Where is the leadership?
by Andrew Tidswell, Blackwood Sustainable Communities Group
This article appeared on page 5 of Adelaide East Herald, 6 May 2021
We are fortunate that many of our councils (Cities of Adelaide, Burnside, Campbelltown and Mitcham among 8 in metropolitan Adelaide) have declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and are developing actions to address climate change in our local communities. We are fortunate that we have a state government that is committed to zero emissions by 2050 and is developing policies and actions to achieve this.
Sadly we have been let down by our national government that continues to trot out simple slogans and dodgy figures instead of setting targets and making commitments.
We are fortunate that Australian businesses and industries are forging ahead with their own targets and actions towards net zero emissions by 2050.
At US President Joe Biden’s recent climate summit the world’s major economies committed to stronger targets and policies to reduce carbon pollution, many vowing to halve emissions by 2030. The world is undertaking a major re-set on climate action while our federal government announces pretend actions and slogans.
Failure to plan for the necessary transition to the new renewable economy with new jobs and opportunities will leave us languishing, wondering what has happened. In the face of this short-sightedness where do we look for leadership and what can we do?
Get involved with the local council
Find out about their actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to a changing climate
Support initiatives to increase tree canopy cover and protect existing trees. There are five recognised Tree Cities of the World in Australia, three locally (Burnside, Mitcham and Unley). These are acknowledged as demonstrating leadership in managing their urban trees
Get to know council environmental staff and local councillors to make your voice heard and see what opportunities there are to become involved
Join an environmental group – find a local group that aligns with your passions, or start one up.
Make a difference – undertake actions in daily life that can make a difference, and provide an example for others.
Talk to your member of parliament – despite what I said about the lack of effective action from our federal government, it is still important to advocate for better actions from our members of parliament. They need to know that the public takes these matters seriously.
In the words of Greta Thunberg, ‘Action is what creates hope’.