Younger generation leading the way

2006 will be remembered, among other things, for being the year that climate change finally entered the mainstream. While there is a common tendency to demand action from governments, to do this without first looking after our own backyards risks the development of a pseudo-infantile helplessness.

The single most effective climate action for any household or business is to sign up with green power, ensuring that equivalent supply of energy is generated from new renewable sources. This can often be arranged over the phone within minutes. Pure wind and solar products are now being offered in this region by Origin Energy and TruEnergy. While some companies are providing renewable energy at the same price as regular coal power, the downside to such offerings is that they are only 10 per cent accredited.

For the past few years, Lismore City Council has been a participant in the Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) greenhouse abatement program. Around mid-January, a draft action plan will be released by Council for public comment. Experience from elsewhere has shown that the outcomes from CCP are most far-reaching when the community takes on a sense of shared ownership and gets inspired.

Recent conversations in the Lismore area have revealed that small hands-on climate change groups are active in schools and workplaces. The next challenge is to find a way of joining the dots through some healthy cross-fertilising and networking. The regional hub for this activity is the North Coast Climate Action Group, which can be checked out at

As it appears that much of the older generation is leaving a leadership vacuum on this important issue, hopefully young people such as Samlara Canin-Henkel will continue to make their voices heard for a liveable and sustainable future.

Martin C. Oliver


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