Day of Action (4/2/20): Quiet Australians demand urgent climate change action

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“The bushfires have been devastating this year. I can’t believe what’s happened”.
It would be difficult to find an Australian who has not thought or said this recently.
Bushfires have affected every state and territory in 2019 and many continue to ravage large parts of Australia, uncontained.
 
They have caused:

  • tragic loss of life – both human and wildlife.
  • severe damage to property and our natural landscape.
  • significant air pollution which is being felt as far away as New Zealand.
  • unquantified damage that will be felt for many generations, including psychological trauma and catastrophic loss of irreplaceable biodiversity and natural habitats.

These bushfires are not finished yet. And they will come again. We will all be affected in some way – directly or indirectly.
 
“I’ve always wanted to do something about climate change but don’t know where to start”. 

Have you had this thought, especially during recent catastrophic fire events that have affected Australia with unprecedented tragedy?
 
What’s the link between climate change and the bushfires?
 
The Climate Council (Australia) has found that “The catastrophic, unprecedented fire conditions currently affecting NSW and Queensland have been aggravated by climate change. Bushfire risk was exacerbated by record breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, and record-breaking heat” (Climate Council Briefing Paper, 12 November 2019, ‘This is Not Normal: Climate change and escalating bushfire risk’, available here).
 
It goes on to state that bushfire seasons have lengthened so much that it is becoming more difficult and costly to prevent and then fight fires. And we are only in 2019/20. Climate change will continue to affect our planet for decades to come.
 
What is the Australian government doing about it?
 
In short:

  • there is no change to existing climate change policy.
  • state-based agencies have operational control over managing existing emergency events.
  • the federal government is providing support where requested by the states.

You can watch the Prime Minister’s media statement here.
 
What action needs to happen now? What will this petition achieve?
 
Both houses of the Australian Parliament (Senate and House of Representatives) are scheduled to sit for the first time in 2020 on Tuesday 4 February.
 
This petition has two parts:

  1. To call for members of the public from every state and territory around Australia to assemble in Canberra on 4 February in a peaceful demonstration demanding our federal MPs and Senators prioritise urgent and radical climate change measures (see belowto be implemented in 2020, and
  2. To enable those who cannot travel to Canberra on 4 February to add their voice to this demonstration, with those assembling in Canberra representing those who cannot be there.

We propose the “urgent and radical climate change measures” consist of:

  • Immediately increase Australia’s international commitment to reduce its net Greenhouse Gas Emissions to zero by 2050 in line with over 70 countries that have made the same commitment (IISD, 24/9/19).
  • Implement domestic policy to achieve this goal as soon as possible, including increasing the Renewable Energy Target.
  • Ban all coal mining in Australia, including the proposed Adani mine.

What happens after signing this petition?
 
Those who can make it to Canberra on 4 February:

  • Contact your Federal MP and state Senators to let them know you are coming.
  • Ask them to meet with you on the day.
  • We will conduct a peaceful demonstration at Parliament House to demand “Net Zero Emissions by 2050, and Ban All Coal Mining”. 

Those who cannot make it to Canberra on 4 February:

  • We will represent you in person on 4 February.

It is time for the Quiet Australians to make their voices heard in Canberra.

(Note: after signing the petition we will email you to ask if you will be attending the demonstration or not).