Over the last week, the ‘Spring Rebellion’ called by Extinction Rebellion (XR) mobilised thousands of people around the country to get involved in actions to demand that government declare a climate emergency.
Friends of the Earth understands why the community is so angry about government inaction and why they are joining XR. Given the comprehensive failure of multiple governments to act on climate, it was inevitable and necessary for a movement like XR to emerge. We support the right of communities to engage in peaceful direct action in defence of the environment.
While our tactics might differ from some of those used by XR, this new network is a welcome addition to the broader climate movement. The XR ‘Spring Rebellion’ has put the global climate crisis firmly on the mainstream agenda in a way that cannot be ignored. It has also provided an avenue for many new people to take their first steps at climate activism.
Like the incredibly inspiring student led Climate Strike, there is no doubt that XR will continue to grow. We look forward to working with XR and other groups that emerge to combat the climate crisis.
Check the Extinction Rebellion facebook page for details on their follow up events.
From October 28 to 31, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) will be in Melbourne. A range of groups are planning protests against IMARC. Details here.
There is no doubt that we are in a real and immediate climate crisis, and our actions now will influence what planet future generations inherit. We must work at all levels, from the personal to the global, to achieve a rapid decarbonisation of the economy and the systems that support us. Through our membership of Friends of the Earth (FoE) International we are operating at all levels, but here in Victoria we focus much of our time and resources into influencing local decisions by government and business. We feel that if we all play our part locally, the impacts will build up globally.
We look to other states and territories around the world that are showing leadership on the climate crisis, such as California and Colorado and, closer to home, the ACT which has produced a climate change strategy, which is designed to take the ACT’s overall emissions reductions to between 50% to 60% by 2025.
Our focus on the state level works.
We drove the successful campaign to achieve a state renewable energy target (VRET) of 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2025. Working with regional communities we have defeated proposals for new coal mines and won the first permanent ban on the process of fracking in Australia. We have stopped all onshore gas exploration and development since 2014.
Now that the spring rebellion is over, we would welcome your involvement in these campaigns which are seeking to transform Victoria into a world leader on climate action.
System change not climate change. Our vision for transforming the Victorian economy is calling Transforming Victoria, and is available here. This document keeps growing as we receive feedback from our allies and add new sectors. The second edition will be released soon.
Our approach is to mobilise the broadest possible range of the community to act on climate issues. We act in solidarity with First Nations, climate affected communities, those communities who will be impacted by the coming energy transition and trade unions and community groups.
We’re working to build the requirements of the energy transition now. This means campaigning for much more renewable energy, smarter energy efficiency, and storage. Renewables are the best form of energy, and community owned renewables are the very best.
Here’s some campaigns you can support locally
Australia’s first offshore wind farm will be a game changer. If it goes ahead, the 2.2 gigawatt Star of the South offshore wind farm proposed east of Port Albert could power as many as 1.2 million homes with clean, renewable energy, create thousands of jobs and presents the opportunity to establish Gippsland as an offshore wind hub. FoE is working to build support for this important project. Details here.
Starting the energy transition in Victoria.
Our Act on Climate campaign is a team of citizens who are concerned about climate change and want to take action on it at a grassroots level. They are leading the grassroots campaign to see Victoria adopt science based emission reduction targets (ERTs). The government is currently deciding what targets to set for 2025 and 2030. If they are based on mainstream science, and not political expedience, the targets will start to drive the transition to a low carbon future. We helped mobilise over 2,500 people to send submissions to the government ERT process. We have a window of opportunity to get the targets right. Please help us get there by getting involved in the campaign.
Marginalise the climate blockers. We campaign to pressure those who are blocking meaningful climate action. Last week we organised a rally outside the offices of EnergyAustralia to show our frustration with the company's public comments on state climate and energy policies. This is the sort of campaigning we are doing to shine the light on those who are sabotaging meaningful action on climate.
Stopping new fossil fuel projects.
Offshore: While many people are aware of plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, they may not know about the gas fields being opened up offshore in Victoria. We are working to oppose these new operations. A simple thing would be to sign our petition to the premier calling on the government to cancel the development of this gas.
Onshore: From 2011 until 2017, the Victorian community, especially regional communities in the south of the state, campaigned hard to win the ban on fracking and the moratorium on onshore conventional gas drilling.
While fracking (unconventional gas drilling) was banned permanently, a moratorium was placed on onshore conventional exploration and drilling. This has been in force since 2014, and will expire on June 30, 2020.
We have until 2020 to build a strong voice demanding that the state government acts to protect our state by extending the onshore gas moratorium for another five years.
Please the petition to the premier calling on him to extend the moratorium on drilling. You can sign it here.
Energy Justice is a collective of Friends of the Earth that is campaigning against new and existing coal and gas projects in Victoria, and pushing for a socially just transition to clean, fair and affordable energy for all.
At present we are hosting a series of Fossil Frontlines community tours. Details on the campaign are available here.
Trains not cars. Melbourne is still heavily dependent on cars, which means heavily production of greenhouse gases. The Andrews government has made some welcome investments in public transport, in particular through starting work on the Metro tunnel and committing to the urban rail loop. But it is in thrall to the roads lobby and is currently pushing ahead with plans to construct a new mega road project: the North East Link. This will further entrench our reliance on cars. You can sign our petition to the planning minister urging him to reject the road here or find out more about getting involved here.
Rivers need water. The Murray Darling river system is on the cusp of complete collapse as overuse by irrigators is made even worse by the impacts of climate change. We’re doing creative actions to get the health of the inland rivers firmly on the agenda of all political parties. Find out more and get involved here.
Circular Economy and the threat of Waste to Energy - On the back of the recycling crisis, we are pleased to see that the state is considering a wide-sweeping set of reforms under the heading of the Circular Economy Plan. FoE’s Transform Waste campaign is ensuring that the government keeps the essential features of a working waste system in there. Further, we are calling on the government to rule out polluting Waste to Energy plants, which will lock us into a waste system that doesn't work, with 25 year contracts that our local governments can't get out of. If you are interested in knowing more or getting involved, please visit transformwaste.org.au.
If you want to be involved beyond our state, then why not get involved in one of these FoE projects:
- Shift the money. FoE affiliate Market Forces is doing fantastic work at shifting investment funds away from fossil fuels. Find out more here.
- Help build the climate movement. FoE project Tipping Point is working to help build a powerful grassroots climate action movement. Find out more here.