On the 23rd of September 2014 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will host a global climate summit involving leaders of government, business and civil society. The Sunday prior to the summit people around the world will be running events in their community to show their concern about climate change and urge world leaders to take strong action on the issue. Millions of people have already registered for thousands of events with mass rallies planned in London, Rio, New York, Berlin and Melbourne.
The Sunshine Coast Environment Council will host a Climate Change Relay to join our voice to the global chorus of concerned citizens. The relay will walk the length of the coast starting at sunrise at the Sunshine Beach SLSC and finishing just after sunset at Kings Beach.
The route, which runs (almost) entirely along the beach, has been divided in 35 stages each of which will take approximately 20 minutes to complete (click here to see the relay schedule). We are inviting everyone on the coast to come and join us for one or more stages and show you care about climate change.
Why are we doing this?
Climate change is real, climate change is happening now and climate change will impact on every facet of our community.
We have the knowledge and technology to respond to climate change and avoid dangerous (more than 2 degrees) global warming but we are lacking the political will to take decisive action that will protect our future.
“Our politicians are pushing the mining industry as the holy grail of economic growth and argue that acting on climate change will ruin the economy,” said Wiebe ter Bals, SCEC Executive Officer. “But nothing could be further from the truth. Carbon intense assets will become an ever increasing liability as the impacts of climate change are starting to be felt and the reality of the need to cut emissions will sink in.”
“Renewable technology on the other hand will see exponential growth (as we have already seen with rooftop solar). Just like the petrol engine replaced the steam engine, so will renewable replace fossil fuels, and the counties smart enough to develop the technology first will reap the benefits”.
Why walk along the beach?
“We want to draw peoples attention to the fact that climate change is not just about the planet getting warmer or the floods getting wetter,” says ter Bals. “Climate change will impact on every facet of our community, our food systems, our health systems, our infrastructure, water and sewage systems.”
Importantly on the coast climate change will impact on our beaches. Our coast has formed under the influence of winds, waves and currents. As the climate changes so will the winds and with it the waves and currents. This will change beach formation and erosion processes putting at risk community infrastructure and $72 billion of private investment in coastal real estate.
It will also change our waves putting at risk our favourite surf spots and our very lifestyle.
Why 20 minutes?
Ter Bals explains: “The science tells us that, to in order to have a fighting chance of avoiding more than 2 degrees warming, we need to cut our emissions by 20% by the year 2020. And two degrees warming on average will mean 4 to 6 degrees warming on the Sunshine Coast. A 20% cut that would give us a change to avoid such a massive change to our climate is not even being talked about by our ‘leaders’. It’s time to put it back on the agenda.