Local governments can play a critical role in achieving a nation-wide climate emergency response. Our ultimate aim is a national declaration of Climate Emergency with its ability to unlock all the required policy changes and funds for a rapid climate emergency mobilisation, but local councils can start the ball rolling by demonstrating successful climate emergency initiatives at the local level. Early successes in their own local community can then spread outwards to other local council areas and upwards to the state and federal levels.
Next local council elections are:
Tasmania – October 2018
South Australia – November 2018
Queensland – March 28, 2020
Victoria – October 22, 2020
For ways you can help build support amongst council candidates, see the Local Council Action Kit. Or, consider running for council yourself!
For an in-depth discussion of the local government campaign, initially in the Darebin Council area but spreading to other areas, see the Community Action in the Climate Emergency (CACE) website.
Listen to Darebin Councillor Trent McCarthy talk about what local councils can do. He gives great tips for getting your local council on side.
Read Philip Sutton’s paper, Local-first implementation: Why a strong climate
declaration is needed at the local government level and what it can do.
Council elections – a great time to act!
Prior to the most recent Victorian local council elections, our campaigners managed to collect Candidate Statement of Support signatures from a number of candidates in the Darebin Council elections. When the results came in, much to our surprise, a majority of the newly elected Councillors, including the new Mayor, were people who had signed! See below for the amazing progress they have made since towards implementation of a local Climate Emergency response.
See the Councillors and candidates page for Councillors and council candidates who already support climate emergency action.
Things to do if your local council is having elections soon
1. Consider running as a candidate yourself on a Climate Emergency Declaration platform. If you win a seat you will be able to ensure that climate is considered in all local decisions. Local councils are perhaps the best place most of us can have a major impact on climate-related issues. If you don’t win a seat, at least you will have had your climate emergency message distributed to everyone in your area via your candidate statement.
2. Have a chat with as many local council candidates as you can, and ask them to sign this Candidate Statement of Support. Take a photo of them holding it up, and email us the photo for inclusion on our website and in social media posts. You never know – yours might be the next local council to come on board with a Climate Emergency Plan something like the one Darebin Council has adopted!
On a MAC: Hold the CTRL-button and click on the photo. A drop-down menu will then appear. Choose: ‘Save Image As’
Darebin City Council initiatives
A number of Darebin council candidates signed the Climate Emergency Declaration statement of support prior to the recent Victorian council elections. A majority of the candidates who were elected had signed.
On December the 5th 2016, at their very first meeting and at the urging of local climate groups, the newly elected Councillors passed a motion recognising that we are in a Climate Emergency.
The motion they passed states:
Council recognises that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils.
MOVED: Cr. Trent McCarthy SECONDED: Cr. Steph Amir
Link to original minutes (see p.46).
On May 29, 2017, Darebin Council made their new Climate Emergency Plan available for public consultation. Then, in August, the plan was officially adopted. Please take a look and consider encouraging your own local council to follow suit! Click to download the finalised Darebin Climate Emergency Plan.
Darebin Council itself is encouraging other local councils to adopt similar action programs. Accordingly, Darebin Councillor Susan Rennie proposed the following motion which was passed at Victoria’s Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) state council with a 77% majority.
Motion 56. Climate Change
Submitting Council: Darebin City Council
That the MAV recognise that:
(a) we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils
(b) human induced climate change stands in the first rank of threats to humans, civilisation and other species
(c) it is still possible to restore a safe climate and prevent most of the anticipated long-term climate impacts – but only if societies across the world adopt an emergency mode of action that can enable the restructuring of the physical economy at the necessary scale and speed;
(d) the MAV has a particular role in assisting local governments in this regard.
Workshop, Melbourne SLF, Feb 2017
Local government is a great way of getting climate emergency action implemented!
Photos by Julian Meehan, audio recordings by The Sustainable Hour
How councils can reverse global warming
Issues explored included leadership, reaching zero emissions, draw-down through council running biochar systems, creating community resilience, and a discussion on how audience members can encourage their local council to take up these measures. Trent McCarthy starts talking about declaring a climate emergency in council after around 5:30 minutes. » More information about the campaign on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org The 50-minute session was organised by the Safe Climate Alliance and was held in the ‘Under the Gum’ tent at the Sustainable Living Festival on Sunday 12 February 2017 at 2:00 pm in Melbourne, Australia. » Read more about the festival on www.slf.org.au » Melbourne festival aims high: “Big impact for big change”
With State and Federal Governments failing to implement policies to reestablish a safe climate, this workshop at The Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne explored the critical role local government can play in both reversing global warming and protecting lives in their community.
Welcome by Adrian Whitehead
Introduction to the meeting and the topic by Adrian Whitehead, MC for the event and Save the Planet party’s national campaign leader.
Philip Sutton, author and climate action strategist, talks about why local governments are critical in accelerating a climate emergency response at federal and state levels.
Trent McCarthy, Darebin Greens Councillor, talks about his initial work on the Climate Emergency Declaration at Darebin and the North Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA), exploring ways in which to talk to councillors about climate emergency.
Mik Aidt, climate emergency campaigner and radio host, talks about the Climate Emergency Declaration petition and mobilisation campaign.
Bryony Edwards, candidate for Save the Planet party in local and state elections, talks about her experience in running for local government and the opportunities it brings for campaigning on the climate emergency.
Questions to Trent McCarthy
Trent McCarthy answers three questions, and MC Adrian Whitehead rounds off the event with a talk about how councils can actually reverse global warming by helping remove CO2 and methane from the atmosphere.
Interview with Sustainable Living Festival director Luke Taylor
Issues explored included leadership, reaching zero emissions, draw-down through council running biochar systems, creating community resilience, and a discussion on how audience members can encourage their local council to take up these measures.
Trent McCarthy starts talking about declaring a climate emergency in council after around 5:30 minutes.
» More information about the campaign on www.climateemergencydeclaration.org
The 50-minute session was organised by the Safe Climate Alliance and was held in the ‘Under the Gum’ tent at the Sustainable Living Festival on Sunday 12 February 2017 at 2:00 pm in Melbourne, Australia.
» Read more about the festival on www.slf.org.au
» Melbourne festival aims high: “Big impact for big change”