Our role in Transition Town

The Conservation Council ACT Region has over 45 member groups who have in turn an estimated 15,000 members and supporters. Member groups are maintaining and enhancing our natural spaces or campaigning on a range of environmental issues.

The Conservation Council is the voice for the environment in the ACT region. We advocate and argue for the environment in a range of places and we facilitate the work of our member groups by enhancing human networks, providing meeting spaces, engaging with other communities.

We want to transition from being a city that sits on top of nature to being a city that is part of the environment.

About 75% of Canberrans live within a kilometre of a nature reserve or an urban open space that is habitat for many species of flora and fauna, not just humans.

We are proud to be in the bush capital and we do not want our easy access to the bush mean that it gets loved to death.

And we don’t want our urban spaces to further spill into the natural environment. We need to live next to nature and to step lightly within it, and we need to enhance spaces to encourage biodiversity so that native species have the connectivity to be resilient. This is especially important as other threatening processes, especially climate change, alter the way that species live and where they live.

We support a transition to a sustainable Canberra. Two current activities towards this are:
• Our work developing a food policy and plan for the ACT region. We want Canberra to transition to a place which takes more responsibility for providing its own food and we have a current discussion paper suggesting that we should produce 30% of our food consumption by 2030.
• Another is introduction of cat containment across the whole of Canberra by 2025. This measure would extend existing rules in new suburbs to include existing suburbs. A ten-year staged introduction allows old cats to learn new tricks.
[Presentation to Transition Town launch, 25 May 2015]

National Arboretum: Judy Horacek – guest speaker World Environment Day Dinner 30 May 2015

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Judy HORACEK
Judy Horacek is guest speaker World Environment Day dinner, National Arboretum Canberra, 30 May 2015

Judy Horacek is a freelance cartoonist, illustrator and writer. Her work has appeared in The Australian, The Canberra Times and The Age, and can be seen on fridges and toilet doors all over the world. Her cartoons often reflect her interests in feminism, the environment and social justice. She is currently published weekly in The Age, and is also resident cartoonist for a number of small magazines. Seven collections of her cartoons have been published. Judy also creates children’s picture books – both on her own and in collaboration with Mem Fox. Together Mem and Judy created the instant children’s classic, Where is the Green Sheep?

Book now for the dinner 30 May 2015, National Arboretum Canberra.

Roads to Paris – Efforts to Achieve New Climate Change Agreement

Christiana Figueres Executive Secretary UN Framework Convention on Climate Change gave a very energetic and informative presentation for the ANU Fenner School on 7 May Roads to Paris – Efforts to Achieve a New Climate Change Agreement in 2015. She says countries have already agreed on basic negotiating text (about 47pages) for refining and negotiating at next climate change talks in Paris. She said that the new Framework will have a different logic – it will not be about a moment in time, as Kyoto was, but will be a path for a multi-decadal project to reduce emissions and impacts.

She said that the context of the climate talks in Paris are very different than they were in Copenhagen and that broadly things were much better although there were also some challenges. She said that climate change work across the work is happening on two levels – development of an international framework agreement and ‘homework’ by countries to reduce own emissions.

The new framework would allow for many more different ‘rooms’ or pathways for the 194 participating countries and would provide a process for getting to less than 2 degrees warming by later in this century and this would have to be done by restoring an ecological balance. As Christiana Figueres said: We will continue to have emissions but we will have to have more than natural absorption.

Challenges included how to bring all countries to agreement given the different roles; how to deal with the countries who are bearing the brunt of climate change while not being major emitters themselves

There was a full lecture theatre of about 240 people present (overbooked and a wait list in operation) and more hands raised with questions than there was time to answer. Christiana took groups of questions and then answered including on the value of divestment campaigns, the role of the Pope, how agriculture and deforestation were being considered, how different countries would fit into the restructured framework, the value of coalitions between countries in the negotiating process. Also, one woman identified herself as a ‘climate realist’ and said that she thought that IPCC operated under fraudulent ideology and she asked Christiana Figueres would you go to jail if it is proved Christiana was exaggerating based on fraudulent ideology from the IPCC? Christian ungrouped her answers and said thank you, she had great respect for the voluntary work done by hundreds of scientists on the IPCC and yes, if it was proven that she had been fraudulent she would go to jail and on that basis she would expect that those people if fraudulent IF in 25 years those who are now saying there is no human-caused climate change were proved wrong they would march themselves to jail.

Audio and video for this event will be available on the ANU website