As I walked back out to the carpark I felt absent; an emptiness in my chest that moaned like hunger. I knew I could get in my car and drive, go to sleep, wake up and keep moving. But instead I lay on the cold sand by the ocean and lingered in my grief. With climate change, half the fight is to just keep looking at it. To not let it be swept under the rug of your own consciousness. Without even knowing it, I’d been looking away, and it frightened me that it had been so easy to do so.
In the days that followed I thought a lot about hope. How it is lost and salvaged. How it can be both active and passive. It is comforting to think of hope as a deep well within us; one that will always be there to draw on in times of need. But by those involved with climate activism, hope is often spoken of as a practice, a muscle that grows stronger each time you use it. Since Chasing Coral, I’ve been reminding myself to practise hope every day. Sometimes it’s through little things like making almond milk from scratch, or riding my bike to work. Other times it’s by taking part in collective actions that speak more loudly than I ever could alone.
On October 7th, residents from the Coffs Coast and beyond will be coming together to form a ‘Stop Adani’ human sign. Its purpose is to send a clear, and powerful message to our government – capturing our refusal to accept that now is the time to build Australia’s largest ever coal mine, and to ship that coal to India across the Great Barrier Reef. The event is organised by the Coffs Climate Action Group and will begin at 1pm at Park Beach, near the Surf Club. I’ll be there standing proud. If you care about our climate, and feel like your hope muscles could do with some flexing then please come down. You are so welcome, and even more than that you are needed.
Melanie Hunter has been a resident of Coffs Harbour for 18 years. She writes many things, and sometimes other people read them.