We’re living in tumultuous times. Straight off the back of summer’s horrific bushfires, COVID-19 came along; and whilst its impacts are devastating, both personally and collectively, the community response has been incredible. Mutual aid groups are popping up with increased rapidity and capacity to provide direct aid to those most severely impacted. The lack of support and action from governments has left gaping holes ripe for grassroots organising, and it is invigorating to witness so many stepping into the space.
We believe it is important to acknowledge that some groups of people, both here and overseas, were already experiencing things such as restricted movement, food shortages, limited access to education, and long-term separation from family. This does not mean the rest of us must now be ok with these things; but it does mean we must acknowledge our relative privilege up to and including this point - as it is undoubtedly these same groups of people who are now experiencing the impacts of COVID-19 most heavily.
First off, some operational updates from us...
In order to reduce our COVID-19 footprint and help keep our community as safe and healthy as possible, the FoE Melbourne Campaigns Office is now closed, with staff and volunteers working remotely. We are keeping very busy in our home offices, getting creative with our physically distant campaigning, and planning plenty of ways for you all to get involved - make sure and check our Facebook for online events, including zoom campaign meetings and skillshares! We will intermittently check phone messages for as long as possible, but emails will be much more reliable over this time.
The Friends of the Earth Food Coop and Cafe will remain open to allow everyone access to household basics, groceries, fresh produce and our nutritious lunch options. The cafe will continue to serve food on a takeaway basis until advised otherwise.
Most bulk products remain available and we encourage you to come and shop if you are feeling well. We have implemented some changes to help minimise risk to our shoppers with compulsory handwashing before bulk shopping, washing of scoops after each use and having hand sanitiser available. Some products will be prepackaged to maintain best hygiene practices.
We are looking at ways to set up online ordering for food and basics for local delivery or pickup and will let you know as soon as this becomes an available option.
We would greatly appreciate card payments as we try to reduce cash handling, and will not be able to accept keep cups for the time being.
You can sign up to become an Active Friend member of the Food Coop and Cafe. A monthly donation will support the Food Coop to keep the doors open to provide food for our community, and ensure we can afford wages for key Food Coop staff.
Let’s stop new offshore gas drilling
With the recent state government announcement that they would lift the moratorium on onshore gas drilling, the next energy policy to be released is likely to be about offshore gas drilling.
More than a year ago, the VIC gov announced a series of tenders for offshore oil and gas exploration, in a long belt from The Otways coast to the South Australian border.
There was a long community campaign to stop oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. There is no doubt that many Victorians will get mobilised to oppose any offshore drilling the state government may approve.
Please tell the premier Daniel Andrews that you will oppose offshore gas drilling if he is foolish enough to approve it. There is a petition here and background information here.
In a hugely disappointing turn of events, the Andrews Government made the decision to end the hard-won moratorium on conventional onshore gas mining and exploration. The moratorium was achieved by the same huge, community-powered campaign that won the ban on unconventional gas mining (fracking), recently legislated.
Due to the announcement coming hot on the tail of the federal government’s ban on events of over 500 people, a “conventional” rally was not the answer - instead, we called a digital rally, calling on supporters of the moratorium to post a selfie with their placard on social media. Click here to find out more and head to the rally!
Final Push for science-based climate targets
The outcome of the targets for 2025 and '30 will set the pace of climate action over the next decade. It will have major implications for how we travel, where we get our electricity, how we produce food, the level of protection for native forests, and more.
It's critically important for the Premier and Cabinet to hear from the community in the final days before the legislated deadline of the decision. We need them to hear our call for targets that help keep global warming below 1.5°C.
Joint Statement: Wind Energy Industry calls for bold emissions targets based on science
On Tuesday, our Yes 2 Renewables collective launched a joint statement with some of the biggest players in the wind industry alongside key allies in the climate movement, calling for the Andrews government to set ambitious emissions reduction targets that are based on science, are bold, and limit global warming to 1.5C
The statement argues that Victoria can build on its leadership in wind and solar, deepen action on climate change and create thousands of good jobs in the process. With the Victorian Renewable Energy Target in written into law, Yes 2 Renewables Coordinator Pat Simons said “Setting science-based Emissions Reduction Targets is the next logical step … and would allow Victoria to build on the momentum, pave the way for the Star of the South offshore wind fam and and kickstart a jobs-rich offshore wind energy industry."
Read the joint statement here, and share the story covered in Reneweconomy
When the River Runs Dry online watch party and Q&A
When the Rivers Run Dry is an exploration of the rules governing the Murray Darling Basin and how they are destroying the environment, causing extinction-level events, and displacing communities.
When the Rivers Run Dry will soon be released on SBS on Demand; let's watch it together followed by an exclusive Q&A with Film Maker and guests.
When: Friday 3rd April, 7-9pm
Protect Victoria's Koalas
Online Action Planning Skillshare
This is a challenging time for everyone, and building community is essential to our resilience. Together, we can get through this.
As we always say at Friends of the Earth: Action is the antidote to despair.
That’s why Friends of the Earth is organising an Action Planning Skillshare this Saturday 28 March at 3pm. The event will be hosted online via Zoom. It will also be recorded so you won’t miss anything if you can’t make it!
Actions, whether they be in the physical world or online, are an important part of campaign work. Done well they are a creative, energising and community-building means of pressuring decision-makers and getting our message heard.
This workshop will cover the basics of organising a safe and successful action. By the end, you’ll be well equipped to organise your own action!
Facilitation for Radical Grassroots Organising: Intro Sessions
A series of workshops aimed at empowering people in the grassroots climate justice movement to organise effectively and collectively.
Good facilitation is key to helping your organising meetings go smoothly. These workshops will explore practical facilitation skills to assist you to organise in your local groups or affinity groups.
We're all going to be spending a lot more time indoors, which can be a great opportunity to catch up on projects, watch some great movies and listen to podcasts. If you're stuck on what you'd like to do, why not have a listen to Friends of the Earth's Acting Up! 45 Years of Creative Resistance Herstory series?
Recorded at 3CR studios last year, the show takes a look at the rich, eclectic stories that make up our wonderful organisation. Everything from feminism to nukes to anti-roads blockades! There are 18 episodes available for you to stream via 3cr.org.au/actingup, so grab a cuppa and listen in to some incredible activists from over the years.