OPINION: Sustainable Bathurst with Tracy Sorensen

WITH autumn leaves falling and some cooler notes in the air, we’re now well into 2017.

COLOURS OF THE CITY: The rhythms of the year are playing out in Bathurst, but there is change in the air as well. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

COLOURS OF THE CITY: The rhythms of the year are playing out in Bathurst, but there is change in the air as well. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

Anzac Day is coming and after that, the Royal Show. The rhythms of the year are playing out in a familiar way, but there’s change, too, and not all of it is good.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, March was the second-warmest March on record for NSW. In terms of night temperatures, the average minimum temperature during March was 2.61 degrees above average, the warmest March on record.

Whether or not people “believe” in climate change, average temperatures are rising, causing more moisture to be held in the atmosphere, creating more extreme weather events.

There is clear scientific consensus that these climatic changes are a direct result of human activity since the industrial revolution. Locally, this is playing out in subtle ways, such as earlier harvesting of cool-climate grapes, or longer-lasting basil plants because they have not yet been hit by frost.

The last meeting of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network showed how much local people want to respond usefully to the challenge of climate change.

We’re promoting electric cars, campaigning against coal, promoting renewable energy and responding with interest and concern when confronted with phenomena such as the elm leaf beetle invasion (exacerbated by longer periods of warm weather).

BCCAN was registered as an incorporated non-profit community organisation in May 2007.

Many joined the group following former US Vice President Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Ten years later, we’re still here. Our membership and enthusiasm levels have waxed and waned over that time, as supporters deal with frustration and disappointment at the slow take-up of scientists’ urgent message to humanity: curb greenhouse gas emissions now or face a dire future.

If you’d like to join the big picture conversation about who we are and where we are going, there will be a Now We Are 10 planning afternoon at Rahamim at 34 Busby Street, South Bathurst on Saturday, May 6 from 2pm to 5.30pm.

It would be wonderful if our group was no longer needed in 10 years’ time, but this is highly unlikely. So we need to know how we can be most effective as we face the next 10 years and beyond.

The following Tuesday, at 6.15pm on Tuesday, May 9, there will be a showing of Guarding The Galilee, a half-hour documentary presented by actor Michael Caton. Again, this will be at Rahamim.

Tracy Sorensen is the president of Bathurst Community Climate Action Network. Visit www.bccan.org.au