We know that climate change is already impacting people and the environment around the world. Locally, the influence of human driven climate change is clear in many recent natural disasters like floods, fires and droughts. We also know that we are locked in to future climate change which will continue to make these disasters worse.
FoE’s core work is mitigation – taking action to reduce future global warming - for instance through advocating for a transition from coal to renewables. However, over the last few years, more and more communities that we work with have been terribly impacted by floods and fire.
We feel keenly aware of these impacts: members and staff have had their homes flooded or burnt. Local community groups we work with have been impacted. Landscapes we campaign for have been burnt and flooded. A growing number of our core members and staff are involved in the SES and volunteer firefighting organisations such as the Country Fire Authority. And we have often informally assisted friends and allies in grassroots disaster response. During our recent national meeting we agreed that we wanted to formalise the grassroots support we offer to communities who have been negatively impacted by natural disasters.
We agreed to set up an internal mutual aid group that provides an opportunity for FoE staff, members and supporters to provide direct practical aid to communities who are affected by climate disasters like floods and fires. We see this as being a mutual aid network, which can be mobilised to help our allies in affected communities at times of crisis.
We hope to have teams in a number of places, based in local FoE groups, who can be mobilised at short notice to assist with immediate disaster relief and then, potentially, be involved with longer term rebuilding and recovery. There are a growing number of informal grassroots efforts around the country who assist directly during disasters and we hope to be able to provide a little bit of extra capacity and community to community solidarity where we can. This would be a volunteer team, where people can opt in to receive notifications of work trips. FoE would cover travel costs and provide food for participants. We expect that we will learn a lot as we run trips, and will review and evaluate as we go.
To support communities affected by the Victorian floods, please check our resources and links here.
If you’re interested in getting involved, please get in touch.
Let us know about your self: where you live, if you have any existing skills or experience in disasters relief, and your contact details.
Please also get in touch if you would be interested in taking on co-ordination of a local team: [email protected]
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