Thursday, September 13, 2018

Report on Darebin Climate Emergency Conference

The last two days - 11-12 September - I attended the Darebin climate emergency conference in northern Melbourne suburb of Northcote. I was one of 350 people that registered and attended. Some good speeches and presentations, interesting panel discussions and useful one-on-one conversations.

This was Darebin Council hosting and facilitating this conference as part of it's climate emergency strategy and plan. There were a small number of councillors from other cities present including the Deputy Mayor of neighbouring municipality of Moreland, and other organisations. But mostly local people and people from neighbouring suburbs. I saw Lidia Thorpe, the local Greens State MP there, but no other state or federal politicians.

There were four objectives presented which the conference workshopped using a digital app and workshop time on the afternoon of day 2, into 3 resolutions per objective, 12 resolutions in all. (there are photos of each objective and the associated resolutions)

Objective 1: Identify opportunities to work with other councils and organisations on actions/solutions which address the climate emergency

Objective 2: Build understanding of the climate emergency and possible responses to this.

Objective 3: Identify opportunities for local community climate emergency action

Objective 4: Encourage commitments from participants and participant organisations to act on the climate emergency

And after the final plenary I played a small part that evening in asking a question on the Climate Emergency motion moved by Cr Dale Martin at the Moreland Council meeting. After some debate Moreland Council passed the resolution unanimously acknowledging we are in a state of climate emergency and starting a framework for implementing this decision.

It is Important to build and campaign from the grassroots, not be afraid of bold messaging, because we are rapidly running out of time to have agency. The last couple of years I have attended council meetings in the public gallery, asked occasional questions, and built up a rapport with Councillors to varying extents. My presence provides witness to all decisions needing to take into account possible climate mitigation and adaptation impacts.

I encourage others to attend Council meetings, engage with Councillors on issues related to climate mitigation and adaptation. Because we are dealing with concrete impacts, and concrete solutions you can often find common ground no matter the ideological background. It's all about having the conversations about public safety and duty of care.

Here are some photographic highlights from the 2 days of Climate Emergency Darebin conference:

Darebin Climate Emergency Conference