Activists from the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) in Adelaide, accompanied by Mark Ogge from Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), went on a road trip to Port Augusta over September 15 to 18 to campaign for solar thermal power. Port Augusta’s two ageing coal-fired power stations, Northern and Playford B, are due to be replaced in the near future. CLEAN and BZE argue that concentrating solar thermal power plants are the logical way forward for Port Augusta and its workforce.
Fundamentalist Christian street preachers faced stiff opposition from activists who rallied against their public sermons in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall on September 2. Members of the right-wing religious group found themselves surrounded by a large crowd of activists who rallied for more than five hours. The rally’s theme was “love not hate”. The rally aimed to show solidarity for those who have received verbal abuse and suffered violence, particularly homosexual youths often targeted by the fringe Christians.
In an exciting development in the South Australian climate action scene, a range of groups have united to campaign for Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal power plants in Port Augusta, about four hours north of Adelaide. The Adelaide Moving Planet Organising Collective includes representatives from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Climate Emergency Network of South Australia, the Young Greens, the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
Feminism is experiencing a revival in Adelaide with the formation of a new activist group, the South Australian Feminist Collective. The group emerged from a feminist forum jointly hosted by Socialist Alliance and Femment, which followed the recent Adelaide “SlutWalk” march against sexual assault and victim-blaming. The forum explored the politics of this event and the relevance of feminism today. About 30 people attended the collective’s first meeting on June 25. The meeting began discussion about how the group would be run, its aims and values.
About 500 people took part in a June 11 march to demand an end to victim blaming in sexual assault. This was followed by a screening of the film War Zone in the Adelaide Activist Centre. About 30 people attended. The film screening was jointly hosted by the Socialist Alliance and the Femment Feminist Collective. It was followed by a discussion on the politics of Slutwalk and the future of feminism. From the discussion the South Australian Feminist Collective (SAFC) was founded. All in attendance joined the contact list.
For 25 years, the gay youth of Adelaide have had just one place to find group support from people who understand. Each fortnight, the “Evolve” project for women and the “Inside Out” project for men at the state-run Second Story Youth Health Centre have provided safe, confidential drop-in groups for gay and queer young people. These projects have been free, well-attended and of great support for Adelaide’s young gay community. The effectiveness and popularity of these projects have meant that Adelaide has had no need for other drop-in groups for gay youth.
More than 100 people rallied outside the South Australian Parliament on March 25 in solidarity with the people of the Middle East. The focus of the rally was the attacks on protesters by snipers in Yemen, the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi troops and the ongoing civil war and bombing in Libya. People from various Middle Eastern communities waved flags and placards demanding an end to the military crackdowns.
More than 200 people took to Adelaide’s streets on March 26 in the first March for Survival. Organised by the Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN) the protest called on people to support victims of the recent floods, cyclones and bushfires and to demand serious emission cuts (60% of 1990 levels by 2020) and 100% renewable energy by 2020. CLEAN’s John Rice introduced the rally. “For me the enduring image of these disasters is that of the Lockyer Valley and the foundation slab of a house which was swept away, taking the entire family inside,” he said.
Under heavy public pressure, the South Australian government of Labor Premier Mike Rann appears to be wavering in its support for mining uranium in the Arkaroola wilderness in the state’s north. On February 18, the Adelaide Advertiser gave front-page headlines to reports that Arkaroola, a privately-held nature sanctuary and ecotourism site in the Flinders Ranges about 600 kilometres north of the state capital, could be declared a national park.
I have thought for a long time that it is essential the Australian climate movement tune in more directly to the natural climate cycle, and thus popular consciousness of climate itself. We as a country have just experienced the traumas of floods, then the most intense cyclone in recorded history, and now devastating bushfires in Western Australia. Deadly bushfires swept the country a couple of summers before that, followed by another record heatwave in South Australia in 2010.