News | 12th Dec, 2009

Fire survivor raises heat on leaders

Saturday, December 12 2009
Peter Ker, The Age

Jenneke Kylstra felt the awesome power of the Black Saturday bushfires firsthand as she and her fellow CFA volunteers huddled for their lives in Marysville.

Lucky enough to survive that encounter, she now wants to turn up the heat on world leaders in Copenhagen.

''Being in the fires showed me how things can get so much worse than we could ever imagine … It has heightened my awareness of what could happen because of climate change and changing weather patterns,'' she said.

Today she will march down Swanston Street at midday with up to 20,000 others demanding those in Copenhagen take greater action to combat climate change. Similar marches are planned for other cities around Victoria and the nation.

Dubbed the Walk Against Warming, today's march follows a series of recent events designed to influence world leaders using people power, including one protester several weeks into a hunger strike at Parliament House in Canberra.

A group of emergency services workers recently ran from North Queensland to Melbourne in a bid to raise awareness, and an Anglican bishop will tomorrow complete his week-long walk from Ballarat to Hamilton with the same aim.

Ms Kylstra said today's walk was a chance to remind politicians how important the issue was to the community.

''It doesn't feel like there's much traction getting gained, but it is wonderful that people are doing things like the run and the walk,'' she said. ''I think we should keep doing it until we get real political action, so I will keep going every year.''