For my second year, I've decided to "donate" my birthday to an organisation that I hold near and dear to my heart, 350.org - and what better day to start than #RiseForClimate. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of listening and talking to one of my biggest personal heroes, native Vermonter and 350 founder Bill McKibben, who came to New Zealand as part of his Climate Change Accelerator tour. In his speech, he talked about the successes. He talked about Norway divesting almost a trillion dollars from the fossil fuel industry and into renewable energy. He talked about New York City divesting as well as sueing the fossil fuel industry for knowingly causing climate change resulting in the devastation and millions of dollars lost during Hurricane Sandy. He talked about nations around the world coming together to stand up against Big Oil. But overall, his message was grim. We need to switch off fossil fuels and we need to do it FAST. We're way past the point of #plasticbags and #reusablestraws. To even have a shot at having a healthy, livable planet, we need a mass, unified movement. We need paradigm shifts. We need to transition entirely to renewable energy and cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry. We need bold, large scale action. We need policy changes. And we need everyone... Now, you all know me as the "environmentalist" who is constantly posting rants about climate change/politics on Facebook (and this is no exception). I have dedicated much of my time to this issue in my work, personal, and volunteering life. However nothing frustrates me more than being labeled an "environmentalist". I would like to get something straight: Climate change is not my passion. There are a million other things I would rather be doing than fighting an uphill battle for a cause that is so glaringly urgent yet undermined by power and greed. But I have educated myself on the issue and feel it is my duty to act. For my future and for future generations. I do it because I care, just as we all should. The Northern Hemisphere just experienced the hottest summer on record, and countries around the world are being hit by more severe storms, like the Hurricane that just hit Hawaii. This is the new normal. Life as we know it is in jeopardy in this new world we are creating for ourselves. With Brexit and Trump, we are marching backwards in many respects. Now more than ever, it is critical that we all stand up and raise our voices so that we can all be "environmentalists" for the planet we call home. We are up against the richest and most influential powers in the world, who have known about climate change for centuries but have made it their mission to not expose the harm they are doing to the planet. Which is why I urge you to find a local 350 group and start volunteering. Support policies like carbon and fuel taxes and vote climate advocates into government. Or support others dedicating their efforts toward this cause by giving a donation. Get out to your local #RiseForClimate event, and chip in to the cause here!