Australians unite to confront and change the “business as usual” government agenda
During the course of 2009, leading up to the UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Rising Tide Australia coordinated public mobilisation campaigns to place maximum pressure on the Australian government, demonstrating that its electorate demand a strong global climate agreement at those talks. This is in direct response to the recent disappointing announcements of the Australian government’s reduced emissions targets, its decision to accept a potentially catastrophic target of 450 parts per million carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere and to give free permits to the country’s worst industrial polluters.
Rising Tide Australia initiated and engaged in public forums, community education and awareness raising programmes, building alliances with trade unions, Indigenous peoples and climate action groups to send a clear message to the Australian federal government that serious action is demanded by it’s people, in order to prevent runaway climate change.
The actions undertaken are as follows:
Australia’s Climate Action Summit
Members of Rising Tide were integral in organising the Climate Action Summit, which was attended by 500 people from community groups around Australia and culminated in a big nonviolent protest surrounding Parliament House and a lobbying blitz inside.
People’s Blockade of the World’s Biggest Coal Port
About 500 people attended the People’s Blockade, some going out onto the water in a range of crafts and others remaining on the sand. No coal ships came through Newcastle Coal Port for the duration of the protest.
Federal Budget Action
Rising Tide and others organised a protest at Parliament on the day the budget was released, involving a disruption of the post budget address, a lock-on in the foyer and a banner drop on the front of Parliament House. The protest was to draw attention to the government’s continued inaction on climate change and handouts to polluting industries rather than putting real effort into reducing greenhouse pollution.
Renew Newcastle is a project aiming to rejuvenate Newcastle’s ailing town centre. Members of Rising Tide entered a proposal for a month long open building to explore issues around climate change, including a film festival, art exhibitions and workshops, however so far an appropriate building has not been found.
Powershift – workshops
/ Members of Rising Tide attended the Powershift conference and ran a workshop on Nonviolent Direct Action
Climate Action & Community Education
Continuing education for action by
Nonviolent Direct Action trainings with a range of community groups
Visiting Climate Action Groups around NSW to discuss possible outcomes of and responses to the UNFCCC summit in Copenhagen
Liaising with other groups over campaign against expansion of coal fired power in NSW
Drawing attention to other important climate issues, such as aluminum.
Regional Camp for Climate Action
NSW Climate Camp 09 took place in Helensburgh, next to the Metropolitan coal mine. Despite hostile weather conditions, 200 people came and camped and took part in a range of workshops, discussions and action planning, and over 500 attended the mass rally. There were also some decentralised actions including a lock-on to the conveyor belt of the nearby Dendrobium coal mine.
Planning for the next NSW Climate Camp is already being discussed.