Letter published Bairnsdale Advertiser 5 July
Residents in rural settings like our wonderful East Gippsland are likely to be amongst those hardest hit with the dramatic climate changes already underway. These changes are caused by increased levels of greenhouse gases resulting in more frequent extreme weather events: storms, drought, and floods. Already we have fire seasons from Spring to Autumn, unprecedented drying across the whole of Gippsland, and in the future even more extremes of weather are predicted. Sea level rise will seriously affect towns like Lakes Entrance.
We must take urgent action on this emergency. Greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy transition and waste reduction are some of the actions we can all take right now. We need our council to recognize this and join the hundreds of councils around the world that have already declared a Climate Emergency. The devastating impacts of climate change across the world are increasing in frequency and intensity. Thankfully more and more people across East Gippsland and indeed the world, are taking action to ensure that we have a future.
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Actions like the brief symbolic ‘die-in’ last week in Nicholson Mall, Bairnsdale will be repeated as momentum builds across the region. As more animals and plants cannot cope with the sudden human induced changes to our climate, more and more extinctions will take place. Australia already leads the world in mammal extinctions. Government protection of natural habitat is failing all over the country.
We are faced with bush fires for most of the year, terrible droughts and floods and acceleration of change in our climate. We must take action now to halt and ideally reverse the levels of greenhouse gases, to slow increases in global warming.
We must move more quickly than our state government has planned and aim for 100% renewable energy. The targets set by our federal government are just laughable. The most common statement on climate change from both state Nationals Tim Bull and Federal representative Darren Chester has been that we are doing enough because we only make up a minimal percentage of the world population. This ignores that we are at the top of the table in per person emissions. In any case we proudly punch well above our weight in many other fields including science, sport, military interventions and much more. The safety of our planet is at stake with the climate emergency.
We have a duty to take effective and urgent action because we care about the young people whose future we are ruining. We must work as though we are in a climate emergency, because we are!