On 14-15 February, Australia held its first National Climate Emergency Summit.
The summit's declaration was to call for a new approach to climate action in Australia, one which properly addresses the scale and seriousness of the climate crisis.
The summit brought together speakers from across the globe and from across the political spectrum, from Adam Bandt to Peter Garrett and Zali Steggall.
One message came through strongly: The climate crisis is an emergency. It's too late for half measures. The time to act is now.
Act on Climate coordinator Leigh Ewbank was among the summit's list of outstanding speakers. Leigh presented a thought-provoking speech on the 'climate emergency' framing. He urged us to think critically about our responses to the climate crisis.
Last Sunday, Act on Climate headed down to the Sydney Road Street Party to set up a stall and talk to punters about Victorian climate action.
It was a fun and sunny day at the Act on Climate stall, where we kept the vibes high with some great tunes spun throughout the day by six fantastic DJs.
We spoke to hundreds of people throughout the day, telling them about what Act on Climate have been up to and asking if they would like to add their voice in support of climate action.
Over 150 people at the festival joined our postcard petition, calling on Premier Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Labor government to support all Victorians by committing to ambitious, science-based Emissions Reduction Targets.
It's crunch time for our long-standing campaign for science-based Emissions Reduction Targets in Victoria.
The Andrews government's decision is just weeks away and time is running out to make the case for keeping global warming below 1.5°C.
The summer bushfires and the impact they’ve had on communities, first responders, wildlife and the natural world has shown what’s at stake if we fail to tackle the climate crisis.
And that awareness inspired us to ramp things up in February.
Over the last month, we...
With less than four weeks left to influence Premier Dan Andrews’ thinking on state Emissions Reduction Targets, we have to take the same level of effort to the campaign in March.
And that’s EXACTLY what we intend to do!
On Wednesday 26 February, Friends of the Earth had the opportunity to present to the Victorian Parliament's inquiry into community action on climate change. Here's Act on Climate coordinator Leigh Ewbank's statement to the Planning & Environment committee:
In my time at Friends of the Earth, I’ve seen the incredible commitment of Victorian communities to tackling the climate crisis.
Friends of the Earth is a community-driven organisation formed in 1974. We have been a strong voice for environmental protection and social justice since then.
We have been engaged on the issue of climate change for over two decades and work towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience through practical programs and advocacy.
Friends of the Earth’s Food Co-op & Café in Collingwood is a case in point. With produce from 150 farmers across the state, the café serves organic, seasonal, and vegan meals to our community every day.
The intentional use of local produce minimises the embodied carbon emissions from excessive transportation. Each year the café serves over 24,000 plates of food including to vulnerable people in the neighbourhood.
The co-op has also pioneered local organic waste composting to demonstrate ways to reduce methane emissions from food waste going to landfill and encourage low-carbon food production.
All compostable waste from the cafe is transported to a nearby primary school, which is only a couple of hundred metres away, where it is composted and used by the students to grow vegetables and educate them about the benefits of urban farming.
In addition to these practical examples, Friends of the Earth has been actively involved in advocacy. Each night of the week, dozens of community members work together on positive solutions.
In less than two months, the Andrews government will make its decision on the state’s first Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and ’30. And we’re not wasting a minute calling for ambition.
The summer bushfires and the impact they’ve had on communities, responders, wildlife and the natural world remind us what’s at stake if we fail to tackle the climate crisis.
Here’s a quick update on our efforts over the last month...
Victorian opposition leader Michael O'Brien has responded to surging community concern about the climate crisis by announcing a policy shift on the issue, accepting the need for state emissions reductions.
Friends of the Earth says the shift is a positive first step.
Mr O'Brien told The Age newspaper that state Emissions Reduction Targets were necessary in the absence of a "consistent national policy."
The Victorian Liberal leader also called on the Morrison government to set national targets for cutting emissions beyond 2030.
Friends of the Earth welcomed the policy shift which comes just weeks before the Andrews government's decision on state Emissions Reduction Targets in March.
Do you want Victoria to be the national leader on climate action?...
Do you think climate policy should be based on science not political expediency?...
Do you want to show the Morrison government what real climate action looks like?...
There’s just ten weeks to influence the Andrews government's decision on state Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and ‘30.
It’s a decision that will set the pace of climate action in Victoria for the next decade and have major implications for energy policy, transport planning, forest protection, and more.
The window of opportunity to influence the decision closing fast so we have to make every day count.
With climate impacts occurring much faster than scientists predicted, the key litmus test for the government is whether the targets help keep global warming below 1.5°C.
Here's what we have in store to demonstrate to strong community support for climate leadership and counter the fossil fuel lobbyists who will be working behind the scenes for loopholes and low ambition.
We’re calling on all community climate champions like you join us on the campaign trail over the next ten weeks so that our call for science-based targets is one that cannot be ignored...
By Alex Kelly
As Australia’s horrific bushfire season continues Alex Kelly shares suggestions for people who want to take action. Alex has been involved in social justice media and art making for over 20 years. During 2014-2016 she worked as the Global Impact & Distribution Producer on Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ project This Changes Everything, supporting the development of movements of movements around the world. She currently has a speculative futures project – The Things We Did Next – and a number of films in development.
A lot of people have messaged me saying “the fires have really rocked me. I’m angry and I want real action on climate but what can I DO?” Here are some initial ideas to get you started.
Please note this article is not about how to respond to these immediate fires, it’s some more long term ideas. I also haven’t included divestment, eco transport, banking ethically, etc, but those kind of actions are fairly easy to find on campaign sites.
I think what we need now is twofold:
1. Strong community adaptation and resilience, and
2. Powerful movements of movements to challenge the planet wreckers and put an urgent end to fossil fuels and extraction.
Firstly, you don’t have to drop what you’re doing; you can start where you are with what you have; use your skills and influence your own networks, friends and workplaces. If we are realistic about climate change it’s clear we need to transform everything about our economy and energy systems so every industry and much of our infrastructure needs to change; you can influence the areas you know and care about.