Tonight saw me and some buddies head back to primary school to learn about the sustainable energy plan that's going to lead us to zero carbon emissions!
We literally sat in a primary school library, scrunched, with other long out-of-school community members, into tiny yellow chairs.

As Luke Reade of Transition Kurilpa and Beyond Zero Emissions began his talk at Christ the King Primary school in Graceville, the old boy at the front of the class helpfully loaned him his walking stick to use as a pointer for his slides. Strange how this small action gave the small room a feeling of community, even if for the brief moment of shared laughter.

I've been to a BZE presentation before - the launch in Brisbane, which you can read about here  and I think they are doing the most amazing job of changing opinions on moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energies. There was some interesting discussion at the end, which I won't go into here (you'll just have to go to one of the talks yourself!), but the most important thing I took away from it was something I often forget: Local members and even federal pollies need the populace to push them on things. For a democracy to work, the population needs not to be apathetic, it needs to believe that if it stands long enough and shouts long enough and presents its opinions well that it will be heard.

Luke said he'd spoken to someone recently who'd said Beyond Zero Emissions and groups like it had changed the way discussions were happening around energy and climate issues in parliament. He also said that people always asked why didn't BZE get more politicians onside, and why weren't the politicians supporting it? He replied that the local members always said they needed to hear enough from their electorates that they wanted something (like renewable energies) before they were able to act on it.

It's something Sarah de Vries, who started the magazine 'This Next Wave' talked about in the Brisbane launch of the magazine at Avid Reader. Having had a government job in sustainable architecture, Sarah also heard the question 'but why doesn't government do something?' and asked it herself, particularly when solutions seemed so simple and easy to her. She said she'd thought about it, and watched proceedings and had come to the same conclusion Luke had spoken about: that politicians can't say their electorate wants something unless the electorate gets up and tells them enough times.

Politics is a popularity game, and if enough people are informed and know how to make themselves heard, local members must play to them by listening and acting.
I get a lot of those emails from Get Up and WWF and other organisations about contacting my local member, and sometimes I have the time, energy and drive to do it. But often I forget, or leave the email lingering too long in my inbox, because I simply forget that my voice counts, and that I am privileged to live in a country where it does!

There's a State election on soon, and now's the time to make your voice heard. Got any burning issues?