Act on Climate collective member, Vicky Ellmore, provides an update on the Nillumbik Shire Council's climate action plan:
Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team (NCEAT) is calling for shire residents to help to get an acknowledgement (or, preferably, a declaration) of a 'climate emergency' in the local council's Climate Action Plan.
The Nillumbik Shire Council is proposing to acknowledge a 'climate emergency' in its draft Climate Action Plan 2022-2032. By taking this step, the council will formally accept the urgency of tackling the climate crisis.
But not everyone agrees it's a good idea. We can presume that conservative political forces are organising to oppose the declaration of a climate emergency.
A strong show of community support is needed for the council to affirm the urgent need to act in its final Climate Action Plan. A show of community support for a stronger stance could see the council change this to a declaration, not merely an acknowledgement.
The Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team (NCEAT) has created a submission guide for residents and the wider community so that they can have a say on the matter.
Why Declare a 'Climate Emergency'?
There are lots of really good things in Nillumbik Shire Council’s draft Climate Action Plan.
The words 'climate emergency' figure prominently right at the beginning of the document, along with a recognition that this situation requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local government. There is a commitment to proactively reduce council’s direct contribution to climate change, and to support the community to do likewise. There is a recognition that this needs to be an all-of-council approach, with climate actions being written into all key council documents and decision-making processes, and into the CEO’s contract.
But there is still work to be done to make this plan much stronger.
The Nillumbik Council has gone for the weaker 'acknowledgement' of climate emergency rather than a 'declaration'. While this distinction may seem nit-picking to some, the Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team considers that it is important to push for the strongest language possible to convey to the community, council staff, other councils, and higher levels of government that the municipality is serious in its commitment to doing all it can to tackle the climate crisis.
The Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team is also pushing for stronger net zero emissions targets for both council and community emissions, with interim targets to ensure a staged approach to decarbonisation, as well as more detailed strategies and indicators to measure progress.
How you can help...
The Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team needs your help to provide feedback to the Nillumbik Shire Council on its draft Climate Action Plan (2022-2032). Let the council know you support an acknowledgement of a climate emergency, but prefer a declaration. To make this quick and easy, local community activists have made a written submission guide to help you with your submission. You can find it here.
If you don’t have time for a full written submission, simply complete the council's online survey. Tick the box in the online survey labelled Support next to Question 1. Do you support Council acknowledging a Climate Emergency? and indicate in the Any Comments section that you would prefer to see the wording changed to a 'Declaration of a Climate Emergency.' This survey guide contains suggestions for additional comments relating to some of the Plan’s focus areas.
The due date for survey comments and written submissions is Sunday 7 November, 2021. To give feedback, go to the Council website’s Participate Nillumbik Taking Climate Action page.
About Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team
The Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team is a group of community members dedicated to the aim of lobbying Nillumbik Shire Council to declare a climate emergency. The group recognises that we need to take emergency action to secure a future for our planet, and it advocates for strong action at the local government level to help deal with this emergency.
It has facilitated and engaged in a number of community events, including a climate forum, The Climate Emergency & Nillumbik Shire: What’s the Story, presentations to Council on the need to declare a Climate Emergency, and participation in St Margaret’s Church Climate in Crisis series.
Nillumbik Climate Emergency Action Team thanks you and Act on Climate for your support. Let’s make the most of this opportunity to get the climate emergency message out there and help make the Climate Action Plan one that we in Nillumbik can be truly proud of.