Climate Change Despair & Empowerment Roadshow

Media Kit
Resources for Climate Action Groups

The "Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment" roadshow is based on the highly successful Endangered Species roadshow which the Rainforest Information Centre organised in the run-up to the NSW state elections in 2003. On that occasion we travelled to some 100 cities and towns around the state with our film On The Brink (with David Attenborough, Olivia Newton John, David Suzuki & Jack Thompson) leading to a deluge of letters to politicians about our concern for endangered species. This roadshow was one of the factors which led, a week or two before the elections, to Bob Carr promising to protect all remaining old-growth forests in northern New South Wales and a few weeks after the elections honouring this with the reservation of 65,000 hectares. (see )

This roadshow will assume that most people attending have seen An Inconvenient Truth, are somewhat aware of current news and are among the 93% of Australians which CSIRO research has found are concerned about the issue. (The Australian , November 15, 2006).

The roadshow aims to:

* catalyse, invigorate and support grassroots climate study/action groups across Australia.

* Address the hopeless despair that many people feel and provide tools to transform despair into empowerment and effective action. This will be based on the Despair & Empowerment work of Joanna Macy and the "Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment" talk which John Seed gave in Massachusetts earlier this year with Pullitzer Prize winning journalist Ross Gelbspan. (The 60-minute film made from this event is available on DVD for $5 incl postage as is the DVD of the extraordinary 60-minute .presentation on Climate Change that Ross Gelbspan made to the World Affairs Council.)

* unveil the false and "business as usual", solutions being touted by the major political parties such as nuclear power and so called "clean coal".

* raise awareness and inspire political action towards the real solutions that we, the people, must insist upon. (eg. end Australia's $6.5 billion a year in subsidies to the fossil fuel industries, support energy efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal etc.)

* provide resources for the many things that we can all do to turn the situation around.

* Support a network of Climate Study/Action Groups across Australia through 1) the development of a website which includes all resources that are made available at the roadshow plus more. 2) meeting facilitation support and consulting on group process as needed.

The roadshow will premiere at Woodford Folk Festival on December 27th, 2006. The format following Woodford will be to offer 3 or 4 roadshow forums in a district or city on consecutive weeknights followed by a 1-day Climate Change Despair & Empowerment workshop nearby on the following Saturday or Sunday.

The evening forums will include:

* a video presentation that includes footage of Al Gore speaking about the huge impact that Australia could make in the US if Australia signs Kyoto, Pullitzer Prize winning journalist Ross Gelbspan, footage from climate change victims and other footage.

* A look at what the real solutions are likely to be. Some examples of this are at "What You Can Do".

* a discussion on the role of the denial of feelings of helplessness and despair in making us feel helpless, hopeless, paralysed, what can one person do anyway, its too late etc etc. This addresses Gore's insight that many people move straight from denial to hopeless despair about this issue without leaving any space in between for effective action. (see for a more general version of this argument).

* Where no climate study/action group currently exists, the group will be invited to form one there and then. If one already exists, representatives from the group will be invited to give an update on their group's direction, meetings etc. We will discuss the importance of direct democracy and grassroots and that each of us now needs to awaken those around us to the urgency of understanding and action. US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis, 1930: "The most important office of government is citizen." The Bradley Method will be used to illustrate the potential spread of the movement.

* Open a discussion on local initatives and local directions

* Invite people to host "house parties", invite their friends to watch DVDs of Inconvenient Truth, Ross Gelbspan and the Roadshow kit to build the network, spread word of the climate study/action groups.

* an invitation to the "Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment" 1-day workshop at a nearby venue on Saturday or Sunday. Graduates of Joanna Macy's 30-day training will be facilitating these as well as Ruth Rosenhek and John Seed. We'll train others up for both this piece and for the presentations themselves.

** Click here for Schedule **