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  • 8 Feb 2024 09:05 | Kylie Wrigley (Administrator)

    When I worked in local government, I got a feel for the power community members have when they engage with their councillors. It's a small but effective action anyone can take to meet your local councillor and keep in contact with them about climate justice issues in your community (although if it's right for you, why not elect to become a councillor!?)

    Do you engage with your local council? If so how what climate justice issues have you raised and how have they been received? If not, then let me invite you to start doing so today! In this blog post I want to share how I've recently engaged with my local councillor's, in the hopes it inspires some of you to do the same.

    I no longer work for Local Government, but I live in the Shire of Waroona on Bindjarb Boodja where I try stay engaged through a sustainability committees and share information and opportunities with my councillors from time to time. Usually it's when there's something happening locally (like the referendum) or when I receive WALGA's Enviro News letter (which often shares consultation opportunities, programs and grants relevant to local governments in WA). I always think about how that something relates to my local context and community? Then I think about all the things I've learned from CJU and it's members and think about the climate justice issue or opportunity at hand. Then I put it all together and send them an email or have a yarn about it. 

    Here's an example, that you might like to adapt to use right now (about energy efficiency grants open until April 2024), or hold onto to use another time (there will be other opportunities to advocate for free and accessible cool places):

    Hello Councillors,

    I hope you are very well, particularly through this hot and fire-prone weather! I'm emailing to share a grant opportunity for community energy efficiency and electrification upgrades by local governments that I just came across in the WALGA enviro news letter

    I expect there are several council assets shared by the community that could benefit from energy and efficiency upgrades. In particular, I'm thinking of the pressure climatic changes put on the health and well-being of residents (for example evidence, recognised by the WA department of Health shows that heat waves and heat stress can contribute to domestic violence, pregnancy risks and many other mental and physical harm some of which can be lethal, particularly for already vulnerable populations). Many councils worldwide are working to create 'cool spaces' that residents can go to to escape the heat (or cold).

    This is a particularly important solution for elderly people and low-income families who may struggle to afford heating and cooling during extreme spells. Noticing how our local dam is susceptible to potentially deadly pathogen outbreaks during increasingly frequent and severe heatwaves, I think providing cool spaces for residents is a good alternative to cooling off at our beloved and free swim hole. It's particularly important that families have access to cool places that don't burn a hole in their pocket!

    However, merely providing air-conditioned spaces (even if run on solar) is not necessarily efficient and can place a strain on the durability of assets and power bills. Thus considering efficiency upgrades to buildings is also essential.

    I'm sure there are many other uses for this grant inline with the strategic community plan and shire business plan's energy, sustainability and community health goals. Please do share this with relevant staff, and feel free to contact me before we next meet if you would like to discuss this further.


    So that's what  I did! You can see how I related an energy efficiency opportunity to a climate justice issue and climate science, then localised it. Pretty simple, and you are welcome to use any of the above for your council (although hopefully you don't have a potentially deadly pathogen in your local swim hole!). Full disclosure, I'm still waiting on a response, but I'll be bringing it up when I next see them to remind them.

    How do you engage your local council? What Climate Justice issues are relevant in your community?

  • 1 Nov 2023 18:40 | Kylie Wrigley (Administrator)

    On Sunday (29 Oct 2023) we formally celebrated four years of climate justice union. Our celebration and AGM was attended by outgoing and incoming committee members, members across lived experiences, age groups, and commitment levels. We spent time sharing stories, making connections and hearing about what we have achieved together over the last year. Several members gave insight into their experience as members and into the culture we've collectively nurtured over four massive years.

    As a member who is also doing research about effective community organising approaches for climate justice in WA I believe many of the stories shared demonstrate how CJU enacts its values and what makes us effective. In addition to all of CJUs visible projects, much of CJUs work happens behind the scenes. It can be hard for current or prospective members to get a feel for the movement we are building. The change CJU is making may not be tangible or visible to everyone and it is hard to measure or report. But it is palpable in what our members have experienced and shared.

    Yungaji shared her experience as a CJU member, pointing out that CJU actually walks the talk when it comes to First Nations solidarity:

    “They’re not just tokenism. They do what they say when it comes to First Nations issues. That there's a lot of [tokenism] everywhere and I found that it's not like that in CJU. I can actually feel… I am allowed to feel comfortable. If I have issues with something it really gets looked at and taken into account.”

    “When we had the referendum, I'm sure there were plenty of healing groups around but I picked CJU to come and yarn with because I felt comfortable here. I just think that for me as a First Nations person, CJU is the solution to a lot of our beliefs and issues.”

    Mace emphasised CJU's focus on safety, accessibility, and inclusivity, especially for people who have complex needs as part of their reasons for joining CJUs management committee: 

    “I am neurodivergent, I am also multiply disabled, I have a connective tissue disorder that affects my entire functioning and every system in my body. So my capacity fluctuates, quite extremely. Because of that, though, I feel really strongly about giving space and creating space for people of all different lived experiences to express themselves and to be heard and to feel supported and feel connected. And I think that's what initially drew me to CJU…. CJU is a space that is just unequivocally accepting, enabling and accessible of their people regardless of their capacity or their lived experience. I feel like CJU really, in such profound ways empowers us all. And I, as someone who's been doing various forms of activism for nearly a decade, haven't ever stepped into a space that has felt as safe and inclusive as CJU. I really want to bring my lived experience to help grow the capacity of CJU to hold that space for people. I really want to bring people together to connect in deep and meaningful ways and to grow our collective capacity to take care of ourselves and each other.”

    Mace and Yungaji’s stories highlighted how CJU members actively implement the climate justice principles we advocate for: Principles around centring the voices of people with lived experience, solidarity, reciprocity and care. CJU is radical in how it resists climate action through exclusionary and colonial means, and that it’s what makes CJU both different and effective.

    Active member and newly elected committee member Sarah noticed the invisible but powerful force within CJU as they thanked the outgoing committee for their work. Sarah said:

    “When I first came into CJU it was like something had been woven, this amazing thing that expanded to make room for people, to include people who usually don’t get to have a voice. And as a priority, an intentional practice, not just an afterthought. And I kept asking, Jamie, how did that happen? And how did you manage to make it work that way? And I could see that there's the hands of many people that have worked over years to build something that is precious and effective. And that allows people to be human while doing what we need to do, or taking the action that we need to do, and also being true to ourselves and our communities. So I'm really thankful, really, really thankful for the weaving that you guys did.”

    I think Sarah’s weaving metaphor highlights how CJU has prioritised the time to craft our values, relationships and a culture through these early years. This time weaving has been essential as it enables us to create a foundation that can hold our enormous and essential plan for climate justice in WA. Members have put a huge amount of time, resources and capacity into developing a care-full, reciprocal and radically inclusive organisation.  It has been slow and careful work because it is easily unravelled and countercultural. 

    I think CJUs priorities are quite unique for an organisation working within a movement and place that is up against the clock to restore a safe climate. What CJU members experience, I believe, demonstrates a timeless fact: our collective survival depends on the capacity and health of our relationships with people and Country. Working in union, in solidarity and with care is needed to transform the structures that cause climate injustice. 

    So make no mistake, what we are weaving isn’t just something warm and fuzzy that makes us feel good. We are weaving a carrier-bag that holds all the complex and impossible pieces of change together; a network that supports and sustains us when it feels too hopeless and hard; a web that captures and abolishes the injustices that are too often pushed into dark corners; and we are weave a strong collective foundation for a future we want.

    Kylie Wrigley, CJU Member and PhD Research Partner (Edith Cowan University, Centre for People Place and Planet)

  • 31 Oct 2023 15:33 | Kylie Wrigley (Administrator)

    CJU would like to thank outgoing committee members and welcome newly elected ones. 

    Thank you Luke, Georgia, Galen and Madu for your work shaping and guiding CJU in its formative years. Thank you Bella, who resigned several months ago too for your leadership in the movement and in CJU.

    Welcome new committee! Secretary Simone, Treasurer Kate, and general committee members, Mace, Luke, Pheonix(Ro), Sarah and Trish. We look forward to your leadership and skills as CJU continues to grow and mature as an effective organisation

    Finally, we would like to share outgoing Secretary Luke's letter shared at the AGM and 4 year anniversary celebration:

    Kaya folks

    Thank you for being here and my apologies for missing today's AGM - the first CJU AGM I will have not attended. I want to start by saying I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together over the past 5 years - 4 years of growing our Union together plus a year worth of working up our goals, values, priorities and establishing the organisation from scratch.

    It has been a great privilege and perhaps the greatest responsibility of my life so far, helping this Union grow from non-existent to a significant player in pursuing, designing and implementing the transition to a fair, just and sustainable future here in WA.

    Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control ( in particular managing the deep grief associated with the death of my best friend in the world ) - I am unable to continue providing leadership at this moment in time. As such I have taken the difficult, but appropriate, decision not to re-nominate for the role of Secretary or for a position on our Committee of Management this year. This is the right thing for me to do, and is an opportunity for new leadership within CJU to step forward and strengthen our Union.

    I couldn't be more proud of what we've managed to achieve together so far, although it's also very clear that our collective work in this space has really only just begun. In a generations-long battle like that which we face with climate change, stepping down successfully and building distributed leadership is equally as important as stepping up in the first place.

    I want to thank everyone for your support at this time, and I especially want to thank those who have put their hand up and nominated for a position on our Committee of Management going forward. I am proud of the depth of leadership we are building together here, and I whole heartedly endorse each of the nominations we have received for the Committee this year.

    And in closing, I just want to reinforce that while I am stepping down, this does not mean I am stepping away from CJU altogether. I will continue to be a member, and will still be around and working together with and supporting you all where and when I can.

    I just need to prioritise looking after myself for a while.

    Thank you everyone, it's been an honour and privilege to serve as your Secretary.

    Solidarity.

    Luke


  • 25 Nov 2021 14:18 | Anonymous

    Climate change, activism, and supporting the mental health of children and young people: Perspectives from Western Australia

    by Naomi J Godden, Brad M Farrant, Jaime Yallup Farrant, Emma Heyink, Eva Carot Collins, Bella Burgemeister, Mena Tabeshfar, Jason Barrow, Mara West, Jasmine Kieft, Mason Rothwell, Zoe Leviston, Susan Bailey, Mindy Blaise, Trudi Cooper.

    "This article is co-authored by a group of WA young people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal academics, activists, and practitioners engaged in youth, mental health and climate justice spaces.

    The article examines the intersection of mental health, climate change, children and young people and climate activism in WA. We explore the mental health impacts of climate change on children and young people, and youth climate activism as a resilience strategy.

    In Box 3, youth climate activist co-authors then discuss opportunities to support the mental health of young people compelled to take climate action.

    We argue for structural change to address the causes of the climate crisis, alongside enhanced mental health evidence and approaches to appropriately support children and young people affected by climate change.

    Furthermore, we support the call of Aboriginal peoples to ensure culturally appropriate, place-based frameworks and programs based in caring for Country."

    Many Climate Justice Union members contributed to this important article, published by the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

    Please click through below to read the full article.

    Click here for the full article: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jpc.15649

  • 23 Jun 2021 16:36 | Anonymous

    Kaya everyone,

    Today Agency France Press have released an article into the mainstream entitled "Crushing climate impacts to hit sooner than feared: draft UN report" which will be a difficult read for many, even those of us who have been expecting publication of it's contents for a long time.

    Reading the reality of current and expected climate impacts stated bluntly in mainstream media is a different experience from talking about them in safe spaces with activists, friends and colleagues.

    And of course, talking and reading is very different to living through, preparing for and and experiencing the impacts themselves.

    With the next round of major IPCC climate science and impact reporting coming up, we're going to see a LOT more of this material entering mainstream conversations and media, and it's predictable many people are going to struggle with it.

    They're going to struggle to accept, they're going to struggle with the emotions, the stress and anxieties involved with acceptance, and they're going to want to know there are other people out there feeling the same way and somehow managing to get on with the work that needs to be done to address it.

    This article is a short summary of what will be a comprehensive 4000 page report on climate impacts due out in February 2022, the largest ever scientific peer-review process in all of human history.

    The challenges articulated in this summary highlight the exact reasons why we collective created CJU and why we are working together on our Big Plan.

    "The world is confronting a complex set of interwoven challenges,"

    "Unless you tackle them together, you are not going to do very well on any of them."

    "We need transformational change operating on processes and behaviours at all levels: individual, communities, business, institutions and governments."

    "We must redefine our way of life and consumption".

    Here's the link to the full article by AFP : https://au.news.yahoo.com/crushing-climate-impacts-hit-sooner-010253060.html 

    This is tough and long-term work, and it's work which becomes more and more important with every single year, month, week, and day that passes.

    From the work our CJU mental health team have done in understanding how humans respond to crisis, we know we need 3 things to support us in coping emotionally and mentally during times like these:

    1. We need spaces, places and people with which to process and deal with our emotional responses,

    2. We need systemic policies and processes that support the community during these times, and

    3. We need accurate and reliable communication at all stages of the crisis. We need to know what is happening, what is going to happen and what we need to do about it.

    And all of this needs to be grounded in our real experiences of the world, in the stories and deep understandings of where we live, work and spend our time.

    As CJU members we have built a collective culture which is intentional about addressing these needs to enables all of us to continue our important work, while pro-actively protecting our mental health.

    If you want to be involved in furthering these discussions, or to collaborate on ensuring people are able to engage with this information in ways that lead them to taking effective action (rather than into despair) - then become a member of Climate Justice Union today and let's work together.

    https://www.climatejusticeunion.org/join

    And when you share this kind of information - which we absolutely need you to do - PLEASE be mindful that people can only engage with the grief and despair it may bring in ways that move them to action (rather than into despair) if they are supported to do so, through relationships, practical support, and intentionally designed collective responses.

    We're all in this together, so let's look out for each other properly - so we can all get on with doing what needs to be done.

    In solidarity

    Bella, Jaime, Jasmine, Luke and the team at Climate Justice Union

    PS. If you think it would help to connect with professional services and organisations to talk through what this article brings up for you, here are some useful resources we have curated for you: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ll17kHaVGniedfr4udCqsUo_iX9K_JUL

  • 27 Apr 2021 13:57 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kaya,

    Firstly, we want to begin this blog post by sending a message of solidarity to all those in the cyclone impacted areas across the North and Central regions of Western Australia.

    We know there are many people still in the middle of working out where they will live, how to move forward without electricity and basic infrastructure, how to hold communities that are now unrecognisable and how to support those who were already vulnerable. The rebuilding of communities isn’t just about place and space - it is about people. CJU is in solidarity with those affected and commits the power of our members and networks to support these communities however we can. If you aren’t sure of how to do this, you will find some practical ways you can help at the end of this post

    This last year has seemed like a rollercoaster of extreme events and for many of us the connections with climate change and climate justice are obvious. We’ve seen (and are still seeing) a pandemic, floods, drought, fires, smoke haze and now a cyclone.  Even if you haven’t been directly involved in an extreme event, you may still find yourself impacted in very real ways. 

    For now, we just wanted to say CJU sees this and we recognise it can be difficult. This post is intended to bring visibility to what many of us may be experiencing right now.

    It’s a long post -  we hope you take the time to read and reflect on it’s content. In the coming months we will share more resources to support us during these times, but for now we hope this is useful. 

    ----

    Both the impact of these events and the release of reports, studies and news stories can affect our social and emotional mental wellbeing in a number of ways. We know that the road ahead will challenge us in many ways and that our emotional health might need some attention. 

    You are not alone if you feel overwhelmed. It's ok not to read up about each and every update. It's ok to dive in and then step back. Whatever you feel, anger, determination, sadness, loss, passion - It’s ok.

    We might notice some, or any of the following reactions in ourselves and our fellow Climate Justice activists:

    FEELING

    • anger and resentment towards people who don’t acknowledge climate justice, or don’t seem to be taking action
    • anxiety, or panic
    • guilt or shame about “not doing enough” or having limitations to the energy we can commit to taking action
    • grief and sadness 
    • numb and detached
    • overwhelmed about the reality of now and what lies ahead
    • resentment at past generations or parts of our society for not making more progress

    THINKING

    • constant and intrusive thoughts about the climate, social justice and the future
    • repeated questioning of yours and others actions "What if I had done x, y or z, instead?"
    • that other climate justice activists not doing enough or taking a hard enough line of action

    EXPERIENCING

    • inability to focus
    • inability to plan ahead
    • intrusive memories or dreams related to the events
    • difficulty in connecting with others
    • 'replaying' the event and inventing different outcomes in order to be prepared should it happen again
    • sleep disturbances

    So in knowing this, what can we do?

    Engage with our reality:

    There is immense power in recognising your own personal reality, in acknowledging the feelings and fears that come from being engaged in what is happening. Giving space for these to be felt with help you process information and continue to take actions without being overcome by extreme emotional responses. Being real and bringing our whole selves to our activism also serves to reduce the barriers for other activists and peers to share their challenges and builds a sense of safety, solidarity and support.

    Take action: 

    Taking action personally and collectively is in itself a significant coping strategy. Taking action gives us multiple results. We are actively helping to restore a safe climate, creating a caring community, and being a part of the solution helps us manage our distressing feelings. Action is often the best antidote to feelings of despair and helplessness.

    Call on the collective:

    Working with others who are also taking action can increase your sense of connection and reduce the feeling of burden and overwhelm that may come when faced with the sheer scope of the challenges ahead. Being around others who have optimism and hope can help you hold that hope when you find it too heavy to hold alone.

    Celebrate wins:

    Micro-wins can seem insignificant when stacked against the task ahead. But what if we all started sharing and celebrating the small wins? Having a conversation that changed the heart, mind or action of a single person may not seem like that much, but collectively we are all experiencing small changes in the communities we live, work and play in. Amplifying these positives can help keep us motivated during the times when it seems like we aren’t making progress.

    Be flexible:

    Allow yourself (and other activists) to have options for different types of action you can take depending on your current capacity and life circumstances. There will be times when you can go to every protest and every meeting, and other times when you only have the time, energy and spoons to amplify events and voices via social media. Maybe you usually speak to every single person you know about the need to take action, but you have a big uni assignment, or your child is unwell, so you need to save your energy just to get through the next week. Your mental health might need attention so you might disengage with taking action so you can give yourself the time and space you need. Your financial situation may change so you can’t donate, your available time might change so you only give financially for a while. ALL ACTION IS VALUABLE ACTION.

    Switch off/Switch on:

    Be mindful about how, where and when you are consuming media and reports. If you are intending to delve into something heavy, plan for connection or debrief afterward. If you are swamped by casually coming across stories and media, plan for some down time that sees you totally switch off from the media (even if only for an hour). If you are finding heavy emotional responses to content don’t read it before you go to bed or when you first wake up. Having a deliberate plan about how you consume information can make it seem less out of control.

    Share the feels:

    Find casual and structured support places where you can connect and share. This may be in your own personal relationships, on the CJU members Facebook page, at a CJU Wellbeing Session or through a professional setting.

    For a list of more formal mental health and well being supports click on this link.

    What can I do to support those affected by current climate events?  

    The Lord Mayor’s appeal fund is set up specifically to provide financial support for those impacted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja and you can donate through this site.

    Perhaps you want to learn more about how we can increase our ability to prepare for extreme events. This website has a host of materials and resources. Or maybe you are wanting to look into training as a local emergency services volunteer, it’s clear we are going to need more trained volunteers in the years to come. You can find out more about that here.

    If you are aware of practical ways members of the Climate Justice Union can support recovery efforts for the Perth Fires or Cyclone Seroja (or other events) please get in touch with us and we can share through our networks.

    If you have any questions, ideas or contributions for how we can better support the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of members, contact Bella bella@climatejusticeunion.org for a chat.

  • 31 Dec 2019 11:08 | Anonymous

    It is easy to feel despair, grief and anxiety in the face of everything going on right now, and everything we collectively experienced in 2019.

    It is easy to feel hopeless and to want to point fingers of blame and to attack politicians and people in positions of power.

    All of that is normal response to the environmental and human rights catastrophe unfolding in front of us. And no doubt most of it is very valid.

    Current and past political leaders failed to prepare us on so many fronts.

    Failing to address climate change in the 90s and early 2000s when the opportunity to avoid these particular catastrophic impacts still existed. Failure to adequately resource our emergency services. Failure to ensure both existing and new buildings are fire safe before the long-predicted fires became reality. Failure to have an adequate social and economic safety net for those whose jobs and homes no longer exist.

    In the face of inaction it is easy to think democracy and collectivism have failed. But this is not the case.

    We need democracy and people power now more than ever before.

    The only answer to a politics dominated by a powerful elite is to rebuild a powerful and organised citizenry.

    Through collective organising we can plan and implement our own way through the just transitions we need to have, without leaving anybody behind. We can do this in our own communities, workplaces, industries and other areas of influence.

    We can open-source the creation of a new and better society, even if we have to do so against the will of powerful elites.

    We can have a future that is net-zero emissions across every aspect of society. We can get there very, very rapidly. We can have work and income guarantees, to ensure no person is left in poverty or without purpose. We can have safe, reliable, zero carbon transport. We can reduce inequality of wealth, opportunity and access. We can have a proper social safety net so nobody is left behind during hard times. We can have an environment which is healthy and thriving... If we make these things our top priority.

    In 2020 that's the work we'll be doing.

    We'll be working with community members to figure out how we do this transition in our communities, our workplaces, our industries and our state more broadly. We'll be bringing together community knowledge about what needs to happen, what is already happening and of how we bridge that gap.

    In the face of all that despair, grief, anxiety we will bring action, planning and implementation. We will build power, organise collectively and share our resources.

    If ever there were a time to be a part of something bigger and bolder and collective, it is right now.

    Together we can and will get this work done.

    Let's make this happen. Ask people you know to join the Climate Justice Union today: https://www.climatejusticeunion.org/join

    In solidarity,

    Luke Skinner

    Secretary,
    Climate Justice Union WA 

  • 22 Oct 2019 12:15 | Anonymous

    Our first Annual General Meeting was held in October at which we officially elected our first Committee of Management for the Climate Justice Union WA Incorporated. 

    This is an important step toward setting up our governance and strategic leadership structures. 

    Our initial committee is elected for two years, as follows:

    Committee Member: Bella Burgemeister 
    Committee Member: Bhaval Chandaria
    Committee Member: Galen White
    Convenor: Jaime Yallup Farrant
    Secretary: Luke Skinner
    Treasurer: Giorgia Johnson 

    Further information about the committee members will be made available on the website in due course. If you have any questions about the committee in the meantime please email secretary@climatejusticeunion.org 



Email:  admin@climatejusticeunion.org
Call: +61406722066

ABN: 23767498078

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We acknowledge that we begin our work as The Climate Justice Union on the Boodja (land) of the Wadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. We honour the Wadjuk people and their kin in other Nations and Country across these lands and waters, who have always cared for this place and all who lived here.

We acknowledge First Nations Elders past and present, and acknowledge that those of us living here, who came from across the seas, live on land that was taken, stolen. We acknowledge the responsibility that comes with this understanding and that we personally and collectively benefit from this theft.

As such, we all have a responsibility to decolonise ourselves, our lives and work, and to heal the harm these oppressive systems have inflicted.

Click here to read our full acknowledgements

We are a community union and do not cover you in your workplace. All Climate Justice Union members are also encouraged to join the relevant industrial union. Click here to find your industrial Union.


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