The City of Sydney launched its C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Program in May, with Mayor Clover Moore stating “Climate action is the City of Sydney’s top priority”, as reflected in the City’s 2030 Strategy and Climate Emergency declaration.
Ahead of the Global Climate Strike called for 20 September, the program’s 20 mentees are taking this opportunity to share the vision for each of their projects, and their view on climate activism. The outcomes of their projects will be presented at the global Women4Climate Conference in Sydney in April 2020.
Anna Mitchell is a senior Sustainability Strategist at the City of Sydney
Inclusive Climate Action Framework
I believe that in order to make the transformation required to become a net zero city, everyone in our community must be able to participate in the change. My vision is that inclusive approach to climate action can help to address existing inequalities and contribute to a more equitable and resilient city.
Climate change is unfair. As the impacts of climate change worsen, people who are already disadvantaged may be impacted more severely than others and may have access to fewer resources to cope. For example, people sleeping rough are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which will become more frequent as a result of climate change. The City is already taking action to address this, working with specialist homelessness services to support vulnerable people during severe weather.
Action on climate change can also be unfair. Programs, rebates and other resources may be available to certain groups, while others miss out. Housing tenure also make a big difference. For example, residents who are renting have limited options to protect themselves from the impacts of heat stress. Installing insulation, air-conditioning and external shading can keep a home cooler, but these changes are all in the hands of the landlord.
My project will explore what the City of Sydney needs to do to ensure its response to climate change promotes equity and inclusion in our community.
The City has taken a leadership position on climate change for over a decade, and also has a strong commitment to ensuring that Sydney is a cohesive and inclusive society. We now need to bring these priorities together to understand: How could existing inequalities worsen with climate change? How can the City’s actions mitigate this? And how are the benefits of the City’s current climate actions being shared?
The project will develop a framework for answering these questions, and for integrating equity and inclusion as criteria in future decision making on environmental action.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CITIES
Cities are in a constant balancing act. Space and resources are all subject to competing demands. Climate change intensifies this, and living harmoniously in cities is likely to become more challenging as climate impacts worsen. Cities are also where innovation, diversity and connectivity are richest. Our cities have the potential to mobilise climate action at scale, but only if all people in the city can see how action will benefit them, and everyone is included in the transformation.
MY SUPPORT FOR THE GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE
Participating in the strike is a simple way that everyone’s voice can be heard. Facing the scale of this problem can become very overwhelming, but the strike gives us the opportunity to join with thousands of others in Sydney, and millions worldwide, to call for action and re-energise for the challenge ahead.
Students protest at Sydney Town Hall in March’s School Strike for Climate. Image credit: Katherine Griffiths/City of Sydney.