Melinda
Dewsnap

Project: Engagement for Climate Emergency

Melinda is the Sustainability Engagement Manager (Residential) at the City of Sydney.  She has demonstrated leadership, project management and behaviour change experience delivering sustainability programs with government and community partners.  Her current focus is building capacity and capability to achieve uplift in environmental performance within high density urban precincts and communities. 

Melinda is passionate about community led solutions to climate change, delivering the Community Climate Challenge in regional and urban communities whilst at the Nature Conservation Council.  She is committed to collaborate to address our climate emergency, and create a sustainable resilient future for all. 

PROJECT

Driving action on climate change not only enables us to avoid the worst of the climate emergency we have created, it will also allow new governance, new systems and models of community connection that are essential for building social and economic resilience. The frames or language we use is key to positioning the solutions we need to create and to join more Australians together to drive change.

My project will explore how we connect our city communities with regional and rural Australia in the co-creation of climate change solutions. The declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ is an engagement frame that I will explore to galvanise action from a broader range of community stakeholders and also build momentum under a new ‘call to action’.   Does declaring a climate emergency assist us to develop new partnerships and connections between the City of Sydney and regional New South Wales?  To date, 45 local councils and the Australian Capital Territory have declared a climate emergency in Australia, representing over 20% of the population. From Bellingen to Byron to Clarence Valley to Newcastle and Sydney, local councils from across Australian society are demanding action.

It is vital that the needs of regional communities are heard and included in planning for our collective transition.  

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

The biggest challenge we face with climate change is a human one.  It stems from the roots of our capitalist systems, our social hierarchies, our cultural identities and perceptions of success.  Driving action on climate change not only enables us to avoid the worst of the climate emergency we are creating, it will also allow new governance, new systems and models of community connection that are essential for building social and economic resilience. The frames or language we use, is key to positioning the solutions we need to embed and for implementing new systems and partnerships. 

I believe the Climate Emergency declaration is the beginning of a new engagement around a new call to action.  Communities galvanise around emergencies, neighbours help neighbours and strangers help strangers; we have 10 years to save the planet, we no longer have a choice.

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