On 26 October, NSW’s Grandparents Day, a crowd of 40 grandparents gathered on a beautiful Spring afternoon in the Blue Mountains garden of Warwick and Robin Mosman, for the launch of the website of Grandparents for Generational Equity www.gen.equity.net and to write their first letters.
The website is the tool which could make it possible for grandparents all over Australia to quickly and easily send regular letters to our politicians to urge greater and more effective action on climate change.
Bob Debus, retired NSW Attorney General and Environment Minister, launched the website, and gave it a ringing endorsement. After all his years in both State and Federal politics, he believes that grassroots action, taking governments head on, is the only way climate change will be controlled. He said that this campaign could be particularly effective because of the number of grandparents across the country, and the fact that they are distributed throughout all electorates.
He also gave us a fascinating talk about the extent of the bipartisanship in the Hawke, Keating and even Howard governments over important environmental initiatives, so many of which have now been, or are in the process of being unravelled in just this one year of the current Abbott government. Like a number of other analysts, he considers the neoliberal ideology of free markets and small governments to be a significant factor in this.
Before we started the letter-writing part of the afternoon, Robin spoke about the value of letters to politicians, compared to emails. Letters have a physical presence. They are delivered to the recipient, they have to be opened and read, and can’t be blocked or deleted like emails. It really maximises the impact of your action in sending a message if you do it by a letter. Our website makes it so easy, you can just copy our points and paste them to a new page, add some short comment if you want to, sign and address it and it’s done – 15 minutes max!
Inspired and enthused, our guests picked up their pens with a will, to write their letters. We had 4 letters for each of us, 2 to the Federal government leaders and 2 to the NSW leaders, with enough room left on the page for them to add a comment of their own. They really got stuck into it, and for a while there was silence while a lot of deep thinking went on. We ended up the afternoon with 160 letters and a crowd of very excited happy grandparents, so thankful to at last have an effective way to express their frustration at government inaction on climate change.
The more people who make the commitment to join this campaign, sign on to the website to get their fortnightly email message and send their letter/s, the more effective we will be. If thousands start doing it, from all around the country, it will have a significant political impact.
When our guests left, we gave them each a handful of business cards printed with the name of the campaign, and the website.
They left vowing to speak to their friends, to send the word and the website address on through their networks. They spoke of having been given hope, of being re-energised, motivated and inspired.
Will you send the word on through your friends, your networks?
And let us say here, we’re not ageist! Anyone can use this tool, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are. This is an extraordinarily easy way to really hammer our politicians. The information is researched for you, the points made. All it takes is 15 minutes a fortnight from enough of us, and there can be a tsunami of letters deluging our politicians.
If you’re a young person, show it to your grandparents and ask them to do it for your sake. Help them with it if their computer skills aren’t great!
Economist Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Report, said in a recent TED Talk:
“The depth of understanding of the immense risks of climate change is not there yet. We need political pressure to build. We need leaders to step up.
“Are we going to look our grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we understood the issues, that we recognised the dangers and the opportunities, and still failed to act?”
Grandparents of Australia, unite!