Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Rounds of applause and cheers for joy were heard in council chambers last night as Bayside City Council unanimously declared a Climate Emergency.
Council told the packed gallery that they will take meaningful action to address local impacts of climate change and is also calling on the State and Federal Government for funding and support to develop effective climate change initiatives.
Mayor, Cr Clarke Martin said in the absence of leadership from both State and Federal, it’s important for local councils to step up and take the lead to ensure a safe and sustainable world now, and for future generations.
“Bayside is a coastal municipality and with 17km of shoreline vulnerable to sea-level rise and storm surges, we are already experiencing first-hand the effects of climate change.” Cr Martin said.
“As the level of government closest to the community, we’re hearing the rallying calls of our passionate residents who are voicing their concerns about the lack of government action on climate change.
“Our residents can be proud to live in Bayside because they’re living in an environmentally conscious municipality with a convicted and focused council who will be relentless on this issue.”
Council will now build on its already significant carbon reducing initiatives. It will also develop a Climate Emergency Action Plan. This will be done with community involvement, to address and prioritise action on global warming.
Bayside City Council is already minimising its greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and solar panels, and will switch its electricity to renewable sources, to achieve carbon neutrality in 2020.
More than 2000 residents signed a petition for Council to declare a Climate Emergency, showing significant community support in Bayside.
A number of speakers, some as young as 9 years old, passionately presented to Council asking for a declaration of a Climate Emergency including members from the Bayside Climate Crisis Action Group (BCCAG) who have been advocating to Council to address climate change.
In recognition of the Climate Emergency, BCCAG will form a network of community groups to work together and support Bayside Council’s next steps.
BCCAG President, David Rothfield said he and group members were pleased with Council’s decision.
“It’s a cause for celebration and a big relief that the urgent nature of the climate situation is being recognised. Before you can deal with a crisis, you have to recognise a crisis is happening,” Mr Rothfield said.
“We were hoping for a while that the change would come from the top down but that hasn’t been the case. We’ve lobbied Bayside City Council because it is the level of government closest to us.”
Bayside City Council is the 22nd Council in Victoria to declare a Climate Emergency, joining over 840 local governments globally.
Bayside joins other member Councils in the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) to declare a Climate Emergency.
Click here to learn more about the Climate Emergency.