BY LYDIA STROHFELDT
The decision followed a petition started by resident Belinda Haydon, which called for council to take action.
While the petition was first created last year, Ms Haydon said it is just as important now as counsellors should not lose sight of climate change during the pandemic.
“While we’ve all been so distracted [by the global pandemic], governments have been pushing through legislation, around the gas moratorium [and] logging, all things detrimental to our environment,” Ms Haydon said.
“It’s really important to keep moving forward, as the climate will keep heating, our coral reefs will continue to bleach and die and species are going extinct every day,” she added.
Glen Eira resident Arabella Daniel backed the declaration. She said it was the right time for it, as air pollution is an added threat to those already suffering from the virus.
“We have very hazardous air quality during the winter months [in Glen Eira], a terrible situation for anyone with respiratory illnesses, especially now, with COVID-19,” Ms Daniel said.
She said the region's need for air monitoring is vital as "wood smoke is an acknowledged global warming accelerant due to the particulate matter it puts out".
“I really think there should be action taken to control and monitor the emissions as the wood burning has a huge impact [on climate change],” Ms Daniel said.
Along with the declaration, the Glen Eira City council also committed to zero net corporate emissions by 2025, and zero net community emissions by 2030.
This was alongside a new Environmental Sustainability Strategy which will support community climate action as well.
Camden Ward councillor and deputy mayor Dan Sztrajt said implementing climate change action was the responsibility of both local councils and the federal government.
“There is only so long we can go for without listening to the advice of pretty much every expert in this field who says all levels of government need to take immediate action,” Cr Sztrajt said.
In the meeting, Boroondara councillor Jim Parke said a declaration of climate emergency would be a “cheap political stunt, a few months out from elections”.
He added it fell outside the responsibilities of a local government.
The motion failed as multiple councillors felt there was further need to consult those in the community under the climate action plan, with more alternatives to address the issues.