Hunger strike against giant coal project

The level of commitment in pledges among anti-coal activists has taken a step upwards. Signatures or letter-writing simply won’t do any more. To prevent the construction of the largest coal mining complex in the world, an activist group in Australia now started a hunger strike, and calls for others to join them with a 48 hours public hunger strike, direct action and civil disobedience.

Published on on 30 August 2013.



The Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia, is very close to being opened up and developed as the world’s largest coal mining complex. This proposed mining complex has been identified by groups such as Greenpeace, The Sierra Club,, Avaaz, Get Up, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Friends Of The Earth as one “which simply cannot go ahead.”

“If the Galilee Basin were a country, the carbon dioxide produced from using this coal would make it the seventh dirtiest fossil fuel burner on the planet. Burning the Galilee mines’ coal would produce a further 705 million tonnes of carbon pollution a year — that’s bigger than the entire fossil fuel emissions of Australia, the UK or Canada,” wrote the activist group Generation Alpha which has set up a list of pledges people can sign on

Starting a coal mining project which will double Australia’s carbon emissions over the coming decade at a time when other countries are talking reducing their emissions with 40 percent in the same period. WHAT ON EARTH are Australia’s politicians thinking if they allow this? Creating profits for a few already rich fossil fuel companies mean more to them than the country’s reputation and its relationship to the international community? Not to mention than the future of the planet?

Since 24 August 2013, activists and citizens alike, in Australia and around the globe, have started to use their collective voice and actions to see if they can pull Aurizon back from this project. GenerationAlpha deserves support and all thumbs up for making the world aware of what is going on in Queensland at the moment.



“There are many companies involved, each waiting to get their greedy hands all dirty in the Galilee. But only one that is crucial, that can stop this environmental catastrophe. It used to be called QR National but is now known as Aurizon. Aurizon, a rail freight company specializing in coal, is about to provide financial capital to the debt-ridden Indian company GVK, allowing GVK to ‘develop’ the first three mine sites. Aurizon have thus far ignored pleas and representations from national and international environment organisations to stop this insanity. As they prepare to sign on the dotted line, it is time for us to act, to make demands!,” wrote Generation Alpha.

» Pledge:

» Here is a list of the countries from which pledges have been received:
(including two participants from Denmark, so far)


Campaign Coordinator Ben Pennings wrote on 29 August 2013
“Our public hunger strike starts in less than a day. Most of us are preparing ourselves mentally and physically. I’m too busy juggling my 2yo (literally), mainstream media interest and last minute preparations. Which may be a good thing as I don’t really want to ponder on how hard this is going to be.

We are a committed bunch. And determined to get the urgency of this campaign out to the world. Check out the countdown and how you can share what we’re doing at

Many of you have committed to join us for 24 or 48 hours. Thanks! Please look after yourselves and share with the world what you’re doing. Maybe send us a message that we can share for you? Everything you need is on the site.

This is the start of something big. We are committed to stopping this insanity. The biggest coal mine complex on the planet, emitting over 700 million tons of carbon pollution a year. I saw the preliminary research on the ground water impacts today and it is fucking scary. Then there are the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. The list goes on.

So stay tuned, engage with us hungry folk and please be brave enough to share what is happening.

Much appreciated.

Ben Pennings
Campaign Coordinator
Over Our Dead Bodies”

Kari McGregor wrote on 29 August 2013:
“I am a few hours away from beginning a hunger strike with former Senator Andrew Bartlett, Generation Alpha founder Ben Pennings, and a small group of committed climate activists. The strike will be public, taking place in a Fortitude Valley shopfront in Brisbane.

The strike officially starts on the morning of Friday 30th August, and will include creative actions and events.

The strike is protesting the imminent development of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland for coal mining, and calling for sensible negotiation. This is desperately important because:

• Burning the coal mined will emit 705 million tonnes of extra carbon pollution a year. That’s bigger than the entire fossil fuel emissions of Australia, the UK or Canada.

• It is the largest coal complex in the world, one of the few projects we have to stop to avoid runaway climate change.

• The projects involve dredging the Great Barrier Reef for a coal shipping lane. Yes that’s right, dredging the reef.

• The company we’re strategically targeting, Aurizon, has been ignoring the pleas and representations of groups like Greenpeace, Get Up, Avazz, Friends of The Earth and the Australian Conservation Foundation. And they’re about to make the final decision on what is the crucial piece of the development and financial puzzle.

• Politicians of all stripes are letting this happen. And our government has no hitsory of stopping major resource projects, even ones as insane as this.

Aurizon used to be called QR National and are still partly owned by the Queensland government. Their CEO earned 6.11 million dollars last year while sacking 1000 workers. They are about to buy into the project, enabling the debt-ridden Indian company GVK to ‘develop’ the first 3 mines.

We plan to stop them by convincing them that enough Australians are willing to cost them time and money through political action. To do what it takes to save the reef, stop the path to climate chaos. I appeal to you to find out more, follow our progress, and perhaps also commit to online or physical action at

I will be blogging about our experiences via my website, which you can check out here:

Please also check out tomorow’s New Matilda – you’ll find an article I’ve written about the strike, its background, and what’s at stake. Please share it widely.

Please pass this information onto your networks if you feel it is appropriate. We can succeed where governments have failed.

Thank you. I hope this finds you and yours well and happy.

Kari McGregor
Sustainability Showcase”

30 August 2013:
At 10:30am, in a shop front in Brisbane, Australia, a number of activists are undertaking a ‘Carbon Bomb’ public hunger strike to highlight the global dangers from burning the vast amounts of coal to be mined in the Galilee Basin.

From this morning of 30 August 2013 the hunger strikers will be undertaking online and physical actions during the hunger strike, pressuring Aurizon to ‘Diffuse the Carbon Bomb’.

The strikers are led by Generation Alpha founder Ben Pennings and former Australian Senator Andrew Bartlett.

99 people have thus far committed to join them for 24 hours. And 53 of those people for 48 hours. You can commit to join the hunger strikers for 24 or 48 hours here:

It is not recommend striking more than 48 hours without medical advice, or at all if you have existing medical conditions.

You can follow the hunger strike on Facebook – – and Twitter, where hash tags you can use for hunger striking and to follow the campaign are #carbonbomb, #dontdigit, #unburnable, and #endcoal.

Hunger Strikers
Ben Pennings is the founder of Generation Alpha, an activist, community worker, writer and parent. Ben is striking to engage other activists around the globe in this issue of global significance.

Andrew Bartlett is a former Federal Senator, Convenor of the Queensland Greens, and a renowned animal and refugee advocate. Andrew is striking to help put climate change back onto the forefront of the political agenda where it belongs.

Sarah Moles is a veteran Healthy Rivers campaigner, closely involved in the anti-fracking Lock the Gate campaign. Sarah is striking because continued coal mining will worsen climate variability and extreme weather events.

Lauren Granger-Brown teaches in Australia and overseas. Lauren is striking due to her first-hand observation of the environmental and social impacts of climate change across Asia and Australia.

Potts (seen on photo below) is a licensed real estate agent and auctioneer, now working in the fair food industry. Potts is renowned in the anti-fracking and anti-coal movements and prefers to call himself a ‘protector’ rather than activist. Potts is striking after personally witnessing the decimation of the Gladstone seafood industry due to port expansion.
Potts is a bit of an activist legend in Australia. The photo shows him at a first ‘Zombie A Frack’, where he is skilfully doing the slow zombie walk but managing to obey a police directive and not be arrested. A video about the Zombie-a-frack attacks campaign can be seen on

Kriss is a psychology student at the University of Queensland. Kriss is striking to actively engage other young people in an issue central to their futures.

Kari McGregor is a former university teacher and now manages Sustainability Showcase. Kari aims to demonstrate international solidarity and the engagement of the voteless, but not voiceless, migrant community in matters of grave importance to Australia and the world.

Report: Financial analysis

For more detailed financial information, and the financial viability of developing the Galilee Basin, see the report ‘Stranded. A Financial analysis of GVK’s proposed Alpha Coal Project in Australia’s Galilee Basin’ by the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.


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