If you’ve already studied the background information under Find Out, you’ll understand why climate change is happening, how it is unprecedented in human experience, and why communities and individuals must get ready now.
Humanity is at the stage now when the purpose of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to minimise the degree of global warming over the long term, measured in decades. While it is critical to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, it is equally important that we adapt and prepare for climate change. The effects of climate change in extreme weather and the risks to life and property are already upon us.
By studying this website and preparing a Climate Ready action plan, you’ll be able to do this and be in a much better position to protect yourself, family, property or business for the climate changes on their way.
‘Now... when we look at the graphs of rising ocean temperatures, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and so on, we know that they are climbing far more steeply than can be accounted for by the natural oscillation of the weather.
What people (must) do is to change their behaviour and their attitudes.
If we do care about our grandchildren then we have to do something.’ – David Attenborough, Climate is changing, BBC News, Wednesday 24 May 2006
"There's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate." - U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
Look at the big picture when planning your Climate Ready actions. Some actions will be easy, cheap and make a big difference immediately. Others will be for the long haul. Some actions will address several aspects of climate change at once.
As you work through the options for creating an action plan, discuss them with your household or business colleagues and decide what’s best for your circumstances and in what order you can carry them out – a balance of practicality and priority.
- Will the actions make a big or small difference to your readiness?
- Will they be easy or difficult to do?
- Will they make a difference straight away or in the longer term?
- Can they deal with several climate change risks at the same time?
- Are they affordable?
- Are they the correct action for what you intend to achieve?
- Will they still be relevant if your circumstances change?
Melbourne Water advises that “good planning is the key to minimising long term risks of damage from flooding. Prevention is far cheaper than the cure.” This applies equally to preparing for the short term.
In the Climate Ready action plan there are up to 19 specific actions you can take to be flood ready, depending on your location and circumstances.
Examples of becoming flood ready include carrying out regular repairs and maintenance on your property, having an emergency plan, trimming trees, clearing away debris, repairing leaks and gaps, getting your paperwork secure, discussing flood safety your household and neighbours, and checking your insurance cover.
Links and reading
SES - FloodSafe: https://www.ses.vic.gov.au/get-ready/floodsafe
Melbourne Water - Guidelines for Development in Flood-prone Areas: https://www.melbournewater.com.au/Planning-and-building/Applications/Documents/Flood-prone-area-development-guidelines.pdf
Some properties are more at risk from bushfire than others, but it’s important for everyone to plan ahead to minimise the risk of fire. In a fire emergency of course, you should always follow your local fire service’s advice, and preparing a fire plan should be a priority.
In the Climate Ready action plan here are up to 21 specific actions you can take to be fire ready, depending on your location and circumstances.
Examples include keeping your property well maintained, and checking with your local fire service and council for fire advice in your area.
Well before the warm weather approaches you should reduce fuel load around your property (e.g. dead branches, twigs, long grass, dense scrub, flammable materials and wood piles), protect the property from embers by sealing gaps at doors, windows and roofing, have on hand the equipment and resources you’ll need to defend your home or business if unable to leave during a bushfire, and making sure your family or employees are familiar with fire safety and what to do in emergencies.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, so we expect that our fresh water supplies will decrease as climate change progresses, and at the same time the growing population will need more water.
In the Climate Ready action plan there are up to 20 specific actions you can take to be drought ready, depending on your location and circumstances.
Saving water and making better use of the water available is the key to preparing for drought. Examples of using less water and using it more efficiently include changing water use inside and outside your property, repairing leaks, installing rainwater tanks, using grey water, using water efficient appliances and designing your garden for drought.
Don’t wait until a heatwave arrives! Heatwaves are likely to become more frequent, intense and longer, so getting ready for this is essential.
In the Climate Ready action plan here are up to 23 specific actions you can take to be ready for heatwaves, depending on your location and circumstances.
You can make changes to your home and property that will make it more climate proof over time. You can gather information, resources and equipment that may be needed to cope in a heatwave. You should also have emergency plans for heatwave and stay healthy in the heat.
Watch this great video (1:00m) for tips to Staying Healthy in the Heat.
Storms can arrive with very little warning, and particularly heavy storms may produce so much stormwater that drainage systems simply can’t cope, and property may be damaged from intense winds or rain.
In the Climate Ready action plan there are up to 19 specific actions you can take to be storm ready, depending on your location and circumstances.
Examples include keeping guttering and downpipes in good repair, securing items that high winds may pick up and blow around, and sealing gaps and leaks to prevent structural damage. If you plan and prepare for these kinds of events, you may also recover more quickly afterwards should damage occur.
The effects of climate change to the coastline are complex, so the risks can be difficult to predict. Sea level rise, storm surges, tides, atmospheric conditions, high winds and unexpectedly large waves will all in some combination determine the risks coastal properties and environments face. This makes it difficult for people living on or near the coast to accurately know what actions to take.
In the Climate Ready action plan there are up to four specific actions you can take to be ready for coastal hazards and risks, depending on your location and circumstances.
The most significant coastal hazards are likely to be inundation, coastal erosion and recession of the coastline and beaches. Depending on the circumstances, the result is likely to include flooding, salt damage to buildings and increased salinity in waterways which may damage gardens, soils and underground water.
The Victorian Coastal Hazard Guide (pdf 3.33 Mb) provides an overview of coastal hazards in Victoria and how the effects of climate change may intensify them; the nature of coasts; atmospheric processes and how waves, tides and sea levels work. Section 2 to 7 of the guide are probably most useful to help understand coastal hazards and how climate change will affect the coastal zone.
- Roles and Responsibilities on the Coast
How coastal areas are governed is complicated and can be difficult to navigate.
96% of Victoria’s coastline is coastal Crown land held by the State on behalf of the Crown. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) delegates the day-to-day management and maintenance of Crown land foreshores to Committees of Management. These include Parks Victoria, the local Council or local voluntary Committees of Management.
Under these arrangements, a Council’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
- Strategic planning
- Statutory planning referrals
- Beach cleaning
- Waste management
- Vegetation management
- Maintaining access paths
- Risk management via fencing and signage
- Regulation and enforcement of local laws
- Management and maintenance of infrastructure owned and managed by local councils
- General coastal advice
State Government’s responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
- Policy development
- Planning approvals
- Coastal protection and repair works
- Beach renourishment
- Repairing storm damage to coastal Crown foreshore land
- Management and maintenance of infrastructure owned and managed by the State Government