At ACF’s 2020 End of Year Community Webinar, Jack Egan shared his journey from concerned citizen hit by bushfires to full-time activist fighting for meaningful action on climate change. Read more community stories.
I live on the south coast of NSW at Rosedale between Batemans Bay and Moruya. I’ve been active about global warming since the mid 1990s. But when I downshifted to less demanding work last year, I got more active.
I made a sign for the roof of my car. It said, 'Climate Action Now or Else'.
Yet, like much of the world, I was complacent. I thought climate change would unfold in a gradual, orderly way, giving us time to push it back. I thought any serious consequences were still decades away. How wrong was I.
I had the passion, the gut-experience, the story and the superannuation to do more. I took early retirement ... and morphed into a full-time campaigner for climate action.
For months, my partner Cath and I watched the fires coming down the east coast of Australia towards us. Then our turn came on New Year’s Eve 2020 when a ‘Black Summer’ climate-angered hungry beast of a firestorm ate our home.
It went right through our property and our neighbour’s house next door. I knew then the future had crashed through into the present. I felt it viscerally. I knew in my heart and in my guts that the terrible consequences of climate change were here, now!
I was shocked at the climate-driven fury of the fire that took our home. I was dismayed and sad at so much ‘Black Summer’ tragedy and loss — for humans and for nature. And I knew we had to step up climate action.
Photo: Annette Ruzicka/MAPgroup
Jack is a member of ACF Community Eden-Monaro in NSW. Want to be follow in his footsteps and join an ACF Community group? Find your local group and join Jack and all of us in speaking out for the climate action we need!
Cath and I bobbed up ok. I went back to work. But there was an opportunity emerging.
A photo of the sign on my car in front of the burnt wreck of our home went viral. The media, especially overseas outlets, were very keen to hear what had happened to us and about its climate change links. Could I do more to bring on urgent and thorough climate action?
I had the passion, the gut-experience, the story … and the superannuation to do more. So, rather than working on for a decade as I’d anticipated, I took early retirement.
I rose like a phoenix from the ashes and morphed into a full-time campaigner for climate action.
I now work on the core team for three climate action groups, one of which kicked off the new ACF Eden-Monaro Community group.
Campaigning keeps me focused on the positive: that more can be achieved — enough I hope to wake the sleepers and retrieve a safe climate before it’s too late.
I tackle climate campaigning as my job. It’s hard work developing informed campaigning materials and always reaching out to build people power, and is full of emotional, psychological and intellectual challenges.
Are their rewards?
Well, so far not the big one we most want. World emissions are still climbing. But there are rewards in the awareness that is building in our local area, and for me personally, in the many people who say, 'Good on you and thanks for carrying the flag', and in the energy, comradeship and hope that teamwork generates.
And yes, I have made the right decision. I can do nothing other than commit fulsomely to this campaigning path, so pressing is the climate problem.
Campaigning keeps me focused on the positive that more can be achieved — enough I hope to wake the sleepers and retrieve a safe climate before it’s too late.
Thanks for reading my story!
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Header photo: Annette Ruzicka/MAPgroup