By Luke Taylor
Forget the election for a moment, there’s something bigger happening.
While much of the focus has been on the election, a new wave of climate awakening continues to grow across many parts of Australia and around the world.
Now spreading into a major international movement that started in Australia, local communities, together with their governments are on the move as they recognise the gravity of the climate threat and start to implement real local solutions.
Now, over 500 governments - local, state and national - have officially declared a climate emergency paving the way for more focused and widespread climate action. Governments serving over 65 million people including Los Angeles, Ireland, Wales, London, Geneva and Vancouver have all declared a climate emergency and have commenced developing their own action plans to support their local communities to transition.
Despite a conservative government being in power, the UK became the first national parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency.
While, back on the home front, the ACT government has joined the growing number of local councils to become the first Australian state or territory to make a declaration of a climate emergency.
These critical declarations could be the first sign that communities and their governments are beginning to face the true level of risk, and are willing to respond locally while pushing up to initiate declarations at state and federal levels of government.
This is one of the most a significant series of events for climate action in recent years with new declarations announced almost every day. And the momentum is fuelling the beginning of a paradigm shift across broader society as thought leaders and commentators begin to call for super national action.
Sure, many big challenges remain for us to overcome, as there's clearly a need to engage much deeper and more effectively with all Australians. But, let's also use the momentum that is building and uphold the full scale and speed of action we need to achieve a safe and just transition.
As we move into yet another critical phase, SLF will continue to reflect on these significant local and international events. Right now, we are working on developing new and engaging ways to help support communities shape the type of response to the emergency that they want to see as we energise for a safe climate within the decade.
Luke Taylor, Director, Sustainable Living Foundation