Ula is the Campaign Lead for Oxfam Australia’s food, climate and land justice work. For the past decade or so, she has worked as an advocate, campaigner, researcher and communicator within the environmental and international development sectors.
What is your current role at Oxfam and what does it involve?
I’m super lucky as I have the most amazing job! I work with a legendary bunch of brilliant, inspiring people from Australia, the Pacific and further abroad on Oxfam’s campaigns team.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where one person in three lives in poverty, a world that is characterised by profound inequality, where the world’s richest 62 people own the same wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion.
Although we produce enough food to feed all 7.4 billion of us, 1 in 9 people are still going hungry every single day. This simply isn’t good enough.
We’re absolutely determined to change this world by mobilising the power of people against poverty. My work is largely focussed on the public campaigning side of things for our food and climate justice work and our banks and land grabbing campaign.
What were the main challenges and triumphs of 2015?
2015 was the biggest year for climate action ever! At the same time, there were significant challenges, both here in Australia and overseas. We saw the very real consequences of climate inaction, as Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated our neighbours’ homes and livelihoods right across Vanuatu, and even with this forceful reminder that the people who have done the least to contribute to climate change are already being hit hardest by its devastating impacts, our government continued (and continues) to shirk their responsibilities and act in the interests of the big dirty polluters.
However, 2015 also saw an unprecedented wave of momentum begin to build, as millions of other people across the planet worked together towards a fairer, cleaner world.
Collectively, we stood alongside our sisters and brothers in the Pacific and the people hit hardest by the brutal impacts of climate change. We cranked up the heat on the coal industry and called on our leaders to make the right choices on climate, and we made history as over 60,000 of us took to the streets and marched for climate justice right here in Melbourne. We did a whole lot of amazing stuff, and most importantly, we stood up as a diverse and powerful community. We spoke out and said ‘I care’. Together, the power of our collective voice reverberated across the planet. And when world leaders met in Paris last December, our message was heard loud and clear.
What will be your main focus for 2016?
We’ll be continuing to increase the pressure on the Big 4 Banks to do the right thing, and adopt zero tolerance for land grabs.
With a federal election looming, 2016 is going to be massive in terms of our food and climate justice campaign! Now, with a global agreement in place, we need to force the Australian Government to step up. We have the wind behind us.
We have some excellent plans. And we have a powerful and diverse movement of amazing people across the country, who are committed to change. In many ways, the real work starts now. We say bring it on!