Our bushfires – heavily influenced by a warming planet – dominated the early part of the year and this blog. The short window of opportunity between the Bushfire emergency and the Coronavirus saw a joint demonstration of East Gippsland and Wellington Climate Action Networks and Gippsland XR at the offices of local member Darren Chester. The lessons from the Coronavirus for the Climate emergency are obvious – that we should follow the recommendations of the science in the latter as we have done so well in the former.
Whilst it is sometimes difficult, I try to balance the good and bad news. The stand-out for the good news is the growth of climate action groups across Gippsland including the Climate action groups in East Gippsland, Wellington and Bass Coast shires CANs, Prom Area Climate Action (PACA) in South Gippsland, the Metung Science Forum along with the long lived, and still very active Baw Baw Sustainability Network.
We have republished blogs and press releases from several of the above groups. As well we have republished excellent pieces from local online newsletters like ‘Just Community’ and ‘The Bass Coast Post’ and had guest bloggers from across the region. The most prominent of these were four blogs by an anonymous engineer on a possible Baw Baw Pumped Hydro scheme.
On the down side there has been the failure of the Morwell electric vehicle project to materialise, logging continues unabated either by the bushfires or by climate reason, and our political representatives remain tardy on climate change, including two Gippsland councils rejecting climate emergency petitions. To counter this one of the big bonuses of the year has been the election of three EGCAN members to the East Gippsland Shire Council.
This blog has published regularly on Gippsland climate news and views – on various local aspects of the problem and possible solutions. The blogs have appeared twice weekly (with one exception) for more than 6 years. Readership hovers between 800 and 1200 on a monthly basis with a peak of over 7000 readers during the bushfires. Hopefully in the year to come we will have a massive expansion of wind and solar projects, electric vehicle adoption and energy efficiency and the small but growing body of local activists will continue to apply pressure and influence the political process.