Renowned climate scientist Professor Gretta Pecl is the latest to back Wollongong City Council's decision to declare a climate emergency.
The Director of the Centre for Marine Socioecology at the University of Tasmania said "climate change is an emergency"
Dr Pecl, who is also an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, presented this year's Allan Sefton Memorial Lecture at the University of Wollongong last Friday.
Speaking to the Mercury beforehand, she said you didn't have to be a rocket or climate scientist to see that climate change was an emergency.
"There are many indicators across Australia that even with just the one degree of warming that we've had across the globe, there are very substantial impacts of that change," Dr Pecl said.
"In Australia we've added a new category to our fire rating system for example because the system we've had in the past doesn't quite cover the nature of the extremes and the intensity of the fires that we are now having.
"We've lost 50 per cent of the northern two thirds of our Great Barrier Reef.
"Bleaching is expected to become more frequent into the future and the reef will take at least 10 years to recover between bleaching events but we expect to have annual bleaching by about 2044."
But Dr Pecl said there were a lot of things people could do to help with climate change.
"I think ultimately the action of climate change needs to be both bottom up and top down. So it needs to be a groundswell of action and requests for action from our government from people on the ground," she said.
"We also need to have some leadership from our people in power, whether that's local government, state or federal governments across the world.
I think ultimately the action of climate change needs to be both bottom up and top down.Dr Gretta Pecl
"I also think the conversation of climate change has to move away from it being a left or right or green kind of issue and more a bi-partisan whole of planet kind of issue.
"People shouldn't feel like they got to change who they vote for in order to be making action or requesting action on climate change. We should really be expecting more of all of our people in power to do something to contribute to solutions on climate change."
People can also contribute by changing the cars we drive, driving less and reducing power consumption as well as make sure our eco-systems are well protected and well functioning.
Dr Pecl said in a broader context, citizen science was also quite helpful.
"If people are out in the environment documenting the changes they're seeing around them, that's a direct experience of climate change, it is a direct way people can connect to the changes that are already happening around them," she said.
"It also helps with creating a stronger data base. More evidence and information about how our systems are changing will ultimately help us adapt to those changes."
Dr Pecl runs a national science project called Redmap (Range Extension Database & Mapping project).
Redmap invites the Australian community to spot, log and map marine species that are uncommon in Australia, or along particular parts of our coast.
"What we are doing with that is tracking new species that are popping up in different areas as the climate changes," Dr Pecl said.
"We have examples of hundreds of species that we are seeing moving much further south as the climate warms.
Our waters off the south-east coast of Australia are warming at almost four times the global average.Dr Gretta Pecl
"The public have been incredibly useful and helpful in terms of helping marine scientists around Australia better understand and how long term temperature changes in the ocean are affecting and changing the distribution of species.
"There are at least 200 species across Australia that have been formally evaluated of having changed their distribution as a function of climate change, so moved much further south.
"Our waters off the south-east coast of Australia are warming at almost four times the global average.
"We are in a real hot-spot for climate change and that means the species in our coasts and oceans are changing their distribution very rapidly as a result."