while working for an international child rights organisation. She was pregnant with her second child at the time. ‘I worked with a team of climate scientists to write a report on child rights and the climate crisis. Modelling the increases in bushfires, heatwaves and floods for children compared to their grandparents’ generation – even under our government’s climate action pledges – brought the crisis close to home.’ 

    ‘But at the same time, I also came to understand the next generation’s capacity to enact systems change on the scale we need.’

    Since their first meeting, AP4CA West Melbourne has attracted more members and engaged in a range of activities – from ‘climate conversations’, art activities and nature-based story times to meetings with state and federal MPs (usually with a few kids in tow).

    Shannon joined AP4CA because she is deeply concerned about what sort of world we are leaving behind for future generations. ‘If we don’t act now, they will never experience our wonderful wildlife, clean air and river systems, or even know food security; they instead will only know fear, desperation and bitter disappointment in the generation that had a chance to do something.’

    Adam, a father of a two-year-old boy, joined AP4CA to connect with people who are aware of the crisis and for mutual emotional support. ‘I think it is great that our group has people using a diversity of tactics.’ He understands that climate change is a threat multiplier and worries about his son’s future in the face of climate impacts such as crop failure, which could lead to chronic food shortages and even war. ‘How on earth do we parent through that?’

    ‘It’s true, the best antidote to despair is action,’ says Angela. ‘Don’t get mad, get organised. Face your feelings, connect, talk about them. Don’t sit in despair. Do something, there are so many things we can do, both big and small. Our care for our children is our biggest superpower.’ 

    Join online: 

    Instagram: @ap4ca_westmelbourne 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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