It's time to declare a climate emergency

Written by Melissa Sellen on 10 Mar 2020 - 12:52pm.

We're calling on our members to join us and continue to be advocates for climate emergency declarations and climate strikes across the state.

We know the time has come

As environmental educators, we have been acutely aware of the predictions of climate change for many years. In the lead-up to our 34th NSW Environmental Education conference last September, the youth-led Global Climate Strikes were attended by 300,000 Australians and millions others around the planet. At the same time, many of our members were experiencing the terrifying reality of climate change with unprecedented bush fires across the state. These events inspired us to propose a Climate Emergency Declaration that was unanimously endorsed by our NSW conference delegates in October. In the months since, while the bushfires crisis worsened around NSW and across Australia, our Climate Emergency Declaration was endorsed by all state and territory AAEE chapters and the AAEE National Executive Committee.

This Climate Emergency Declaration acknowledges the critical role that environmental educators in schools, governments, businesses and communities have to advocate for climate action. Whether they work with pre-schoolers or local Councillors, every environmental educator in NSW can make a difference and help our communities navigate the climate emergency we are experiencing.

Our declaration

On January 28 2020 the following Climate Emergency Declaration was made by the National Executive Committee of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE):

Climate change is real and the expected outcomes made clear in countless reports are happening now. Global average temperatures, atmospheric greenhouse gases and ocean acidity are already at dangerous levels. The impacts of climate change are causing serious loss of life, and destroying the ecosystems that we rely upon for our collective wellbeing and economic prosperity. 

All levels of government must act now and discontinue those climate-changing policies that put us all in even greater peril. We have advocated for comprehensive education for sustainability for 40 years, and have a range of outstanding educational programs and associated material to offer all school and community sectors.

The Australian Association for Environmental Education calls on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to:

  • declare a climate emergency;
  • commit to providing maximum protection for all species, ecosystems, and economies, and to fully restoring a safe climate;
  • mobilise the required resources and take effective action at the necessary scale, and speed;
  • transform the economy to zero emissions, and make a fair contribution to drawing down the excess carbon dioxide, and;
  • contribute to actions by other governments around the world to take these same actions.

We also call on our members to continue to work with their employers to declare a climate emergency, and where possible support the national climate strikes.

  • Our members who work for local government can encourage their Council to declare a climate emergency by using the resources from Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation in Action (CEDAMIA) at https://www.cedamia.org/
  • Our members who work in early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary education can encourage their workplaces to support the national climate strikes
  • Our members who work in private enterprise can encourage their workplaces to support the national climate strikes by joining the Not Business as Usual Alliance at https://www.notbusinessasusual.co/