In 2015 I experienced extreme weather first-hand while living in Gillieston Heights, Maitland. With a two-month-old, and two other children, our suburb was turned into a virtual island following days of torrential rain.
This is honestly the last thing I ever imagined myself doing. I’ve always taken politics seriously, I’ve always carefully considered my vote, but I have never been politically active. But things have never been this desperate. And there’s only one antidote to despair. Action.
Who am I? I’m nobody special. I’m a designer and choir leader from beautiful Scotland Island in the Northern Beaches Council area. I’ve always been ‘green’ and I try to do my bit, but I’ve never taken action before.
At the end of last year something happened that stopped me in my tracks. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was released, and its message was stark: we had less than twelve years to drastically reduce our greenhouse emissions or face irreversible, catastrophic consequences.
Brisbane’s climate emergency declaration vote has fallen short today. It’s a disappointing result, but with a second vote all but certain, now is the time to lift our game.
So many people in Brisbane mobilised to get the climate emergency firmly in the public eye. Whether they signed a petition, emailed a councillor or turned out to the rally today - those efforts matter. Hobart lost its initial vote too, which then ignited a wave of support that led to one of Australia’s first climate emergency declarations. We have laid the groundwork for Brisbane to do the same, and it'll take more people stepping up to take action to make it a reality.
Brisbane City Council is about to vote on whether to declare a climate emergency: a powerful first step to building a future free of disasters like the 2011 floods in Brisbane. Local Break Free Action Group member Jo Owen shares her story and explains why this one matters so much.