‘Every bit helps’: share something positive for World Environment Day

Despite Melbourne reopening, Bourke Street remains a ghost town free of people, cars and pollution. Photo: Millicent Spencer.
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As the pressures of the coronavirus ease, activists plead for people to turn their thoughts back to the environment and climate change. Millicent Spencer talks to a Swinburne student group and a Greens senator for World Environment Day on Friday

Students are being encouraged to share a video or photo of something that has a positive contribution to the environment for World Environment Day on Friday.

Swinburne Sustainability Society secretary Grace Davies said the group believed “little actions make a massive difference”.

Grace Davies the Secretary for the Swinburne Sustainability Society at Oweek.  Photo supplied.

“We’re encouraging everyone to do little things, even if you think it doesn’t help or it doesn’t matter,” she said.

“It really does because, as we’ve seen with Covid-19, we’re all in this together and that’s exactly the same for climate change.

“We’re not asking for anyone to dismantle capitalism or overthrow the government, rather starting small is a really good place to start, especially with everything that’s going on.”

Victorian Greens Deputy Leader Ellen Sandell said her message this World Environment Day was to stay safe and think about what’s important to you and fight for that.

“Keep raising your voices to the government to tell them that we don’t want to invest in the fossil fuel industry,” she said.

“What we actually want to do is create jobs to get us out of a recession, but jobs that actually solve the climate crisis and the extinction crisis and make us happier and healthier in the long term.”

Ellen Sandell, the Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens. Photo supplied

She said that once the Covid crisis was over, “we have this tsunami of a climate crisis coming down the line”.

“It has been disappointing to see that governments all across Australia have made some pretty poor environmental decisions under the cover of Covid.”

Ms Davies said the pandemic had forced people to consider the way they were treating the environment while also allowing for less economic movement.

“Obviously this has had devastating consequences for a lot of people, but with not many people in the cities and not many people driving around, it’s reduced emissions and there’s less pollution,” she said.

“We’re looking at what’s actually important and realising that becoming the best at what you do in a work sense is an aspect of life, but it’s not the most important aspect of life.”

Ms Davies said she hoped when things went back to some kind of normal that conversations about climate change would be back on the agenda.

“I think it’s possible that now when we return to it, maybe people will look at it differently and they’ll think, okay, if we could solve a problem like coronavirus, maybe we can work all together to solve an issue like climate change,” she said.

Ms Sandell said while she wouldn’t wish this crisis on anyone, it had provided a chance for people to slow down and reassess what is important to them.

“That is their family and friends, it is being healthy, it is being able to have a green open space where you can go for a walk and do some exercise,” she said.

“If we want to continue to have healthy air, clean water, to be able to enjoy our environment and enjoy our family and friends, we actually need to solve the climate crisis as well,” she said.

A review conducted by the Paris-based intergovernmental group the International Energy Association said the drastic reduction of global economic activity and mobility during the first quarter of 2020 decreased global energy demand by 3.8 per cent, relative to the first quarter of 2019.