28 July 2023

'Don't despair at climate chaos - take action'

| Zoe Cartwright
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A 350 Eurobodalla climate action picnic

A 350 Eurobodalla climate action picnic. Photo: Gilliiane Tedder.

Disappointed with the pace of climate action as a possible El Nino summer looms? Get down to the Batemans Bay foreshore park on Sunday.

350 Eurobodalla is rallying for stronger climate action from 11 am, and organisers want to take the temperature of the region’s stance.

“It’s been a long time since we held a large rally, the last one was in 2019 for the World School Climate Strike,” organiser Jack Egan said.

“We had between 600 and 700 people turn up in front of the council chamber – since then the climate crisis has clearly and rapidly got worse.”

Indeed – in the interim, bushfires have ravaged the region, as well as further afield in NSW and Victoria.

Never-before seen floods have ravaged swathes of the North Coast, South Coast and Central West.

Overseas, wildfires in California blanketed parts of the USA in smoke for weeks, floods devastated millions in Pakistan, and drought has threatened crop security across Europe.

Global temperature records have been smashed again and again this year, and not just on land, but in our precious oceans as well.

READ ALSO ‘Amazing’ effort sees Selwyn Snow Resort return bigger and better after bushfires

Mr Egan says 350 Eurobodalla is calling time on government inaction.

Governments have had long enough,” he said.

“We’re not waiting any longer. Time’s up and we’re getting out to tell our local members of local, State and Federal Governments that we demand proper climate action now.”

At a local level the group wants Eurobodalla Shire Council to fully commit to its climate action plan.

“It’s being implemented in a half-hearted way,” Mr Egan said.

“A motion passed in council to explore lending options from banks that are not funding fossil fuel expansion was put up only about a month ago.

“It was defeated on the grounds that we don’ t have the resources to do the research, and it might be a little bit more expensive in interest.

“I thought that was pretty disappointing, that just the small task of checking out banks, which could be easily done, was too much.”

From the State Government, they want a commitment to end logging in native forests, following in the footsteps of Victoria and Western Australia.

And from the Federal Government, no approvals for new fossil fuel mines.

“The International Energy Agency and the UN have both said that’s not on if we’re going to limit the damage to something livable which is around 1.5 degrees,” Mr Egan said.

“Even that is pretty bad as we’re witnessing now.

“We’re a wealthy country, blessed with wind and sun and the space to deploy those technologies, and we need to show leadership on an international stage when it comes to climate action.

“And that means transitioning our economy out of relying on fossil fuel exports as a driver of our standard of living.”

READ ALSO Prime Minister drops in to commend ‘cracker’ fire regeneration project at Milton

Tough stuff. But experts have charted pathways for Australia – and the world – to move to a more climate friendly future.

Mr Egan insists the rally is a chance for climate optimism.

“The weather will be right, parents will bring their kids, we’re going to have some jokes, lightness and theatrics even though it’s a pretty dark topic,” he said.

“We’re just at the beginning of this struggle with a worsening climate. Whatever we can do to limit the damage, every increment of effective action is a plus.”

He urges locals of all political persuasions to come and make their voices heard.

“Many of us expected better policies from this Government that was elected in the wake of the bushfires,” he said.

“This is a marginal electorate, and we can be louder in the ears of our local representatives than the fossil fuel corporations that are taking us down to climate hell.

“The protest is about hope as well as anger. In coming together creatively as a community we reaffirm trust in our collective ability to build a better future.”

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