The recent climate café event held in Armidale has shown the need for strong climate action continues to be a major community concern.
And, organisers said, with a solid base of existing initiatives, the newly-elected councillors have the opportunity to further secure Armidale's future in the face of climate change.
The climate café, organised by Sustainable Living Armidale's Climate Action Group in November, provided a venue for members of the community to meet, relax, connect over a cuppa and share their concerns.
Officials said more than 100 people took part, enjoying a beverage, socialising, playing, dancing to live music and talking climate during COP26.
Organiser Annette Kilarr said that many of the concerns expressed were around the future for our children and frustration at the lack of cohesive action, particularly at the Federal level.
"People felt that we are not thinking strongly enough about our future in the face of climate change," Ms Kilarr said.
"People of all ages were concerned, particularly about the prospects for young people and families, saying there is no future for Armidale and the region without them and that strong and consistent climate action was the basis for this."
"There was a worry that the current level of action by institutions does not reflect the scale and urgency of our challenges.
"\A real shift in perception is required to enable our region to build the capacity to respond effectively, lower emissions and adapt."
Ms Kilarr said there was also a sense this moment could offer a range of sustainable new opportunities in the context of the declaration of the New England as a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and by building on the things that Armidale already does well.
She said education, agribusiness and waste management were key facets.
Ms Kilarr said a number of candidates had reflected these issues in their published statements before the election.
She said the clear message from the community highlights opportunities for Armidale to move forward with initiatives already begun by the previous Council in sustainability and climate action and to cohesively lead across the three areas in their stewardship - community, environment and economy.
"It is looking like the new Council will bring a range of views, experiences and skills to the table and this is therefore the opportunity for all the Councillors to step up - and to enable the community's vision for a better future," she said.
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