Despite overwhelming evidence that the world has already passed certain tipping points, setting off large and unpredictable changes in the climate, why are governments still refusing to act on the scale and pace required, asks Pip Hinman?
Hundreds of thousands of people joined protests around the world on September 8 calling on governments to take serious action on climate change.
The burgeoning movements against coal and gas projects, to defend the Great Barrier Reef and to conserve precious water resources were boosted by the Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland over May 31 to June 3.
More than 350 activists from around Australia joined international guests from the Pacific, the US and India at the fourth Beyond Coal and Gas gathering.
Founder of 350.org Bill McKibben addressed a sell-out crowd of more than 500 on May 1, on the Sydney leg of his national tour.
Referring to the rapid progress of climate change McKibben said: “Things are changing fast: what isn’t is government policy. The environment movement is engaged in a fight against money and power."
Progressive, activist campaign groups such as GetUp!, 350.org and Friends of the Earth have been in the federal Coalition government’s sights for some time.
However, a new bill introduced into parliament threatens to also frustrate the work of human rights, environmental, women’s, international aid and social justice NGOs and charities.
There are countless reports from NGOs, scientists and government agencies on climate refugees.
For example, last year more than 2 million people had to gather their possessions and flee as floods hit the Yangtze River in China. But, despite this becoming one of the world’s greatest issues there is very little activism around climate refugees in the developed world.
The #StopAdani Roadshow attracted thousands of supporters across the country, who oppose the federal and Queensland government’s support for Adani’s $22 billion Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.
About 1200 people in Brisbane on March 28 and 1000 in Sydney the next day heard from Indian environment campaigner Dr Vaishali Patil, Californian Clean Energy Fund director Danny Kennedy, SEED co-director Millie Telford and 350.org CEO Blair Palese.
About 100 students from universities across Australia and New Zealand shared campaign stories and made plans for the year ahead at the Fossil Free Convergence in the Blue Mountains in NSW over March 10–13.
Organised by 350.org, the convergence brought together fossil fuel divestment groups from universities across Australia and New Zealand, including the Australian National University, University of Auckland, University of Queensland, Melbourne University, RMIT, University of Newcastle and University of New South Wales — which brought 25–30 people to the conference.
"We will do everything we can to make sure Westpac decides they won't fund the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Adani coal mine," Amy Gordon, from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), told a crowd of about 200 outside the head office of Westpac Bank on February 20. The rallies were organised by the AYCC and 350.org.