The “Climate First’ Election by Jessica Harrison

The XR “Sybils” lead the march down A’Beckett Street Inverloch. Photo Andrew McEwan

Republished from the Bass Coast Post with permission

MORE than 120 people rallied and marched for the climate in Inverloch on Easter Saturday. The Climate Calamity Choir entertained the crowd and the XR “Sybils” – No More Coal, No More Gas and No More Oil – led the march down A’Beckett Street to the Glade.

The rally was organised by the Monash Community Climate Coalition (contact) , which is urging voters to think of the climate when they vote in next month’s federal election. If they don’t have a policy, ask them why not? Monash candidates Deb Leonard (Independent), Mat Morgan (Greens) and Jessica O’Donnell (ALP) attended the rally.​

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan said the Federal Government’s target of zero emissions by 2050 was too late. “The Bass Coast Shire Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and has prepared a Climate Action Plan for the whole community to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. We must act now. Climate change is at a critical stage – you only have to look at the Inverloch beach and the loss of 70 metres of coastal dunes in a 10-year period.”

Dr Michael Borgas, who was president of the CSIRO Staff Association from 2001-2016, said it was more important than ever for citizens who listened to science to demand climate action and decide their votes accordingly. “Science has been speaking truth to power on climate action for decades, but decision makers haven’t listened. Increasingly our political leaders are extremists, opposed to science advice and our collective interests. Our votes must change this pathway to catastrophe.”

Wonthaggi doctor and former president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Dr Nola Maxfield, spoke of the health impacts of climate change. “Climate change doesn’t just affect the health of our planet, it also affects our physical and mental health. The cumulative effects of multiple disasters, caused by a warmer world with increased energy in the weather systems, has significant impacts on our mental health. For our children and young people, the emotional distress caused by environmental change is something we need to deal with.”

South Gippsland Conservation Society president Ed Thexton was unable to attend but sent a message…“This is where leadership comes from – the community! One person with persistence is all it needs. Remember with climate change we all want the same thing – a beautiful world for our children. Kids – take home a sticker or two for your car and your house. Most importantly, when your parents vote, it’s absolutely critical that you tell them to place a vote that’s best for you and your future. This is the election where the interests of kids come first.”

Jessica Harrison is a member of the Bass Coast Climate Action Network.