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5 things you can do now to help tackle climate change

2040 filmmaker Damon Gameau and his wife Zoe tell us how

Actor and documentary filmmaker Damon Gameau is on a mission to save the planet. The creator of That Sugar Film and his wife Zoe, the former Winners and Losers star, want to open up a dialogue that empowers everyday people to demand change. And they are well on their way. Damon’s latest documentary 2040 is the biggest grossing Australian documentary of all time. The uplifting anti-climate change film, inspired by the couple’s five-year-old daughter Velvet, explores what earth might look like if we simply implemented the climate solutions that already exist. 

They say rather than being about the accumulation of things we can all do, real change happens via the social cues we send each other.

“There’s really interesting research around how if someone puts solar panels on their roof, the chance of a neighbour putting on solar panels increases exponentially. Because we are such social animals we want to do what is considered the norm,’’ Damon explains.

“If you are finishing all your food at a restaurant, you are telling the waitress food waste isn’t acceptable anymore. Serve us less.” 

According to Damon, we have reached the point where swapping takeaway coffee cups for reusable cups isn’t enough to make a difference to climate change.

“We need to find ways to connect with each other in communities, get together and say what can we do at say our local council; let’s get together and ask for a different food waste system, or solar panels at our kids schools,’’ he says.

“Depending on your time, interests and income, there are so many ways to make a difference, all it takes is drilling down to what is connected to your essence to make change.’’

Zoe adds it’s about finding “what ignites you,” and making that the centre of your sustainability journey. Love the ocean? How about convincing your favourite cafes and restaurants to phase out single-use straws or swap plastic take-away cutlery for bamboo. Feel strongly about feminism? Why not volunteer with a charity to mentor disadvantaged children. “We aren’t all the same, we aren’t going to conform to one way of doing things,’’ says Zoe.

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Damon and Zoe (we could have chatted to them all day) and spoke about everything from the importance of a lot of people doing sustainability imperfectly, how the words ‘zero-waste’ can be de-motivating, and the trick to finding your sweet spot to create a desire to implement change. Here are some of their ideas:

Switch your search engine to Ecosia

Ecosia is a free search engine that uses at least 80 per cent of its surplus income to finance reforestation and conservation projects around the world. Switch your search engine and see how many trees you can plant.

Plant a tree (or trees)

Planting trees is a powerful way to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Join forces with friends, family, colleagues, schools or other community groups to help Planet Ark reach their National Tree Day target of one million trees planted!

Become a seaweed advocate

Did you know seaweed grows up to half a metre a day and removes carbon dioxide from the ocean and restores the alkaline balance? Which is why you should donate to Australia’s first crowdfunded regenerative seaweed farm. By contributing to the development of the project, you can help remove carbon from the atmosphere, regenerate marine eco-systems and provide valuable resources to local communities and seaweed start-ups around the country.

Renewable energy 

Write a letter to your local or state government and request they commit to 100 per cent renewable energy. 

Gender equality is good for the planet

Empowering disadvantaged girls helps them understand the impact they can have in the world. In fact educating girls is worth 105 gigatons of Co2 due to its effect on fertility, population growth and land management. And according to Damon and Zoe, one way to empower disadvantaged girls in Australia is to volunteer with The Smith Family’s mentor program

Want more ideas on how you can make a difference? Head to the 2040 website and take the Regeneration quiz for a personalised action plan.

 

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