Coast Seniors keen to make a difference on climate change
OF MORE than 1600 people to complete Central Coast Council's online Climate Change Survey, 67 per cent were over 50.
That's an outstanding general response and shows, in particular, Seniors' keen interest in this issue, according to Mayor Jane Smith.
The mayor said as well as the impact of climate change on themselves, Seniors focussed on the legacy they would leave for their children and grandchildren.
The main two areas of concern identified were increasing temperatures and rising water levels.
The mayor is keen for Seniors to take part in the next step, with a series of community workshops in each ward across February and March to build understanding around climate change and gain feedback on how the public wants to be involved in future planning around council's Draft Climate Change Policy.
"We want to have this conversation with the community, to hear their concerns, discuss what action on climate change might mean and how we can respond to it," the mayor said.
"We want them to be involved every step of the way."
"Mitigating" and "adapting" are the key words as council looks to reduce the Coast's greenhouse gas emissions now and into the future, working towards net zero emissions by 2050, while recognising and adjusting some aspects to the changes we know are already occurring.
The mayor said while many older members of the community recalled extreme weather events of the past, climate change made these events - heatwaves, drought, severe storms and flooding - manifest in more extreme ways and more frequently.
It was important to recognise long-term trends, including that only one of Australia's hottest 10 years occurred before 2005, according to Bureau of Meteorology records.
The mayor said the survey and workshops were just the beginning of high level-policy, dealing with managing risks, planning infrastructure and facilities, and building community resilience to respond to the effects of climate change.
"This is not just an environmental issue, it's also a huge economic issue," Cr Smith said, pointing to the cost of responding to emergency situations, damage to infrastructure and the social impact.
She wants residents to understand why their rates may be allocated to certain areas in order to alleviate future problems, and work with council in planning.
"Doing nothing is really not an option," she said.
Her statement reflects what global environmental, political and business leaders made clear at the recent World Economic Forum, that lack of action on climate change poses our greatest threat.
"David Attenborough, one of our most revered and respected elders, is calling for action on climate change and saying we don't have time to wait," Cr Smith said.
She is keen for the council to lead by example, and points to its existing program of generating electricity from waste to reduce its carbon footprint, producing enough renewable energy to power more than 4500 homes last financial year, as just the start.
"We need real actions and I am looking forward to seeing how the community respond to and engage with this policy as we work together to find the best way to tackle the effects of climate change and make positive change here on the Coast," the mayor said.
Public exhibition of the Draft Climate Change Policy continues until Friday, March 15.
Workshops will be held from 6-8.30pm at:
- The Entrance Ward: Wednesday, February 20, Mingara Recreation Club.
- Gosford East Ward: Tuesday, February 26, Erina Centre, Erina Fair.
- Gosford West Ward: Wednesday, February 27, Mantra Ettalong.
- Budgewoi Ward: Thursday, March 7, Camp Breakaway, San Remo.
- Wyong Ward: Wednesday, March 13, Wyong Civic Centre.
To register for a workshop and receive a Climate Change Community Information Pack, go to yourvoiceourcoast.com/climatechange or phone 1300 463954.