Locals to hold climate march

For the future: Esperance had the first windfarm in Australia. Photo: Supplied.
For the future: Esperance had the first windfarm in Australia. Photo: Supplied.

The Esperance Climate Action group is preparing to host a rally demanding greater action on climate change next Friday, the first of its kind for the region.

The rally is due to be held as part of the global climate strike on September 20, with millions expected to turn out to demand action as part of the global strike.

Local residents participating in the rally are due to meet at the Whale Tail on the Esperance Foreshore from 12pm before marching to Post Office Square.

The action group was formed by 10 like-minded, environmentally-conscious residents, with members Karli Florisson and Ashleigh Rowlands spearheading the movement.

Ms Florisson said she and other members were inspired to host the rally after watching the documentary 2040, which follows filmmaker Damon Gameau as he travels to find new ways of addressing climate change.

With the group having now attracted more than 80 members, Ms Florisson said she anticipated the event would draw about 40 to 50 participants.

As the only state without a renewable energy target, Ms Florisson says that WA could be doing more.

"We are already passionate about the environment and making Esperance a more sustainable place, but we also really want to promote action on climate change in Esperance, WA and the rest of Australia," she said.

"We want to be proactive and make the statement that we care about this issue, too.

"As the town that had the first wind farm in the country, we would love to be on the forefront of demanding that our state takes some action in this area.

"We should have a sensible, ambitious renewable energy target.

"Something that we can aim for. I suppose it's a case of standing together and saying that we, as a community, care about strong action being taken."

The group took to the Esperance Community Page to share news of the planned rally with its 14,000 members and gauge the community's interest. The post has since drawn more than 200 comments, many of which were from those skeptical of global warming or the impact a rally could have on addressing the climate crisis.

"I see all this as scaremongering," one commenter said.

"All this propaganda is coming from universities to our young ones, it is lies from mainstream media."

Ms Florisson admitted that she was surprised by the amount of people discouraging the group from taking action, but also acknowledged the strong support the group had received.

"Esperance can be quite a conservative community, so, for me, I wanted to see Esperance stand up and demand action on climate change," she said.

"I've been surprised to see that so many people have been determined to deter us from taking action.

"Nonetheless, there is certainly a strong group of people in Esperance who are really passionate about seeing strong action taken on climate change.

"Those of us who are here and have been passionate about environmental causes can almost feel like a square peg in a round hole in Esperance. But, actually, there are a lot of people in Esperance that are involved in environmental causes."

Moving forward, Ms Florisson said the group planned to write to local politicians and lobby the state government to implement a renewable energy target, while supporting local projects like the Esperance Community Power Project and stopping drilling in the Great Australian Bight.