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A step in the right direction

Friday, 27th September, 2019

Farmer and researcher, Anika Molesworth. Farmer and researcher, Anika Molesworth.

By Emily McInerney

Ground-level climate change action is just as important as any national action, according to a local farmer and activist.

Farmer and researcher with the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures at Deakin University, Anika Molesworth, was impressed with the outcome of the climate decision by Council on Wednesday night.

“It was really positive that Council declared a climate emergency,” she said.

“It’s a big problem and for us as a community; to look for opportunities for action on climate change is important.

“I thought it was encouraging that all councillors found it a concern for the community.

“Obviously there was some concern from a few councillors about what it would cost the community.

“They wanted it fleshed out more, which is understandable.

“But everyone recognised the risks.

“How much we can achieve on a local scale will contribute to a much bigger picture.”

She said there was quite a bit of science to back that this region is projected to become hotter and drier. 

“We will experience more frequent and intense droughts and dust-storms. 

“That there will be less inflows into our rivers. If we don’t act now, we are set to lose so much.”

She said while climate change could be addressed at any level, it is important for grassroots action.

“We have to start here, in our own backyard.

“Every step in the right direction does add up.

“This decision shows leadership, City Council’s decision will put pressure on the state government and federal government to make changes.”

She said without action it will have a continued impact on health with heat stress, mental health on farmers, and the tourism industry could suffer.

“The longer we take to tackle environmental challenges, the more costly they become.

“Scorching summers melt bitumen on roads, water becomes scarcer and therefore more costly for residents. 

“More patients in emergency wards due to heat stress and mental health disorders exacerbated by drought.”

Anika has a number of ideas that could benefit the city and make it more viable.

They include electric public buses powered by solar, expansion in TAFE courses to accommodate for the alternative technology, a booming agri-tourism sector and a lowering of electricity bills.

“If you look at the vehicle industry, electric vehicles are becoming more prominent.

“You often see them everywhere in the cities.

“Broken Hill could develop electric charging stations and that could become a tourist opportunity in itself.

“Moving forward, we could develop new technology for sustainability.”

Anika said even simple things like planting more trees and vegetation would play a role.

“Without tackling climate change, the temperature gets hotter, there is less rainfall; it becomes harder to grow trees.

“We need to look after trees and vegetation now.

“It will keep temperatures down and create shady areas. 

“That will make the city inviting and liveable.”

Anika said the declaration encouraged multi-partisan support for ambitious climate and energy policies at state and federal levels. 

“It’s all really encouraging, it shows great leadership and a clear direction.”

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