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Some photos of the walk
  Victoria
  Roadside rubbish
  New South Wales
  Australian Capital Territory
  Parliament House
The walk, including a map
Who were the walkers?
What was achieved?
Some good news
SA is showing what could be done
Fossil fuels
The 2012 Walk for Solar Power
Climate change impact near me
What can you do?
Index

Walk for Climate Change Action

At the time of this walk in 2014 I was 69 years old. In those 69 years I had seen quite a lot of change, but a person born in 2014 will see devastating changes in the next 69 years unless serious action is taken on climate change. We will lose our coral reefs, many low-lying – and densely populated – areas will be flooded by rising seas, millions of people will be displaced, millions more will be forced to migrate because of changes in rainfall and snowfall, millions of species will become extinct; the list goes on.

Climate change is indeed the greatest moral challenge we are facing, and it was because the Australian Abbott government was totally failing to face up to this moral challenge that our small group walked from Melbourne to Canberra to deliver a petition and a message to our parliamentarians and our government.

The walk started on Sunday September 21st 2014 and ended on Tuesday October 21st. This page is my notes on the walk; there is also a Facebook page.

Climate change has worried me for at least thirty years. At the time of the walk I was studying it with a MOOC (Massive Open On-line Course) run by the University of Melbourne.

Written 2014/08/26, modified 2017/07/31
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke) – ©
Turtle


 
Google search Ramblings DC


 
Why accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change (ACC)?


Thoughts

Thought 1

Stick a pin in a map of Australia and chances are that you will find someone there who will be sufficiently concerned about climate change that they will be willing to host a group of half a dozen total strangers who are campaigning for climate change.

Give this a bit of thought. It really is a pretty remarkable thing, but Alan Cuthbertson proved it to be true when he organised this walk. He chose the rout he wanted to walk, decided roughly where it would be good to stop every night, and then asked local people if they would be willing to put a small group up for the night. He found hosts for most of the nights of the walk.

Thought 2

Why was I willing, even keen, to walk from Melbourne to Canberra? There are many answers to that question, here is one.

I have two granddaughters. In thirty of forty years it will be obvious to even the most pig headed and ignorant climate skeptic that climate change is a huge disaster. I would like my granddaughters to be able to say "my granddad walked 740km back in the olden days to try to get serious action on climate change". I would like to think that they would be proud of what I attempted, even if I achieved nothing.

Thought 3

So far as I know the reality of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) is recognised by every government in the world, every scientific institution, every scientific organisation that has any interest in climate, and more than 99% of climate scientists.

Yet there is a significant proportion of Australians who believe it is not happening or it is not caused by mankind, and while our government does recognise ACC it is steadfastly supporting the fossil fuel industry, not supporting renewable energy and doing very little to reduce Australia's exceptionally high rate of greenhouse gas production. Under the circumstances, opposing action on climate change and opposing the introduction of renewable energy are crimes against humanity; indeed, crimes against the whole biosphere.



Some photos of the walk

Victoria

 
Rally
A very small part of the 30 000-strong crowd in Melbourne for the Climate rally – the Climate Walk started at the end of the rally.

2014/09/21
 
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Beginning
The Climate Walk begins...

2014/09/21

 
First night
Some of the walkers and hosts of the night following the first full day's walk. Hurstbridge Community Co-op School

For those who don't know me, I'm the one on the left. Other long distance walkers in the photo are Margot Meredith near the front to the right of me, Martin Hengeveld behind her, June Norman by Martin's elbow and Alan Cuthbertson with the turtle on the right.

2014/09/22

 
Second full day
Some of the walkers of the second full day: Wattle Glen to Kinglake.

Again, that's me with the white beard. Margaret Hender had complained that there were not enough photos of me! This is one of Alan's shots.

2014/09/23

 
The Mountain
Martin and June taking a very short break from climbing 'The Mountain'; the winding, but fairly gently rising, road to Kinglake. Kinglake is at an altitude of about 550m.

2014/09/23
 
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Kinglake
The family who hosted us at Kinglake and the walkers at that time.

The lady at the rear-left is Angela; her two sons are behind her. They were our hosts for the previous night, and they made us feel very welcome.

2014/09/24

 
Tunnel
About to walk through the tunnel on the rail trail. Approaching Molesworth; Jim in the foreground.

We walked a total of about 90km along the Great Victorian Rail Trail, which was one of the most pleasent parts of the walk; although there was no part of the walk that I did not enjoy.

2014/09/25

 
Break
June and Jim practicing some dance steps following a short break from walking.

This is a public road that crossed the rail trail.

2014/09/26

 
Horse and tree
This horse and tree on top of a small rise made a nice photographic composition.

2014/09/26
 
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Goodbye
Jim and Margot (on the left) about to leave us after walking with us for the first week. Next to Morgot is Alan, Martin and June.

Early morning waiting for the bus that was to take Jim and Margot home; at Bonnie Doon.

2014/09/27

 
Misty morning
A misty morning on the rail-trail, east of Bonnie Doon. June and Martin.

2014/09/27

Roadside rubbish

 
Picking up rubbish
We decided to pick up some of the roadside rubbish while we were walking. Of course we could not collect anywhere near as much as was there, but we did collect it from small sections along the way.

Alan is the one picking up the rubbish, next to him is Martin, and on the right is Don Nicholson (who walked with us for almost a week).

2014/09/28

Also see Clean-up, my page on my efforts to clean up local roadsides, and more on the conceptual connection between roadside rubbish and greenhouse gasses.
 
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A break
Relaxing for a short break between Bonnie Doon and Benalla. From left to right, Don, June, Martin and Alan.

2014/09/28

 
On the road
Approaching Benalla and getting close to the bridge over the Hume Highway.

2014/09/29

 
Dead trees
Winton Wetlands, previously Lake Mokoan. The dam that created Lake Mokoan flooded this area and drowned all the trees. This is a very small part of the dead forest; there must have been hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dead gum trees.

We walked beside Winton Wetlands for several kilometres.

Recently the dam has been breached because it was decided that the storage was of no value. This shows, yet again, how the environment can suffer from ill-considered operations by Man.

2014/09/30

Winton Wetlands from Warbie Range
Winton Wetlands
This image gives a better feel for the huge number of trees killed by the creation of Lake Mokoan.
We walked over a saddle in the Warbie Range after leaving the wetlands on the way to Wangaratta.


 
Bogged
Bogged in a muddy gutter.

The rest of the road was very firm, but there was deep mud in the gutter.

We had two back-up vehicles, Martin's van pulled Alan's out of this bog with little difficulty.

2014/10/01
 
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Near Wangaratta
Approaching Wangaratta.

From left to right: Don, Martin, Alan, Jacquie, Cassandra and June. Jacquie and Cassandra joined us for most of the day's walk.

2014/10/01

 
Straight road
A straight section of road between Wang, as the locals call Wangaratta, and Rutherglen.

When I first heard the others talking about going to Wang I had no idea what they were talking about.

2014/10/02

 
Spectators
I had a chat to these cattle. They shared my concern about climate change.

2014/10/02

 
Murray
About to cross the Murray from Victoria into New South Wales

2014/10/04

New South Wales

 
Walkers
Approaching Burrumbuttock. In spite of the odd name it was a very nice little town and the home of a wonderful Environmental Education Centre which included wetlands and many labelled native plants.

Early in the walk June insisted that we walk carefully keeping well on the right side of the road. Further into the walk we all were pretty relaxed about exactly where we walked on a quiet road, although we usually walked on the right side. We could, of course, hear a car aproaching from behind well before it got close to us.

In regard to how we walked this walk was much more relaxed that the Walk for Solar Power that I had done two years earlier with a much bigger group.

2014/10/05


 
Wetlands
Right: A small part of the attractive, informative and interesting Burrumbuttock wetlands and Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre.

2014/10/05

A home for the bees
The Education Centre building
 
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A home for the bees
Right: A home for the native bees at the Environmental Education Centre at Burrumbuttock.

Each piece of wood has a hole drilled in it and the native bees use these for their breeding.

2014/10/05

A home for the bees
The discovery centre building has solar power and a display of the amount of CO2 that has been abated in the life of the centre


 
Chair
Martin found this old chair by the roadside. He couldn't resist setting it up in the middle of this quiet road, west of Holbrook, to wait while Alan and I caught up to him.

2014/10/07
 
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Submarine
The Oberon class submarine at Holbrook. On the submarine, holding the turtle, is June. Beside the sub, from left to right is Alan, Martin, me and Harry (who joined us on the previous day).

There is a story to the shorts I am wearing. I neglected to bring any with me, but found the weather to be a bit warmer than I was expecting. I bought a pair at a goodwill store, but then left them behind at one of the many places we stayed. The shorts I am wearing in this photo are cut down jeans.

2014/10/07

 
Great view
A view from the first stop of the day. It was a lovely day, some cloud on the higher hills in the early morning, but a clear sky all day.

I only walked about 11km on this day (and not at all on the previous day); my feet, particularly the right Achilles tendon, were giving trouble. From this point my feet slowly improved.

2014/10/09

 
Blister
This blister popped up on the heal of my left foot on about day 16. You would think if there were no blisters in the first week or so, there would be none at all, but no. Now, perhaps 3 days later, it was causing little discomfort.

2014/10/09
 
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Silhouetted trees
Silhouetted gum trees in the early morning near Lankey's Creek

2014/10/09

 
Lankey's Creek
Morning mist on the river valley at Lankey's Creek.

My feet were giving trouble at this point so I drove the car ahead to wait for the other walkers. So I watched how the appearance of the landscape changed as the sunshine came and went and the morning mists gradually lifted.

2014/10/09

 
Down the hill
The walkers go down the last big hill on the Tumbarumba road to Tumut.

This area was perhaps the most attractive country of the walk, but there were many beautiful places along the way.

2014/10/12
 
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Tumut landscape
Some of the beautiful country south of Tumut.

My feet gave me an interesting day on this stretch. We typically break the day's walk up into five sections: two 8km sections followed by three 5km sections. Usually lunch follows the first 5km section. On this day my feet were good on the first section, gave me quite a bit of pain (right Achilles tendon) on the second section, were fair on the third section, I skipped the forth section, and they were good on the last section. Odd, don't you think?

2014/10/12

 
Meeting
Alan (on left) walking back after driving the car forward had collected another bag of roadside rubbish. At the same time (not shown on the photo – he was behind me) Garry had collected another bag of rubbish. Martin and I later picked up the bags as we drove back to pick up Martin's van.

Garry and exchange student Daniel (from Denmark) joined us for two days from Tumbarumba. Garry McClelland, his wife Dianne and Daniel hosted us one night in Tumbarumba.

Walking on the road was Harry, who joined us at Culcairn, and Martin next to him carrying the flag.

2014/10/12
 
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Wet day
There was only one wet and cold day on the whole walk. This was it. The temperature did not rise above 9 degrees and it rained lightly almost non-stop the whole day. The only good thing about the weather was that there was no wind.

We were between Tumut and Wee Jasper, in very sparsely settled country. With great good fortune we came across a little church that had a sheltered porch around lunch time. (I drove over the same rout a few years later and placed a photo of the church on a page written about that trip.)

Harry, Martin, June and Me. Alan took the photo.

2014/10/14

 
Wee Jasper
Having a short break from walking in the forests of Wee Jasper.

It was a much nicer day that the one before.

The road from Tumbarumba to Canberra was fairly hilly. The highest altitude we got to was about 1040m between Tumbarumba and Tumut.

2014/10/15

 
Canberra turn-off
This is one of the first sign-posts we saw that mentioned Canberra. It gave the impression that the people who put up road signs in NSW don't really want to recognise the existence of the national capital.

2014/10/16
 
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Australian Capital Territory

 
Flag pole
Our first glimps of the final objective, the big flag pole on top of Parliament House, Canberra. Seen from about 12km away.

2014/10/18

 
At Canberra arboretum
We have arrived at Canberra Arboretum!

From the left: walkers Harry, Martin, Alan and June. On the right is Bill Gresham who lives in Canberra, is a veteran of the Port Augusta to Adelaide Walk for Solar Power, is a good friend of mine, and who came to meet us (in his electric car if I remember rightly; it must have been pretty new then).

2014/10/18
 
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Parliament House: the end of the walk

 
View from the top
On the last day we walked from the top of Mount Ainsley to Parliament House to deliver the petition asking for serious action on climate change.

Perhaps readers will not be surprised to learn that PM Abbott was not on hand to accept the petition (of six hundred names and signatures) from us. He probably was busy kowtowing to some coal industry mogul.

This photo is looking from the top of Mount Ainsley toward the objective, Parliament House. The flag pole is visible in the distance.

2014/10/21

 
Start
Starting the walk down the mountain.

On the right, with the sunlight nicely picking it out, is the Canberra city centre.

2014/10/21

 
Anzac Parade
Walking along Anzac Parade.

Old Parliament house in the middle distance, the new one on the rise behind it.

2014/10/21
 
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The group
The group who took the petition (and the turtle) to Parliament. Left to right: me Martin, June, Daniel, Winiater (who walked with us on the two last days), Alan and Garry.

2014/10/21

 
Handover
Alan, our leader, handing the petition to Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens Senator for Victoria.

It seems that the Greens are the only political party who are particularly interested in the future of the planet.

2014/10/21
 
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Old Bill
Old Bill coming to get us? They looked a bit intimidating, but were very polite and simply needed to know what we were doing.

2014/10/21

 
PH
In front of Parliament House, our immediate objective achieved.

From left to right, Senator Janet Rice (Australian Greens) with our petition, June, me, Alan, Daniel, Garry and Martin.

2014/10/21
 
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The walk

 
The walk
Map
Map credit, Alan Cuthbertson, Climate Walk
Alan Cuthbertson is the man who did the huge amount of planning that was needed for this walk, I was a late comer.

Who were the walkers?

Those who did the whole walk were: In addition to these, Margot Meredith and Jim Cunnington walked for the first week, Don Nicholson did most of the second week, and Harry Twining did the last two weeks.

Others joined in for periods of a part of a day, a day, or several days; In particular Garry McClelland (of Tumbarumba) and Daniel (from Denmark) walked with us on the two days between Tumbarumba and Tumut, and then joined us again on the last day's walk from Mount Ainsley to Parliament House.


What was achieved?

  1. We delivered a petition of around 600 signatures to the federal parliament asking for serious action on climate change;

  2. We spread awareness of the climate change problem to many people along the way;

  3. We placed a seed in many people's minds; When they saw us walking they were given a nudge toward thinking that they could, and perhaps should, take some action too;

  4. We spread awareness through the Internet. Many people followed our progress on the Facebook page, the main Climate Walk page (no longer available), and through this page;

  5. Local media reported on our walk along the way;

  6. Interest continues: just the day before writing this (2014/10/30) I was asked to write a piece about the walk for the Crystal Brook Chronicle (the monthly paper in my home town);

  7. The record of our walk will remain. People will continue to read about it and think about the climate change problem.



Some good news

Coal is in decline

The coal industry is facing a terminal decline which cannot come soon enough if the planet is to be spared terrible damage from climate change. However, there is so much money in the coal industry that many people in Australian politics, and not just on the right of the political spectrum, are pushing for continued support for the coal industry. They are backing a dying horse.

One of the Canary islands shows what can be done

 
El Hierro's energy system
El Hierro's energy system
Image credit The 20/20 Roadmap
El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, has apparently achieved 100% renewable electricity. Article by Kristopher Stevens.

 
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If it can be done on a small island in the Atlantic, surely it could be done in a large nation like Australia. We have many more options.

It would not be cheap or easy, nor could it be done quickly. Something like 80% renewables would be much easier than 100%, but even 100% is possible in the long term.


SA is showing what could be done

The SA experience has shown that Australia could get rid of its coal-fired power stations and replace them with renewables such as wind and solar. SA went from near zero renewable electricity in early 2003 to close to 40% renewables by 2014. In fact 43% of SA's electricity was generated by wind alone in the month of July 2014.

In the short term gas-fired power stations could be used to 'fill the gaps' when renewable energy was not available (gas has about half the greenhouse emissions of coal, and produces far less other air pollution); in the longer term Australia could change to 100% renewables-generated electricity.

Mid North SA, the first greenhouse negative region in Australia

Not only is SA leading Australia in the development of new renewables, but my region of SA, the Mid North, is leading SA. It is probably the first region in the country to abate more greenhouse gasses than it releases.


Fossil fuels

Burning fossil fuels causes climate change and ocean acidification. Even worse than fossil gas and oil is coal; not only does the burning of coal release large amounts of greenhouse gasses, millions of people die each year from the air pollution due to burning coal. It could be said that with Australia's coal export industry, we are exporting death.



The September 2012 Walk for Solar Power

This was a walk that I took part in two years earlier than the climate walk. It was about 325km, started at Port Augusta and finished in Adelaide. The aim of the walk was to press for the replacement of the coal fired power stations at Port Augusta with solar thermal.

The over 50s on the Walk for Solar, September 2012
Old walkers
Note the smoke plume from the Northern (coal-fired) Power Station on the left.
From left to right: Margaret Henda (of CORENA), Pete Gorton, John Bowman, Marty O'Hare, Gaby Jung, me (with grey beard), Bill Gresham and Les Webb.
Les, in his 50s, was the only one of the eight less than 60 years old. All the other walkers were less than 40.


On the steps of Parliament House, Adelaide, at the end of the walk
Rally
There was a rally at the end of the walk.
The people with the blue shirts are some of those who did the walk. There were around 50 who were involved for the whole walk.
 
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More photos of the 2012 walk are in a Flickr album.



Climate change impact near me

 
Spring Gully Conservation Park
Red stringybark
Climate change is already having an impact near my home. The photo on the right shows Eucalyptus macrorhyncha impacted by an exceptionally hot and dry summer in 2007/08. More on another page.

 
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What can you do?

This section was written at the time of the walk, it is somewhat dated in 2017.

You, the reader, might wonder: what can I do to help in the fight to minimise climate change? You might well feel that you are powerless. You are far from powerless. A few suggestions:

  • Support any renewable energy development that is proposed near your home.
  • Take your savings away from the Big 4 Banks who are lending it to businesses that are mining coal and wanting to build coal-export ports on the Great Barrier Reef. There are smaller banks and building societies that do not make unethical loans. Tell your bank why you have taken your savings from them.
  • Switch from the Big 3 Electricity Retailers (Origin, AGL, Energy Australia) who are lobbying to have the Renewable Energy Target (RET) reduced. Tell them why you have switched. (You could change to Momentum Energy that generates only renewables in Tasmania, but there are others too.)
  • Lobby organisations to invest their money ethically. (Sydney University did have money invested in coal mining. On 2014/08/29 it announced that it had removed that investment, following pressure from the public.)
  • Write to politicians, letters to Editors, etc.
  • If you know anything about wind power, spread your knowledge. There is a huge amount of disinformation out there.
  • Study renewable energy. Study climate change. You can do some excellent free courses known as MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses); look up Coursera, for example.
  • Many more ideas at What should be done.
Contacts: Alan Cuthbertson was the main organiser of the walk; his email address is alan@climatewalk.org.au
Or you can contact me on daveclarkecb@yahoo.com

It would be very useful if you asked the cross-bench senators to press for strong action on climate change.






Index

On this page:
Bonnie Doon
Burrumbuttock wetlands
Canary Island example
Climate change impact near me
Coal is in decline
Fossil fuels
Map of the walk
Mid North SA, the first greenhouse negative region in Australia
Photos of the walk
  Photos: Australian Capital Territory
  Photos: New South Wales
  Photos: Victoria
Parliament House
Roadside rubbish
SA is showing what could be done
Some good news
The walk
Thoughts
What can you do?
Walk for Solar Power, 2012
What was achieved?
Who were the walkers?

On another page...
Why support wind power?
Why I support the local wind farm proposal
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