Newcastle youth Ceder locked on to the side of a coal train in Newcastle, halting all supply heading into the world's largest coal port on September 7. Ceder was later cut loose and taken into police custody.
This was the third protest action this week against Australia’s coal industry and its contribution to global climate change. The actions were part of the #EndCoal campaign initiated by Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC), in collaboration with Newcastle Climate Justice Uprising.
“We’ve got to transition to renewables”, Ceder said. “We’ve got to make huge systemic change if we feasibly want to see a future.”
Ceder explained that activists have turned to direct action because “we’re running out of time”.
“I have turned to direct action because I’ve tried signing petitions, I’ve tried going to rallies and its not enough. We need transition yesterday, we’re running out of time.
“Without leadership on [the transition] … to safe energy sources, many people are resorting to uncompromising acts for change”, Ceder said.
The Newcastle coal port is one of three terminals in the suburb of Carrington, where there are childcare centres, shops, parks and houses less than 100 metres from uncovered coal piles. Thousands of tonnes of coal pass by these homes every day.
Coal has been described as the new asbestos: those people who have no choice but to live nearby are at risk.
“I’m scared. I want a future”, Ceder said. "I want to be able to live without polluted air, water and food, and eventually have kids of my own some day."
Front Line Action on Coal is demanding an end to Australia’s extraction and export of coal. It is organising the Act Up to End Coal protest actions in Newcastle on September 12-16.
[A recorded livestream of the protest can be viewed on FLAC's Facebook page.]