One hour audio excerpt of the three hour council meeting

Is it possible to recognise climate change as a global emergency and order a newly built bike lane demolished at one and the same council meeting? Well. Geelong Council managed to do just that on 25 February 2020. The late evening debate in the chamber split the 11 councillors in two specific groups, just like it did five months ago, when a motion to declare a climate emergency was discussed and then turned down – at that time influenced by a tiny but loud minority who had been contacting councillors in that powerful Group of Six, which de facto runs the city. Geelong is now set to lose an important part of its new so-called ‘Green Spine’ in its central business district. Shortly after the first etape of the infrastructure project was completed in Malop Street, including two new safe bike lanes, six out of eleven councillors at City Hall decided to spend $2 million on demolishing one of the two bike lanes and turn it into car parking space. The decision-making process, which was labelled as ‘impulsive’ and misjudged by the councillors who objected to the decision, resembles exactly how it has been possible that the ambitious bike lane plans for Swanston Street and High Street ended up being watered down and in some road stretches were cancelled completely. With this move, Geelong has once again consolidated its reputation as a city with lousy and dangerous infrastructure for cyclists and e-scooters. As you will hear if you listen to the audio excerpt below or see the live-streamed video from the meeting at Geelong City Hall, it didn’t happen without strong objections from five of Geelong Council’s eleven councillors. In an attempt to politely reject Councillor Eddy Kontelj‘s notice of motion and its suggestion to remove one of the two newly established bikelanes in Malop Street, Geelong Concillor Jim Mason proposed an amendment to the motion, which would keep the best of Kontelj’s suggestions and ideas for improvements, but which removed the order to demolish one of the bikelanes. One hour audio excerpt of the three hour council meeting The audio recording is an excerpt of the almost one hour long debate in the chamber on 25 February 2020.  In the second part of the audio excerpt from the Council Meeting, we hear councillor’s comments to the Sustainability Framework, which included a climate emergency declaration. The full three-hour video recording of the meeting can be found here.

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Malop street action – Emergency meetup

Wednesday 4 March 2020 at 6pm Novotel, 10-14 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong A meetup of riders and people concerned about the Council’s decision to scrap the bicycle lane on the Malop street green spine. This meeting is for anyone wanting to have input into activities or events in protest of the council decision. Everyone welcome. Hosted by Bicycle Users Geelong Facebook event page: Council’s climate emergency declaration was discussed in The Sustainable Hour no 302:
Geelong grapples with its climate emergency declaration
→ Bay 93.0 FM – 25 February 2020: Council votes on climate emergency

Geelong Council declares a climate emergency

On 25 February 2020, Geelong Council passed a motion to approve a proposed Sustainability Framework unanimously. The motion text included, as the first point, a climate emergency declaration: “Council ….endorse the priority actions including but not limited to recognising climate change as a global emergency.”

This ends our year-long campaign for a local government #ClimateEmergencyDeclaration in Geelong. At the same time, it has left local climate action activists unsure whether or not to celebrate. Stay tuned!


→ Bay 93.0 FM – 25 February 2020:
Council votes on climate emergency


Biggest parliamentary e-petition in Australian history

You can still add your name to the 330,000 other Australians calling on parliament to declare a climate emergency – it closes on 16 October 2019:

“On September 20th, more than 300,000 Australians protested around the country, uniting with millions worldwide to demand that our governments take serious and immediate action.

You may have already seen a number of petitions circulating on social media, however there is an official parliamentary e-petition that closes on 16th October.

This petition already has close to 330,000 signatures, which is the biggest parliamentary e-petition in Australian history. The more signatures we can add, the loader the voice!

The link to this petition is below. Please sign if you haven’t already, and if you can spare 2mins please share this link on social media and ask any of your family, friends and colleagues to also sign and share!

While petitions don’t change everything on their own, it shows our politicians that there are hundreds of thousands of voters who care about this issue, and it adds to the growing momentum of people demanding action!

Best wishes
Jason Gardner, Mornington Peninsula”

   . . .

Media coverage:

→ ABC Triple J – 10 October 2019:
‘Climate emergency’ petition to Parliament reaches 300K signatures. Will it do anything?

→ SBS News – 30 September 2019:
Climate emergency e-petition secures parliamentary record

Geelong Council petitions – still running

942 have signed our petition to City of Greater Geelong Council. Let’s get to 1,000!

727 have signed Greenpeace’s Breakfree from Fossil Fuels petition to City of Greater Geelong Council. Let’s get to 1,000!

“It was a vote against humanity”

For: Sarah Mansfield, Jim Mason, Peter Murrihy, Pat Murnane, Bruce Harwood
Against: Stephanie Asher, Kylie Grzybek, Eddy Kontelj, Ron Nelson, Anthony Aitken, Trent Sullivan

Watch the video recording of the meeting here

200 people from all walks of life and all ages in the Geelong community had come to witness their Councillors’ discussion about whether or not to declare the city in a climate emergency.

After three hours debate, with many residents standing all this time at the back and sides of the room, Geelong Council decided to vote six against five for a softer amendment of Councillor Sarah Mansfield’s motion to declare a climate emergency – an amendment which replaced all mention of the term ‘climate emergency’ with ‘climate change’, and removed its sense of urgency to take action, but apart from that more or less left the rest of the text just like it was originally proposed by Cr Mansfield.

Councillor Jim Mason seconded Cr Mansfield’s motion, and they both spoke at length and with great passion about why they felt this is was something Council needed to do.

However, what we witnessed in the city hall chambers this evening was not a debate about climate and ecological breakdown – rather, this was Australian politics at play. The game had been decided on long before the Councillors even entered the room. Deals had been made, votes had been bought.

The speeches were interesting nevertheless. Sometimes they became personal and highly emotional. Some big words flew through the chambers this evening – about extinction. Extermination. Vested interest. And of course, about party-politics.

Councillor Ron Nelson felt he had to repeat three times that Council work is about ‘rates, roads and rubbish’. Not climate change. (And not libraries? – a topic Cr Nelson has run a passionate community campaign for).

The question was not climate action versus climate inaction. It was a question of Liberals versus the Greens, and which of the two parties would be setting the agenda.

The councillor who spoke last, and who had the deciding vote, Cr. Anthony Aitken from Windermere Ward, said he had decided to vote for the softer amendment because he had noticed the ‘climate emergency’ term had become so ‘divisive’ among the Councillors.

Another councillor, Kylie Grzybek, similarly stated that the climate emergency message would ‘divide the community’.

“In climate terms, time is running out. The climate deniers are a threat to our safety and security. Be kind to them, love them, but get them out of the way,” said Councillor Jim Mason.


This was how the Geelong Indy reported about it:

→ See page 4 on


This was how the Geelong Advertiser reported about it:

“‘EMERGENCY’ IGNORED: Party politics splits council climate change debate” – Geelong Advertiser on 26 September 2019, page 3

“Party politics has bitterly split Geelong councillors during a bid to declare a “climate emergency”, which was shot down by a single vote.

About 100 climate-change protesters packed out City Hall on Tuesday night for a council meeting, in the hopes the city would pass a notice of motion to declare a climate emergency.

The group began the meeting singing and chanting, but exited after three hours of questions and debate in a haze of anger and disappointment — with screams of “shame” directed at councillors.

The majority of councillors rejected the notice of motion, instead passing an alternative motion acknowledging “climate change poses a risk to the people of Geelong and Australia, and requires a genuine and co-ordinated response”.

Each side of the vote accused the other of either “party politics” or “internal politics” in the decision to use or reject the term ‘climate emergency’.

Greens councillor Sarah Mansfield had tabled the notice of motion for the city to declare “climate change poses a serious and immediate risk to people in Geelong, Australia, and globally, and should be treated as an emergency”, along with a handful of further actions. Introducing the motion, Cr Mansfield said “climate change unequivocally poses a serious and urgent risk”.

“There has never been a greater need for collective action,” Cr Mansfield said.

“As a mother I can tell you I would give anything for things not to be as dire as they are … I’ve been gripped by the overwhelming fear of what lies ahead for our kids.”

Councillors Jim Mason, Pat Murnane, Peter Murrihy and Mayor Bruce Harwood supported Cr Mansfield’s motion.

“There is an existential threat on global wellbeing, to me this threat reigns supremely above politics,” Cr Mason said in an impassioned speech. “This is bigger than politics and I appeal to all that this must be a matter of conscience. “We should be ashamed that globally young people everywhere are reminding us of our responsibilities.”

But, Cr Stephanie Asher’s alternative motion was passed by a one-vote majority, with the support of councillors Anthony Aitken, Kylie Grzybek, Eddy Kontelj, Ron Nelson and Trent Sullivan.

“The bulk of the motion is the same,” Cr Asher argued, claiming the term ‘climate emergency’ had become a political tool.

The alternative motion also requested the city develop a sustainability framework to identify potential ways to take further action on the impacts of climate change in the Greater Geelong region.

So far, 54 Australian councils were listed as having declared climate emergencies.”

Geelong Advertiser also published the following articles in the same week (behind paywall):

Geelong councillors have rejected a notice of motion tabled by Greens councillor Sarah Mansfield to declare a climate emergency

SA has become the first state to declare a climate emergency — despite the Liberals trying to remove any mention of an emergency during debate.

A Liberal MP has likened the push to declare a climate emergency to the boy who cried wolf, asking what would happen in the case of a “genuine emergency” like a terrorist attack.

One of Geelong’s leading community organisations has declared a climate emergency as the pressure builds on City Hall to officially recognise the issue.



“It was a vote against humanity in my eyes. But we thank you sincerely for putting yourself out there and doing what is needed and what is right.”
Erica Gaia

“Thank you to everyone for your support and kind words – it means so much. I know there is disappointment for many in the result last night, but that’s the decision of this council at this time.

There were some positives from the night. The community turn out was incredible, and should give everyone reason for hope. Many people who have never been to a council meeting got to see our democratic processes up close (and I know some of you are now thinking about running for office yourselves!). Many residents participated in question time (which I know can be really intimidating), and shared compelling stories and asked us challenging questions. And it’s got more people talking about the climate emergency.

But let’s face it: climate change isn’t waiting for Geelong to be ready. The work has to continue for all of us regardless of the decision we made, and I will continue to do what I can on this important issue.”

~ Sarah Mansfield, Councillor, City of Greater Geelong



“Thank you Councillor Sarah Mansfield, Jim Mason, Pat Murnane and Bruce Harwood, for your leadership, rationality and community representation at the meeting last night.”
Alex Marshall 

“Thank you Cr Mansfield for your courage and leadership last night, and leading up to this point. We are all very upset that Council did not unite and follow evidence based science and their community. It was a vote against humanity in my eyes. But we thank you sincerely for putting yourself out there and doing what is needed and what is right. Extremely impressed with Cr Mason also.”
Erica Gaia

“Thank you so much Sarah! We are so lucky to have you; you are a beacon in the gloom. Your response to Tuesday night’s destructive fiasco was beautifully said: your integrity, leadership, courage, authenticity and grace are admirable. Be proud!”
Trish Jardine

“Congratulations to those who spoke so passionately, eloquently, intelligently at last night’s CoGG meeting. No doubt you all share the feelings of devastation and the loss of a night’s sleep because the vote went against declaring a Climate Emergency.
I trust the tossing and turning extended to Ms Asher and Liberal cronies who need to examine their motivations for voting against what was clearly the will of community members. I just don’t get it. Does anyone?”
~ Yvonne Parker

“Vested interests. Stephanie Asher works for big corporations including those that mine fossil fuels and uranium. Our Liberal Prime Minister is in the US meeting with Donald Trump instead of attending the Climate talks.”
~ Monica Winston

“Please keep in mind that elections are next year, and maybe some people in this group would like to be a part of the change –  ”
~ Alison Marchant


“Councillor Sarah Mansfield: I join the many Geelong residents who have been thanking you. We thank you from our hearts for speaking up for us – and in my case I also speak on behalf of my three young kids. We are grateful for your competent and passionate efforts to call for stronger climate action not only within Geelong Council itself, but in the broader Geelong region.

It is critical we manage to make local government, the business-world and our community care enough to start working together on scaling up efforts to tackle this threat to our future safety and prosperity, and everyone except the climate deniers know that your motion to declare a climate emergency would have taken us a step in that direction.

Please don’t be discouraged by the way the Liberal party, and the four Councillors in Geelong most affiliated with this party, managed to turn the issue of climate and biodiversity breakdown into a question of party politics. This is precisely what they have been doing for years at federal level, so it should be no surprise that they now also do it at the local government level. As frustrating and shameful it is to witness – in particular because we all know what is behind it: shortsighted and selfish protection of vested interests in polluting industries – it shouldn’t make us give up the fight.

You were only one vote for winning the argument in Council last night. What this means is that next time this votes comes around, you will win. And if not, the community will use their democratic right to vote in new Councillors, who will then make this happen.

If we are going to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need more people like you in charge. So thank you – and please keep fighting for what is right – for the kids, for future generations, for life on this planet.”
~ Mik Aidt


“So please tell me Ms Asher. When you conducted your community consultation via FB – what percentage of respondents voted for watering down the CE declaration to a wishy washy, PR statement of intent(maybe)?
I hope they all remember you actions next March, I for one will…for my grandchildren !”
~ Paul Savi

“Hi Paul, FB was about 70:30
In favour of a declaration. Linked in closer to 55:45. Private emails and DMs on Twitter were in opposition to a declaration. The balance was in favour but there are a lot of people passionate about not using the term emergency too. We have to represent everyone. I’m trying to bring more people along for when the COGG organisation is able to deliver actual change. Hopefully you understand. We don’t want a lose lose outcome.
Stephanie Asher 


Come to City Hall to support proposed climate emergency declaration this Tuesday

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Support Councillor Sarah Mansfield’s motion to declare a climate emergency for Geelong by being present at Council’s meeting on Tuesday at Geelong City Hall. Councillor Sarah Mansfield’s proposed climate emergency declaration motion can be seen on page 129 in the agenda for Geelong Council’s meeting on Tuesday evening. A large crowd is expected to come to the City Hall once again, starting from 5:30pm, as it is expected that Cr Mansfield’s motion will be rejected by Liberal members of the Council at their meeting which starts at 7:00pm. They are likely to instead present Council to an amended version of the motion in which any mention of the expression ‘climate emergency’ has been censored. This is an example of the same kind of political gameplaying and protection of vested interests that has held Australia in a stalemate without any sensible climate or energy policy at the federal level for almost a decade. Or to put it another way: It looks like that instead of listening to their own community, where 78 per cent agree that “urgent action on climate change needs to be taken now”[1], these particular Councillors prefer listening to advice from those powerful industries from elsewhere whose polluting business model is disrupting the climate, threatening our safety and economic prosperity as it is now known to literally be putting all life on our planet at risk. Do you think they care? Come and see for yourself on Tuesday night at the City Hall council chambers.

. . .

“At the heart of this conflict is a battle between truth and science, and power and lies.” ~ Sheldon Whitehouse, American Senator

. . .

Meanwhile, The Pulse radio station, Geelong Ethnic Communities Council and Diversitat declared a climate emergency last week:
Australia: Community radio station declares a climate emergency

. . .

For more background info about why it is an emergency, have a look at this paper Paul Gilding published last week, ‘Climate Emergency Defined’:
Breakthrough report by Paul Gilding: ‘Climate Emergency Defined’

. . .

[1] Research for the Victorian Government found that 78% of Geelong residents agree or strongly agree that urgent action on climate change is needed now.

. . .


NOTICE OF MOTION – by Cr Mansfield

CITY OF GREATER GEELONG RESPONSE TO CLIMATE EMERGENCY Background The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus is that human induced climate change is occurring. Globally, based on current efforts to reduce carbon emissions, it is highly unlikely that targets set in the Paris Agreement will be met. Without greater scope and urgency of action at all levels of society, we will be unable to limit global temperature rises to a safe level for our children and future generations. Impacts associated with climate change on our region include: • a higher risk of bushfires during summer, particularly for those in rural and periurban areas of Geelong; • more hot days and heat waves, with the greatest impacts felt by residents with poorly insulated housing, chronic illnesses, low incomes, and by the very young and elderly; • lower average rainfall, which is already impacting on wildlife such as the eucalypts and koala populations in the You Yangs, affecting the Barwon river system, damaging parks and sporting grounds, and making local agriculture more challenging; • increased storm intensity, causing damage to infrastructure and increased insurance costs; • higher sea levels, leading to a greater likelihood of coastal erosion and inundation; • and increased costs of living, including food, water, energy and insurance for residents, and worsening inequality. The City of Greater Geelong has shown leadership by reducing carbon emissions as an organisation, and supported the community to do the same. Our Council Plan, Environment Management Strategy, Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy, Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Risk Register highlight the importance of combating climate change. They include a broad range of actions which will enable the City to reach its emissions reduction target of 50% by 2020. Actions completed to-date include: • the installation of 21 rooftop solar systems; • assessing our coastline for sea level rise impacts; • development of an Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Policy; • all new large Council buildings meeting a minimum 5 star standard; and • implementation of our Urban Forest Strategy. Council has worked in partnership with the community to develop a Community Zero Carbon Action Plan. This partnership approach will result in a reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions. Local communities, including our own, are asking their governments to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ and to join the Climate Councils ‘Cities Power Partnership Program’ in response to the threats posed by climate change. The term emergency refers to the fact that current actions, while important, are inadequate, and more needs to be done at a much faster pace. The declaration is a way that governments can highlight that if we act urgently, it is still possible to restore a safe climate for future generations by acting collectively and accelerating actions to reduce its impacts. In order to address the climate emergency, a range of short, medium and long-term strategies are required, and cooperation between the public, private sector, community, and all three tiers of government is essential. As of 4 September 2019, climate emergency declarations were made by 990 jurisdictions covering 212 million people. This includes 45 local governments in Australia covering 5 million people, or 20% of the population. While individual jurisdictions alone have a limited impact on global climate carbon emissions, as a combined movement, the potential impact is significant. This motion aligns with our Council Plan, and our Environment Strategy, and One Planet Living Principles. Recommendation That Council: 1) Declare that climate change poses a serious and immediate risk to people in Geelong, Australia, and globally, and should be treated as an emergency; 2) Acknowledge the extensive local community interest and advocacy, including by our region’s young people, in relation to the declaration of a Climate Emergency; 3) Note and supports the successful motion to the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) May 2017 to recognise that we are in a state of ‘climate emergency’ that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local Councils; 4) Note that the City of Greater Geelong, has had a strong record of reducing emissions, restoring and conserving biodiversity, and preparing our community for the impacts of climate change; 5) Note the City of Greater Geelong endorsement of, and continued commitment to the Our Coast Program and the following strategies Environment Management Strategy, Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy, Community Zero Carbon Action Plan, Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Urban Forest Strategy; 6) Note the extensive range of local emission reduction actions being undertaken by Council, residents, schools, businesses and other organisations within the City of Greater Geelong; 7) Note that Council considers Climate Change to be a key strategic risk as part of its assessment of its risk environment; 8) Request management to seek to incorporate actions addressing the climate emergency within the next Environment Management Strategy, Biodiversity Strategy and Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy which will all be reviewed over the next 12 months. These actions should include: a review of COGG’s carbon emissions targets; measure to prepare for the impacts of climate change; collaboration with other Councils who are addressing the climate emergency to learn from their approaches to the issue; and strategies to engage, educate, and empower the local community regarding action to address the climate emergency; 9) Request the Chief Executive Officer to report to Council by the end of March 2020 outlining potential measures to incorporate consideration of the climate emergency into COGG’s strategy and operations across the organisation, and any resource implications. These measures must reflect the gravity and urgency of the climate emergency; 10) Write to state and federal Environment Ministers to advocate for more substantial and urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and 11) Join the Climate Councils Cities Power Partnership Program. [MOTION ENDS]

. . .

“Look, it is just like when a Parliament declares a war or participates in a war. In itself it doesn’t do anything. It is the base on which they mobilise and prepare for that. And that is really what we need to do.” ~ Professor John Hewson, former leader of the Liberal Party, in The Sustainable Hour

. . .

The clip with Greta speaking at the World Economic Forum is from this video on Youtube:

. . .

#ClimateEmergency #ClimateEmergencyGeelong #ClimateEmergencyDeclaration #FridaysForFuture #YouthRebellion #HouseOnFire

Sing the ask: Geelong Council come on

“Geelong, come on! Geelong, come on!”

Listen to the song

We’ll be singing this song together on Tuesday in front of the city hall.

Music, poetry and speeches start at 5:30pm.
The Council Meeting starts in the chambers at 7:00pm

Bring friends, family, children.

This an important decision, and as you can hear in The Sustainable Hour, it is not going to happen unless the community shows the Councillors we want them to join the 1,020 other councils – now 50 in Australia – in declaring a climate emergency and getting on with it job of doing something much more serious about it.

See you on Tuesday at City Hall!

Victorian public health and wellbeing plan

Erica Hunt sent the following letter to Geelong’s Councillors on 19 September 2019:

Dear Councillors,

You may (or may not) know that the State Government recently released its new Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019–2023. This plan continues on from the previous plan, but for the first time, ‘tackling climate change’ is the number one priority area in the plan. 

The Victorian Government has recognised that climate change is the the leading threat to health and wellbeing globally.

This Plan should feed into Local Government Council Plans, and Health & Well-being Plan.

From the Victorian Government Plan:

‘Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, local councils are required to protect, improve and promote public health and wellbeing within their municipality and prepare a Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan every four years. Under the Climate Change Act 2017 municipal public health and wellbeing plans must have regard to climate change.’
Could you please reply as to whether your own personal view and Council’s actions will be aligning with the new Victorian Government Health & Well being Plan?
Cited below from the Plan, evidence based actions that Counils can take on climate change and its impacts on health

‘Implement health-promoting and emissions-reducing policies

Climate change mitigation is critical to preventing the most significant public health impacts of climate change, and there are many initiatives that can be implemented by local government to both mitigate the impacts of climate change and improve health. For example, local councils could:

  • implement initiatives focussed on greening urban areas, such as maintaining and enhancing tree coverage and vegetation on properties, lining transport corridors, and greening public lands, roofs, facades and walls, and ensuring equitable access to quality open space; these activities can increase carbon sequestration, mitigate the impacts of increased average temperatures, increase the community’s resilience to extreme heat events, cool local environments, improve physical and mental health and create more opportunities for people to connect with nature.
  • plan and develop neighbourhoods and implement initiatives that support active lifestyles and emission reduction, including active and community transport.
  • implement programs to encourage sustainable, healthy diets and to reduce food waste
  • take opportunities to make buildings more energy efficient and climate resilient to protect the health and wellbeing of their occupants throughout the year.

Why tackling climate change and its impact on health is important

The World Health Organization has described climate change as the defining issue for public health in the 21st century. It is an urgent challenge, with implications at the global, national and community levels. Climate change affects health in many ways: directly by the increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events such as prolonged heatwaves, floods and bushfires; and indirectly through worsening air quality, changes in the spread of infectious diseases, risks to food safety and drinking water quality, and effects on mental health.

Strategic actions

  • Continued emphasis on understanding and assessing the risks of climate change to public health.
  • Promoting community adaptation to the public health risks associated with climate change.
  • Assessing the health co-benefits of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What we want to achieve

  • resilient and safe communities that are adapting to the public health impacts of climate change
  • decreased health impacts associated with climate change (for example, fewer deaths from extreme heat events, fewer mosquito-borne diseases, fewer food outbreaks, fewer algal blooms in drinking water catchments)
  • increased action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realise health co-benefits.’
Thank you and look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Erica Hunt

Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019–2023 (PDF, 4 MB)

Maree Fagan sent the following letter to Geelong’s Councillors on 24 September 2019:

Will Council listen to the climate change science?

“Dear City of Greater Geelong Councillors, I would like to have my say on the urgent need to declare a climate emergency. According to ABC News dated 8/09/19, out of 1,960 people surveyed 81% of 18-34 said climate change worried them compared to 67% of those aged 55 and over, clearly the younger generation who will inhabit this planet after the older generation have died off have a greater right to be worried and to demand climate action.

I am of the older generation and am proud to say that I believe in man-made climate change and that a climate emergency declaration is not only the best policy for the planet but to not do so is a dereliction of our duty of care to leave the planet in a liveable state for future generations. This declaration goes beyond the City of Greater Geelong, it is necessary for worldwide action and to join the growing concern worldwide about the future of the planet.

My questions are:

1. Will the council listen to the climate change science and the learned environmentalists and declare a climate emergency as soon as possible?

2. Will the council join with other councils worldwide and recognise and acknowledge that we have a global crisis that needs urgent action?

3. When the climate emergency is declared will the council work with concerned groups on ways to implement the climate emergency declaration?”  
~ Maree Fagan          

Alan Barlee’s letter to Geelong Councillors

Subject: Climate Emergency Declaration – City of Greater Geelong

This message is for the Mayor and all Councillors of the City of Greater Geelong.

It is now urgent that at its meeting on September 24, 2019, the City of Greater Geelong joins the 1000+ municipalities in Australia that have already declared a climate emergency and does the same.

Our citizens absolutely need science awareness, vision and leadership from all our elected representatives in order to for the community respond NOW to the overwhelming warnings of climate scientists around the world.

The reactionary and denialist position of the extreme right is reinforced by some scientifically illiterate sections of the media, and from some profit-focused but fear-driven industry sectors. This political rump is leading the community in totally the wrong direction, and is responsible for the wave of climate ignorance in our community. This negative pressure MUST be counteracted by our elected, independently informed and visionary representatives.

Most of us have children, and many of us also have grandchildren. Our generation has been deliberately ignoring the most critical issue of our time – the highest level and the fastest rate of carbon emissions and planetary heating for the last 800,000 years (before humans existed). We have been mining and burning fossil fuels, and clearing and burning forests, as though there is no tomorrow. This self-absorbed  ‘business as usual’ mentality has to change if our kids are to inherit from us at least a reasonably habitable planet.

A lot of irreversible damage has already been done: the time to stop it is NOW. Some State Governments – including Victoria – are moving to partially fill the policy void at the Commonwealth Government level, and LGAs around the country  are responding to community pressure for targets, action plans and timetables to reform our economy to a carbon-free future.

The first step in a public acknowledgement that we have a problem – a big one. As we have done more than once in the past when a world war has erupted, a state of emergency must be declared to trigger the necessary rapid and large scale climate-focused responses that we need, and for which there is much public willingness to support.

At this time, vision, courage and statesmanship have been in acutely short supply. PLEASE ACT NOW to change this.

Thank you.

Alan Barlee

(East Geelong)


Question submitted to Councillors

Council meeting date: Tuesday 24 Sep 2019
Name: Alan Barlee
Date submitted: 2019-09-18 12:50:29
Question 1: (a) How informed are our individual councillors on the current science of climate change, and from what sources are their facts being obtained?

(b) To what extent are our individual councillors concerned about the impact of the Greater Geelong’s  lack of action on limiting carbon emissions and deforestation?

(c) Is the Council  prepared to lead the community in recognising that we must ‘Act as if our home is on fire – because it is’ (Greta Thunburg – age 15)?



Geelong Councillor Ron Nelson is asking for your advice

…on whether or not Geelong Council should declare a climate emergency

Maybe you could let Ron know how you see things? – that is if you live in the Kardinia Ward. And if not, maybe you could pass this message on to people you know who live in Kardinia Ward?

Go here to comment:


Mik previously posted this comment to some of the other councillors:

There is a lack of leadership on the climate crisis in Australia. Sometimes good leadership isn’t to be asking the community what it thinks about an issue. Sometimes real leadership is to spend a bit of time on your own figuring out what is up and down and wrong and right in that particular case, and then to be making a decision that you, as that responsible leader you’d want to be for your community, feel good about. The right decision on a long-term perspective – not just the most popular decision here and now.

Currently our community is confused on the matter of the climate and biodiversity breakdown, because of the many stories that are being circulated. Some of them are fake. So my advice in this case would be that you investigate the matter independently, rather than through chatting with random members of the Facebook community. The Kardinia community out in the real world is looking at all the science, the figures, and the frightening news and they are asking for YOUR leadership and guidance on this matter.

Just two local examples here: Since 1997, the average yearly water collected at West Barwon Reservoir has decreased by about 32 per cent (or 9,000 million litres). January this year was the driest January on record.

If you come to City Hall on Friday at 10am, you’ll meet some of the many residents in your city who are worried, scared and upset in particular because of the current lack of leadership. Would be good to see you there, and will be great to see you make a difference when you are making a decision on this matter on the 24th of September.



Come on Geelong: Declare a Climate Emergency

Council meets Tuesday 24 September to make a decision on whether or not to declare a climate emergency.


Thrive For Future organises Music & Poetry for the Planet – Geelong Act 2 – at 5:30pm at Geelong City Hall.

Sign up here, and spread the word:

#FridaysForFuture supports #SchoolStrike4Climate



Also, sign up here as well:

WEAR RED to Support – Geelong Climate Emergency Declaration



An hour’s podcast about the climate emergency declarations, the big climate strike on Friday, carbon reductions, leadership, and many other related issues.

→ Click here to listen to the podcast

You can follow the climate emergency declaration news in The Sustainable Hour. We are expecting to have a rather special announcement on Wednesday 18 September.

→ More information and videos