The climate crisis is already having massive impacts across this country and across the world. Huge bushfires and devastating droughts have ravaged the country, Pacific Island nations begin to disappear under the ocean and First Nations’ land continues to be stolen to make way for coal mines and highways. This is an emergency. As a green cleaning cooperative, we are joining thousands of organisations, councils, governments and businesses around the world to declare a climate emergency. We believe that to avoid this crisis getting even worse we must make big changes now – economically, socially and systematically.
When declaring a climate emergency, we must acknowledge that we are declaring this emergency (and indeed working on) the stolen and unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. Climate change and environmental destruction has and will continue to disproportionately impact First Nations people. First Nations people have been on the frontline of the impacts of the climate crisis for many years. As well as this, First Nations people have been on the frontline of the fight for climate justice and we must acknowledge the huge debt that the environment movement owes to First Nations people in their ongoing fight against colonial destruction of the environment.
In the past, when states of emergency have been declared by governments, this has sometimes led to a loss of democratic and civil rights, especially for First Nations people and the wider working class. For this reason, in declaring a climate emergency we believe that in order to truly address this crisis we need more democracy not less. Direct democracy in the workplace is an important part of this. Worker owned and controlled cooperatives like Redgum have put democratic control of the workplace into action. In doing this we have chosen to be as sustainable as possible – for our own safety and for the environment.
Declaring a climate emergency is not just a symbolic act. It means that as a co-op we will continue to work toward becoming as environmentally sustainable as we can be. Perhaps more importantly, in declaring a climate emergency we are also wholeheartedly supporting movements for climate justice like the climate strikes and fights for sovereignty and will continue to be involved with these fights until real action is taken.