By Monica Winston
Thanks to everyone who voted for me and who voted for any Put Climate First alliance candidates or who helped us out in any way including allowing us to put signs outside your house, putting signs up for us, conducting interviews, donating money, graphic design, sharing posts etc. Especially thanks to Mik, Tony and Colin from The Sustainable Hour who supported us hugely as our goals are the same.
Also thanks to anyone else who ran for election with a campaign for immediate action on reversing the climate crisis. Nothing else will ensure the continuity of life on our planet. After decades of inaction, we now have 10 years to complete the bulk of this so we need to start NOW.
As an alliance of 7 women across 4 municipalities, 6 of whom have never run for election before and the seventh Bryony Edwards in the City of Darebin in Melbourne who encouraged a room full of people to run for council in Geelong in March (not to mention her calls to action on many many occasions), our goal was to:
1. Change the pre election conversation to the need for immediate climate action on the climate and ecological emergency and to educate the public and normalise what is needed in our 4 points ie:
*Zero Emissions by 2030,
*Localise Goods and Services,
*Regenerate Ecosystems (to “drawdown” the last few decades of CO2, provide habitat and safe food growing options and regenerate soils away from the current move towards permanent desertification…(see doco Kiss The Ground if you need more info on this)
2. Give people options to vote to Put Climate First for those who may not vote for a candidate from a political party for various reasons
3. Educate other candidates who may be unaware what the climate status quo is or what we can do about it
4. Get a candidate/s elected to work at local government to ensure we get the action we need now that climate emergency declarations have been made (by 3 out of the 4 councils as Colac Otway have not yet declared it which is why Susan Langridge would have been such a fantastic councillor)
We are delighted that we seem to have achieved all 4 especially now that Belinda Moloney has been elected in Kardinia Ward, Geelong. She is a brilliant professional woman with a PHD and her feet firmly on the ground having grown her own food for many years and also is highly educated and respected in her workplace as an educator. She is hard working, open minded and keen to learn and represent the best interests of all. A great asset to have in council and another woman totalling 4 now.
Congratulations to the people in Torquay Ward who were elected, especially to Kate Gazzard who got the highest vote and stands for Zero emissions by 2030 as a Greens councillor. Also congratulations to Liz Pattinson, Rose Hodge and Paul Barker. May you deliver the action we need and have the insight and courage to say no to anything that is not. Also congratulations to the others who ran, some of whom were previously councillors and devoted many hours of your time to working for the electorate in the way you saw best.
Also congratulations to the others elected in Surf Coast Shire (all women!) and to those re-elected in Geelong. May the Geelong, Surfcoast, Colac Otway and Darebin councils truly deliver inspiring targets and milestones that match what is needed in the climate crisis. Nothing else is acceptable. As elected servants to the people of this region, your job is to make sure you do what is needed to take care of the people and species here. There is literally NO time to waste.
Lastly thanks to our support team which includes my fellow candidates who’ve all been wonderful courageous women who’ve been willing to step up and devote your time and money (with support from family and friends) and to confront your fears in order to do what most people wouldn’t dare ie to put yourself out there for the greater good and to be a conduit for the natural world to have a voice. I can proudly say I have done everything I could possibly think of to do at this point in time and will have no regrets.
Monica Winston, Torquay