Bosede Adetifa moved to the Latrobe Valley from Nigeria, West Africa when her husband got a nursing job in the region.
She says there are many things she loves about living in the Latrobe Valley, but mostly she likes being close to all the amenities her family needs, and she appreciates the friendliness of the people around her.
“When I came to the Latrobe Valley in 2000, the people I met were very accommodating and comforting. Where else do you want to be other than a place where you can easily connect with people, and they’re very supportive, readily available to offer assistance? And I guess I just thought, this is where I want to be.”
She says her vision for the region is about taking care of the youth and elderly people, as well as looking after the environment.
“Being a nurse myself, I realise we need to support the youth, as well as the elderly people in the community,” she says. “We need to look after the environment, our health, and empower people with education and research.”
When it comes to the transition of the local economy towards a zero-carbon future, Bosede says it is important to consider how people are impacted in different ways.
“There have been a lot of people who have been impacted by job losses and others who have had health issues from living near power stations. So, this has definitely affected different people in different ways and we need to find solutions that address all these impacts,” she says.
“We need to look after the environment, our health, and empower people with education and research.”
“To find these solutions we need to involve the community. We need to create awareness by sparking community conversations, so people know the impacts of climate change on the environment - people need to know. I think some people are aware, but they do not know the gravity - how significant it is. And they won’t know until we actually start the conversations.”
Bosede says that she generally feels hopeful about the future of the Valley as people come together and become more educated about the issues as a community.
“I believe that charity begins at home. If every family, every individual can have that little conversation and create that awareness within their own home, then it will translate to the whole of the community. Then everybody would be able to have a safe and healthy environment. So that is my hope that it will happen as a community.”
Special Edition - Communities Leading Change
It is our stories that define us and the conversations we have that shape what we value and believe in. We all have fears and dreams, but it is our shared stories that bring us together.
The Communities Leading Change Project began as a partnership between Climate for Change and the Gippsland Climate Change Network in 2018, and was one of 24 projects across Victoria primarily funded through the Virtual Centre for Climate Change Innovation (VCCCI).
It was a community co-designed program that aimed to empower people in and around the Latrobe Valley, and with support engage other communities as a way of exploring the big questions around climate change and energy transitions with a local focus.
We provided two cohorts of workshops during 2019 for 33 local people from different backgrounds including the coal, renewable energy, and agricultural industries, health professionals and community workers, environmentalists, multicultural leaders, artists, students and more.
These local people facilitated small group conversations called “Conversations for Change”. It included about 185 community members over a seven-month period, and was undertaken over a shared meal. More than 60 hours of recorded conversations were collected. Quotes reflecting the main themes that came out of these discussions are scattered throughout this publication.
We found that most people were concerned about climate change as a serious and urgent threat (78%), while about 70% also believed that an energy transition in the Latrobe Valley was not happening fast enough. People had mixed feelings about the changes already happening and how the community could reach a just energy transition. However, people agreed the significant need for the community to be supported, come together, find solutions and put in concrete plans was essential to guarantee these future visions.
This special edition collects some of the stories and sentiments of people involved in, and engaged by, Communities Leading Change more widely. We hope it will inspire you to join us in bringing people of all backgrounds in the Latrobe Valley and surrounding areas together so we can build a strong community that has a voice and is active in building a prosperous, fair and sustainable future for all.