Media Releases | 28th Sep, 2004

Bendigo faces uncertain future

Wednesday, 29 September 2004

Bendigo could become a ghost town if global warming continues unabated, the state’s peak non-government conservation group has warned

“Water restrictions are already hurting Bendigo homes and businesses. In the future the area can expect to have less water, more bushfires, higher temperatures and more drought making it a potentially hostile place in which to live,” said Environment Victoria Global Warming Campaign Director Darren Gladman.

“It is imperative that all Victorians, particularly those around Bendigo, do not underestimate the urgency and enormity of global warming. Each and every one of us will be affected.”

Mr Gladman, who today is attending the Climate, Catchments and Communities conference in Bendigo, said the region – like all Victorian areas – must use less electricity and rely on renewable energies, such as wind and solar.

“Victoria is one of the worst greenhouse polluters in the world, per person, because we are reliant on brown coal, the most greenhouse polluting way to produce energy. If we are to reduce the threat of man-made global warming then we must reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. We must reduce our energy use and opt for renewables.”

EV Healthy Rivers Campaign Director Paul Sinclair said the only way to face the future uncertainties created by global warming was to ensure the environment was robust now.

“We need to get in the habit of using water responsibly. Rather than exploiting water resources we must ensure rivers have enough water now to guarantee they are resilient in times of scarcity,” said Dr Sinclair.

“In times of drought, El Nino, global warming and population expansion our rivers need to be strong and able to cope with the pressures.”

Mr Gladman said Bendigo residents should be proud of their achievements: “Victoria’s north-central area is a regional leader in tackling climate change, clearly understanding the urgency. But we can and should be doing much more.”

The conference follows recent comments made by Britain’s chief scientist that Antarctica would be the only habitable place by 2100 if global warming continued on its present course, and a report by the Pentagon that said climate change could bring the planet to the “edge of anarchy”.