Remember how 2020 began? Chanting crowds marching across the globe and rallying the troops in response to climate change as bushfires raged out of control across Australia?
Images of the next generation protesting with placards held high are indelibly etched in the minds of those who continue to support the environment-first fight. Many of these protestors have turned to activism online during lockdown, while plenty of people on the Peninsula continue to do their bit by reducing waste, recycling, and searching for sustainable alternatives.
The global pandemic appears to have pushed these concerns to the back of the climate-crisis cupboard momentarily, but looks can be deceiving. Since launching a five-year plan to ensure its operations become carbon-neutral by next year and declaring a climate emergency in 2019, the Mornington Peninsula Shire has been working tirelessly towards a net-zero emissions municipality and is encouraging you to respond to its draft Climate Emergency Plan, which outlines how it is going to do it.
The plan looks 20 years ahead. The first decade offers a map to guide us away from the threatening emergency situation we already find ourselves in, while long-term targets include the reduction of community emissions by 80 per cent and net-zero emissions shire-wide by 2040.
Global warming is real, folks, and the planet is heating up. The Shire’s draft Climate Emergency Plan points out that increasing temperatures, decreasing rainfall, extreme weather conditions and coastal inundation are happening across our region right now. That means you and me and our children are going to be affected unless we do something about it.
Mornington Peninsula Shire believes the choices we make today will determine how we live tomorrow. Mornington Peninsula Magazine agrees. Mayor Sam Hearn said: “We are going to make a safer world, where people and nature thrive. Together. Now.” How? Through leadership and governance; increased climate advocacy; zero-carbon energy; resilient and adaptive communities; sustainable travel, transport and land use; and a circular economy with zero waste. There’s a long road ahead but starting is always the hardest part.
Community consultation on the plan closes on July 15 so you’ve got plenty of time to have your say about our climate future. Just log on to www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/climateemergencyplan, read through and give it a go. If not for yourself, do it for the generations to come.