Geraldine McClure is Healthy Future's Latrobe Valley Organiser (based in Gunai kurnai country). She is passionate about protecting the wellbeing of both the people and environment of the Latrobe Valley, and here we find out what gets her out of bed most days.
When did you first become concerned about climate change and why?
There was no specific moment that I became concerned about climate change, but there has been a growing awareness of our impact on the planet over my lifetime. This has been due to activists and organisations which have stood up and made a stand. Sharing information and facts has been an important part of learning about our impact on climate and why it is important to change that.
Why are you passionate about the work you do at Healthy Futures?
I did not realise the health impacts of living in Latrobe Valley when I first moved here and Healthy Futures was a big part of opening my eyes to this. I am passionate about the work I do with them because it directly impacts my health and those of the people I love. I have built my home here, and along with the entire community, deserve to live somewhere safe. The more I learn I am disgusted with what the power companies have got away with, what the EPA has allowed and the government has turned a blind eye to! I am very grateful that Healthy Futures did not walk away from the abuse and I am proud to stand with them to try and make a better future.
Tell us about your past work.
I was very involved in the community resistance to the Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) recycling plant to be built 7kms from my home. The fight still continues but it has been amazing to see the energy that comes when a community bands together and finds their voice. I would love to see the same passion and energy rise up in Latrobe Valley in regards to the unnecessary pollution that we are subjected to from the three remaining coal power stations.
Who has inspired you?
Kate and Harry, Healthy Futures founders, have inspired me. They have tackled an incredibly large issue that entire governments and many other organisations have ignored. More than that they have faced this giant with courage and hope - I have never met two more positive and genuine people. They are fighting to protect our health and our lives and I am very grateful for their part in the story. I am constantly amazed at how they manage to hold hope things will change without despairing. They strategically plan, look for the gold in other people and refuse to give up, consistently moving closer to the goal.
Why do you think Climate Action is so important?
There are too many people on this earth to be lazy or selfish - our impact is magnified to the point where we cannot get away with this any more. The damage we cause is often irreparable and the earth is too important to harm or gamble. We have the illusion of being separate but we need to remember that we are not independent from the earth and our destinies are entwined; the quality of our future entirely rests upon her state of health.
What’s your vision for the future?
That Latrobe Valley can be a safe environment, free from unnecessary pollutants and filled with renewable energy. I want Latrobe Valley to once again enjoy social and economic health and security. That we are no longer known as ‘a hole’, that we are no longer the unemployment capital of Victoria, that we have safe industries that do not harm our health and disadvantage us further. I want those in power to acknowledge our value and treat us accordingly - no more token gestures and second rate treatment. I know that one day this will happen and I just hope that it takes place before there are too many needless deaths and wasted lives.
Something fun, quirky or random about yourself that we might not know?
One of my favourite sounds is the noise a metal spoon makes whilst stirring a ceramic cup that is filled with boiling water. The sound only works when it is most boiling, it becomes tinny and boring once the water starts to cool. That’s probably the most important thing to know about me - try it out with your next cuppa ;)