Wellington CAN: connecting Climate groups across Gippsland

A recent media release noted that “On 15 July fifty people met in Maffra to learn more about climate change and exchange their concerns as the situation of global warming escalates. Guest speaker, Aileen Vening, a climate educator for the South Gippsland Conservation Society, spoke of the geographical changes occurring on the planet as it responds to increased warming in the atmosphere and oceans. Wild and unprecedented weather patterns and record breaking heat will only increase unless governments take strong action to drawdown the carbon that is already present in the atmosphere and to set strong targets to reduce future emissions.

“People spoke of their frustration in seeing the Federal government still dragging its feet on this urgent issue. Australia’s carbon emissions have continued to rise for the last four years despite the Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, continually saying to the contrary.

“The Victorian Government will legislate in August to reduce emissions to zero by 2050 and this is a decisive step. Twenty nine municipal councils throughout Australia have declared a climate emergency, a symbolic gesture to acknowledge the serious situation, but also to adopt practices within their municipalities to reduce carbon waste. As of this week the City of Melbourne became the thirtieth municipality to do so!

“As a result of the meeting in Maffra the Wellington Climate Action Network (WCAN) was formed and a motion arose from the meeting to work with council to declare a climate emergency.”

With the formation of WCAN Gippsland is close to being covered with community groups actively working on global warming. The Latrobe Valley and Baw Baw Sustainability groups have been active for a number of years especially so with the latter group. This year Climate Action Network groups have formed in Inverloch-Wonthaggi, Bairnsdale and now Sale-Maffra. Both the former groups have already carried out a number of successful activities. Possibly there is another ‘climate’ group in South Gippsland. Also there is a group called Strzelecki Sustainability Futures supporting the OSMI Delburn wind project in the Latrobe Valley. Then there is the well-established Gippsland Climate Change Network that does good things (see here and here) but is not inclined to ‘rock the boat’.

There are many advantages that can flow from this blossoming of community groups including sharing information, resources, guest speakers and ideas. Their existence offers support to the many dismayed by the inaction on climate of all our governments and may inspire others. At this stage what is needed is effective communications between the groups so that resources can be efficiently used between locations and that support, advice and promotion can be shared where practicable.