Caroline Danaher is Geelong’s ‘persistent pensioner’ – a 75-year-old climate action campaigner, who every Friday sits in front of her local Member of Parliament’s office in support of Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture school strike. She says she will continue to do this if necessary until she dies.
Danaher wants to remind her local MP, Sarah Henderson, that we are in a climate emergency, and that we need to do something about it. She hopes many other will start doing the same in front of the office of their own local MP – in particular in these months where we have an election coming.
On her Facebook page, Danaher wrote:
“This is not just about Sarah Henderson. We need everyone to visit, confront and generally make their presence felt in the name of the climate at their own electorate’s office. Our voices are all important. Every single person’s voice. My voice is only as good as yours. We have an election soon. There is no time to spare.”#PersistentPresence
~ Caroline Danaher
Below is a full transcript of the video interview with Caroline Danaher about what inspired her to become so persistent:
“I’m Caroline Danaher – just an ordinary pensioner, who’s been involved with issues about the climate for many years now.
But the climate strike particularly re-energised me in a different way, because I felt that politicians were not taking notice. They were actually quite dismissive of the children and indeed they were in fact dismissive of everybody. I thought: I need to do something else, and I’d read about this girl in Sweden, who is 15 and she sits outside her Parliament… Originally I thought I’d go up to the State Parliament [in Melbourne] and sit there, and then I thought: from the Bellarine? This is pathetic. Canberra? This is even more useless, I can’t do that either.
However I can go and sit outside my local MP’s office, at Sarah Henderson’s, because she is my politician, and I can actually have some say, or meaning that I feel I can have a personal relationship with her and I just thought, I’ll just come and I’ll do it on Fridays, because that is when the school strikes are happening, and it will mean something to other people.
I came the first Friday and it was over 44°C degrees and I had no idea it was that hot, but people came by and spoke to me and said they agreed with me that this had to change, and I’ve since had so much support from so many people that it has completely blown me away.
I will continue to do this if necessary until I die.
However there is an election coming up this year and I feel we have a gift, because we can make a difference this year, if we all take a little step and we can actually do something and I think, as Noam Chomsky said, it is the small persistent steps that are needed and if we make a personal contribution by talking to our own Members of Parliament, our own Senators that this is no longer something that we can leave. It has been going on now for years and we need to do something about it.
Look at the drought we have had and the fish dying in the Murray Darling. I lived in Dubbo for 13 years. I cannot believe that beautiful river is in such a state. I live on the Bellarine. I actually live right on the coast. If you want to find out what is happening to your coastline you can go onto Mapping Choices and see what will happen if we go beyond 1.5°C if we go to 2°C or we go to 4°C.
I could not believe that my home town London will be completely devastated in many, many areas and I’m sure if you go around the world you can home in on one area. You can see what a difference it will make and so we need to act.
We cannot just pretend this it is not happening.
I’m hoping that, not that we gather a whole lot of people here, at this particular place. I’m hoping that everyone over Australia, all of Australia, will actually engage with their own politician and they can then, as we have done today, create a network so if I’m run over by a bus tomorrow, somebody else will be here next week.”
UPDATE: Friday 25 January 2019
“We are beginning to move towards our first goal. Acknowledgement of the #climatecrisis. We are outraged and we are acting.”
~ Caroline Danaher
Grey Power Climate ProtectorsThe Grey Power Climate Protectors is a new Australian initiative which will be using “the political, financial, or social influence of older people” to protect the climate for now and future generations.
On 15 March 2019 they mobilise for supporting the international school strike event – sign up here:
Grey Power supports School Strike 4 Climate
Write to your local MP and senator now
The Climate & Health Alliance encourages you to let your local MP and Senators know that you want the Australian parliament to act now to protect health from climate change. They have pre-composed an email for you, so that you can quickly send a letter off asking for them to commit to developing this plan.
The organisation also encourages you to meet with your local MP to show that health professionals, like yourself, who live in the electorate want to see action on climate change. We have a toolkit to assist people to set up meetings with MPs available here.
Explore the hashtag news streams…or help ‘nurturing’ a new one
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