News from the Frontline December 2021
Forwarded from Frontline Action on Coal
Nimbin Environment —
It’s been a couple of months since one of these emails hit your inbox, and I apologise for that. It has been quite an eventful time here on the climate frontlines though. Hopefully you have been following it on social media, where you can find FLAC updates on your platform of choice.
Of course the big climate news in that time was the global COP26 summit in Glasgow, where a global agreement was made to phase down (though sadly not phase out) coal. The Australian government’s contribution to the summit was not really one to be proud of, but the people of this country put in a truly remarkable effort of climate protests and blockades at the time, as shown by this summary.
During the COP summit, Juliet Lamont and Kyle Magee brought the world’s attention to Australia’s continuing export of climate disaster by disrupting the operations of not one, but two Queensland coal ports. They locked themselves to infrastructure at Hay Point in Mackay and then Adani’s Abbot Point port a week later. After the second action, the pair were refused bail and kept in custody for a week. They were then released with no further sentence, but it would not be the last time we would see courts slapping harsh sentences on climate activists.
After that, our attention turned back to the Carmichael mine, where Adani were getting closer to shipping out coal. It’s certainly disappointing to see the mine get to that point even after years of determined opposition, but that doesn’t mean we are giving up. There are many reasons to keep resisting – to keep the pressure on Adani’s investors, to stop any further expansion, to send a message to any other fossil fuel companies thinking of starting a new project, to remind those feeling hopeless that climate activism can mean more than just swearing at the news, and because it’s just the right thing to do.
The first train to carry Adani coal left on November 15. It was a trial run, half full of coal. It actually broke down twice along the way, and then was delayed further when Megan Byrnes locked herself to the train in her usual laconic style.
Two weeks later, Adani loaded up another train. This one was much closer to full, but we were ready for it. Myself and Tammy Omodei locked ourselves to the train tracks, and then with the train stopped, Juliet and Isla Lamont did a mother and daughter lock-on (you know what they say, families that blockade together stay together). Georgie Toner and Tom Ryan also jumped on the train. Georgie was cut off, but Tom found the best tactic for longevity – he just climbed in one of the carriages where he could sit in the shade and the cops couldn’t get to him. By the time they got him down, the train had been stopped for 12 hours. Check out the video from the actions here.
There was more to come though. Early the next morning, Paul Jukes suspended himself from the stacker/reclaimer machine at Abbot Point. He put the machine out of action for 10 hours. Adani went into a frenzy raving about safety and serial protesters. We wish they took the risks to the health of our planet as seriously as they do experienced activists doing carefully planned blockades.
While all that was happening, Juliet Lamont was sitting in a cell, having been refused bail again. Juliet is a long time activist who has been arrested a number of times both up here and in the previous FLAC campaign at Maules Creek. She’s also made documentary films dedicated to making the world a better place. Not everyone is as appreciative of her efforts as we are – Adani were very publicly demanding she go to prison, and in court the prosecution were saying the same. In the end she was given a one month prison sentence, suspended for nine months. We’re very glad to have her back on the outside, and the harsh sentences handed out recently of a sad indictment of a legal system that punishes those who are trying to protect our planet while rewarding those who destroy it. The Human Rights Law Centre last month put out a report on the repression of climate activism, with many examples we at FLAC are familiar with.
It certainly hasn’t stopped climate activism around the country though. It was great seeing a lot of familiar FLAC faces doing a series of staunch and creative actions at the Newcastle coal port last month as part of Blockade Australia. Wherever you are in the country, there are people doing great work fighting for our climate, and we encourage you to get involved.
One group we wholeheartedly support are the Wangan and Jagalingou Cultural Custodians, who have been conducting their Waddananggu ceremony on Adani’s mining lease for over 100 days. It is an extraordinary effort in very harsh conditions by a group who have already spent most of a decade fighting Adani. Recently they have been highlighting an area of cultural artefacts that Adani have destroyed. Check out the video on their facebook page, where you can also stay updated on what they’re up to. They have put the call out for supporters to join them there, and though there may be difficulties physically getting there through the wet season, it is a powerful action that is worth supporting.
Of course Camp Binbee is still going strong too, and we welcome and appreciate people coming up. We will be in contact shortly about some of the discussions we have been having on the future of the camp, but for now Binbee is still here, still resisting Adani, and a great destination for any of you with itchy feet about to be liberated by border re-openings.
If you can’t make it in person, we always appreciate social media love or financial support. There’s been some difficult times recently for the climate movement, but we should also take credit for the wins we have had and the continued defiant, creative actions. Our planet requires us to keep going, and to do that we need the encouragement and inspiration of each other. See you on the frontlines!
Andy and the crew at Camp Binbee
Frontline Action on Coal acknowledges elders, past present and future. We respect the communication protocols and the important role of Elders in culture and heritage protection advice. We recognise and respect cultural heritage, beliefs, customs and the continuing relationship and responsibility to traditional land and water and day and night sky. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the people living today and future generations, and stand in solidarity with First Nations people in their continuing struggle for justice.