Voices of the East: Kitchen Table Conversations

Extracts from a 13 page VotE document: Climate Change is mentioned 10 times. The document is mostly in a ‘brainstorming’ format.

What do you think are the major issues and your concerns? Fairly sure the future is not uncertain – certainly we are all going down the gurgler due to climate change ∙ Climate change and subsequent episodic events such as fires droughts floods and hail etc. – we are not well set up to handle these on a repeated basis ∙ Forest issues – burning and logging (against this) ∙ Lack of infrastructure such as hospitals and vets etc. with all the new housing and population growth ∙ Also need the workforce to operate these services ∙ Facing an energy crisis – nationally.

 Climate Change ∙ Bushfires ∙ Loss of native forests ∙ That people learn how to have difficult conversations and listen to people they have a reaction to ∙ That people learn the difference between reacting and responding, and learn the skills to respond appropriately.

 A clean, healthy, and balanced environment ∙ Information overload and lack of time to address all the issues ∙ Effective and urgent action on climate change, inequity, racism, violence, treatment of asylum seekers ∙ That there is too much emphasis on cars and trucks ∙ That there is a genuine lack of knowledge on some of the basics of life ∙ Provision of facilities like libraries we need to identify common interests and mutual goals ∙ promote respect for all ages and different walks of life ∙ climate change ∙ climate impacts on agriculture ∙ fires, floods ∙ hierarchy of basic needs: safety ∙ emotional safety – feeling secure, significant, accepted…

Infrastructure, housing, education, telecommunication, resource management, and recycling all ranked as concerning issues. Health services, particularly staffing was raised by many people. Support for ongoing tourism and greater action on climate change were also raised as ongoing concerning issues. Some people raised ongoing inequality and ineffective and inefficient support services for drug and crime rehabilitation. People felt unprepared to handle continuous climate change induced events such as fires, droughts, floods, and significant weather events. There was concern that the destruction of the environment was contributing to climate change. A Just transition out of extractive and fossil fuel industries and into jobs that are sustainable such as eco-tourism was raised. The declining economy coupled with an aging demographic, retraction of services and collapsing roads were also raised.

More focus on recycling ∙ Local decentralised power distribution – like community battery solar generation etc. – lot of people already have solar panels but putting surplus back into the grid – we could share it amongst ourselves or the wider community ∙ Places like Lakes Entrance Metung Paynesville Raymond Island – need to show these communities what it could be like in 10 – 40 years with impacts particularly regular flooding from climate change – provide more information to the community so they can make better personal decisions – not preparing community and individuals adequately for what the future will bring ∙ Identify industries that we can move to and how to develop these – not the destructive industries ∙ Adapting to climate change got to use less concrete and cement etc. – big demand for building timber – so plantation timber an option – but need to plant trees now.