Our greening planet


It’s been a huge year for global climate events, with mass mobilisation movements and other community-powered groups responding in a big way. The Global Greens are right there in the thick of it, working to achieve a sustainable, fair and carbon-free future for all of us.

By Viv Glance

We’re aware of what’s happening due to climate change in Australia with the early and massive start to the fire season across many states, most notably New South Wales and Queensland, and the severe, ongoing and devastating droughts in many states. These issues have made news headlines almost every day.

However, this has also been a huge year for global climate events. Just in our Asia Pacific region, Pabuk was the earliest-forming tropical storm on record for the western Pacific, reaching that status on 1 January. This was followed by typhoons Wutip, Francisco, Lekima and several others, culminating in Hagibis, which hit Japan in October. This last typhoon appears to have made the news more because it disrupted the Japanese Grand Prix and the Rugby World Cup than for the devastation it caused.

There have also been floods across six states in India, which displaced over one million people; fires in Indonesia; and ancient glaciers melting in the Himalayas spanning both Nepal and Tibet.

We’ve seen and have very likely participated in mass mobilisations calling for action on climate change through movements such as SchoolStrike4Climate and Extinction Rebellion.

These are supported by other community-powered groups working to end fossil fuel sponsorship in the arts, mobilising the grey power of grandparents, and the Stop Adani movement working to keep coal in the ground, to name a few.

A growing chorus

Our warnings seemed to have fallen on deaf ears for years, but now that is changing. As Greens, to see the world rise up in support of climate action – something we’ve been saying for decades – is welcome and this demand for action is louder than it’s ever been before. The protests we’re having in Australia are part of an ever-growing movement across the globe. In Africa, the Americas, Europe and in our own Asia Pacific region, the world is waking up to the climate crisis and is collectively demanding action.

Our state and federal MPs, and our local councillors, are calling for declarations of a climate emergency so that money, time, attention and resources can be used to address this very real and present danger. International figures are calling this an emergency. As far back as 2007, former UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon made this claim, and in 2008 Professor James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said it too.

At the recent Greens WA state conference, however, former senator Scott Ludlam warned us about using this type of language. While it may make people sit up and listen, he asked us to also be mindful of its potential misuse. He believes that there’s nothing a right-wing supremacist group loves more than an emergency, and that this call to action risks being flipped into messages of closed borders, banning protests, and other eco-fascist, oppressive acts.

The role of the Global Greens

With this in mind, it’s essential we support and grow our Global Greens movement – to ensure actions taken on climate change across the world are just and fair, and we stay alert and counter any attempts to derail this. The Global Greens have been actively building connections between Greens members and our representatives to work collectively on this pressing issue.

COP25, the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will take place in Santiago (Chile) between 2-13 December this year. It was preceded by the UN Climate Summit in New York in September, and there is a pre-COP25 preparatory meeting in Costa Rica in October. The Global Greens are planning a forum for all Greens members attending COP25, plus a breakfast for Greens MPs so they can report on the state-of-play of climate action in their country.

They’ve also formed a Global Greens Climate Action Working Group, encouraging the global community to maintain pressure on governments to ensure their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) will keep global warming below 1.5 degrees celsius. Current NDCs are leading to more than 3 degrees celsius warming by the end of this century.

Being part of the movement

The Global Greens are asking activists around the globe to join their campaign to increase public awareness of the actions and decisions being made by governments at a global level. They’re also calling for actions across party lines, and that we support, inspire and pressure leaders in delivering the necessary climate action.

Can you help? If so, please post on social media a video or photo and statement that responds to one of the following questions:

  • Why is there a need for more ambitious climate action in your country/city/community?
  • Which action are you asking your government to take?
  • Which action are you taking?

There are no limits to your imagination! Be creative, be bold, spread the word and tag your post with #ClimateActionNow, #GlobalGreens, and #COP25.

One example could be: Droughts are killing our harvests! We have to act now! #ClimateActionNow #GlobalGreens #COP25

The Global Greens movement is growing fast. Since forming in 2001, they’ve been working to grow global cooperation between member parties, including supporting emerging parties, and global campaigning. In recent years, green parties in Bangladesh, Iraq, India, Jordan and the Solomon Islands have joined our Asia Pacific Greens Federation as full or associate members. If you’d like to support the Global Greens and their activities, you can follow them on social media, or donate as a Friend of the Global Greens, affectionately known as FROGGs.

Global Greens Congress

A further way to support the movement is to contribute to the fifth Global Greens Congress. This will take place in our Asia Pacific Region in 2021 and APGF councillor Rose Read and I spoke about the early planning for this at the July National Conference in Adelaide. This Congress will be a chance for networking, sharing ideas and expertise, and for showing our values through our actions. This Congress is committed to being climate conscious and aims to reduce its carbon footprint, whilst also being open to broad participation from members.

Congress will implement both its ​Activating Digital Democracy​ and ​Living Climate Smart ​plans. Currently, this is envisaged as the live streaming of events from both Korea and anywhere else in the world, and the hosting of both on-site and off-site sessions facilitated by member parties across the world. This will ensure the program is fully global and attendees from outside the Congress venue can have the same access to the great talks, speeches and workshops as those at the venue site.

Our other APGF councillor Bob Hale and I were recently appointed interim coordinators to help plan for this Congress, and we’ll be in touch soon with how you can help or become involved.

If you’d like to know what happens at a Global Greens Congress you can find out by purchasing the record of a previous remarkable event: the fourth Global Greens Congress that took place in Liverpool in 2017. It was an historic meeting of over 2,000 Greens from over 90 countries discussing the biggest issues of our time. This publication contains the only copies of the speeches, visions and history delivered at our 2017 Congress.

Our Global Greens Convenor Keli Yen said: “…This is much more than a book. It holds our ideology, faces, hopes and dreams.”

Australian Greens member and long-time supporter of the Global Greens, Margaret Blakers, generously donated her time and efforts so that all proceeds will be donated to our Global Greens 2021 Congress Fund. You can buy a print copy, or donate for a PDF version here. We also hope to have copies for sale at the next Australian Greens Conference in Canberra in November.

It’s inspiring to watch the growth of Greens parties and Greens values across the globe. Climate change is a global issue and addressing it will take a global effort. Through our network of Global Greens member parties around the world, we can work together to achieve a sustainable, fair and carbon-free future for all of us, right around the world.

Vivienne Glance is the Australian Greens International Secretary.

Hero image by Julian Meehan via Flickr.

Back to octoBER issue