We chatted to our Regional Victorian Campaigner, Ursula Alquier, about what her motivations are to be a part of the movement to create a Healthy Future for Australian communities.
When did you first become concerned about climate change and why?
It sounds cliche but I went to the cinema in 2006 and saw ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and it blew my mind! I couldn’t sleep for days after seeing it and just knew that somehow I had to find a way to be part of the solution. I joined a local CAG and then got involved in the Climate Emergency Network and have been a climate activist ever since.
Why are you passionate about the work you do at Healthy Futures?
Because I know that small, nimble grassroots groups can make a huge difference and achieve amazing things. I believe in people power and know that together we can take real action on climate that will change everything.
I also believe that healthcare workers need their voices elevated in this space and look forward to growing our movement over the coming years.
Tell us about your past work.
I was lucky enough to work on the Gasfield Free Victoria campaign that spanned 6 years and ended with a permanent ban on fracking and unconventional gas.
When I took on the role of Lock the Gate Victorian Coordinator, I will be the first to admit I was thrown in the deep end. Earning trust from rural communities takes time, determination and commitment. My role was to support, skill-up, collaborate and most importantly empower these farming communities to drive a grassroots campaign to keep Victoria gas-field free.
When you look someone in the eye, shake their hand, give them your word, it means something. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to stand with these communities shoulder to shoulder, through the ups and downs, no matter what was thrown at us.
To witness the change in them all, to believe that anything was possible, that we could win this if we never stopped fighting and so that’s what we did.
I had the absolute privilege of working with some of the most inspirational, brave, tenacious and generous people I have ever met.
Everyday people who were incredibly effective, passionate and strategic, the ‘unlikely activists’ as I like to call us. We came from all walks of life, from every political persuasion, but we managed to find a strong connection, something we could all agree on, something that we all felt was worth fighting for and that was that we would never allow gas-fields into Victoria.
Who has inspired you?
So many people that I worked with through the gas campaign inspired me every single day, ordinary people (like me and you) coming together and doing extraordinary things!
However, Drew Hutton is definitely someone that inspired me, he didn't just talk, he acted and he wasn't afraid to act decisively and passionately whilst supporting others to do the same.
One of my favourite quotes from Drew says it all really:
“When governments fail us, then ordinary people have got to become heroes”
I feel like that is where we are at now with the climate crisis. We all need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, step up and become heroes, for this planet, for our communities, our environment and for all future generations.
Why do you think Climate Action is so important?
Because if we don’t combat climate change and drive for positive solutions then the cost that we will all pay, every single living being on this planet, is unimaginable and totally unacceptable.
I believe that humans are capable of doing the most incredible and wonderful things and now is one of those times that we need to be nothing less than extraordinary.
What’s your vision for the future?
A world that highly values a clean & healthy environment and makes it an ongoing priority to preserve and protect it.
Connected communities that put kindness, equality and environmental justice first.
Something fun, quirky or random about yourself that we might not know?
My partner and I owner-built an earthbag roundhouse, which was the first of its kind in Australia, it took us three years to build and we moved in just 4 days before our youngest son was born!