The oceans are warming, the forests are burning – shit’s really starting to go down. The age old ‘do one thing’ often springs to mind when we talk about climate change and protecting the environment. But what if you decided to do one very, very big thing?
That is exactly what Shannon decided to do.
Shannon is planning to walk from Melbourne to Canberra over 25 days in April and May to raise awareness across Australia and the world and call for a response to climate change. He will deliver a petition with thousands of signatures to federal Parliament in Canberra.
I sat down with Shannon recently to have a chat about why he chose this, what makes him passionate and just the basic – but how?
Shannon, currently studying to be a social worker, is like a lot of us, fed up by the lack of movement in current leadership and so followed his own passionate logic through to its logical conclusion. After taking personal actions to curb his footprint, going vegan, reducing waste, he figured that nothing was happening. He needed to go bigger. He decided it was best ought to go speak to the manager – of the country.
Starting in Coburg, Shannon will walk 697 kilometres over twenty-five days, staying with community members and camping. Some of his stops include: Merton, Wangaratta, Albury, Rosewood, Bondo and eventually Canberra. Hiking the entire way, Shannon will document his progress on social media and be delivering letters from anyone who contributed – even you!
Shannon hopes that his hike will land with impact because of his parliamentary petition demanding a rapid cut in emissions and an immediate transition to renewables. Throughout this walk he will gain signatures and community support to arrive in Canberra just before the federal election, delivering a powerful community message that we need to take action now.
In our conversation, I asked what Shannon would do if he was made Prime Minister of Australia. Shannon feels that the time is urgent enough to declare a climate emergency and effect a ‘World War II like whole economy mobilisation’. With only 12 years to bring emissions to nothing – that sounds like radical social and economic change to us. Reforestation, job training, aid packages and renewables are all part of a climate just future that Shannon envisages.
In Shannon’s own words: ‘You don’t need to be an expert to take action – the climate emergency is all of our problem, and the right to protest extends to each of us. I definitely hope that’s something people take away from my walk – that the means of change are open to all of us, at all times. And we all have a role to play.’
Stories of hope and inspiration, like Shannon’s are few and far between. They give me, and communities doing similar work, a vision to work towards and allow us to remember that anyone can make a difference. With more and more people joining the movement and making significant action can we hope to curb climate change and achieve climate justice.
Shannon’s made a call for our for support in numerous ways, letter writing, hiking partners, petitioners. Follow this link to his website to find out more & sign his petition.
Jasmine is part of the Fossil Free Monash group who advocate for divestment from Oil & Gas at Monash university. If this article has inspired you, please get involved by going to their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FossilFreeMonashUniversity/