Tens of thousands of people will march through Australian cities and regional centres at Walk Against Warming on Saturday to show world leaders they believe strong action must start right now if we’re to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Organised by the Conservation Councils around Australia since its inception in 2005, Walk Against Warming has grown to be Australia’s biggest day of action on climate change.
This year the walk will be held on the International Day of Climate Action mid-way through the Copenhagen Climate Summit, and the world’s attention will be on Australia as one of the first cities to have their say on how negotiations are progressing and ask global leaders for urgent action on climate change.
Rachel Mimmo, Team Leader of Sustainability Projects, Nature Conservation Council of NSW said people from all walks of life will make it clear to governments on Saturday that when it comes to a safe climate for our children’s future, half-measures are unacceptable.
“Our generation must harness its talent, innovation and resources to overcome the climate crisis, one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime. And we need government and industry to join us in reducing greenhouse pollution to the levels the science is telling us is necessary,” she said.
“We need as many people as possible marching out on the streets to make sure our leaders take notice and commit to strong climate action now.”
Toby Hutcheon, Executive Director, Queensland Conservation said Walk Against Warming is part of a global series of rallies by ordinary people fed up with inaction by the governments of the world.
“Climate change is happening and affecting millions around the world,” he said.
“In Australia, we have witnessed devastating bushfires, floods and cyclones that are costing our communities and our environment dearly. We call upon PM Kevin Rudd to negotiate a global agreement that will lead to a safe climate for all and give the future a chance.
“The events of the last few weeks have shown us that Canberra is fiddling whilst the planet burns.
“The message is clear. We must Act against warming, the Prime Minister must show leadership in Copenhagen.”
John Hibberd, Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region said the gathering of global leaders in Copenhagen provided an historic opportunity for making the community’s views on climate change heard.
“Walk with us on Saturday, and send governments a huge message saying you DO care about the fate of the planet, and that they must act decisively, effectively, and immediately!” he said.
David Harries, President, Conservation Council of WA said, “While it seems the leaders of this country are determined to treat our climate future as nothing more than a political football, many of the ordinary Australians across the nation who are fed up with excuses and unfulfilled promises will take to the streets demanding a strong global agreement on climate change.
“Together we do have the power to influence our political leaders and together we do have the capacity to solve our climate change crisis.
“Although the forecast for Saturday in Perth is 38 degrees, perhaps an indication of what the future may hold, we’re confident that thousands of people will put up with the heat and participate in the largest Walking Against Warming that Perth has ever seen,” he said.
Jamnes Danenberg, Climate Campaigner, Conservation Council of SA said the fate of our world and our very future is in the hands of the politicians - but it’s too important to leave it all up to them.
“We're all in this together and we must rise up to the challenge and the opportunity that this truly historic moment offers,” he said.
“The Walk in Adelaide is an important part of the International Day of Action and South Australians will be out in force.”
Jess Wright, Climate Change Campaigner, Environment Tasmania said the science is clear, forests store massive amounts of carbon.
“We cannot secure a safe climate without protecting the world's forests as living carbon stores,” she said.
“Tasmanians will be walking through the carbon dense forests of the Upper Florentine Valley to call on world leaders meeting in Copenhagen to protect the world's forests. Forest protection is a simple, fast and cost-effective way to reduce our carbon emissions and we'll be urging Australia to lead the way.”
Dr Stuart Blanch, Coordinator, Environment Centre NT said Territorians love wildlife and a lifestyle lived close to nature.
“They want world leaders to commit to a climate future that safeguards Kakadu from rising sea levels and supports Indigenous people to manage destructive wildfires in the world’s largest tropical savanna woodland,” he said.
The environment organisations involved in organising Walk Against Warming are: Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Environment Victoria, Queensland Conservation Council, Conservation Council of SA, Environment Tasmania, Conservation Council WA, Environment Centre NT and Conservation Council ACT Region.