Posted by Andrew Bray

Tom Driftwood had quite a year in 2011.

One of the most active people in his local climate action group, Lismore Climate Action, in February 2011 he travelled to the Scenic Rim area on the NSW-QLD border to join a national workshop with the 100% Renewable campaign. Six months later he found himself being photographed with Rob Oakeshott at Parliament House.

The workshop Tom attended was at Wild Mountains, a beautiful venue in the middle of the bush. The workshop brought together around 25 community activists for three days to talk strategy, tactics, comms and to practice new skills.

“I learnt at the workshop the strategic value of going out to talk to people,” Tom said. “I was a local campaigner wanting to make a difference on climate change but didn’t really have the tools to do it effectively.”

“So the best thing I got out of the camp was a different appraoch. I’d mostly done media stunts before but this showed me how to communicate with people and use that to pressure politicians.”

Through the first half of 2011 Tom’s group, together with Nimbim Environment Centre, conducted over 750 conversations with people in their local area about renewable energy. On the back of these numbers, they convinced their local MP, Janelle Saffin, to speak beyond the party line and come out before the carbon price announcement in support of our call for 20% of carbon price revenue to go to renewable energy. Ms Saffin was one of only three government MPs across the country to agree to this ask.

“The organisers and presenters were all inspiring people. What I liked about the campaign was how well organised it was. They’d done all the work nutting out their goals around 100% renewable energy. It made it all so easy”

“And it was great to go there and meet them. They sounded organised and looked organised but wow, they really were!”

In June 2011, just prior to the carbon price announcement, Tom joined a group of 100% Renewable organisers in Canberra to present the 14,000 Conversations report to MPs at Parliament House.

“It was good to see the political process first hand. When I started doing the surveys in Lismore, I didn’t expect I’d end up in Canberra!”

Tom has a word for anyone considering the trip to Sydney for the big solar boot camp.

“If you’re concerned about climate change or just want to see more renewables or less coal, the big solar boot camp would be an awesome start.”

“You get the tools, great contacts and a well organised campaign to start doing something about it.”

Find out more about the big solar boot camp, Feb 11-12

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