OPINION: Peel's population is on a steep growth trajectory and we know that we have to do things differently.

The physics and chemistry that give rise to the thin blue line of our atmosphere and its capacity to be a protective and warming blanket were settled when the atoms were created.

Those same gaseous properties that make the planet habitable, also mean that unless we act now, we will dramatically change the Earth's climate.

The COP26 summit which just concluded, brought global parties together to fast-track action towards the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The COP26 primary message is that climate change is the greatest risk facing us all, wherever we are in the world. The question, mercifully, is not whether we should do something, but what we should do.

I believe that each one of us has a part to play in initiating change on that scale. So how do we create change within our own region and where do we start?

We know that Peel's population is on a steep growth trajectory and we know that we have to do things differently.

Part of this is predicting the changes that are happening around us and working out how we can adapt to be ready. Just think LED lights and battery-powered lawnmowers.

In the Peel we need to connect our industries, communities and our environment values to promote the region's sustainable development.

Critical to achieving this is moving Peel's economy from a population-driven, service-delivery nature towards a more export, strategic, innovation and trade-driven economy - change for, and responding to, the future. And to do so in a carbon-neutral manner by 2050.

Peel's peri-urban location affords us many unique opportunities. Food and agri-innovation can be leveraged to access new markets and increase our regional food security, create jobs and build our local economy.

Peel's agriculture and food industries are already prioritising environmental sustainability, adopting new approaches.

As a result, Peel is becoming known as an agri-food innovation hub spearheaded by the WA Food Innovation Precinct (WAFIP) and a region that's committed to preserving our unique environment by supporting sustainable industries.

The Perth and Peel Hydrogen Cluster aims to establish Peel as a leading developer of hydrogen technologies. This is about and leveraging changes that are already happening to build future technology and workforce in renewable hydrogen.

And what about electric vehicles? While the uptake of electric cars in Australia is behind other parts of the world, their availability is increasing with a complete transition assured.

This change is inevitable, but it depends on the development of infrastructure. With that, many opportunities will come for Peel in terms of how we travel in the future.

By working together, mobilising finances and supporting research and innovation, we can protect our communities and natural environment, with a resilient and robust economy.

  • By David Doepel, Chair of the Peel Development Commission.