Bronte Campbell, dual Olympic champion swimmer

Sport was the first thing that helped me feel Australian. As a shy girl from Malawi who didn’t like wearing shoes and had second-hand clothes, sport brought me forward and told me I belonged. Twenty years later, sport has given me everything I dreamed of and more. And it’s given me a platform. A chance to join my voice with others and advocate for change.

I grew up in Africa, surrounded by nature, swimming in Lake Malawi. Water was my safe place and I absolutely loved it. But we haven’t been very good at looking after it. Our oceans, waterways, our climate, our planet. The future looks bleak and the progress is too slow.

Signing up to The Cool Down was a way to say I care, we care, and you should too. We should all care about how we’re treating the planet and how we’re going to fix it. We should all care about emissions, and not just because of the planet. We’re not just fighting for nature, we’re fighting for our way of life. Climate change will impact every aspect of how we live, including how we play sport – the thing that has told so many of us that we are Australian.

Pat Cummins, Australian men’s cricket team vice-captain

In a few months my partner, Becky, and I are expecting our first child. When we think about his future, not only do we think of a good education, of friendships and hopefully a life filled with joy, we want to do our best to make sure he has a planet that’s liveable.

Cummins and his partner Becky in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Cummins and his partner Becky in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

We’re incredibly lucky to live in a country that’s home to beautiful rainforests, coastlines and countryside. From our snowfields to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s landscapes and range of ecosystems are truly special. We’re also home to the oldest living cultures in the world. I think all of that is worth protecting and want to one day share that with my kids.

Australians pride ourselves on punching above our weight and competing on the world stage. But when it comes to climate action, unfortunately, that isn’t the case. We are a country surrounded all around by coasts. The sunniest, windiest continent in the world. We have the opportunity to lead the way on renewable energy. To build a future that’s great for all of us. One we can be proud to pass on to our kids and grandkids.

Daisy Pearce of the Demons
Daisy Pearce plays for AFLW team the Melbourne Demons. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Daisy Pearce, AFLW star and media personality

I am at my happiest and healthiest when I am immersed in nature. Whether it’s taking in and sharing the beauty of an animal with my two kids, observing the power of the ocean, standing on a sheer rock face on Mt Buffalo, Victoria, or on the hot sand in Exmouth, WA. At those moments it’s easy to feel the exhilaration of how small I really am in the scheme of things.

It has become undeniable that so much of this is in jeopardy. At this rate, it is a very real possibility that my own grandchildren won’t get to enjoy all of these things that are at the core of what I love. That’s what motivates me. I want to do something about it. I believe we all have a role to play. I believe the responsibility for climate action doesn’t just sit with the government or big organisations, nor does it rest on the shoulders of the stereotypical “tree-huggers”.

Every one of us should care and every one of us can make a big difference. Even if you start small. I think sometimes people get overwhelmed, thinking that to make change you need to be the perfect environmentalist or make a complete overhaul of your lifestyle but small choices at a household level will make a significant difference. When we take action in our own lives and stand up for the future we want, we stand our best chance of ensuring our grandchildren will be able to enjoy the incredible things we’ve been lucky enough to experience in this incredible country.

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