How we started
The idea to ask the council to declare a climate emergency came from one of our core members, who instigated getting a group of CoM residents together to discuss whether it was a feasible idea to lobby the City of Melville (CoM) to declare a climate emergency. Our member then discovered an existing online Change.org petition initiated by a concerned resident asking for the same thing, with over 600 signatures. This clearly showed an appetite for change in the community. The City of Melville council does not accept online petitions, therefore, our member used their contacts and started conversations with other motivated community members who ultimately formed the Melville City Climate Action Network (MCCAN), in January 2020.
MCCAN members began meeting monthly, educating themselves on the science of climate change reading scientific based literature from organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), NASA, etc. They also researched what the council was already accomplishing in reducing their emissions.
Members then met with Councillors to determine their level of understanding of the issue and to start a conversation about climate change. Soon after, the committee started a Facebook page where other interested and concerned community members could obtain scientific information about climate change and an email list was developed to link with interested people in the Melville area. A petition was then written and the committee plus other concerned volunteers, took it to shopping centres, markets, public venues and door knocking to gather in approximately 7 months nearly 1200 signatures. This provided evidence to the Councillors at Melville Council that there was widespread community support for climate action. The committee also organised a scientific expert on climate change to do a presentation to Councillors and CoM Council staff. This was very well received. Further meetings were held with CoM Councillors and CoM executive staff, culminating in the submission of the petition, a deputation to council on the petition and finally a unanimous vote by CoM Councillors to declare a climate emergency and develop a practical climate emergency action plan to reduce both its own and the community's carbon emissions.
Founding members of MCCAN. Dr Jillian Horton, Paula Samson, Dr Brian Spittles and Dr Jane Loveday
Members and volunteers gathering signatures, Perth Makers Market Heathcote, 2021