Gemma Weedall

Crowd at a forum

Hundreds of people attended the first leg of the 100% Renewables Roadshow in Adelaide on October 31, demonstrating strong community support for renewable energy in South Australia.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke spoke about their Homegrown Power Plan, which maps out a proposal for how Australia can get to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Over the past six years, a strong grassroots campaign has been waged to build a solar thermal power plant in Port Augusta, South Australia. The campaign has brought together diverse stakeholders including local community members, workers, environment groups, unions and the local council. Together they have pushed for coal, the town's traditional energy source, to be replaced with solar thermal technology, which would provide baseload power for the state.
"Making Solar Thermal Happen" was the theme of a forum on August 5 at the University of South Australia, hosted by Repower Port Augusta and Climate Emergency Action Network of South Australia (CLEAN SA). Speakers explored the benefits of the community proposal to build solar thermal power stations in Port Augusta from the point of view of jobs, manufacturing, health, climate and regional development. The discussion was timely, with Port Augusta’s future remaining uncertain after the recently announced forthcoming closure of its coal-fired power stations.
Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing humanity today. We are seeing global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, with 13 of the 14 warmest years on record having occurred in the past 14 years. In fact, if you are under 37 years of age, you have never seen a year of below average temperature. Last year in Australia, over 150 weather records were broken, including experiencing our hottest day, week, month and year on record. It is likely that these records will not be long-standing, with all signs indicating they will be broken again this coming summer.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate By Naomi Klein Simon & Shulster, 2014 Award-winning author and activist Naomi Klein, who wrote The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, is back with her long-awaited new release: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. Now, she is taking on the biggest issue of our time ― climate change, and exploring the implications of the climate crisis for social change today and into the future.
About 1000 people marched from parliament house to Victoria Square in Adelaide on August 2, to show opposition to the proposal to turn farmlands into gaslands. The rally and march, organised to show the danger to South Australia’s food bowl, water and tourism, was jointly organised by the Limestone Coast Protection Alliance, Stop Invasive Mining Group — Eyre Peninsula, and the Yorke Peninsula Landowners Group. It had a strong rural focus, with people travelling from all over rural and urban South Australia to attend.
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer held an unlikely joint press conference on June 25 with former US vice president and climate campaigner Al Gore. It was one of those mindboggling moments in Australian politics that seem to be a more frequent occurrence in recent times. Palmer used the opportunity to announce his position on some key climate-related policies the incoming Senate will be voting on.
Gemma Weedall gave this speech at the March in May rally in Adelaide on May 18. She is a member of the Climate Emergency Action Network and the Socialist Alliance. *** This week I heard some news that really scared and shook me. Believe it or not, I’m not talking about the budget – although that did too.
Last year we had the hottest week, hottest day, month and year on record broken in Australia. Worryingly, the fossil fuel companies already have 2795 gigatonnes of fossil fuels in reserves they planning on burning. That is five times more than the planet can handle if we want to stay below two degrees of warming their business plans, the planet tanks. We need to rewrite this script and go down a different path.
Boots Riley is lead singer of US-based hip-hop group The Coup and a radical activist, heavily involved in Occupy Oakland and other struggles. He was a featured speaker at the Marxism 2014 conference in Melbourne over April 17-20. Green Left Weekly's Gemma Weedall spoke to him. * * * Why do you think we need revolutionary change today?
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth & Donald Sutherland Directed by Francis Lawrence In cinemas now The Hunger Games brings revolution to the big screen in an action-packed film adaption of author Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. The second film, Catching Fire, takes off nicely where the first left off. It lifts the bar in every aspect, from the intensity of the storyline, to the performances and production quality.
About 50 people rallied outside minister for climate change Mark Butler's office in Adelaide on August 24 to make climate an election issue. Organised by the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), the rally called on the government to: build solar thermal in Port Augusta; end all fossil fuel subsidies; increase the Renewable Energy Target to 100%; put electricity supply under community control; and refit the SA car industry to build solar thermal components and public transport infrastructure.
The recent floods in Queensland, as well as bushfires in three states, have dramatically shown that climate change is a serious threat and is getting worse. Climate change is not an abstract issue that will be a problem at some point down the track; it is having real impacts now. Extreme fires and floods are becoming the norm in Australia, rather than infrequent disasters. It is expected that there will be more frequent and more damaging extreme weather events if action to stop climate change soon does not happen soon.
Australian gas company Santos have recently commenced commercial drilling for shale gas in the Cooper Basin in Moomba, South Australia. Like coal seam gas, shale gas is a form of unconventional gas that requires "fracking" to release it. The Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) held a protest on December 14 in front of Christmas shoppers in Adelaide's Rundle Mall, before marching to Santos HQ. Their message to the SA state government was: "No to unconventional gas - Yes to renewables". The text below is a speech given at the protest by CLEAN activist Gemma Weedall. ***
About 350 women took to the streets of Adelaide on October 26 as part of a Reclaim the Night protest. No march was held last year, so it was inspiring to see women of all ages marching through the central business and nightclub districts of Adelaide chanting, “whatever we wear, wherever we go — yes means yes, no means no”, and “women united will never be defeated”. The event was a women’s only space. Male supporters were encouraged to show support from the footpath along the march route.
We are facing a climate emergency. The impacts of increasing extreme weather events are already being felt around the world and the unprecedented record Arctic sea ice melt highlights the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels. Shamefully, it is in this context that new coal and gas projects continue to be approved, and the federal government plans to give $4.5 billion in free carbon permits to the country’s dirtiest coal-fired power stations. This money should be put into building large-scale renewable energy, like solar thermal power for Port Augusta.

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