Climate campaigner paddles from Ballina to Canberra

CLIMATE KAYAK: Steve Posselt welcomed at Wollongong before delivering his climate petition to Canberra on February 25. Picture: Sylvia Liber

CLIMATE KAYAK: Steve Posselt welcomed at Wollongong before delivering his climate petition to Canberra on February 25. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Steve Posselt paddled into Wollongong harbour on Wednesday and will arrive in Kiama Thursday evening with a message about climate change.

The 64-year-old is kayaking from Ballina to Canberra gathering signatures to declare climate change an emergency.

This isn’t the first climate-inspired kayak journey for the retired engineer from Ballina. In 2015, Mr Posselt paddled his kayak ‘Old Yella’ from Canberra to Paris.

Mr Posselt said he was disappointed in the outcomes of the Paris Summit which marked the end of his travels.

“If every promise that was made at Paris is kept, then as a species we are probably doomed,” he said. “Mankind has never lived on the planet when it’s been three degrees warmer and that’s what the promises were going to deliver.”

This encouraged him to make the 8-week trip down Australia’s southeast coast, in support of a “Climate Emergency Declaration” petition.

The declaration aims to present parliament with 100 000 signatures supporting a complete divestment in carbon producing industries and transition to renewable energy by 2030.

These measures aim to maintain global temperatures instead of the three degree rise proposed at the 2015 Paris Summit.

Mr Posselt claims “there is no engineering reason why that can’t be achieved,” and that psychology is the biggest barrier to change.

Supporters at Wollongong harbour included Sharon Bird, Paul Scully, Arthur Rorris, George Takas and Jill Merrin.

Supporting the declaration, Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said he’s optimistic about Wollongong’s future.

“In Wollongong we have a world class university that‘s doing some fantastic work in the areas of renewable energy, energy storage and sustainable building development, which will be important as we go forward.”

Mr Posselt said he hopes his efforts inspire practical action.

“There seems to be hundreds that have said to me; now I’m motivated to do more. That’s the satisfaction I get out of this.”

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