|Photo credit: Destination Wollongong

My name is Naia and I am a student from Wollongong. I’m asking for support for our local campaign for our council, Wollongong, to declare a climate emergency and move all council operations to 100% renewable. 

For a long time, I felt helpless to the changes I saw around me; coral bleaching, species going extinct, peoples’ homes being destroyed by ever-intensifying extreme weather. I struggled to see how I could fulfill my life dreams of travelling and having a job, home and family of my own in a world due to expire within my lifetime.

But I was empowered to act on climate change when I realised the power ordinary people hold to make change. From there, Emma Watson’s paraphrased Hillel quote sums up my mentality best; “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Councils do a lot of things here, like garbage collection and keeping the street lights on, and they employ heaps of people. And wouldn’t it be amazing if all of these things were powered by 100% renewable energy?

This movement is gathering momentum every day, and it’s inspiring to watch. You only have to turn on the news to know that a tide of local governments are lining up  to do what their federal governments refuse to do – to look a problem in the face and start taking meaningful action to fix it.

From Paris to Sydney, Auckland to Noosa, more than 160 million people are now represented by a local government that has stepped up and called the climate emergency for what it is, and many of them are also taking concrete steps to shift to 100% renewable energy. Just yesterday Launceston became the latest council to declare. I want Wollongong to be next!

Locals from Helensburgh to Dapto have signed our petition, and I’m working with others to build a local group so we can fight the climate crisis today, to ensure a brighter future tomorrow.

It’s up to us to seize this moment to make meaningful change, to demand our elected representatives tell the truth about the climate emergency and begin immediately moving away from coal.

We simply don’t have time to wait for them. And we are not. We will overcome the political and corporate system that enables and protects the fossil fuel industry, and transform it – with or without them. 

Together, we – the Australian people – are sounding the alarm from the ground up. Already the climate revolution has begun in our communities. Street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, city by city. 

Let’s keep the wave of action going!

Writen by Naia, a member of the Break Free group in Wollongong