SoS: strengthening the radical environment movement

Issue 

Between July 5 and 9, hundreds of students and activists from around Australia are expected to attend the annual Students of Sustainability (SoS) conference at the University of Newcastle.

The five days of workshops and forums will feature discussions on climate change, the world food crisis and the struggle for Aboriginal sovereignty.

Authors of Climate Code Red, David Spratt and Philip Sutton, will present the latest climate science, which shows the Arctic is melting much faster than previously expected. They will explain how the Labor government's climate change policy is woefully inadequate and put the case for what they call a "sustainability emergency".

The conference agenda features a range of discussions on solutions to climate change and how to build a sustainable society. One panel will look at the need for a transition away from coal to renewable energy that guarantees retraining and jobs for workers.

Indigenous activists from the Northern Territory will give first-hand accounts of the impact of the federal government's "intervention" into their communities. Also, Indigenous activists from across the country will be speaking on panels discussing campaigns against coal and uranium mining and the dumping of nuclear waste on Aboriginal land.

The importance of global solidarity will be a focus of a plenary on July 7. Dr Sarah Wright will speak about the impacts of neoliberal globalisation in the South Pacific and Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth will look at the refugee crisis being fueled by climate change.

Kiraz Janicke, journalist for Green Left Weekly and venezuelanalysis.com, will join the panel recently returned from Venezuela to give an account of the social and environmental gains of the revolution.

A range of groups and individuals will be contributing to the conference. Resistance is holding a series of workshops, including looking at Cuba's example in breaking its dependency on fossil fuels, and the limitations of individual and market solutions in combating climate change.

SoS is an important conference for activists to share information, and raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues. It is an opportunity to strengthen the radical end of the environment movement, and to host a discussion of future actions and campaigns. For more information and to register go to http://www.studentsofsustainability.org.

[Simon Cunich is the Newcastle Resistance organiser.]

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