It’s a confusing and confronting time for all of us striving for climate justice. Whilst we still don’t know the final makeup of the 45th Parliament, one thing is certain: people are disillusioned with conventional politics.

Although some of the worst blockers in the last Parliament have been shown the door, thanks to the hard work of many in the movement, this election seems to have resulted in plenty of questions, with many voters rejecting the major parties and instead casting their votes for populist minor parties, such as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

This is not good news for action on climate change. A Parliament under the influence of right-wing climate action blockers, puppeteered by the coal and gas industry, is going to make the fight for climate justice much more difficult.

Ensuring our Pacific brothers and sisters don’t lose their homes to the fast rising tides, that the Great Barrier Reef has a chance at survival,  that extreme weather doesn’t become a regular occurrence – all of this means we must keep fossil fuels in the ground. With precious time to spare, it’s pretty concerning how fractious our new Parliament is.

What’s happening to our climate right now is sad. It’s sad because we could have avoided this future if fossil fuel companies and their friends in Government hadn’t let their thirst for profit and power get the better of them. And it’s sad because the fear, denial and complacency of a few is still holding back the many who are fighting for our future on every corner of this beautiful planet.

But there is reason for hope. We don’t have to surrender to a chaotic and polluted parliament.People drive politics and our ability to create change extends far beyond the ballot box. When people form movements built on truth and compassion, they can make incredible change happen, faster than anyone thought possible.

So with the election now behind us, it’s time to keep:

  • Organising in our communities: If there’s one thing that this election teaches us it’s that we can’t keep waiting for politicians to lead. We simply don’t have the time. Instead, we must grow powerful, diverse, people powered movements to stop the fossil fuel industry in its tracks and create resilient communities to carry us through the challenging years ahead.
  • Working to get off fossil fuels: In less than four years, the fossil fuel divestment movement has taken on the most powerful industry on the planet and its winning – over 550 institutions, representing trillions of dollars have committed to divest and fossil fuels are fast on their way to becoming the new tobacco. All of this has been thanks to thousands of everyday people, fuelled by passion and commitment. As the industry begins to lose its social and political standing, now is our moment to be even more ambitious in our campaigns to shut down fossil fuels and ensure there is support for communities to transition to a cleaner economy.
  • Supporting frontline communities in their fight for climate justice: Over the coming years, more and more of the people who have done nothing to cause climate change will feel its impacts in tragic ways. We must stand up and fight alongside them, from the Pacific Islands to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. Climate injustice is a terrible legacy to leave atop the still unhealed scars of colonialism and oppression.

The harder we work to achieve each of these goals, the more our politicians will have no other choice than to follow our lead or be left behind.

Now is the time to strengthen our movements. Now is the time to stand up and fight for what we believe in, take action where our politicians won’t and continue to build a powerful, diverse movement that will keep fossil fuels in the ground and climate justice in our sights.

See you on the streets and thank you so much for all that you do,

Charlie and the 350 Australia team

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