Time for action is now
The Benalla Sustainable Future Group is providing a regular column to The Ensign. This week it is calling on all levels of government to take more action on climate change.
Those of us seeking urgent action from governments to tackle climate change, ask “Why, won’t, or can’t they accept the scientific, or even the experiential evidence, that is telling us that something is terribly wrong with our climate?”
Is it normal that:• A location near Agnes Waters in Queensland had more than 400ml of rain in three hours in February;
• A Kimberley cattle station had more than 600ml of rain and 80,000 lightning flashes in 24 hours;
• Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia had half its annual rainfall in one hour in January (160ml);
• The UK was recently battered by storms with winds up to 180km/h; and • Lytton in Canada, 50 degrees north of the equator, experienced a temperature of 49.5ºC, and was then wiped out by wildfires?
These are a snapshot of the extreme events that have become commonplace around the world.
Despite some of these events being close to home, and the evidence pointing the finger squarely at our profligate use of fossil fuels in the following areas:
• To produce power, in transportation;
• In manufacturing plastics; and
• As a primary cause of climate change.
Why is our Federal Government continuing to hand out massive grants to fossil fuel companies to help them explore and extract more of the same destructive commodities?
At the same time, the government procrastinates about implementing already available and proven solutions to the climate crisis.
It is not just the responsibility of the Federal Government to lead the way, however — state and local governments must also play their parts by modifying their own operations and by encouraging their communities to do likewise — through leadership and example.
In September 2021, Benalla Rural City Council was presented with a petition signed by 600 Benalla residents, asking it to declare a Climate Emergency, and to develop plans for Benalla to reach net-zero emissions by 2030.
Council rejected that request, commenting “why declare an emergency, when we are already doing things to reduce our emissions?”
Neighbouring councils including Indigo, Alpine, Strathbogie and Shepparton have all published their policies to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 or 2035.
There are many areas that we as a community need to consider in tackling this climate emergency.
Health issues, food security, liveability, future transportation systems (and associated employment transition needs), are just some of the concerns that must be addressed now — not when it is too late.
Planning new housing subdivisions in Benalla must include green spaces, appropriate building materials, energy-efficient housing designs, water-conservation measures, and connectivity to the rest of the city for bikes or public transport.
Existing enterprises that service the current fuel-based vehicle industries, must be given support by all levels of government to transition to the electric vehicle age — again, not when it is too late, but by starting the process now.
Benalla Sustainable Future Group is distributing free signs and bumper stickers to local residents with the message “Climate Action Now” — as a reminder that we need to take action immediately.
If you would like to display a sign or sticker, or participate in other ways, email your details to