Dr Brad Pettitt, electric bike rider, aid worker, professor of sustainability, and probably the coolest Mayor Fremantle ever had, is rolling up his trousers and helping Oxfam out yet again. This time he stands in the sea to mirror the photograph from an exhibition to be shown in Fremantle on the effects of climate change in the Pacific Islands. The Land is Life exhibition by acclaimed photographer Rodney Dekker has been designed to create awareness and action around climate change. The picture of the sea wall behind the Mayor is eerily similar to that in the photograph of Ngaunta Lenraoi of Kiribati standing at a place where her grandmother’s house once stood before being washed away in a king tide. Rising seas are also causing salt to contaminate aquifers on the islands, making access to fresh water difficult and destroying agriculture.
Climate change and global poverty remain the biggest challenges of the 21st century and there is a strong link between the two issues, especially where climate change affects access to land, water and food. We must not let low-lying island nations go under. Australia is also not immune from the effects of climate change. It is in Australia’s interests to take strong action on climate change. – Dr Brad PettittThe Mayor holding the picture on a Fremantle beach is a poignant reminder of how we also hold the lives of the Pacific Islanders in our hands. Mayor Pettitt knows full well that the problems of erosion and sea level rise that have beset the Pacific Islands could also impact on Fremantle beaches and properties if action is not taken on climate change. The Exhibition Land is Life can be seen at the Woolstores in Fremantle from 1st-11th March and will be officially opened by the Mayor on Friday 4th March at 3pm. You can find details of other exhibitions dates around the country here.