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?...
Act on Climate were set to hold our Week of Action this week, with lots of events, demonstrations, and actions planned to demonstrate our commitment to climate action.
In the midst of the major public health scare posed by the coronavirus, we made the call that now is not the best time to be gathering in groups - even if it is for the crucial cause of climate action.
Although these actions can't go ahead right now, why not get inspired by the hard work of climate activists and the awesome actions to come?
Spell it out is a grassroots action calling on schools all around Melbourne to send a message to our leaders that spells out loud and clear what we need to do about climate change.
Kids at each of the schools will make a human sign spelling '100%', letting leaders know that 100% renewables by 2030 is a goal we need to get serious about if we're serious about tackling climate change.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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...
- Brought together Friends of the Earth collectives for the final push on Emissions Reduction Targets.
- Distributed a statement from Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action to MPs on the steps of Parliament.
- Briefed Labor government MPs about the need for targets to help keep global warming below 1.5C.
- Took action on the streets of Melbourne to defend the community’s hard-won moratorium on gas drilling.
- Secured statewide media attention with a human sign on the doorstep of the Premier’s electorate.
- Facilitated a meeting between the Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action and Minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
- Gave testimony to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into community action on climate change.
- Met with EnergyAustralia to call on them to publicly support science-based targets.
- Secured regional media with a human sign at the iconic Hepburn Wind farm.
- Held market stalls, delivered public presentations, and more.
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.