By Tracy Sorensen
and Tom Flanagan
SYDNEY — World Environment Day activities here included a "Confest" on June 2, a day of ecological radio presented by public access station 2SER and an Environmental Youth Alliance demonstration against resource security legislation on June 5.
The Confest, held at the Intensive Language and Reception Centre in Surry Hills, involved up to 2000 people. It was enormously diverse, with almost every environmental group and political orientation represented. All of Sydney's left groups were there. It was a very multicultural day, with a strong presence from the local Koori community.
Participants enjoyed a mix of practical workshops and more theoretical discussions.
The workshop on world population, for example, was attended by about 40 people, who engaged in a lively debate. Overwhelmingly, the participants were keen to locate the causes of the problem in international social injustice. A "blame the victim" approach was rejected in favour of the need for fundamental social change.
Information stalls, from Indonesian solidarity to Greenpeace, from peak environmental councils to alternative lifestyles, were all present. A children's festival ran simultaneously all day, with preschool age children painting a huge banner with the words "The Future Is Ours" to be hung by the BWIU in the city on June 5.
In Hobart, the day was marked by a Commuter Derby organised by Bicycle Tasmania. Participants, including politicians and media personalities, used different modes of commuter transport to travel from suburban Moonah to Parliament House, where a breakfast awaited them on the lawns.
The first to cover the distance was Scott McNally, riding a motorcycle, just 11 minutes after leaving Moonah. A few seconds later, MLC Hank Petrusma arrived in a car. A minute later MHA Chris Gibson arrived on a bicycle.
While the motorised transport was marginally faster, information sheets circulated at the breakfast showed a bicycle's running cost to be less than
55D>th that of a car and
55D>th that of a motorcycle.
Using the cheapest and most environmentally benign mode was green independent MHA Bob Brown, who arrived after a refreshing 48-minute walk.
In Adelaide, the Environmental Youth Alliance organised a march and rally, which attracted 200 people despite almost continual rain. The afternoon's activities included bands and a performer, theatre and workshops. The Wilderness Society, ACF, Rainforest Action Group, Friends of the Earth and solidarity and left organisations all had successful stalls. This was the first celebration of World Environment Day in Adelaide, and was regarded as a success. Further activities planned by EYA include a public forum on resource security legislation on July 4 and reach-out work to high schools.
About 1000 people attended a market day at Albert Park in Brisbane on Sunday, June 2. There were lots of stalls, and entertainment included Aboriginal performers, poetry, mime and music from the Bossmen, Leah Cotteral and Never the Same.
Doug Yuille from the Wilderness Society spoke, urging people to save wilderness, of which only 5% is left. He said "vested interests are destroying wilderness at a rapid rate" and urged people to join organisations like the Wilderness Society.