2020, what a hell of a year. 12 months that felt like 10 years, starting off with devastating bushfires, then into a global pandemic and entirely new way of existing, and then straight back into more bushfires ripping through the country’s bushland. As Australia emerges from a long, dark winter inside and the conversation has started to shift slightly from the coronavirus pandemic, the big environmental issue is back in our minds: climate change.
On December 3, Sydney will be playing host to New Energy – a double-header of forums on this exact topic, and is planning on bringing together politicians, musicians, athletes, financial types, and young Aussies to break the ice (so to speak) and figure out a way forward for Australia and its younger generations.
Curated by Jack River (a.k.a. Holly Rankin) the big chats will be happening at the Seymour Centre in Sydney tomorrow night, where big topics like what exactly net-zero by 2050 looks like, whether fossil fuels are really essential for a strong Australian economy, and what can actually be done right now to take on climate change will be tackled by some big names.
Sitting around the table will be the likes of former Wallabies flanker David Pocock, Home & Away and Bloom star Phoebe Tonkin, Reuben Styles from Peking Duk, beloved Ratdog Alex Dyson, NSW Minister for Energy & Environment Matt Kean, CEO for fossil-fuel-free Future Super Kirstin Hunter, Schools Strike For Climate organiser Daisy Jeffrey, and Jack River herself.
PEDESTRIAN.TV got Jack River on the phone this morning to chat about New Energy and what inspired her to gather this collection of people together to talk about climate change.
“It’s weird to be doing anything in real life, but international pressure is brewing on our government,” she said.
“Every other country seems to be acting on climate but us, so we just thought why not plan an event so we can really bring some hope and some opportunity, and get young people answers in the language that they can actually connect to.
“We wanted to bring together politicians, scientists, economists, and leaders from culture around the same table because it’s something that we just don’t get – especially when it comes to like speaking colloquially – and just have that kind of straight-up chat.”
Jack River told me that she also hopes the Q&A seshes will provide a space for celeb activists and people who speak to younger Aussies every day to meet and talk with politicians and economists to have what she plans to be an “action-based conversation”, turning passionate, emotional discussion into something of substance and actual steps to tackle climate change for the future of the country.
“I feel like as an artist, I’ve always felt like ‘Oh, am I annoying people too much with my passion for this or am I not?’,” she said.
“I think 2020 really shifted the atmosphere of the conversation, and I felt so much more able to connect dots and talk about this. I feel like young people are just like, sick of this shit talk. The constant talk and spin on climate, and gas, and fossil fuels.
“I feel so sick of it, and I know that my audience does too.”