Climate change is real

For all of us who care about climate, our Council is important. It’s a vital building block for change.

We can see the impact in the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Pacific.

We can see the see massive changes in the Great Barrier Reef, the crisis in the Murray Darling Basin and the raging violence of bushfires that threaten human life and our precious wildlife and forests.

First Nations Peoples, farmers and people across regional Australia tell us climate change is a huge threat to waterways, soils, vegetation and landscapes across our continent.

Here in Port Phillip we are confronted with major summer heat waves; increasingly extreme flooding, especially in Elwood, parts of South Melbourne and elsewhere; and rising sea levels.

In so many ways, climate change feels like a runaway train. Decisions are made a long way away in Paris, in Washington, in Beijing or in Canberra and it doesn’t seem we can do anything to make any positive difference.

But one place for us to take action is right here at council level. Councils are local and we can influence what they do through getting councillors up who support good climate policies.  What can councils do you might ask?

They can reduce emissions from their own services and venues to show how renewable energy delivers savings for the environment and for the people of Port Phillip.

They can use their planning powers to design a more sustainable municipality, encouraging greater energy efficiency, use of renewables, reduced waste, more extensive tree canopy and cleaner transport.

Importantly, because renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels the council can bring the direct economic benefits like lower electricity costs to everyone in the community.

Port Phillip has already joined local governments across Australia, representing eight million people, in making a strong climate action declaration

For all of us who care about climate, our Council is important. It’s a vital building block for change.

However, some current Port Phillip councillors don’t see climate change as essential Council business. And with their allies, they could wind back many of the good things the council is currently doing about climate and oppose the steps outlined above.  

In the coming October Council election, make sure you find out who the candidates are who want the council to take strong climate action and then vote for them. Your vote can make a difference but remember, to vote you need to register to vote. Check you are enrolled to vote and that your enrolment details are up to date. Click here to find out how.

You also might like to join a local group active around climate change. That will give you the opportunity to connect with others involved in activities to get good climate action candidates elected.  You can find local groups at the Port Phillip Emergency Climate Action Network (PECAN) website here.