Co-producer Sara Ricketts with #attnscottmorrison campaign founder Maree Lowes
Co-producer Sara Ricketts with #attnscottmorrison campaign founder Maree Lowes

Pay attention! Actor drives emergency campaign

MAREE LOWES grew up in the Clarence Valley, and learned to connect with the natural environment that surrounds it in every direction.

For the last ten years, she moved away and became the real-life version of dirtgirl, who has been encouraging kids everywhere to get their hands dirty and connect with nature as part of the international dirtgirlworld TV series.

When she saw images of Grafton, blanketed by an orange sky, and heard of the devastation of the village of Nymboida, she decided to take action.

She began the campaign titled “Attention Scott Morrison” or more succinctly #attnscottmorrison, joined with co-producer Sara Rickards, and decided to open up a conversation about the bushfires, and encourage leaders and the PM to talk to emergency services leaders.

“It’s a bipartisan campaign,” Ms Lowes said. “We got the attention of the incumbent government, but it’s not about which political party they represent or which belief system they hold; it’s about informed leadership which leads to a better-prepared community.”

It wasn’t a flash in the pan idea either. Aside from her acting skills that have taken her across the world, Ms Lowes is completing a Masters degree in Disaster Resilience and Sustainable Development through the United Nations and the University of Newcastle.

With that knowledge, a catchy hashtag and some web savvy, the campaign launched at 6:30pm last Monday.

Within 72 hours, the message had trended on Twitter in Australia and America, and reached 25 million people.

The Greens party shared the campaign of their own volition and from that passed a motion in the senate delivering a similar sentiment to the campaign.

Now, federal government minister for Emergency Services David Littleproud has agreed to meet with the emergency leaders for climate action, including former NSW RFS commissioner chief Greg Mullins on the issue.

Not bad for three days, but Ms Lowes said despite the campaign wrapping up, there is more to achieve.

“We want to see a national summit for emergency preparedness where our experts, including traditional owners, can be heard and inform decision makers,” she said.

“We’d like Scott Morrison to meet the emergency leaders, but Minister Littleproud is a step in the right direction.”

Ms Lowes was encouraged the conversation they had started resonated with people across the country, many asking where the leadership was on the issue.

“We created the conversation, but the Australian public carried it forward because it’s a conversation they want to have,” she said.

“When I saw the pictures and heard of Nymboida being decimated... these are the places I grew up, the places I learned to connect with nature.

“I couldn’t ignore it.”

For more information on the campaign visit www.attnscottmorrison.com