How do we unfuck the planet?
Well, it’s not entirely an easy question to answer but we went to Splendour in the Grass and tried to have a crack at it along with some of the best activist brains in the country.
Splendour in the Grass turns 16 this year, and the Splendour Forum has become a key part of it over the last seven years with the growing institution of the Splendour Q&A (which Barnaby Joyce woosed out of this year), lots of comedy and nerdy learning.
They have a great tradition of bringing progressive and contentious ideas, and injecting a bit of politics and activism into a festival scene otherwise filled with dancing, drinking and too much plastic.
Our unfucking conversation was wide ranging – hosted by Dr Lindsay McDougall – prolific tweeter, musician and all round champ.
We heard about the biggest challenges, right down to how to make change at a small, personal level.
Caro from the UnFuckers kicked us off with some tips for looking at personal habits and ideas to try and give people easy ways of making change in their lives.
Ariane Wilkinson from Environmental Justice Australia talked about the role of strategic litigation – and when lawyers can be an awesome force for good – citing examples, such as when Dutch citizens successfully sued their government. EJA are currently exploring the huge interest in some similar form of legal case in Australia – you can find out more about their work here.
Ariane also gave as an overview of the Adani galilee coal mega mine project, which would be the biggest carbon bomb the world has ever seen, should it go ahead, and talked about the effective court cases that have been run to call the government to account in not following due process. You can learn more about the Wangan & Jagilingou mob who are leading this struggle to protect their homelands, and being supported by a range of environmental organisations across the country.
Charlie Woods, from 350.org, one of the fastest growing grassroots orgs in the country talked about their powerful divestment campaign – that has moved literally 3.6 trillion dollars out of investments that are linked to fossil fuel projects. You can check out their campaign page here, and get involved.
We have had the great privilege of working with them on a range of projects over the last couple years, including the incredible Break Free from coal event, in Newcastle and People’s Parliament last year and look forward to building bigger and better direct action on climate with them and others in the coming year.
The panel talked about the huge damage to the Great Barrier Reef, with complete ecosystem collapse now being confirmed in the northern area, and the need for just transitions for workers and a priority on tourism jobs, rather than over-inflated job figures spouted by the fossil fuel industry.
And we talked about the power of civil disobedience and the positive example of the campaign to defend James Price Point (Walmadan) which we have written about in more detail here – with such huge challenges ahead of us, particularly as we reach crunch time on climate, it is vital that we hold onto, and learn from the wins when they happen.
We also talked about a need for radical love of country and place, to stay connected to the places we love and protect, and heard powerful words (and music) from Nicky Bomba, who has provided musical support to many key campaigns, from the Weld forest battle, to James Price Point, and exhorts us to use more “love and logic” to fight the power!
There was also a significant panel after ours talking about “Human Hunting” and talking about the proliferation and huge human rights abuses of drone technology that are occurring around the world, and also importantly, Australia’s role in this. If you are interested in finding out more there is a talk in Melbourne on the 29th July and in September there will be a large national convergence on Arrente country seeking to highlight the role that Pine Gap plays in both surveillance, and directing extra-judiciary drone killings
So, if you would like to learn more about the growing resistance to fossil fuels and want resources, and connections to people in your area, so we can grow the movement to Unfuck the Planet, sign up here!
And as one of our panellists said – “Friends don’t let friends be planet fuckers”.
**Special thanks to Fay Burstin and Splendour in the Grass for inviting us and being such lovely hosts, and Green Music Australia for their support**