The votes have been counted, and it turns out 636 people in Brownbill Ward put me as their first preference on the ballot card. I’d like to thank every one of those 636 people for showing your trust in me and in the campaign I’ve been part of to #Vote1ForOurFuture.

I’d also like to very warmly thank my dedicated campaign team and those who contributed with donations, moral support and good advice. You made this election campaign an incredibly warm and enriching experience for me, considering that I’m still a newcomer and an immigrant in this city – so thank you for your valuable assistance and support! Thank you to my wife and kids for everything you did! And to Julian Meehan for the portrait photography.

A big congrats to Eddy Kontelj, Sarah Mansfield and Peter Murrihy for the great election results that mean you will be our Brownbill councillors from now on. Well done! – and well deserved. You all gave good speeches and a competent impression during the election forums, and you worked so hard to make it happen. Wishing you all the best with the work and the challenges ahead of you now.

Which includes not only the issues of a frustrated youth and unemployment in the northern suburbs, but also the climate reality. We have just had yet another week at our “climate frontier news desk” in The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse with headspinning news headlines that were as compelling as ever, like – to pick a few…

• ‘We will be toasted, roasted and grilled’: IMF chief sounds climate change warning
• The Lancet: “Climate change isn’t just hurting the planet – it’s a public health emergency”
• Record surge in atmospheric CO2 seen in 2016
• Climate change already bringing disease, air pollution and heatwaves
• Emissions set to bust Paris deal by 30%  
• Deloitte climate expert says large parts of Australia could become ‘uninsurable’

Most people are aware of what is going on, yet we ignore taking real and firm action on the issue.

We all have a responsibility there, and as councillors you have a special duty of care to figure out what we do about it, and get your city up to speed on the issue. We, the residents of Geelong, rely on that you make the right long term decisions.

Over the last eight years, the American and Republican mayor Rex Parris has been able to demonstrate this in Lancaster, Los Angeles. Before you get too busy and involved with all the day-to-day decision making, I recommend you to spend the five minutes it takes to watch his speech here, if you haven’t already – about what meaningful climate action can do for a city in terms of cohesion and lower crime rates:

This is why the ‘Clever-Creative’ 30-year vision for Geelong is not just another strategy document to be ignored. At the same time as it is a positive vision that expresses the aspirations of 16,000 citizens, it also highlights what we need to do in order to stear through these climatic challenges we are confronted with, socially as well as economically and environmentally.

Changing our city in way which is cost-efficient and profitable can also be eliminating air pollution, and in that way benefit both our health, our connections with each other and interaction with our neighbours, while at the same time contributing to re-stabilising our climate.

The good news are that our “energy reality” keeps evolving, and it is important that you are fully up-to-date with the latest developments. Yesterday I compiled some of last week’s positive headlines here:

As for our #Vote1ForOurFuture alliance…. well, in Denmark they have a saying that goes: “The trees don’t grow into the sky”. (Træerne vokser ikke ind i himlen). What it means is that we shouldn’t expect miracles to happen just by themselves, even though we may think we are on a good path and have all the best intentions in place.

We had some great and encouraging support from individuals but far from enough when compared to the efforts, finances and manpower we saw in particular Eddy K, Sarah M and Peter M were able to put into it.

We didn’t experience any “miracle breakthroughs” during the election period. It was a warm and good experience to run this campaign but it fairly quickly became obvious that the #Vote1ForOurFuture campaign wasn’t going to create any miracles as such. The Facebook-like numbers spoke their own clear language about that. And I – we – didn’t have what it takes in terms of money and manpower to change that. Ideas and talk about our future was not enough in itself to – within just two months from start to end – to start a movement that was broadly seen, heard and respected in our city. Time was much too short, and the finances were too small. There wasn’t an army of supporters who thought this was really important to them. As the matter of fact, many people I talked to hadn’t even realised there was a council election going on.

In local politics, by the end of the day, regardless of which words were said, which alliances were created and which posters were printed, people vote for what they know, the old familiar faces that they feel they can trust. And as we have seen, every one of the old councillors from the sacked Council who ran for election, has now been voted back in.

I still reckon we can say that it was worth trying. In particular because at various events and elections forums, we had the opportunity to make it clear to everyone that the 30-year Clever-Creative vision for Geelong is an important document that we expect the new Council to be implementing.

So, acknowledging that “Rome wasn’t built in one day,” it was an inspirational journey that taught me a lot about Geelong, about the Australian democracy, and about climate change campaigning.

» See the results here:

• Mik Aidt got 636 first preference votes
(Brownbill, 43,099 votes)

• Peter Michell got 849 first preference votes
(Brownbill, 43,099 votes)

• Doug Mann got 1,858 first preference votes
(Kardinia, 38704 votes)

• Petra Goershell got 954 first preference votes
(Bellarine, 42,788 votes)

#GeelongVotes #PMinGeelong #DougMann4Geelong #Brownbill

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More on the topic of climate change

My blog post about the current climate mess we are in:

Stop. Look. Listen. Think. Act!

“We will have the choice of the collapse of civilisation and into the dark ages we go – or we find something renewable.”
~ Elon Musk

“The only question is will we decide to live sustainably and protect our future or will we continue to live unsustainably until the future no longer exists for any of us.” … [ 5,101 more words ]

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