Michael Dello-Iacovo is the Animal Justice Party’s candidate for the Leichhardt-Gulgadya Ward at the Inner West Council elections on December 4.
Dello-Iacovo is an Annandale resident who is finishing a PhD in space science at UNSW and is passionate about climate change action, animal protection and evidence-based policy.
Should he be elected, Dello-Iacovo hopes to foster tree canopy growth and help council endorse the Plant Based Treaty, which accompanied the Paris Agreement and places food systems central to climate change action.
“It is important that councils do their part to mitigate the effects of climate change at a local level, and the Plant Based Treaty is a critical part of doing that,” Dello-Iacovo said.
“It includes transitioning away from cruel, environmentally harmful animal products and protecting green spaces.”
The Plant Based Treaty has three principles: relinquish, redirect and restore. The Treaty hopes to inspire change in global food systems and to fight the three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – which are rapidly accelerating.
Like much of Greater Sydney, the Inner West has experienced considerable decreases in its tree canopy cover throughout recent years, with the overall tree canopy cover currently at just under 20 per cent.
As of 2018, Leichhardt has 11-15 per cent canopy cover, while each of its immediate neighbours registered 16-25 per cent cover.
“Tree canopy loss affects not just the wild animals who call the trees home, but every member of the community,” Dello-Iacovo said.
“A lack of trees increases local ground temperatures and will make summers increasingly unbearable, especially for the very young, the elderly, and other vulnerable members of the community.”
To combat tree canopy loss, the NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry & Environment announced in 2018 plans to plant five million new trees in Sydney by 2030 and set a target of one million new trees by 2022. As of writing, over 635,000 trees have been registered, including 204 in Leichhardt.
The initiative secured $37.5 million in funding over four years and is projected to meet its first major target next year.
Della-Iacovo says that a vote for him will give a voice to those who have none.
“I want to ensure that those who don’t get a vote – animals, the environment and future generations – are represented in our political system,” he says.
“I see standing for the Animal Justice Party as an opportunity to get important issues that affect us, our future generations and the animals in our care, into council.”