We are delighted that Bryony Edwards who is running for North East Ward in Darebin Council in Melbourne is joining us.
Bryony has been a huge inspiration for people who work in reversing the climate crisis to step up to run for local government. She and her partner Adrian Whitehead have been active in this space for a number of years, setting up CACE – Community and Council Action in the Climate Emergency, participating in Darebin City Council’s community reference group and establishing the political party called Save The Planet in which they have attracted other candidates and have themselves run for election under.
Thanks to a campaign by a small number of people including Bryony and Adrian, Darebin City Council was the first local government globally to declare a climate emergency and to create a city wide strategic plan in response. There are now 1,780 councils who have followed Darebin’s leadership to declare a climate emergency.
In March 2020, Bryony gave an inspiring talk about why people who want real action on the climate should run for local government at the Sustainable Living Festival in Geelong put on by Transition Streets Geelong. She gave even more detail on this inspiring call to action in an episode of The Sustainable Hour which is available as a podcast.
Bryony has had a major influence on the establishment of our campaign as people realise that climate action in our region depends on having councillors who are prepared to deal with the reality of what we are facing. We feel very grateful for her influence and that she is now joining us with her many years of experience and a track record of successfully influencing her community, her Council and many others around the world.
When climate risks are so high, short term actions matter most
Scientists say that the evidence from tipping points alone suggests that “we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute… If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization”.
And they warn that we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. That risk requires our immediate and undivided attention, because everything is at stake.
The short term matters most. Kicking the can down the road to 2050 is the wrong focus.
“When water becomes the same price as gold, the wealthy will always be able to afford it. But those people who are on the margins, less wealthy, who are working pay to pay and struggling to put food on the table, those are the people who are first affected by climate change. The people in my ward are such an important group of people, and I really want them to understand that I will represent them in Council. I will be a voice for them – to support everybody to get on board and make a change for the environment.” ~ Monique Connell, ‘Put Climate First’ candidate for the Windermere Ward at the Geelong Council elections
Hi legends and welcome to the Put Climate First page!
You’re probably wondering who we are and what we’re about, so let us not beat around the bush. We are four women who have decided to run as candidates in the upcoming Geelong Council elections in 2020.
Why? Honestly, we’re not the type of folks to do this kind of thing, but each of us reached a tipping point somewhere between May 2019 and January 2020 when thousands of people (including us) marched the Geelong streets to try and raise our concerns regarding a lack of action on climate change.
Unfortunately, it took two massive protests, devastating bushfires and 200 people in the gallery during council meetings for the council to declare a climate emergency, despite our position being backed by an incredible amount of scientific evidence.
Somewhere around this time, each of us felt somewhat disappointed in the council’s leadership, and that’s not the first time our council had made us feel like our leaders had not been an ideal reflection of who we are as a vibrant community of amazing people.
Each of us were already trying to tackle the local issues of our community by walking our talk, yet we felt that this wasn’t enough to create real changes to a system that was failing our most vulnerable.
So… here we are, running for council to make a change and fix that we feel is broken.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. If everyone takes that approach, we can do anything.” ~ Zali Steggall, independent member of the Australian Parliament
Climate change isn’t the only concern we have for Geelong’s future, and we each have expertise in our own different areas, but all of us align on our need for a future that brings sustainable growth, jobs, tourism and technology to our pretty city, for our families, friends and for the environment.
Please join us in our campaign to make a difference.
Please visit our candidate profile pages for more information on our individual platforms and check out our Facebook pages for campaign updates hot off the press.
Advice from the United Nations chief: “Take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions.”
“Australia does not need any new polluting fossil fuels. Coal and gas are expensive, polluting and a poor public investment. Only a renewables-led future makes economic sense. Propping up failing fossil fuels is a waste of taxpayers’ money.” ~ Greg Bourne, Climate Councillor and former ARENA Chair. ARENA is a federal government body facilitating innovation and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies
Transition Streets coordinator and Bellarine Ward candidate Monica Winston is in the 4 September edition of the Geelong Independent newspaper, discussing her work educating people on sustainable practices, building edible gardens, and her legendary one-eyed ginger cat Pumpkin.
The climate crisis is not an “issue” – it is an emergency. Climate emergency is the term thousands of scientists say most accurately describes the situation facing humanity.
Neither local, state, federal governments nor the media treat it like one. We say like Greta Thunberg: This needs to change. And the change starts with us.
In business and finance, people are moving millions of dollars away from fossil fuels and investing in clean energy. People are moving food growing to the cities where they can save energy, water and transport, and they are planting millions of trees and shrubs to cool the climate and bring back wildlife. More sustainable forms of transport and ways of working are saving us money and improving the quality of our lives.
With Covid-19, we have shown we can act fast to keep people alive and well, and we can do the same when we put climate first in all our decisions.
We will show our kids that their future matters to us, and we will create thousands of new jobs in new businesses for all.
Geelong Council is the biggest regional council in Victoria. Every decision we make will either increase global warming or reverse it. We have enormous power when we put climate first in every decision i.e. roads, rubbish, rates, the arts, heritage and culture, economic development, education and training, environment, health and wellbeing, planning and services, sport and recreation, and transport.
Close to 100 Australian councils have started their plans to reverse global warming. We want Geelong to join them. We can be leaders in measuring and accountability, showing the world how fast we can reach our goals when we put climate first – in every decision.