A PETITION calling for the immediate declaration of a climate emergency and signed by more than 2000 people will be presented to the South Gippsland Shire Council tomorrow.
Organised by Prom Area Climate Action (PACA), the petition says dangerous climate change is happening now and is accelerating and that this demands action at a pace far beyond business and politics as usual.
The 2031 petitioners are calling on the council to take the lead within the South Gippsland community in implementing urgent action on climate change.
PACA called on the previous elected council to declare a climate emergency in May 2019. However, the council was sacked by the state government and the subsequently appointed administrators declined to act on PACA’s call for a climate emergency declaration.
Lead petitioner Veronique Hamilton will present the petition to council during tomorrow’s public presentation session .
She said she was “doing this for my young daughter”.
Council does not enter into discussions with presenters or make decisions in public presentation sessions.
Signatories want council to require all its business and activity reports to include a section on climate implications, both for the council’s own operations and for the broader South Gippsland community.
PACA’s Dr Jo Wainer said the climate emergency was “the biggest threat to our way of life in our times”.
“The coronavirus pandemic is but a symptom, a fraction of the threat of global heating,” she said.
“We know climate change is already affecting the fundamentals of how we live in South Gippsland,” Dr Wainer said.
“There is less rainfall, the land is heating, the sea is warming, the flowers bloom and seed at times that no longer fit with the needs of the birds and insects. Bushfires leave forests and communities in ruins. The insects are dying. We have but a handful of years to stop destroying nature if we are to continue to farm, fish, and enjoy this beautiful land.”
She said putting a strategy in place to manage the risk of climate heating was essential to ensure council managed the risks to its own business, and planned for the financial implications.
“We know what needs to be done. We have the tools to do it. It is urgent that the South Gippsland Shire Council takes up its responsibility to move to carbon neutral practice across its operations immediately. Denial and delay have brought us to the brink, and now we have no time to lose,” Dr Wainer said.
Further information on the Climate Emergency Declaration and on PACA can be obtained by emailing promareaclimateaction@gmail.com.
Prom Area Climate Action is the South Gippsland independent community group of the Australian Conservation Foundation.