They're The Voice For Climate Change
Natalie Isaacs, founder of Australian women's climate movement 1 Million Women, was facing a dilemma. The former cosmetics entrepreneur turned climate activist had embraced the suggestion of collaborator Andreas Smetana, that it would be an "amazing idea" to create an anthem – a call to action – in the run up to the international Paris climate summit, due to start at the end of this month.
But for weeks they couldn't come up with the right song. Then a day at the beach with a friend who had music industry connections threw up what seemed like the perfect solution: a reworking of John Farnham's powerful 1980s hit, You're the Voice.
"I thought yes, we could launch this ahead of the Paris conference and make this an utterly inspiring call from women for climate action," Ms Isaacs says.
"When I listened to the words, it's a timeless song, perfect for this and the message is so strong. I just set out to get that song. I spoke to the writers, the publishers, and by July finally got the rights."
More work followed to find the right performers and produce the accompanying video.
Singers Deni Hines, rock legend Wendy Matthews, country artist Melinda Schneider and Aboriginal singer and actor Ursula Yovich were willing recruits, as was actor Claudia Karvan. The result, with a striking video featuring images of women and girls of all ages and professions with the singers performing the song live at Sydney's climate change mass rally on Sunday.
A preview clip reached the Bonn office of UN climate chief Christiana Figueres late last week, eliciting her endorsement of it as a "powerful message of love, hope and healing'. Ms Isaacs has also won permission to present the song at the Paris summit Gender Day on December 8.
"Women are responsible for 85 per cent of the consumer decisions that affect the household carbon footprint" Ms Isaacs says of her 1 Million Women movement. "They are powerful change makers. If you get millions of women making small changes each, that adds up to a huge amount of change collectively."
Ms Figueres, too, has campaigned hard to raise awareness of the vital role women play in combating climate change.
Women in the developing world were "disproportionately affected" by climate change, she told Fairfax Media, because "they are basically at the nexus of energy, water and food in developing countries; all of these three are directly affected by climate change."
Ms Isaacs and Ms Figueres formed a firm friendship after 1 Million Women earned a UN award for its work on the everyday actions households could take to minimise their carbon footprint.
"I never think in small numbers" says Ms Isaacs, who has so far signed up 370,000 members of the 1 million she is aiming for.
"The goal is for this song to be an anthem for global action, a very emotional challenge to world leaders delivered from women at this very moment when the Paris conference is on."
Deni Hines told Fairfax she had been drawn to the project because "climate change is an urgent topic that needs to be acted upon before it's too late. I live on this planet called Earth, and I like it here. Earth really seems to work for me. I can't see too many other planets out there to live on."
Ms Yovich said the song was a way to "unite people in making a stand for climate action" through music.
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