About 2000 people have made a giant human sign that sent a strong message about global warming.
On Sunday, September 30, they came from across the Bega Valley and beyond to Tathra to form one of Australia’s largest human signs, which called for stronger climate action and rapid reductions.
Organised by Clean Energy For Eternity, the people were joined by 14 Rural Fire Service (RFS) trucks at Lawrence Park to spell out three slogans: “Keep Tathra Cool”, “Reduce CO2 ”, and “Climate Action Now”.
Speaking after the event, founder and president of CEFE Matthew Nott was happy with the sign’s success.
“I spent the whole morning with my heart in my mouth worrying if anyone would turn up!” he said.
Dr Nott said there were 34 letters in sign which was “really ambitious” and when people walked onto the park it was “unscripted, there was no rehearsal”.
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“But we got it all done in about half the time I thought it would take, it took about 45 minutes,” he said.
Tathra had been at the forefront of solutions to climate change since 2006, he said, when CEFE formed two human signs on the town’s beach with 3000 people that read “Clean Energy For Eternity” and “Imagine”.
Since then, 250kilowatts of renewable energy had been installed in Tathra, coming from such locations as the solar farm at the sewage treatment plant, the primary school, the football club and many businesses.
Tathra is a town like no other, it really understands the threat of climate change and how it can be turned into an opportunity.Matthew Nott
“Tathra is a town like no other, it really understands the threat of climate change and how it can be turned into an opportunity,” Dr Nott said.
He said it was a “disgrace” and a “dereliction of duty” that Australia did not have a national emissions policy and the sign’s message to “politicians of all colours and stripes” was they needed to come together to develop a strong national policy to reduce emissions.
“Renewable energy is now cheaper than coal-fired electricity, so why do we focus on coal as a form of energy? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Dr Nott said.
One Tathra resident that participated in the human sign was Nick Graham-Higgs, the founder of environmental consultancy NGH Environmental, who spent March 18 fighting to save his home and neighbouring properties when a bushfire hit the town.
“We are lucky that no lives were lost that day, but it took several months to recover from the emotional trauma as well as the smoke inhalation,” Mr Graham-Higgs said.
“Everyone is extremely uneasy about the coming summer, as a hot day and strong breeze could set off the nightmare for us once again.
“The clean energy solutions required for climate action are already technically feasible, affordable and available today.
“Making the switch away from fossil fuels is just a matter of political will.” .
Another Tathra resident who joined in was David Gallan, president of the Far South Coast branch of the National Parks Association and member of the RFS, who sustained severe damage to his solar-powered home in the bushfire.
“In addition to renewable energy, protecting forests is also one of the cheapest and most effective ways to cut emissions and reduce bushfire risk,” he said.
“Our leaders must act in the best interests of all Australians and support climate solutions such as renewable energy and forest protection.”