Why we should get active, not anxious

Our Future | Why we should get active, not anxious

From fires to floods, my childhood home in the north-west tablelands of NSW has been hit hard over the last 18 months - a blaze consumed our neighbours' homes, missing ours by a matter of metres, and floods have left it waterlogged, with dirt roads leading to it inaccessible except by winch and 4WD.

Similarly, floods have hit my current home in a Hawkesbury River town.

In April, my community watched the waters rise like thick, churning mud as caravans, fridges and homes were carried downstream and out to sea.

It's clear the impacts of climate change are playing out in real time, which is why this World Environment Day (June 5), I'm hoping to raise $1 million for strategic climate action.

It's a big goal, I know, but by uniting together ordinary people are powerful, and I reckon we can do it.

With each extreme weather event I've witnessed, I've seen communities band together through crisis, clean up and aftermath. We cry and cheer as we watch everyday heroes rescue horses from floodwaters and koalas from fire fronts.

So I know we can move mountains when we put our minds to it.

That's why a year ago, when the Black Summer fires were still burning, two friends and I founded Groundswell, Australia's first giving circle to fund climate advocacy.

So far, 300 others have joined us in chipping in $20 a week (or $1000 a year), allowing us to raise and re-grant $300,000 to high-impact climate advocacy groups such as Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network and Farmers for Climate Action, to name a few.

For decades now, the fossil fuel lobby has spent millions blocking climate action in Australia. In contrast, environmental philanthropy has been receiving less than 0.5 per cent of all charitable giving.

But now we're starting to see younger people prioritising climate giving. Similarly, large, established philanthropic foundations are making the shift too, with big names such as the Myer Foundation and the McKinnon Family Foundation deliberately seeking to support strong climate action.

This is great news, considering government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry cost taxpayers $1198 per person a year, on top of the physical, emotional and financial toll of escalating extreme weather events.

Everyone that joins Groundswell is driven by the knowledge that in times of crisis, we all have to pitch in and get active, not anxious.

The fossil fuel lobby is powerful. But I know the power of community and human spirit is much, much stronger.

Arielle Gamble is co-founder of Groundswell, Australia's first giving circle for climate action.

This story Our Future | Why we should get active, not anxious first appeared on The Canberra Times.