The grassroots’ revolution: People power in progress

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Warming up to the UN conference in Paris in December 2015, the 74th Sustainable Hour was an hour about climate change, justice and betrayal, pollution and apocolypse, onshore gas mining, the documentary films ‘Frackman’ and ‘Voices from the Gasfields’, with audio excerpts from speeches by:

Damien Marchant, Frack Free Moriac
Chloe Aldenhoven and Dom, Friends of the Earth Melbourne and Lock the Gate
Christine Milne, former leader of The Greens
• Reverand Fred Small



Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 74:

» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)


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More information and links

…in relation to the 74th Sustainable Hour


“Changing a light bulb is good. Changing a senator is better.”
Reverand Fred Small

 

Church calls university to divest

Reverand Fred Small Speaks At Harvard Heat Week Faith Day



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“They’re polluting the planet for free, and you’re paying the price”
Christine Milne, former leader of the Australian Greens


“Getting to zero pollution by 2040 is not the tale of woe, laden with costs, lost-jobs and heartache as the Minerals Council of Australia and the echo chamber of the Murdoch press will tell you. Rapidly decarbonising our society is an opportunity to address what we don’t like about the way we live. Nobody likes pollution and the health impacts associated with it. Nobody likes sitting in traffic for hours and hours due to congestion. Nobody likes the fact that our community is full of anxiety, our community is worried sick about the future.

We can replace what we’ve got with what we want and the jobs to go with it. It’s going to take everyone. We can rethink every system we have got because we need to, and in doing so we can bring this incredible innovation and imagination that people have got to those problems. Business as usual is over. This is the opportunity to draw a line under it and say now we can do it differently, and if we could do it differently how would we do it.”

Christine Milne at The University of Sydney:
‘Challenges to Australian Climate Policy’

Published on youtube.com on 29 April 2015 by Sydney Environment Institute

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Landmark speech

Greens Leader Christine Milne delivered a landmark speech on the next steps for global warming policy around the world and Australia’s new role as we approach the United Nations’ ‘21st Conference of the Parties’ (COP 21) in Paris this year.

Senator Milne has been at the centre of the political debate on global warming policy in Australia for the past decade. Critical to the establishment of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee and the negotiation of the Clean Energy Future package in 2011, Senator Milne also achieved a commitment of billions of dollars for the establishment of the Biodiversity Fund and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and establishment of the Climate Change Authority.

But with parts of that legacy now in ruins at the hands of the Abbott government, what will rise from the ashes of Australia’s once world-leading emissions trading scheme?

Senator Milne explains how we can make the big fossil fuel companies pay for their pollution, just like the rest of us have to and what it will take to achieve real ambition to halt dangerous global warming and secure a safe climate future for the planet.

» www.greensmps.org.au



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Who is profiting from polluting our atmosphere for free?

» The Guardian – 18 May 2015:
Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF
‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments


Australia’s big four banks – ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth and Westpac – have together loaned $19 billion to fossil fuel projects since 20081, and they are all stridently refusing to rule out opening Australia’s biggest coal reserve, the Galilee Basin.

 
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An international pariah that cowers from its duty to act

Under the headline ‘Mayors Banding Together To Fight Climate Change’, Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney, published the following commentary in Huffington Post on 28 April 2015:

“Momentum is building toward December’s summit on climate change in Paris. Unlike the 2009 Copenhagen summit, where high hopes were dashed by low politics, this time the world’s two biggest polluting countries (the U.S. and China) are onboard.
Political leaders will find it harder than ever to avoid their responsibilities.
The shameful truth is that the slow response to this urgent issue means some climate change is now inevitable.
But we must not waver from the common goal of limiting a global temperature rise to 2 degrees. (..)
In the coming weeks, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will decide whether our country is a climate lifter or a climate leaner. The success of global-climate negotiations rests on this kind of decision.
The economic consequences of failing to act are serious. Over the past 12 months, investment in the renewable-energy sector in Australia has collapsed because of the Abbott Government’s unwillingness to take serious action. This investment is now headed to other cities and regions that support clean energy, while we miss out on a global boom in the industries of the future.
If Prime Minister Abbott makes the wrong decision, he will make Australia an international pariah that cowers from its duty to act.
The world is now moving, and it is time for Australia to step up. The City of Sydney is ready to support an ambitious target that Australia puts into place, and to lend our full weight to achieve those goals.”

Clover Moore is Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney. Sydney is one of 75 city members of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which – along with UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg and other city networks – has launched the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest cooperative effort among cities to fight climate change.
The post is part of a Huffington Post What’s Working series on the environment. The series is putting a spotlight on initiatives and solutions that are actually making a difference – whether in the battle against climate change, or tackling pollution or other environmental challenges.

» Continue reading on: www.huffingtonpost.com

“We would never consider this level of risk in any other walk of life, yet we seem prepared to take this risk with our planet. Conversely, the scientific evidence shows that we can create a positive future, but only with bold action now.”
Johan Rockström, chair of the Earth League, an international group of scientists from leading research institutions

» www.climatenewsnetwork.net



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“The Paris agreement unfortunately is not going to be a planet-saving agreement”
Sebastian Duyk, long-time COP veteran and self-styled ‘climate geek’

Global Day of Action

Saturday 30 May 2015, the first ‘Global Day of Action’ will kickstart an international mobilisation against climate change, fossil fuels and nuclear energy.




» www.globaldayofaction.org



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COP 21: Paris Pledges

“In December this year UN member states are expected to finally sign off on a universal climate change agreement in Paris at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
But what is on the table and will it be enough avoid dangerous climate change now and for future generations?”

» Read more



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AYCC Petition: Hold our leaders to account

Kirsty, The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), wrote in an email sent on 30 May 2015:

“2015 is going to be an historic year for the climate movement. In December world leaders will descend on Paris for the UN climate negotiations.

As a climate movement, this is our moment to hold our leaders to account to make sure that our voice is louder than the big polluters, who will be pushing the government not to act.

Here’s the good news: the world is moving, and fast. China has committed to peaking its coal use next year and renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels. This global shift is people powered, as we witness an up swell of resistance to fossil fuel projects, and solar brings decentralised energy to communities who have never had it before.

But Australia is being left behind. As other nations make the switch to clean energy, we’re stuck with a Prime Minister who thinks coal is good for humanity, and with state governments who are insistent on digging up one of the world’s biggest carbon bombs – the Galilee Basin.

It is our responsibility to set the bar high for climate action. We cannot afford to let the government off the hook, so we’re going to do all we can to hold our leaders to account.

That’s why we’ve got huge plans to make sure our voice is louder than the big polluters. Sign this petition to tell the Government to aim higher on their targets for emissions reduction. Next week, faith leaders, our friends in the climate movement and AYCC volunteers will deliver your voice to Canberra in a powerful action targeting our politicians.

But it doesn’t stop there, we’re also going to:

  • Mobilise thousands of high school students to take action in their communities and meet with their MPs.
  • Work with the whole climate movement, and our allies in unions, faith groups, the health sector and more, to show that climate action is an issue for every Australian. We’ll show that power to the world with a huge mobilisation at the end of the year.
  • Unite the youth climate movement across the world to elevate the voices of the generation who will inherit consequences of the decisions that world leaders make in Paris.

And we want you to be part of it. So sign this petition, be part of a strong, diverse and strategic movement that will be the real heroes in the story of how we stopped climate change.”



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Onshore gas mining in Geelong

In the 74th Sustainable Hour, we played an excerpt from this youtube-trailer about fracking in Queensland:

‘Voices From The Gasfields – Trailer’ – published on youtube.com on 21 January 2015.




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Frackman The Movie

Trailer published on youtube.com on 12 February 2015

“Frackman is a powerful, punchy and poignant documentary about the conflict faced by one unlikely Australian activist and communities of Aussies directly affected by the roll-out of the massive multinational coal seam gas (CSG) industry in Queensland’s rural heartland.
Small landowners and farmers – in towns such as Chinchilla – who are feeling sick from leaking gas are running the gauntlet of machines, pipes, and processing plants on the surface, while deep underground bore water becomes polluted and aquifers run dry.
At the centre of the drama is the life of one man – accidental activist Dayne Pratzky – who had intended to settle down on the land but instead becomes drawn into a fight for his own property rights and the rights of affected communities to stand up to the industrial machine. His only entitlement is to the first six inches of dirt beneath his feet – but no more.
The problems start when the CSG exploration teams are allowed onto the land and find gas reserves on it. At that point the landowner loses the right to prevent the onslaught of full-scale drilling. Featured in Frackman is the grassroots Lock The Gate movement that is trying to get whole communities and individual landholders to keep the exploration teams locked out.
The mechanised invasion is acutely depicted in Frackman, bringing home clearly the conflict between citizens and the industry. The film is a lesson in various aspects of activism, everything from petitioning, grassroots campaigning and the detailed tactical planning needed for direct action and active resistance.”
Excerpt of review in Shift Magazine


» More info on www.frackmanthemovie.com


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The Bentley Effect – Official Movie Teaser
Published on youtube.com on 30 May 2015

The extraordinary tale of a community who defied the gas juggernaut. We are crowdfunding now for the feature documentary that tells the story of the fastest growing social movement of our time and poses the question- what is truly valuable?

» Facebook page



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Flaring fact

The World Bank, which launched a Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership in 2002, estimates that each year 140 billion cubic metres of natural gas produced together with oil are burned or flared at thousands of oil fields worldwide − adding 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere.





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 VICTORIA | AUSTRALIA 

New state enquiry into the issue of fracking

Terms of reference

Straight after the Victorian state election, Minister for Energy, Resources and Industry Lily D’Ambrosio promised that the issue of social licence would be considered. But that is definitely not visible in the terms of reference for the enquiry, which the Victorian government published a couple of weeks ago.

Climate and anti-fracking groups stated outright that, “It looks like Lily has already been rolled – or succumbed – to the intense lobbying of the fossil fuel industry.”

Jane Morton from Victoria Climate Action Network has gone through the terms of reference text and highlighted the bits that seem to be put in for the community gas-resistance movement in green, and the bits that seem to be put in for the fossil fuel industry in yellow:

Firstly, here is what Lily D’Ambrosio said after the election:

“Labor is committed to the full moratorium on CSG, which will continue until a fully independent parliamentary inquiry has heard from the experts, reviewed the scientific evidence and consulted fully with the community,” Ms D’Ambrosio said. “It will remain in place until the science shows that it is safe and there is broad community support.”
www.weeklytimesnow.com.au

And:

“We are currently finalising terms of reference for the parliamentary inquiry which will be announced imminently,” Ms D’Ambrosio said in an email.

She said the government was also looking more broadly into the future of energy, “working with the industry and communities to explore future approaches to developing Victoria’s resources”, the statement said.

Earlier, the top Victorian public servant for the industry said the state’s blanket ban on onshore gas may not be lifted at the end of the yet-to-be-formed parliamentary inquiry.

Kylie White, deputy secretary for energy and resources, told a What about gas? event in Melbourne the moratorium continues until that inquiry is completed but that “doesn’t necessarily mean that at the end of the inquiry the moratorium is lifted.”

She said the inquiry would cover research, science and community views and the “social and regulatory arrangements of the industry.” The government would assess the report of the inquiry and “then some decisions will be made.”


Here is the ALP policy which they took to the election:

Labor recognises that the interests of the mining industry, the agricultural sector and the environment in the regulation of mineral exploration and mining and extractive industry operations must be equitably balanced.

Labor will:

• Introduce a comprehensive strategic land use framework that protects land which sustains sensitive rural and environmental land uses

• Require production of an environmental impact statement, based on clear legislative criteria, as a prerequisite for obtaining a licence for extraction, mining or major exploration

Maintain the ability for the Minister to exempt certain areas from exploration and/or mining licences

Maintain a ban on hydraulic fracturing during and prior to establishing a Parliamentary Inquiry into this and other mining processes and issues relating to unconventional gas exploration and mining



These are the enquiry terms of reference:

  1. the prospectivity of Victoria’s geology for commercial sources of onshore unconventional gas;
  1. the environmental, land productivity and public health risks, risk mitigations and residual risks of onshore unconventional gas activities;
  1. the coexistence of onshore unconventional gas activities with existing land and water uses, including —

(a)  agricultural production and domestic and export market requirements;

(b)  the legal rights of property owners and the impact on property values; and

(c)  any implications for local and regional development, investment and jobs;

4.      the ability of potential onshore unconventional gas resources contributing to the State’s overall energy sources including — (a) an ability to provide a competitive source of energy and non energy inputs for Victorian industries;

(b)  an affordable energy source for domestic consumers; and

(c)  carbon dioxide emissions from these sources;

  1. the resource knowledge requirements and policy and regulatory safeguards that would be necessary to enable exploration and development of onshore unconventional gas resources, including —

(a)  further scientific work to inform the effective regulation of an onshore unconventional gas industry, including the role of industry and government, particularly in relation to rigorous monitoring and enforcement, and the effectiveness of impact mitigation responses; and

(b)  performance standards for managing environmental and health risks, including water quality, air quality, chemical use, waste disposal, land contamination and geotechnical stability;

  1. relevant domestic and international reviews and inquiries covering the management of risks for similar industries including, but not limited to, the Victorian Auditor-General Office’s report Unconventional Gas: Managing Risks and Impacts and other reports generated by the Victorian community and stakeholder engagement programs.

[ENDS]





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ellen-sandell-fb-amendment

Inquiry amendments voted down by one vote

On 26 May 2015, the Greens amendments on the unconventional gas inquiry were voted down in the Victorian Parliament. The amendments were to include:
1. Looking into the benefits of a permanent ban on unconventional gas in Victoria
2. Looking into capacity of regulators to actually deal with this industry
3. Looking into costs of any clean up/spill/leak etc
4. Extend the dates by 3 months. They were initially brought forward and many people felt the timeline was too short for it to be meaningful

The Greens negotiated these amendments with Labor to get their support. Unfortunately these amendments lost by 1 vote. James Purcell and Labor voted for the amendments but the Liberals, Nationals, Sex Party, DLP and Shooters voted against.

Ellen Sandell, State Greens MP for Melbourne, wrote:
“We’ll be putting out some messages on social media about how we’re disappointed in the Nationals selling our rural communities, feel free to do the same or re-tweet or share our Facebook messages, which will be on my Facebook page.
The inquiry may begin tonight with the first committee sitting. We’ll keep you all informed on how local groups can be involved – we’ll need a big push from locals and experts to make sure the inquiry hears loud voices in favour of a ban. There’s still hope even though this is a small setback”



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Victorian Government Inquiry into Unconventional Gas

Friends of the Earth Melbourne wrote in an email:

“What we know

The state government’s promised Inquiry into Unconventional Gas has now been formally announced, with broad terms of reference (TOR). The final TOR will be determined by the committee. Significantly, it is a cross party committee (the  Environment and Planning References Committee from the Legislative Council [Upper House]). The Chair is a Liberal (David Davis), and there is one National (Melinda Bath), one Green (Samantha Dunn), three from the ALP (Gayle Tierney, Harriet Shing, Shaun Leane), an additional MP from the Liberals (Richard Dalla-Riva), and one MP from the Shooters Party (Daniel Young).

Work started by the previous government, into water tables and the community consultation process run by the Primary Agency, will be released as part of the inquiry.

The moratorium on CSG exploration will stay in place until the inquiry delivers its findings.

The interim report is due in September and the final report by December. (There is the possibility that the committee will amend this timeline if they are overwhelmed with submissions or information). Parliament will then need to consider the recommendations of the committee and make a final decision about how to proceed. This is likely to happen when parliament resumes after the summer break, in early 2016.

What we want

This is ultimately a political rather than technical issue, with the state government needing to decide on whether to allow the industry to proceed. The committee can recommend this, or recommend a ban or extend the moratorium, but the Andrews government will need to take the final decision.

Our aim is to:
• demonstrate that the UCG industry does not have social license to operate in Victoria,
• build the case to ensure the state government realises an onshore UCG industry will be negative for Victoria in environmental, social and economic terms,
• build the political will for the government to rule out any development of the industry here. We need to make sure this is supported by the other Parties, especially the Coalition, as the ALP does not have control of the Upper House. (…)

Keep in touch via Coal and Gas Free Victoria website and Facebook page. There will be regular updates.”

Excerpt of a letter prepared by Friends of the Earth. Read more:

» www.facebook.com/pages/Coal-Gas-Free-Victoria/705642879502234

» www.coalandgasfreevic.org

» www.melbourne.foe.org.au

» Sign the petition: www.melbourne.foe.org.au/ban_ucg_in_victoria





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1 comment for “The grassroots’ revolution: People power in progress

  1. Lynn Hofmann
    5 June 2015 at 15:34

    You all gotta see this quick film…..& when it gets to the map of Australia (no brainer why they want to relocate indiginous land owners in remote areas) (OMG look at NT), put it on pause & take a very careful look, yep they are out to Frack over 50% of Austalia, look carefully at Victoria peeps….that includes the licence PEP 163 from Highton thru to Surfcoast via Waurn Ponds, Mt Dunneed, Armstrong Creek, Moriac Freshwater Creek etc & a few licences in the Otways & Otway Basin……

    We have to keep Fracking out of Victoria…..People Power Really Does Work….We need everyone on deck….if you want to learn more, have your say, help etc
    From Frack Free Moriac since Frackman Movie was shown in Geelong in April…..
    We have had such an influx of new faces and more wanting to get involved, that we need to have a info/strategy meeting. So to bring everyone up to speed, we’d like to have the first half to be like an information session, then the second half will be a strategy meeting.

    WHERE – Mt Moriac Pub (corner of Colac Hwy and Hendy Main rd)
    WHEN – Sunday, June 14th 1pm – 4pm

    PLEASE SHARE INFO ON THE FRACK FREE MORIAC MEETING & KNITTING NANNAS – BENTLEY EFFECT short film, it’s so so so important to every Victorian’s Future….thank you
    http://www.thebentleyeffect.com

Comments