Well it has taken a while to sink in – one of the largest environmental and community wins in Australia’s history has been achieved. Despite the company rhetoric and the majority of the mainstream media there is a growing awareness that this campaign was led by, and the win should be claimed by the remarkable community of Broome, who held their ground in the face of Woodside’s proposed gas plant and some of the biggest multinational oil and gas companies in the world.
Of course they were ably supported by supporters around the world, and organisations such as as Sea Shepherd, Australian Conservation Society and many others. Peter Robertson from Wilderness Society lays out the facts clearly – if it wasn’t for the determined community resistance, this project would have gone ahead long before the economic climate changed.
Even the Australian made some sense here: “It has also shown the success of hardball environmentalism that is prepared to leverage community outrage, target potential financiers and fight in court. It has once again exposed the desperate lengths which politicians are prepared to go to in the name of development.”
We did a range of interviews with the community members of Broome who stepped up to take civil disobedience action for the first time – inspiring stories of everyday resistance – and hope to get this report finished in the coming weeks.
It is just one more example of the current appetite for change, and how regular folks are stepping up. More wins have happened all over Australia recently – may they keep on coming.
Rolling Stone United States talks about the growing civil resistance to fossil fuel projects there with the Keystone Project being targeted on a daily basis. One of the United States leading environmentalists Bill McKibben is here in June which will surely stir the pot, and Tim De Christopher, who went to jail for placing false bids on an oil and gas lease auction has just been released and talks here with Democracy Now.
We like his frank perspective on why the group, Peaceful Uprising was formed:
“Peaceful Uprising was forming… largely out of an awareness that what the climate movement was doing wasn’t working and we needed to do something else. It was started largely for the purpose of experimenting, and simply trying something new. Not saying this is the one right way. But saying we need a new way of doing things. And hopefully there will be more experimenting in the climate movement. A MOVEMENT THAT GETS A LITTLE BIT OUT OF CONTROL – that’s what we need. One that’s more spontaneous, trying more things and is more willing to do things even if it’s not the exact right thing to do, but just because we need to move forward.”
We have also heard that Greenpeace activists have boarded a coal ship off the coast of Australia. You can sign up to support their pledge for civil disobedience here, and follow their updates. Clive Hamilton has written about it here also.**
CounterAct was originally conceived of over a year ago, and is slowly taking shape – also building on the growing sense that people want to participate in citizen action, something more tangible, that the current mechanisms for change are corrupt, outdated and too slow.
We spoke at the recent Melbourne Campaigners Network about nonviolent direct action, particularly as used in the campaign for Walmadan (James Price Point) – the related blog is here, and the findings from the group discussion are here.
We’ve talked to a room full of climate campaigners at the Climate Action Network Australia conference, and shared stories of success and reflected on this also with the crews of Sea Shepherd ships currently moored in Melbourne.
In the coming weeks we are supporting the Refugee Convergence in Northam (WA), planning trainings with Quit Coal and The Wilderness Society, and looking forward to plotting and mischief making with more of you generally.
Exciting times ahead – the game is changing.