action-story | 16th May, 2016

Russell Pearse from the Ararat Greenhouse Action Group wants a cleaner car

Russell Pearse lives in Ararat, a community of 7000 people 200km west of Melbourne.

ActionStory_Russell hero

The Grampians National Park, nearby wineries and Challicum Hills, Australia’s largest wind farm make the area a great place for Russell and his family to live.

Three years ago, he and other locals set up the Ararat Greenhouse Action Group.

Although the nights are cold now, Russell is really worried about what climate change might mean for his picturesque town.

“I was really worried about the impact of climate change in regional Victoria, on how towns like Ararat could cope with a 3 degree increase in temperature. I’ve always been interested in environmental issues but I realised something needed to be done on the local level here in Ararat when it became obvious governments were just not doing enough on climate change”.

Russell is very supportive of car pooling and his kids catch the new bus service.

Being a builder, Russell needs his car for work. But he knows that petrol prices are only going to go up and is very aware of the environmental cost of filling up the car.

“I would love to reduce my petrol consumption – it makes so much sense economically to use more efficient cars. The government needs to understand the issue of peak oil [link to our Peak Oil paper] and mandate fuel efficiency to reflect this reality. Fuel efficient cars make even more sense for locals living on farms who need cars – and they should be cheaper than cars that use lots of petrol”.

Russell is also frustrated with how government transport decisions are still so focused on road building.

“Vicroads is duplicating the Western Highway from Ballarat to Stawell – a poor investment which doesn’t reflect peak oil concerns or petrol price rises. A better community investment would be improved rail services – that would really help link our community to Ballarat and Melbourne, something that’s really important for commuting for work, schools and other services. We often end up driving to Ballarat because there’s an hourly service from there. Lots of people use that – but you often have to stand most of the way from Ballarat to Melbourne.

“Reducing fuel consumption is a win-win situation, saving money and the environment. More cycle and walking paths could really help people to avoid driving down to get the paper or milk.”

Story by Sarojini Krishnapillai