Persistent presence in the face of parliamentarians

Highlights from the livestream-hour #FridaysForFuture at Waurn Ponds – duration: 19 minutes

Climate change is a political choice. The failure of our lawmakers to limit climate-wrecking emissions is now confronting us all with an existential threat that is not going to go away any time soon.

Neither is Caroline Danaher.

She has launched a Greta-inspired ‘I’ll-just-sit-here-with-my-sign’ campaign, where she encourages like-minded concerned Australians to make their presence felt in front of parliamentarians’ offices:

Place yourself right in the face of these politicians who currently – according a new report from the World Economic Forum – are sleepwalking straight into a catastrophe.

In a call for the Australian government to take emergency action on the climate crisis, every Friday Caroline Danaher and whoever else joins her on the day sit at a table right in front of the office of their local member of the federal parliament: Sarah Henderson, member for Corangamite, who has her office in Waurn Ponds in the outskirts of Geelong.

To learn more about this ‘FridaysForFuture’ initiative, The Sustainable Hour’s Jackie Matthews visited Caroline at her ‘climate action basecamp’ on Friday 25 January 2019, and with a mobile phone, Matthews produced her first one-hour live Facebook-streaming right there on the spot.

The video above on this page is a 19-minute excerpt of the hour. We’ve also produced two shorter versions for circulation on social media, which are 2 minutes and 5 minutes.

Caroline Danaher explains how the idea came about:

“Getting involved takes time. It took me at least two months before I knew what I wanted to do. I felt that rallies for climate action were ok, but I also remembered with the protests against the Vietnam war, it took of thousands of people rallying before the government made any change. Rallies can do great things, but they don’t take place every week, and I felt it needed to be a persistent presence – that you’re saying: “I’m not just thinking about this even once a month, I’m thinking about it every week, because its so important.” 

Greta Thunberg was 15 years old then, and I thought I connected with her because I’m 75. So initially, I thought I’d go to the State Parliament in Melbourne and sit outside, like Greta does in Stockholm. But then I thought, “That’s stupid, I’m not going to do that coming all the way from the Bellarine Peninsula, that’s ridiculous! And then I thought I’d go to the parliament in Canberra, which was even more ridiculous… But then I thought, “No, I can sit outside my own local MP’s office.” It’s not that hard to do. I would like to come by bus, but I have a table and chairs, so that if anyone likes to come and sit and talk about Socrates, or anybody else, and climate change, and what we feel about it, and how angry we are, and how worried we are… So I come by car.

I didn’t know if I could do it, but in fact, acting is the best thing that you can possibly do, and I think Abigail would agree with me…” 

Abigail Elder: “Yes absolutely. I was similar, you know… Was a few months of stewing and being so worried, and sharing things on Facebook, and not really knowing how to be an activist. I have no training, and multiple rallies in Melbourne, they’re not sustainable. Activism needs to be sustainable and the best way for that is local activism. So I would just urge people wherever they are right now to find the office of your local politician that you think is in a position to enact the most change.Just go there for an hour or two. Don’t let the idea that you have to be perfect or accomplish that much that it will stop you doing anything, because there are millions of people around the world that are fighting for the same thing, so we don’t have to do all the work. We just have to do a little bit.” 

Caroline Danaher: “This is why we are sitting here. Because those politicians don’t listen to what’s been said. They make dismissive comments about, you know, people like us, who are trying to engage with grass roots, where so many of us are doing so much, but they think they are in their rarefied air out there, that they’re not having to listen to anybody else. They keep doing what they’re doing and the economy is “wonderful”…

Jackie Matthews: “On that note, what has the response been from Sarah [Henderson] on that?”  

Caroline Danaher: “Well, we are going to have a meeting with her, OK? And this week wasn’t obviously going to be good, so we’re just biding our time. I think for the moment we’re trying to get other people involved and maybe Sarah needs to talk to her other members of Parliament and say, there are these rabble rousers outside her office, and we need to deal with them, and… [Sarah], you do need to deal with us!

So what we are trying to do is look on the Persistent Presence Facebook page, and put a photo and maybe a little story about what was important you did today, if you went, and listen to what other people are doing, and get some support and feel, ‘Yes!’ You too can make a difference! What’s the hashtag again? #FridaysForFuture. That’s the event: Every single Friday.”

“I want Sarah Henderson to be a climate action leader in her party.”
~ Abigail Elder



We published the audio track of the 19-minute video above as a podcast as well. You can download the audio file here

or find it under The Sustainable Hour in iTunes and Stitcher.

Highlights of the livestream-hour
#FridaysForFuture at Waurn Ponds

We have produced three different excerpts of The Sustainable Hour’s Facebook live-streaming at Caroline Danaher’s #FridaysForFuture camp in Waurn Ponds in Geelong, which was broadcasted on 25 January 2019 at 2pm to 3pm in 40°C degrees heat. You can share the one you think is best for social media:

• 2 minute call to action: Persistent Presence in Corangamite: Join us

» Share on YoutubeTwitterFacebook

• 5 minute explainer: Persistent Presence in Corangamite: Background

• 50 minutes: #FridaysForFuture at Waurn Ponds – the original live-stream on Facebook on 25 January

» Share on Facebook

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» Find more info and connect with the Facebook group on

Greta Thunberg

“Instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come. We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change, and it has to start today.”

~ GretaThunberg

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#FridaysForFuture | #ClimateStrike | #PersistentPresence | #Geelong | #Corangamite | #GreyPower | #Parents4Climate | #Youth4Climate | #CommunityRebellion | #ExtinctionRebellionOz |