Acting on Climate by Madelaine Moore

Republished from Just Community No 10

While it may seem like we are banging our head against the wall trying to get the Federal Government to take action on climate, the State Government has been more receptive. They are required by law to release a climate strategy within ten sitting days of October 31 this year, a date that may be pushed back owing to the pandemic. However, even with delay this means we as Victorians have the chance to have our voices heard on what we want this climate strategy to look like.

Luckily for us, Friends of the Earth have launched a campaign that builds on their years of hard work both establishing relationships with communities on the frontline of climate change (their support was critical to the ban on unconventional gas in Victoria) and relationships with people in government, as well as key public servants. The

Friends of the Earth initiative Act on Climate aims to make sure that this strategy is as comprehensive as possible, and understands that it must also include sustainable jobs and strong community engagement. “These responses will be the basis for the Act on Climate People’s Climate Strategy…”

As the State Government is busy with other things at the moment there is a great opportunity for us to do their work for them. Act on Climate aims to develop a draft strategy from the bottom up. The plan is to make this as collective and inclusive as possible – the more voices involved from across Victoria the more likely the government will be willing to take it on. The campaign has a few steps along the way. A survey asking Victorians to document changes to climate in their local area has already wrapped up, but a second survey looking at what initiatives people would like to see to deal with those effects in their local areas is still open.

These responses will be the basis for the Act on Climate People’s Climate Strategy, which will be communicated to the State Government for inclusion in their draft strategy. As well as the survey, you can send your ideas for climate action, share this poster in your community, and once the survey results are in, meet with your local state reps to demand they support the strategy.

Running alongside this campaign is an online petition to demand that the Victorian Government set up a climate change action fund of $100 million to help fund projects that can tackle these issues. This could be some of the local solutions you come up with in the survey. It could also be used to upgrade existing community facilities such as sporting clubs, libraries, community centres or schools to be climate refuge centres connected with solar, batteries, heating and cooling, emergency communication equipment and water tanks. Or it could be used to help local governments reach net zero emissions in the wider economy.

*The author is from Fish Creek. The Just Community website is here.