When the word ‘NOW’ appeared in the sky above Canberra yesterday afternoon (4 December), locals were left unsure as to its meaning, leading to a trail of suggestions ranging from half-written ‘Monica’s to calls for an early election.
That didn’t bother the man behind the skywriting, Tathra’s Dr Matthew Nott, the founder of Clean Energy for Eternity. In fact, he capitalised on the confusion surrounding the word, because it meant that more people would be intrigued to find out what the word meant.
Frustrated by inaction on climate change 12 years after he first took a stand, Dr Nott is leading the discussion on climate change and advocating for the future of the planet.
“NOW is a word that we have been using in our climate change campaign since 2006,” he told Region Media.
“Particularly in response to Sir David Attenborough’s address at the UN climate change summit, where he used the word NOW pretty powerfully, we thought it would be a good word to sit above Parliament House.
“We wanted to reinforce the urgency for action to happen NOW.”
The campaign has created 10 human signs in Canberra and the surrounding region. The goal of the signs, which could be read with ease from an aerial point-of-view, was to send a message to the nation’s political leaders.
“In 2006, we had 3,000 people on the beach in Tathra to form a human sign. Tathra is a town of 1,200 people so we nearly tripled the population of the town for the day just for that human sign,” Dr Nott said.
“We have been campaigning for climate change before anyone was talking about it.”
Since the formation of Clean Energy for Eternity in 2006, a total of 450 kilowatts of solar panels have been installed in Tathra. Every community building in the town has been fitted with solar panels: from the surf club to the bowling club, to the school and Aussie Rules club, all as a result of community fundraising.
They have also built Australia’s first community-funded solar farm, which was built in the shape of the word IMAGINE. In February 2019, the community is meeting to vote on a 100 percent renewable energy target by 2030.
Nine months ago, the town was nearly wiped off the map by devastating bushfires on 18 March. The day went down as the hottest day ever recorded in March, and Dr Nott said the town is still reeling from the fires and the community is feeling vulnerable.
Sixty-five homes were destroyed on that mid-autumn day and the tragic day has invigorated the town to advocate for climate change.
“I am disgusted by the fact that our country has no strategic approach to reduce emissions. It is a neglect of their duty and I think avoiding a threat is not the Australian way,” he said. “I think it is pathetic.”
“The time to act is NOW!”
Original Article published by Lachlan Roberts on the RiotACT.