Climate Action Port Stephens (CAPS) will be participating in a day of action on Wednesday, November 20, in Raymond Terrace to stand up for children's climate rights during World Children's Day.
CAPS founders Alisha Onlsow and Sarah Ekins have invited interested residents to join the march, which is being coordinating with the Australian Parents for Climate Action.
"We will be gathering on the corner of William and Adelaide streets at 12 noon, highlighting the rights of our children to a safe climate, and calling on the Australian government to act urgently to safeguard our children's future by taking immediate, adequate action to solve the climate crisis," Ms Onslow said.
"UNICEF states that 'climate change is a direct threat to a child's ability to survive, grow, and thrive...'. There are many solutions to the climate crisis - including renewable energy, battery storage and electric vehicles - but our government isn't providing adequate incentives for them, and continues to subsidise and support the expansion of climate-damaging coal, oil and gas projects.
"We need to accelerate actions such as clean green renewable energy, protecting our biodiverse forests, upholding indigenous land rights and saying no to new fossil fuel projects in order to provide jobs and protect our food, water and homes for our kids.
"We are looking for the support of Port Stephens parents, grandparents and anyone who cares about children to do what they can to adopt the solutions to climate crisis."
Ms Onslow believes that climate action could become a major issue leading into the September 2020 local government elections in Port Stephens.
"We will be pushing for candidates who prioritise climate action."
Ms Onslow said that signatures were still being collected for the petition to have Port Stephens join other councils around Australia in declaring 'a climate emergency'.
In September, Port councillors voted down a notice of motion from Labor's Giacomo Arnott to declare a 'climate emergency', with the majority of councillors saying that Port Stephens was leading the way with environmental change and in areas such as waste recycling, solar energy and conservation.
They adopted an amendment put forward by Cr Glen Dunkley calling on the council to: acknowledge the work it and the community have done to address climate change across Port Stephens; acknowledge that ongoing action is needed on climate change to ensure a sustainable future for Port Stephens; engage with the community and business to obtain suggestions for initiatives to reduce their impact on climate change; and identify initiatives to reduce council's impact on climate change with an associated funding strategy.
At the time Cr Arnott said that he would bringing the motion back to be debated at council every three months until a 'climate emergency' motion was passed.
Ms Onslow said that CAPS would continue to push and work to bring the community on board.
"There were 52 councils on board when Port Stephens debated the issue in September, the number is now 69."
She said that the committee was in the process of organising the registration of CAPS as a not-for-profit charity "so donations are tax deductible as we don't have the resources to be doing as much as we would like to".
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