IU Sustainable Action Group

29.11.19 Movie Night

Anna Rigosi Speech

My name is Anna Rigosi, I am your neighbor.

I am a climate scientist. 

I have started studying the effects of climate change on water quality for drinking water supply since 2004. I have about 15 years of experience in this field. I have observed how raising temperature, combined with nutrients inputs, can lead to toxic algal blooms impacting animals and people in many Countries. I led a research that collated long-term ecological data from more than 20 lakes around the world located at different latitudes. A clear effect of warming temperature was detected on the in-land water available for our use and on the water cycle as a whole.

I am blessed. I am a mother.

I am here for my children and my grandchildren. I am here for the children that are not mine. I am here for the future generation. I am aspiring to be an activist.

I am part of a community. I am aspiring to be an educator. 

I am a human. I am fragile. I need nature for my mental health. I want to be able to experience the wild. It is scary, beautiful, nourishing and healing at the same time. 

I am extremely lucky. I can feel part of nature. I experienced the remoteness for the first time in this Country, on Indigenous Land, in the West Arnhem Land, thanks to the Kabulwarnamyo community, thanks to the Karrakad Kanjdji Trust. I know that Indigenous people can teach us a lot about caring for our environment. 

A lot has been happening this month. 

On the 5thof Novembermore than 11,000 scientists have co-signed a letter in the journal BioScience, calling for urgently necessary action on climate. This is the largest number of scientists to explicitly support a publication calling for climate action. They come from many different fields, reflecting the harm that our changing climate is doing to every part of the natural world. 

A week later, extremely high temperatures and dry conditions caused multiple bushfires in Queensland and New South Wales. More than 65 fires were still burning on the 25thof November while I was writing this speech, 25 of them uncontained. More than 1300 firefighters were in the field and about a million hectares of forests were gone across New South Wales.  

The day after, while the fires were still burning, my hometown, Venice, suffered flooding with a record of 184 cm high tide affecting population and businesses. St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, according to the old church records. Four of those floods had now occurred within the past 20 years.

On the 14thof NovemberCFS fire chiefs Greg, Leigh, Mike, Neil, Bob, each with more than 40 years of experience in land management and fire management spoke loud and clear to the Government regarding climate emergency and it’s effect on Australian bushfires.

Six days later, here in the hills, we all experienced the fire danger rating “Catastrophic” earlier than usual. We felt it all. It was not good. Climate change is exacerbating the extreme conditions we are experiencing. 

And Today

Today, Friday 29thof November, students and supporters of the “Fridays for Future” movement met once again all over the world to pressure politicians and ask for actions. Today our community came together. We are here to watch a movie about how our future could look like if we act now. Thank you all for coming. 

Well, I will let you think about all this -and more- while you watch the movie and I will have a chat with you at the end with some suggestions for you if you haven’t come up with some actions yet. 

Enjoy the movie.

(After the movie)

Thanks for being here. This makes me extremely happy and grateful, but I know you can do more. 

You thought you just came to watch a movie, hey? Hehehe…

There is a lot you can do.

You are smart creative people. Stop and think.

Who am I? What are my unique skills? What can I do to help? It could be a very little local action, or a massive global action, everything counts. “From little things big things grows”. 

Stop telling yourself that someone else has to do something about climate change. You start. 

Acting makes you feel so much better than complaining and feeling hopeless about improving your future.

All right, I will give you some ideas for actions, then. You can choose two or three that you like the most. Please write the actions down on one of the post-it that are passing around, or on a piece of paper, or on your hand. Take the post-it with you –and your hand- so you won’t forget them.

Two actions you can do tonight:

Action 1) Ask the South Australian Parliament to recognize the urgency of the problem and declare a Climate Emergency. Just sign the petition at the doorbefore you go home tonight. Easy right?

Action 2) Become part of the change: help your community to become 100% sustainable. Completing the questionnaire tonight is the first step.If you realize that you cannot install solar, e.g. there is no sun shining in your property, think about switching to 100% renewable electricity providers, they exists. They are at least as expensive as Origin, but you will be sure you are not contributing to fracking our beautiful Country and Indigenous Land. Great peace of mind.

Actions that you could do tomorrow when you are a bit more awake:

Action 3) Change your Super to an Ethical one. It is actually one of the most impactful things you can do. Do you want to do even more? Choose an ethical bank.

Action 4) Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Yes, I know, I just said reduce. Between 15,000 and 20,000 liter of water are required to make 1 Kg of beef. One burger? 600 liters. Start reducing meat. Plant based diet is the way to go.

Action 5) Pressure Politicians. Write letters to MPs. One letter is equivalent to about 80 to 100 voters interested in that issue. This can be used by MPs to justify bringing a matter to the Parliament. 

I can help you, we can get together with a drink and all write together. There is a group called “Climate for Change” that created a useful guide online to find your local MPs and Minister names and send them emails. Please ask me.

Ok, we got to the end.

Be creative. Surprise me. Inspire me, as you have inspired me until now. I am so proud of this community and so grateful to be part of it. 

Thank you, enjoy the night, eat, drink, be merry, and talk to us, ask us any questions, please. Thank you.

Anna