It's heartening to see our movement's incredible resolve and commitment to climate justice despite months of lockdown and a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
With the Andrews government leading the response to the pandemic, it's up to the community to make sure that climate action remains on the agenda. This mission is of particular importance ahead of the forthcoming announcement of Emissions Reduction Targets, the Victorian budget in October, and development of a state climate strategy.
Here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
Friends of the Earth Melbourne's Act on Climate collective officially launched its push to write a People's Climate Strategy for Victoria with over one thousand people watching the online launch via Zoom and Facebook live. The strong level of interest is a vote of confidence in the idea.
Writing a People's Climate Strategy for Victoria to present to the Andrews government later this year is a bold and ambitious undertaking. But shaping the state's first climate strategy is an opportunity that can't be missed.
The Victorian government is required to prepare and rollout a climate strategy every five years out to 2050. Our efforts in coming months will influence the Labor government's own plan (which must be prepared by October 31) as well as all those that follow it.
Friends of the Earth and the Act on Climate collective cant do it alone...
The collective needs your help to ensure the strategy is robust, capable of getting us to zero emissions as-soon-as-possible, and leaves no Victorian behind.
Here are the immediate next steps...
It has been a difficult time for the community. Yet our movement has shown incredible resolve and commitment to climate action in the face of these challenges.
Friends of the Earth's Act on Climate collective has been keeping a watchful eye on the state of play. We're making sure that—despite the Federal government's refusal to act—Victoria's steps to tackle the climate crisis are bigger and bolder than ever.
Here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
Friends of the Earth welcome the Andrews government's announcement of $11 million to help communities respond to climate impacts on Victoria's coastline.
The state government's swift response comes after rising sea levels and intensifying storm surges in recent weeks have damaged infrastructure in Apollo Bay and Inverloch. Beach access points, walking paths, and roads have been affected.
"Coastal communities need all the help they can get when it comes to the challenges posed by climate change," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth climate spokesperson.
"Funding from the Andrews government will help communities with immediate responses to the damage caused by rising sea levels and intensifying storm surges."
"Greater funding will be needed to cope with the impacts of climate change on our coastline," added Ewbank.
"When will the Federal government provide funding for communities on the frontline of climate impact?"
Friends of the Earth say that community members are looking to the state government to show greater leadership on climate change while the Morrison government refuses to act.
It's a strange time to be a grassroots climate campaigner. The Act on Climate collective miss hitting the road across Victoria and working with people on the ground. Nonetheless, our efforts to champion climate justice must continue—even if they're largely online at the moment.
As you know, our long push for science-based Emissions Reduction Targets concluded on March 31 and we're now waiting for the Andrews government to announce the targets.
Yet changes to the parliamentary sitting schedule in response to the pandemic means the ten-sitting-day window has been pushed back. We might not get an announcement until Thursday 6 August.
We're fired up to get cracking on our next big campaign so we're not going to wait. We'll make an announcement next week with our next steps and ways you can get involved (so keep your eyes peeled).
Until then, here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
The Act on Climate collective have been adapting to life during COVID-19. We're spending isolation continuing committed and passionate climate activism, even if that looks different (and distinctly more zoom) for the next little while.
A lot of people have more time on their hands at the moment, albeit sometimes for difficult reasons. From job losses, to jobs being put on pause, to working remotely, people are commuting less and spending more time at home.
A silver lining is that for many, the pace of life slowing down has created an opportunity to get stuck into activities at home. What better way to spend some of those isolation hours than settling down with a good book?
The Act on Climate collective would love to share what we've been reading in isolation. Find a book to take you on a journey beyond the four walls of home, a gripping read to cosy up with on those cold days, an incredible author who might challenge you and change your perspective, or some inspiration to keep you hopeful and optimistic for climate action beyond this crisis.
Friends of the Earth Melbourne has called on the Andrews government to make climate action a focus of the recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic after experts have criticised the Morrison government for pushing for a fossil-fuel-led stimulus.
Community-driven environment group Friends of the Earth have urged the Victorian government to forge its own path and instead embrace new industries and technologies that can make Victoria the national leader on climate action, while creating thousands of jobs.
"Not only does the backward-looking approach of the Morrison government undermine global efforts on climate, but it ties our economic future to out-dated and polluting technology," said Friends of the Earth community campaigner Anna Langford.
"Premier Andrews has already created thousands of climate jobs through legislation such as the Victorian Renewable Energy Target. It can build on this momentum."
COVID-19 has had an immense impact globally, including on how activism is being done.
The significant power of climate activism has been based on it being a grassroots, community-led mass movement. With the introduction of government-mandated social distancing requirements, many of our traditionally effective physical approaches are no longer morally and legally tenable.
Even in-person meetings are off the table. This is requiring a rethink of how we do our activism and where we direct our individual and collective energy. Consequently these constraints are providing fertile ground for shifting towards innovation in digital approaches.
The community campaign to secure science-based Emissions Reduction Targets for Victoria has entered a new phase.
Tuesday March 31 was the deadline for Premier Dan Andrews and Cabinet to make its decision on the targets for 2025 and ’30.
The waiting game for the announcement has begun. The government must table the targets in the Parliament within ten sitting days of March 31, so the decision is expected some time between May 5 and June 18.
When the time comes we will be ready. But for now, it’s worth acknowledging the incredible community effort that took a niche policy issue and made it the focal point of climate campaigning in Victoria.
It has been a long campaign.
Tuesday 24 March marks the final week before the Andrews government must make its decision on the state's first Emissions Reduction Targets.
The outcome of the targets for 2025 and '30 will set the pace of climate action over the next decade. It will have major implications for how we travel, where we get our electricity, how we produce food, the level of protection for native forests, and more.
We know the Premier and Cabinet are busy leading Victoria's response to the Coronavirus crisis. But when the time comes for them to make a decision on the targets, we want it to be a quick one and the right one.
It's critically important for the Premier and Cabinet to hear from the community in the final days before the legislated deadline of the decision. We need them to hear our call for targets that help keep global warming below 1.5°C.
Will you join us in the final push?...