On Sunday 15 May, less than one week ahead of the 2022 Federal Election, NQCC hosted a Townsville Climate Rally to unite locals and advocacy groups who care about climate change, to demonstrate our numbers and share our stories - with each other, our community and federal candidates.
The Gregory St Amphitheatre on the Strand made for a beautiful, shady venue, with a slight ocean breeze and views out to Yunbenun Magnetic Island. Attendees included young families, grandparents, students and even a few (very well-behaved) dogs. Our youngest attendee was just six weeks old!
Amongst the crowd were also several candidates for Herbert, including Phillip Thompson MP (LNP - incumbent), Scott Humphreys (Greens), Toni McCormack (AJP), Toni McMahon (IMOP) and Angela Egan (Independent). We were delighted to have candidates from across the political spectrum joining us, to listen to what we had to say and to chat face-to-face with community members on this important election issue.
Candidates were not asked to address the crowd, but instead had the opportunity to listen to the presenters and other attendees.
Our guest speakers came from a wide range of backgrounds and spoke to their personal experiences and/or expertise. Click on the presenter's name to see a video of their presentation. You can find the whole playlist here.
Dr Scott Heron, A/Prof of Physics at JCU spoke charismatically about the impacts of climate change on coral reefs, encouraging us all to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change for the sake of today's children.
Nekina Mary-Ann Whap, Goemuliag- Wagadagem tribe (Mabuyag Island) and Samu clan (Saibai Island) - shared the story behind the Torres Strait 8 - a group of claimants holding the Australian Government accountable for its inaction on climate change which has led to devastating impacts on low-lying Torres Strait islands. Support the cause here!
Sophie's speech was well-prepared and powerful. A local sixth-grader, she put into words quite simply how important it was that we "worked together as a team" to help protect her generation from the worst impacts of climate change.
We heard from Amaya Hytch, a JCU law student and volunteer organiser from Australian Youth Climate Coalition Queensland - AYCC QLD, who shared her personal story about why she has become active in the climate movement.
Tom O'Grady from Solar Citizens spoke passionately about the opportunities available to North Queensland in becoming a leader in renewables. He painted a vision of what we could have if our state and federal governments invested as much money in clean energy as they currently do in the fossil fuel industry ($22K per minute, in case you were wondering).
Des Bolton spoke to some of the innovation and changes needed in the agricultural sector to help draw down carbon and reduce emissions, including some projects he is currently involved with.
David Browning shared the details of Fair Bite Townsville's Coffee Project, and how it is helping to reduce emissions by diverting coffee grounds from landfill.
Crystal Falknau, NQCC Coordinator, closed off the event with some reflections about climate change as an election issue, with a report by the Australia Institute demonstrating 2 out of 3 Australians think Australia should do more to combat climate change, while 29% of ABC's Vote Compass participants named climate change as their number one election issue (ahead of "cost of living" by a fair margin).
We grabbed some photos of the group before departing ways, but as the sky turned pink over the ocean, many new connections were made between individuals, community groups, our presenters and the candidates.
Thank you to everyone who supported our Climate Rally - our wonderful presenters, volunteers and attendees. Photo credits to Tiffany Bond and Malcolm Tattersall, who together captured the event beautifully. Video footage of all of the presentations will be available shortly on our YouTube channel.
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