On Sunday afternoon February 15, a small number of us met to hear more about the recently agreed strategic plan for 2020 and to look at how we might begin to work together in actions that would work towards achieving the aims. With the growing situation of the Covid-19 pandemic we also began our new shift to online meetings with Zoom and Facebook Live

We are interested in our members putting up their hands to join one or more of our working groups. Please contact us if you can help in any way.

Strategic Planning Day February 11 Report Back
Welcome to those of us here today at the guide hall-  meeting on the land of the Wurrunjeri people of the Kulin nation,  – we acknowledge  them and pay our respects to their elders past present and emerging 

Now online format
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we are also coming to you on line today. For those who have joined us here, we are taking safe precautionary measures to  ensure no possible spread. We will be letting you know what we will be doing about our meetings from here on.  

Who are we, what do we do, how well do we do it, why do we do it, what has changed for us and where do we go next? These are the sorts of questions we ask ourselves when undertaking a strategic planning day. Some of the questions are easy to answer, others are not.

Lighter Footprints is a broad based, non partisan climate action group in a conservative electorate so our demographic reflects that, largely white, relatively well-heeled, and older. We’d like to bring some diversity into our group, and if any of you can help with that, we‘ve found it isn’t all that easy!  Perhaps our working groups may be the way we do it with special interests being the keys. 

Our strengths
On who we are – We are best known for our public forums, with a wide range of expert speakers on climate issues, that we run every month – unlike any other climate change groups in Australia or anywhere I suspect – (it is actually a very hard  ask of a  volunteer based group)  We also are out there with a presence in the community at festivals, and on the street , we  speak to groups who invite us, and we deliver leaflets to large numbers of homes in the community, when we have special reason to do so.  We also prepare high quality submissions on a range of topics to many different enquiries and causes, and we write brilliant letters to the newspapers. We visit local political figures and make noise around election time particularly.

Strategic Planning Day Reportback
So we got together this year to help us to focus on what we have learnt and what we did well and what has changed in the environment and where we should focus for this coming year. And we made some progress – although it is never enough time to do all that needs to be done

It started with an analysis of the current scene in early Feb 2020 to highlight differences that had appeared over this last year when we were preparing to fight a federal election.

1. Big shift post bushfires- in the perception that climate change is real and impacting us now. How do we keep the momentum of this moment  we asked. 

2. Increasing numbers  in polls across the nation say that people would be prepared to take some pain in return for strong climate action,  but that this message does not translate directly into their voting patterns. 

3. Government are not really doing government – just existing and headline responses, sense the Opposition has given up – no transition policy yet . The delayers, and deniers are pretending to meet targets –  presenting a clean facade but actions say otherwise

4.  Cracks appearing in Liberal front, but it is buttressed with fake news/media  

5. At state level in Victoria there have been big changes in public opinion due to long ongoing work by the state Labor government on climate change, demonstrating a better business case for renewables and an increasingly wider clean economy. This has impacted Liberals policy at state level. 

6. There’s been a rise of popular movements like XR,  and School Strike, which has drawn out an increased gut reaction on the need for climate action  and helped to shift public opinion

7. There’s been a rise of international condemnation – with possible sanctions

We bore this context in mind as we examined our role in this next year. 

2019 Aims
We checked our aims for last year – 

  1. To see MPs elected who are willing to lead on climate.
  2. To have climate change action recognised as powerful in how people vote.
  3. To build community engagement on climate change.

We agreed we had had made good progress on 2 and 3 and whilst failing on 1 – had left a mark.

Our MP Josh Frydenberg  was required to go to preferences for the first time at the election with an 8.2% drop in primary vote. Now the shock has passed and he has battened down as he has taken on the big role as Treasurer.  He is not responding to requests from us to visit him.

The question we asked was whether it was worth putting energy into addressing Federal issues and our local member, in light of the current lack of leadership on CC by this government, and that the states are now likely to be the ones taking on that leadership. In addition we had the chance to influence a local government election this year. After discussion it was agreed it still remains a point of difference that we should continue to talk to our local Member, with not too much energy expended. However this next year our emphasis at a local level could well shift to secondary targets within the Liberal party – helping to foster the ‘concerned conservatives’ group – and Liberal voters in the electorate and other sectors in the wider community.

It was noted that one impact of the Victorian state government’s stance on climate change has seen a shift in the Victorian Liberal policy position to abandon their old support for coal fired power, and their picking up the move to renewables, which puts them at odds with the Federal Liberals who are still flirting with support for coal fired power stations well past their use by dates. Even so there remain marked difference between state Liberal and Labor on climate change policy and action, but this is a very important shift in terms of any change of government in the future.  

It was clear that this year we would continue supporting the state government in their emphasis on renewable energy and to press for high targets for the future. There was still some concern over a few areas like roads and forests – even with the breakthrough about announcement of closures of logging – just not soon enough. It was agreed we need to continue to visit our local Liberal members in both lower and upper houses, in addition to visiting our state three Labor members to ensure they are well versed in why climate change matters. .

And then of course we have the strongly conservative local council that continues to  question any need for reference to climate change  as a local issue. Was now the time for us to focus on pressing all candidates in this election to be accountable on climate  and to  encourage new voices that understood the climate emergency and looked at council policies with those eyes?  

With respect to our aims to build a broad base, we agreed that we had grown the community of people who came to share our views because of the trusted nature of the message and the voices we put out there.  It remained key to our credibility in shifting our conservative community to take stronger action and to vote for candidates who held convincing climate action positions. 

We briefly revisited our vision which is fundamentally to work for a safe climate by reducing carbon emissions, and to convey the urgency of doing so to as wide an audience as we can, within our community and even beyond. 

To focus on how we achieve this vision, we framed four aims which grew out of our assessment of what we do best and which areas should take our attention for this next year.  

Aims for 2020

  1. To work on local government elections with a view to making climate action an issue and electing candidates with a strong stance on climate. 
  2. To grow the voice of Lighter Footprints as an trusted source of evidence-based information on climate change
  3. To build community engagement and action on climate change
  4. To be seen as a strong local voice on state and national climate issues and to take action on state and federal politics where appropriate. 

We had time in groups exploring the many and various ways we might address these aims    we have  sheets of filled butcher’s paper to prove it. We listed what sort of structures we might need in addition to those we already had to make these ideas fly . The list we have of our working group is on our website blog and then we are happy to accommodate anyone who has a good idea and can see how that would assist us to achieve our aims.

The committee will continue to address some of the issues about how our own meetings are run and whether we might run fewer of our monthly meetings with speakers in favour of more working group focus attention.  We are also aware that we need volunteers for groups that are not yet up and running but that we know we need. As there are no leaders for these groups, this is a hard ask.   And we are also keen to encourage people to consider joining our core group on the committee from August this year, so bear that in mind as well.  

So now we will hear from the leaders of the groups about the work of our small groups, with a view to some of you putting up your hands to join in.    We will need for you to let us know by email of your interest – except for those who can do so on zoom here today.

Join our Groups

Working groups 

  • Energy Transition
  • Speakers 
  • Writers ( papers and politicians)
  • Local Government 
  • Climate Emergency 

Ones particularly seeking new members 

  • Volunteer Coordination Support
  • Communications Support 
  • Logistics
  • Visiting politicians

It is hard for us stay focused on this climate emergency  – one associated with the intangible creeping impact of climate –  in the face of the immediate in your face crisis we have with a pandemic. But we need to consider how to keep our messaging in tune with a what large scale response might involve – though we are pressing for changes that do not impact so drastically on the vulnerable in our economy and which will be about saving lives in even larger numbers than this episode. 

The climate crisis is yet to come, and we need everyone who can see it to work towards averting it while there is still time. 

Thanks for listening

Carolyn Ingvarson


Lighter Footprints Action Groups

Implementation Day

  • Facebook Live of Carolyn’s report back and working group leaders reports

2020 Vision meeting with Simon Holmes a Court