2020 National Climate Summit by Ro Gooch

The Nation Climate Summit: Two days of climate change immersion. Two days of listening to the many speakers who have spent years researching, speaking and writing on this critical issue facing humanity.  People like Paul Gilding, David Sprat, Margret Klien Salamon, Rebecca Huntley, Michael Mann, Ian Dunlop, Greg Mullins. The list goes on. It was a good opportunity to listen to these people in person, as opposed to YouTube, articles and audios. It was also good to be surrounded by people experiencing much the same feelings of grief, anger and frustration.

Overall there was much to take home to, contemplate, to digest and to integrate into a climate change action toolbox. While the information, on the whole, was grim there was a consistent message of hope in the possibilities of a liveable future if immediate and strategic actions were taken at a Federal Government level.

The summit focused on four areas – Climate Impact, failure of leadership, strengthening democracy and addressing the threat. Each session had an array of speakers who gave a short talk before conducting a sort of Q & A session. While this was interesting and at times entertaining, the most useful session for me were the breakout sessions. These sessions had the same format, but because they looked at specific areas were able to dig a little deeper.

‘Getting the Message Right’ and ‘The Activism Gap’ were two particularly helpful sessions on tackling climate change messaging.  A number of speakers spoke to this challenging issue, making the points that we don’t have to convince everybody, we don’t have to know all the facts and figures and that telling our story and listening to other person’s story is critically important. They emphasized the importance of starting a climate message with a ‘victory plan’, or a picture of how it could be. In other words, tell the truth with a vision of the future, a realistic vision because we have the solutions and we can make the changes necessary for a positive future.

Big messages from this summit can be summed up in the: Need for a better democracy built from the bottom up; Climate should be the primary target; Next ten years critical we need to bring our emissions down; STOP BURNING FOSSIL FUEL; The risks of doing nothing is too great; Zero emissions by 2050 is too little too late.

The summit finished with Ian Dunlop announcing The Safe Climate Declaration campaign and join the call emergency level action. Please Sign on and endorse.

*The author is a facilitator of the East Gippsland Climate Action Network and Bairnsdale Extinction Rebellion.

**Watch the live recording from the Summit