About 70 activists gathered in Parramatta Town Hall on May 11 for the second annual Climate Change-Social Change conference.
Hosted by Green Left Weekly, the conference drew together a broad range of activists from various environment campaigns, anti-coal seam gas groups, the Greens and the Socialist Alliance, cementing its role as an important annual gathering for western Sydney activists.
This broadness was reflected in the speakers, which included Greens senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham; Auburn councillor and Communist Party of Australia member Tony Oldfield; Greens councilor in Penrith Michelle Tormey; Beyond Zero Emissions' Benjamin Moroney; Zane Alcorn from the Coal Terminal Action Group; Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra, Green Left Weekly journalist Simon Butler; and Graham Matthews and Lisa Macdonald from the local Socialist Alliance branch,.
There was a lot of enthusiasm for holding a third Climate Change-Social Change conference in western Sydney next year.
This year’s conference focused on climate change, fossil fuel mining, renewable energy, opposition to radioactive waste dumps in western Sydney, and public transport.
The panels and workshops generated useful discussions and alliance building between activists from different campaigns.
Activists from the campaigns opposing radioactive dumpsites in Lidcombe and Kemps Creeks had one of the first opportunities to come together and discuss how they could collaborate on the campaign.
Also present was an activist from the campaign against the proposed Muckaty waste dumpsite in the Northern Territory, which Labor is pushing as the alternative to the ones in western Sydney.
The conference also allowed for an important dialogue among participants, especially around the issues of the carbon price, the limitations of market solutions to climate change, strategies for building the anti-CSG movement, and the call to nationalise the mining industry.