Whether it’s through planting trees with Jane Goodall, sustainably sledge-hauling in Antarctica, or working on green technology solutions in Silicon Valley, Barney Swan is certainly a force of nature.

And he’s inviting everyone along for the ride.


Through his charity organisation ClimateForce, Barney is dedicated to making climate action inclusive by offering simple opportunities for sustainability while stimulating social governance and deep connections to natural areas.

Growing up off-grid in the Daintree Rainforest laid the foundation for his philosophies.

“Billions of people around the world don’t have access to clean energy or clean water and that experience taught me to respect things; don’t have an hour-long shower, turn off the light, don’t have that fan going too fast, manage your waste,” he told Tropic.

“Seeing trash on the beach I was always cleaning up, then when I began travelling after school, I saw forests that had been felled and not managed and it was the most disgusting thing to see.

“Then to witness people starving to death in India, seeing hard core realities around the world definitely has inspired me to step up my own responsibility.

“For a white entitled Australian, when you acknowledge that you’re a part of the planet you love dying, you realise you are part of the solution.”


He’s deeply concerned about what lies ahead if the world fails to act now.

“COP26 confirmed that federally, we are well behind every developed country in regards to our commitments,” he said.

“If we really don’t shift industry, reliance on fossil fuels and gas, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

He’s certainly not about demonising any sectors as many other climate activists are, instead preferring to work with politicians, big business and decision-makers.

“We are all in this together, despite politics and culture, we share the same air, water and food.” he said.

“We have a shared responsibility to protect our natural assets.


“Definitely we should hold them accountable but they shouldn’t be demonised and we can’t just pull the rug out from underneath big oil – it would be total chaos and if the whole thing fractures, people starve.”

Thinking globally and acting locally is part of his mantra, and that extends to attracting grass roots support by not demanding perfection.

“Most men who go to beach clean-ups for the first time go because they know there’s pretty women there,” he said.

“But after that, the actual clean-up itself is the payoff.

“Being imperfect is important to promote because it needs to be attractive, accessible and it’s okay to screw up and have three steaks in a day.

“The idea of perfection turns off people who want to make an effort because they feel like it’s unattainable.

“I want to encourage everyone to be extra grateful of the abundance they enjoy next time they go to Rusty’s Markets or swim at Crystal Cascades, breathe clean air.

“We’re very lucky we have the opportunity to give back.”


Barney’s tips for how busy people can get onboard ...

Support local businesses & products

Consider plant-based alternatives

Explore volunteer opportunities


This story originally appeared in Tropic magazine Issue 34

COVID is like preschool compared with the climate crisis if we don’t get our act together in the next 10 to 15 years.
Barney Swan
ClimateForce Founder
I have worked with Shell and I copped hard core criticism for that.
Barney Swan
ClimateForce Founder