Protestors bombard Nationals MP over climate crisis
WITH the late morning sun beating down on them, it was climate activist who brought the heat as part of their Solidarity Sitdown protest in Grafton.
Camped outside the office of Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, they bombarded their state representative with questions for more than 45 minutes.
And while Mr Gulaptis assured them that he believed climate change was real, it was his refusal to commit to lobbying state parliament to declare a climate emergency that frustrated many who attended.
Emotions simmered, with many children and adults part of the protest having lost property in the recent fire, and Mr Gulaptis said that the current emergency was to ensure that the current fire situation was under control.
Leading the questioning, Greg Clancy asked Mr Gulaptis if Clarence Valley Council could declare a climate emergency, why the state government couldn't.
"I think it's what I expected. I think its' good of Chris to come out and answer, and he answer the best way he could, but I don't think this government is doing enough," he said.
"I can't see why the state government can't declare a climate emergency, because we're obviously in one.
"I'd like to see our local member come out and publicly say he believes that there's a climate emergency. He accepts that climate change is happening, but we don't hear him say it very much publicly."
Mr Clancy said that by acknowledging there was an emergency, the next step was doing something about it.
"Some people say it's just words and it's just a statement, but our council declared a climate emergency and we are now committed to addressing climate change in every report that goes to council so there a re little improvements.
"But these fires have brought home how serious the climate emergency is, and it's time for government to step up."
Mr Gulaptis stopped short of supporting lobbying for government declaring a climate emergency, and said that the immediate emergency was what required the full focus of attention, and didn't want to divert attention and provide full support to emergency services and personnel so they can save lives.
"I don't particularly want to use that language. We're in an emergency at the moment and we need to deal with that," he said.
"Is climate change affecting on our day to day lives? I believe it is, and we need to take steps to nullify climate change and I believe we are doing that, and we're doing that in a measured way.
"The government is committed to zero emissions in 2050 and has other active programs working towards that.
"The community wants leadership, and I think the science is out and I think we need to believe in the science and we need to take steps to lean up our act as a society … We need to take steps to minimise our footprint on the planet. I absolutely believe that.
"It takes time though."
The group marched down the main street of Grafton, also stopping outside Member for Page Kevin Hogan's office.