Striking out alone

• Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt pictured with Fremantle Primary P&C and students at the global climate strike last Friday.

WHEN prime minister Scott Morrison warned of the “needless anxiety” of kids worried about climate change this week, it’s a fair bet that wasn’t the kind of top-level support Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt was hoping for over his own council’s efforts to green itself up.

Dr Pettitt joined about 10,000 protestors at a student strike in Forrest Place last Friday, marching under the city’s banner and joined by kids and parents from Fremantle Primary School’s P&C.

He said local governments around the world were taking leadership in the climate change arena, and now needed more backing and investment from the higher tiers of government.

“At a local level we see it and we feel climate change, be it our suburbs heating up with the heat island effect,” Dr Pettitt said.

“There’s lots we can do locally – investing in renewable energy, planting trees, actually helping our community become more energy efficient, bike paths, public transport all those things.”

But he says there’s not been enough help from above.

“We need that support as well because the reality is local governments are a smaller part but we can make that change, and I think that change is being heard at another level now.”

Permaculture expert Jeff Nugent, who’ll be speaking at Sullivan Hall in White Gum Valley on October 26th, was another marcher, but he thinks people will have to make the switch to renewables without waiting for the government.

“I frankly don’t think the government is capable of organising it; it really needs to be left to people. Half a dozen people in an apartment block can organise a forest planting.”

He says a first step to tackling climate change in urban areas is to plant fruit trees in the street.

“So at the very worst, at least there’s food on the trees. And theres always been this great aversion since someone might get it for free, heaven forbid, but hey its our land, our taxes, why the hell not?”


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