Rising Tide launches new film, talks up next coal blockade

April 12, 2024
Launching The First Wave in Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. Photo: Rising Tide/Facebook

The First Wave, a new film by environment group Rising Tide, was launched by an enthusiastic crowd on April 4.

The film tells the story of the historic two-day People’s Blockade of Muloobinba/Newcastle, the world’s largest coal port, last November.

More than 2000 participants joined the blockade at Horseshoe Beach at the entrance to Newcastle harbour for a three-day festival which included a blockade of canoes, kayaks and rafts.

Ships carrying coal from the mines of the Hunter Valley were stopped for 48 hours.

The film depicts climate activists in kayaks, gathering on the beach and linking up on the water.

It includes short interviews with participants, who explain why they became involved and their hopes for a fossil fuel-free future.

After the film, a panel discussed how to build and broaden the climate movement.

“Seeing the movement against coal grow is an absolute privilege,” Matt Jeffreys, Indigenous activist and  president of the NSW Musicians Union said. Climate justice and First Nations justice are “essential”.

NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said the film was “inspiring” and will encourage more people to join the blockade this year.

“NSW Labor has passed a carbon net zero bill, yet continues to approve new coal and gas mines,” Faehrmann said.

A migrant from Iran said the blockade was a “massive people’s action”, and asked how more migrants can be drawn into the movement.

She said a recent Nature Day in Sydney, which attracted more than 1000 people from migrant communities, featured Rising Tide and other environment groups.

Journalist and environmentalist Chris Nash was among 109 activists arrested at the end of last year’s People’s Blockade.

“The experience of being at the People’s Blockade and being arrested was inspiring”, adding it reminded him of the movement against the Vietnam War. “There was a great diversity of activity, including stalls and a strong Indigenous presence.”

He praised the organisers’ preparation for “arrestable actions”, saying at the ensuing court cases in January, no one with no prior conviction was fined. “The blockade experience changes the way you see the future of the climate movement.”

Rising Tide organisers Shaun Murray and Alexa Stuart launched a new Rising Tide Handbook, outlining the group’s aims and strategy to build the climate movement.

This includes the Climate Defence Pledge and Rising Tide’s structure and decision-making system.

Rising Tide is planning a national tour with meetings in various cities in the lead-up to the 10-day People’s Blockade.

“We are aiming for 10,000 people to mobilise this year,” Stuart said. “The November action will transform climate activism in Australia.”

[For more information and to get involved visit Rising Tide.]

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