(24/5/2019) Council responds to Youth Network call to arms on climate change
Fremantle Council has responded to calls from the Fremantle Youth Network for urgent action to address climate change.
The Fremantle Youth Network is a group of 15 young people aged between 12-25 years. It was formed to foster communication between young people and the City of Fremantle and advocate on youth needs and concerns.
Earlier this month the members of the Network wrote to Mayor Brad Pettitt and Fremantle councillors to raise their concerns about the lack of action on climate change and urge the council to be their voice to highlight the issue.
At its meeting on Wednesday the council accepted the Network’s letter and responded by declaring the world was in a state of climate emergency that required urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils.
The declaration echoed a move by the UK Parliament on 2 May, which made the United Kingdom the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency. The ACT also became the first Australian state or territory to declare a climate emergency earlier this month.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the council was proud to support the Youth Network’s call to arms on climate change.
“Climate change is an issue that affects us all, but the biggest impact will be felt by today’s youth and the generations that will follow them,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“It’s inspiring to see young people in Fremantle who are prepared to stand up and voice their concerns about an issue that is so critical to their future. The passion and intelligence with which members of the Fremantle Youth Network spoke was very powerful.
“I was very proud that the Fremantle Council backed the voices of young people in our community, backed the expert science, and backed serious action on climate change.
“This is a time for not despair and inaction but focus and action. While we can’t rely on action that matches the science at a national level, at a local level we can act, get things done and show the necessary transition can be good for people, the economy and the planet.”
The Youth Network’s letter to the council said climate change was the issue that had dominated their recent meetings.
“The Network is grateful that the City of Fremantle has put in the effort to become an internationally certified One Planet Council. We are so lucky and proud to live in a city that is committed to sustainability,” the letter said.
“However, the Network is concerned about the lack of action on climate change at a federal level. We are frustrated that most of us cannot express our opinions at the upcoming federal election, despite the fact that the decisions made now on climate change will impact young people the most.
“We ask that the Fremantle Council supports the voices of young people who cannot vote in the upcoming federal election who want action on climate change. Will you be our voice to highlight this issue?”
In making its declaration, the council also called upon the state and federal governments to acknowledge there is a climate emergency and back this up with legislated programs to drive emergency action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the lower of the Paris Agreement emissions targets.
The council also committed to write to state and federal MPs to advise them of the council’s resolution and urge them to act.
Fremantle has long been leader in mitigating climate change and has been carbon neutral since 2009 and an internationally recognised One Planet Council since 2015.
The City of Fremantle has a goal of running on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 as part of its One Planet commitments.
A key initiative towards meeting this target is the development of a solar farm on the former South Fremantle tip site.
The City’s new civic centre and library in Kings Square will also be one of the most energy efficient buildings of its size in Australia and boast a range of sustainability features.
The council resolution also acknowledged that, linked to the climate change emergency, we are also faced with a biodiversity emergency with a recent UN report showing up to a million species were under threat of extinction.