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45 Years of Acting Up: Friends of the Earth Brisbane radicals

Friends of the Earth podcast history series made in collaboration with 3CR 855 AM community radio show Acting Up! 
Monday 2:00pm-2.30pm.  Ratbags, peaceniks and agents of change, resistance radio that explores the movements that made us. 

45 years of Acting Up! Taking a look at local groups: FOE Brisbane audio episode

Listen up mp3
Presenter: Em Gayfer
Guests: Cam Walker, June Norman, Jessica Lawson, Robin Taubenfeld

FOE Brisbane







In this episode we shine a light on the radical resistance of Friends of the Earth Brisbane and their 45 years of environmental campaigning on Indigenous land rights, reef and forest protection, anti-uranium mining and anti-nuclear action, protests against coal and gas expansion, while promoting peace and climate justice issues locally and internationally.  Keep reading for key moments of FOE Brisbane 1975 – 2020.

Key moments: Friends of the Earth Brisbane Radicals

1975 FOE groups are established in Queensland, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, the Illawarra, Tasmania and Western Australia.  Local autonomous groups formed the cornerstone of the National Federation of FOE in collaborative campaigning on anti-whaling, no lead petrol, container deposit schemes and Indigenous land rights and mining resistance.

Late 1970s National action on anti-uranium mining Jabiluka blockades supported by FOE Brisbane activists.  Era of resisting Joh Bejelke-Petersen’s police state LNP government fighting for the right to protest, public awareness campaign around the nuclear fuel cycle and blockades at the Docks supported by Queensland Trade Unions.  Campaigns around climate justice, food sovereignty and community agriculture, and military disarmament. 

Peace, Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy (PACE) campaigns operate out of FOE Brisbane under various campaign banners and across a range of issues.  These include opposing the environmental and social impacts of militarism, anti-uranium mining and anti-nuclear energy, and food irradiation awareness, while promoting peace, sustainability, social justice and clean energy.  

1982 FOE Brisbane is involved in community protests against retrogressive Aboriginal land rights legislation.  

1990 Alliances with Indigenous communities campaigning against sand mining on Minjeribah, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland.  

1991 FOE Maryborough, Queensland begins to monitor logging and environmental threats to Fraser Island and the broader region of mid-north coast of Queensland. Activists Ross and Karen Daniel, and Zephyr L'Green with co-activists keep the blockade base-camp on Fraser Island running for a year. The State and Federal governments stop logging on Fraser Island at the end of 1991.  

1993 FOE Melbourne activists align with Wadjularbinna, a Gungalidda woman from Doomadgee community of the Gulf country of North Queensland to support Gungalidda community members opposed to CRA plans to develop Century Zinc deposits at Lawn Hill, north-west of Mt Isa, QLD.  Activist Lee Tan develops campaign links into a broader informal alliance.  FOE activists help establish the Bugajinda-Moonlight outstation project constructing basic facilities for the Moonlight clan to regularly visit their country, marking the start of an eco-cultural tourism business.  

1996 FOE Brisbane re-forms after a core group of activists involved in the campaign to stop sand mining on Minjeribah, North Stradbroke Island agree to establish a long-term base for their collective campaigns.  Ramsar Wetlands conference is held in Brisbane marking the beginning of greater involvement of FOE Australia in the FOE International network.  

1997 FOE Brisbane sets up headquarters within a Community Learning Centre and with allied groups continue to oppose sand mining on Minjeribah, North Stradbroke Island.

1998 FOE Brisbane initiates Reverse Garbage Queensland Co-operative collecting and selling discarded industrial materials that would have gone to landfill.  The Bicycle Revolution, a pushbike repair and re-cycle workshop, also operates from FOE Brisbane.

early-2000s FOE Brisbane campaigns against genetic engineering and food irradiation, on anti-nuclear and Indigenous rights issues, opposing coal seam gas projects, coal dust pollution, campaigning for reef and forest protection, and raising awareness of climate change issues effecting Australia and Pacific nations.  

2005 FOE bus trip to oppose Australia-US joint military training exercise around the Great Barrier Reef area.  

2006 Gas drilling protests at Tara, western Downs region of QLD.

2007 FOE climate campaigners host a speaking tour featuring Ursula Rakova and Bernard Tunim from the Carteret Islands, holding forums in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne to hear the Carteret story of climate-related dislocation and relocation.

2011 FOE Brisbane activist Derec Davies locks on to a Gladstone Port Corporation dredge after being ferried in by a Zodiac inflatable speed-boat, unfurling a protest banner emblazoned with SAVE THE REEF, HALT DREDGING!

2012 FOE activist June Norman is joined by a growing number of people during her 29-day walk to highlight the environmental impacts of the Coal Seam Gas industry.  Covering nearly 500 kms from Kumbarilla to Gladstone, Queensland, following the route of a proposed coal seam gas pipeline, June and the walker activists arrive in Gladstone on the day of a UNESCO meeting to assess the effects of coal and gas development on the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding Marine Park.

2013 FOE Brisbane campaigns on the problem of dangerous dust from coal wagons transported from Acland in the Darling Downs through Toowoomba, Ipswich and within 100 metres of residential properties across 21 Brisbane suburbs.

2014 Robin Taubenfeld and FOE Brisbane activists play a leading role in the Brisbane G20 Peoples Convergence.  FOE activists hit the road for a seven-day tour of the Galilee Coal Basin in Queensland, as coal companies plan to build nine new mega-mines in the Basin.

2019 Queensland Labour Government passes controversial legislation to end sand mining on Minjeribah, North Stradbroke Island by the end of the year.  Protests continue against the development of Adani coal mines.

2020 Friends of the Earth Brisbane: mobilise - resist – transform

The Six Degrees campaign works with communities and groups across the state to reduce Queensland’s dependence on the coal industry, and to ensure a just and measured transition to a safe climate future. We are working towards the creation of an ecologically sustainable and socially just society through community action.

The PACE campaign has been operating in Brisbane for the last 40 years in various guises. The campaign works across a broad range of issues, including opposing the environmental and social impacts of militarism, uranium mining, nuclear energy and food irradiation, while promoting a world based on peace, sustainability, social justice and clean energy.

The Climate Frontlines campaign and the sub-group, Friends of Tulele Peisa, are focused on those at the front lines of climate change in the Pacific.  In particular, the Climate Frontlines Collective raises awareness and funds for people in the low-lying Pacific nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu who are being forced to leave their communities due to climate change. These island communities are already being displaced by rising sea levels.

Contact Friends of the Earth Brisbane
Friends of the Earth Brisbane is a community based social change cooperative working on local, regional, national and international issues. We are working towards the creation of an ecologically sustainable and socially just society through community action.

Volunteer with Friends of the Earth Brisbane

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