With progress on climate action sluggish at the global and national levels, many concerned Australians are turning their attention and energy to local activities.
In September 2019, School Strike 4 Climate Australia saw students striking from their classes – demanding politicians take their futures seriously. Organised by young people at a grassroots level, the strike united an estimated 300,000 people across 100 cities and towns in Australia. It’s part of a growing popular activist movement driven by everyday Australians.
Ballarat is an example of a local community where motivated citizens are making real change happen. For many years, a local action group named BREAZE has been at the forefront of climate action in the region. Through various action groups – and through intervention in residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors – they’re working towards a zero emissions 2030.
In this conversation, we'll learn about the practical steps that have been taken in Ballarat – what's working, what's not and what's next on the agenda. We'll hear about different community-based environmental initiatives across the world and discuss how local climate action can be part of global solutions.
Presented in partnership with Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute.
Kira Dawson is a 17-year-old student currently completing year 12. She has been involved in SS4C (School Strike for Climate) and BA4CC (Ballarat Actions for Climate Co-op) as part of the global youth led movement towards addressing climate change and reaching climate justice.
Prue Bentley is the chief of staff for ABC Ballarat and Southwest Victoria, overseeing the development of broadcast and digital content for two regional Victorian bureaus.
As a broadcaster and reporter of 12 years, Prue has produced and presented local radio programmes across Australia and news programmes syndicated to the Asia-Pacific region.
Peter J. Reid OAM has been actively involved in the environmental movement for the past six years as Treasurer of Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE). In conjunction with other members of the BREAZE community, Peter has been involved in taking local action through the Social Solar by BREAZE program. Social Solar by BREAZE has facilitated the installation of 70kW of Solar PV on not-for-profit premises. Peter has also been involved in the Community Power Hub project which has seen the installation of 300kW of Solar PV.
Vanessa has extensive experience leading policy, strategy and infrastructure planning, specialising in sustainability. Well known for being a collaborator, Vanessa brings people, knowledge and ideas together to spark the change we need in a zero carbon world.
Vanessa joined Beyond Zero Emissions in early 2017, and in that time has partnered with her team to successfully launch Rethinking Cement, Electrifying Industry, The 10 Gigawatt Vision, Collie at the Crossroads, Zero Carbon Communities Guide and the 2018 Australian Local Government Climate Review.
Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.
Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.
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