My name is Billy and I am a volunteer with the AYCC in Victoria. I first heard about the AYCC through a friend during a discussion we were having about potential volunteer opportunities. She recommended them highly, and with climate change being something I already had an interest in, I was soon signing my first petitions and then expressed an interest to volunteer.
Have you heard the amazing news? CommBank have fired Adani as a client and won’t be financing any part of Abbot Point or Carmichael coal mine!
This is what AYCC and Seed have been working towards for the last 2 years - and we’ve won! None of this would have been possible without our members, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I honestly, can’t even believe we won. I’m pinching myself. Young people took on Australia’s biggest bank and got them to change their mind.
You know the saying, it feels like it’s impossible until you’ve won. That’s exactly how this campaign felt. Every day young people would go out talking to CommBank staff and customers, running creative actions, with no idea if this huge, Goliath bank would move. And then they did!
There’s still more work to do to keep Galilee coal in the ground, especially after our Prime Minister’s announcement this morning, to retrospectively change the law to help the Galilee project through. But I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the win, and share some lessons we learned along the way.
Lesson 1: A grassroots movement of young people is incredibly powerful!
Recruiting hundreds of new volunteers
Covering the night with posters, stickers and brand new ATM screens
Talking to bank staff every morning on their way to work
Our members took ownership over raising the funds to run the campaign too, with 3000 people raising over $140,000 For the Love of the Reef
Lesson 2: You don’t know what will work, so just do what young people do best - be creative and have fun :)
Like that time we serenaded CommBank at their HQ in Sydney singing ‘Stop in the name of Love’
When a 16 year old stood up to CommBank and asked for her future back, she had Ian Narev shaking in his boots
CommBank staff couldn't turn away volunteers' delicious baked goods and artistic talent.
Lesson 3: We’re more powerful when we work together.
Here’s the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network presenting their Climate Justice Statement to CommBank
Here’s AYCC and Seed volunteers launching the Dump my Bank campaign in Sydney!
High schools students got behind the campaign in key electorates too - telling our leaders not to back this risky project.
And we also worked across the movement with our friends at 350 Australia, Market Forces, Greenpeace and GetUp to win this campaign. Thank you.
Lesson 4: When you win, you’ve got to celebrate!
Biggest Google Hangout party ever!
The hardest lesson to learn as a young person is that you can make a difference. And this week we have proven that we are unstoppable.
Our Government is so backward on climate change, that they have spent the last three years cutting climate policy, stalling renewable energy policy and fast-tracking mega coal projects.
This isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning of a big transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
That’s why we’ll be celebrating some of the many young people who made this campaign possible, throwing big parties and spending a lot of time cheering!
I truly believe that AYCC has it right - our powerful, youth-led campaigns are going to change the world.
Cheers to the end of coal!