Read “Ready and running for race against time”
in “The Sunday Age” of 26 July 2009.
“As we battle blazes here in Victoria, firefighters are busy rescuing people from floods in Queensland. Even the “low global warming” scenario will cause a 25 per cent increase in extreme fire days – and catastrophic fire events every five years – in major Victorian country locations in just under 12 years’ time. The science suggests we are well on the way to guaranteeing that somewhere in the country there will be an almost annual repeat of the recent disaster and more frequent extreme weather events. Without a massive turnaround in policies, aside from the tragic loss of life and property, we will be asking firefighters to put themselves at an unacceptable risk.” – Peter Marshall, National Secretary of the United Firefighters Union of Australia, 12 February 2009.
Run for a Safe Climate in November 2009 is a unique and powerful project aimed at protecting life, property and the great natural icons of this great country from a slide towards catastrophic global warming. Our beaches, coastal cities, forests, food bowls, great natural icons and security are fundamentally threatened by global warming.
Emergency workers will be on the front line in dealing with global warming. Firefighters will be faced with more frequent and severe fire events, ambulance officers with heat stress and fatalities amongst our most vulnerable sectors of society, soldiers with the security implications of vast numbers of environmental refugees from the Asia Pacific area, police with social unrest and park rangers will be working to protect our great natural ecosystems from carbon dioxide levels and temperature levels never experienced in the recent evolutionary history of many of our major ecosystems.
In the national Run for a Safe Climate, a team of 35 trained runners from the various emergency services will run in a relay over six thousand kilometres to link Australia’s unique, world-renowned natural icons, most of which will be devastated if atmospheric greenhouse gas levels are not brought back to a safe climate threshold.
All runners are donating a month of their annual leave to participate in this project. They are donating their time, and are receiving no financial benefit through their participation in the Run for a Safe Climate.
• Visit the Run for a Safe Climate website
The run will depart from the World Heritage Wet Tropics and Daintree Rainforest whose biodiversity is threatened by rising temperatures, on to the Great Barrier Reef which is particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification and coral bleaching. From there the run will track down the Great Dividing Range to southern NSW and through the Australian Alpine National Park, past rare alpine meadows and other high-altitude habitats, that along with the Australian ski industry, face a bleak future with rising temperatures.
From here the run will cross to the famous Tom Groggin Station near the headwaters of the Murray River in the high country, and will then run through the Murray Darling basin, the foodbowl of the nation, past majestic Red Gum forests and wetlands, through agricultural zones and ecosystems that are now feeling the brunt of a climatic shift and drying conditions. The run will traverse the entire length of the river from source to sea at the Coorong. The run will then return to Victoria, past the majestic forests of the Otways, the Twelve Apostles and surf breaks of the Great Southern Ocean all the way back to finish in Melbourne. The run will finish over the West Gate Bridge and finish on St Kilda Beach.
At each major ecosystem, the runners will be joined by the lead scientists who are tracking the health and impacts of global warming on this particular system, in media and community education events. The run will create a forum for scientists to explain the risks, impacts and solutions to global warming, and for communities to join in and for the runners to spend a day or two enjoying each system, such as diving the reef, walking the rainforest, and meeting the local rangers, indigenous owners and the researchers.
The runners will be greeted in cities and towns along the way by local emergency workers, residents, school children and concerned groups. The run will be optimistic event, and will be one of the major fundraising activities for Safe Climate Australia and the Safe Climate Transition Plan.
Please visit the Run for a Safe Climate website for more information.