Tathra’s call to Australia

About 2000 people turned up at Lawrence Park in Tathra on a warm Sunday at the beginning of Spring to send a strong message about global warming to the Australian community. They, along with 14 RFS trucks formed a giant animated sign spelling out initially “Keep Tathra Cool”, “Reduce CO2” and ultimateley “Climate Action Now” – 34 letters in total.

Tathra is a town like no other, it really understands the threat of climate change and how it can be turned into an opportunity. The town has been at the forefront of solutions to climate change since 2006, when CEFE formed two human signs on the town’s beach with 3000 people that read “Clean Energy For Eternity” and “Imagine”.

Since then, 250 kilowatts of renewable energy had been installed in Tathra, coming from such locations as the solar farm at the sewage treatment plant, the primary school, the football club and many businesses.

Speaking to the media following the sign CEFE President Dr Matthew Nott said it was a “disgrace” and a “dereliction of duty” that Australia did not have a national emissions policy and the sign’s message to “politicians of all colours and stripes” was they needed to come together to develop a strong national policy to reduce emissions.

“Renewable energy is now cheaper than coal-fired electricity, so why do we focus on coal as a form of energy? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Dr Nott said.

Nick Graham-Higgs, the founder of environmental consultancy NGH Environmental, who spent March 18 fighting to save his home and neighbouring properties when a bushfire hit the town participated in the sign.

“We are lucky that no lives were lost that day, but it took several months to recover from the emotional trauma as well as the smoke inhalation,” Mr Graham-Higgs said.

“Everyone is extremely uneasy about the coming summer, as a hot day and strong breeze could set off the nightmare for us once again.

“The clean energy solutions required for climate action are already technically feasible, affordable and available today.

“Making the switch away from fossil fuels is just a matter of political will.” .

David Gallan, President of the Far South Coast branch of the National Parks Association and member of the RFS, who sustained severe damage to his solar-powered home in the bushfire.

“In addition to renewable energy, protecting forests is also one of the cheapest and most effective ways to cut emissions and reduce bushfire risk,” he said.

“Our leaders must act in the best interests of all Australians and support climate solutions such as renewable energy and forest protection.”

Thanks to ABC South East for this coverage