EITHER find new ways to spur governments into action or watch progress stagnate, a new Bendigo environmental alliance has decided.
The group has formed in a period when many environmentalists have watched the federal parliament make slow progress on many of their hopes.
But its focus is on the City of Greater Bendigo and its remit encompasses a wide range of environmental issues surfacing across the municipality.
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The Bendigo United Climate Challenge is bringing multiple Bendigo-based groups together to help make it easier for them to get their messages across, spokesperson Elsie L'Huillier said.
"Those of us who have worked in the community for some time understand that when you look at anything a community needs - take bike paths, for example - it usually starts with people getting the idea up themselves," she said.
"Then governments come on board. Governments are bureaucratic organisations so they are not in a role for leadership, other than to put it on the agenda, to promote things and support them."
Ms L'Huillier said the council was often keen to engage directly with people who took action, but with so many environmental groups and projects across Greater Bendigo it could be useful for them to sometimes speak with one voice.
They could otherwise risk key points being missed or struggling with haphazard help from councils.
"What I've noticed is that it's hard for governments to act when they have 30 different groups coming to them with ideas," Ms L'Huillier said.
"We'll organise ourselves so that we can get the urgency we feel is needed on a lot of these issues."
Those risks are becoming more complicated as councils invest more time and money into dealing with climate change and its fallout.
Bendigo's council has itself intensified its focus on environmental issues in recent years by starting to factor risks over climate change and biodiversity decline into budgets.
That move has been followed by major changes to its energy use and, on Monday, the ratification of a new environmental plan with a raft of measures targeting the way the council and the wider community live.
The new plan includes targets to drive down carbon footprints and preserve fragile wildlife populations.
Ms L'Huillier said the reforms were welcome and that many local activists could build on them now easing social distancing restrictions are making it easier for them to come together and take action.
She said that would be important at a time when overarching media and political narratives suggested many problems could be solved simply through technological fixes.
"We need a bit of balance on that. It's not the answer by itself," Ms L'Huillier said.
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