Camping to halt climate change

This may not sound like much action, but when there’s frost on the tents and no hot showers for six days (10-15 July) – it is suffering for the cause.

Held in Newcastle, the world’s largest coal port, the national Climate Camp drew hundreds of committed environmental activists, mostly young, since it followed the Students for Sustainability conference. But there were enough greyheads for me to feel at home when I joined them for three days.

With workshops and discussion groups, the whole event was astonishingly well-organised and run by volunteers. Great vats of great vegan food were prepared to feed the hundreds. I earned a blister from my stints there, chopping pumpkin mostly.
And there was action. On the Saturday hundreds more concerned people joined us. We crouched down to form a human sign – ‘Cut carbon — now or never’ and a human ticking clock, which caused us to leap up and ‘explode’ over the oval at ‘midnight’. If you weren’t in the helicopter it wasn’t much of a photo opportunity, except for the rear end of the person in front!

On Sunday we had over 1000 people of all ages and backgrounds turn up to walk to the coal terminal and perhaps stop the coal trains, to protest against coal’s role in fuelling climate change.

The rally included way-out costumes, clowns, drummers, the Radical Cheerleaders, mums pushing strollers, kids holding hands – and knee-challenged grannies like me. There would have been a lot of high bright beseeching banners but the police banned their poles.

More police than I’ve ever seen were there to escort and contain us— on foot and horseback, in cars, vans, buses, and with Alsatian dogs. The water cannon hid behind a building.

While we walked, the more intrepid somehow managed to escape detection by our guards and get under or over the high barbed wire-topped fence.

Fifty in all were soon scattered on top of the open coal carriages, to be removed, rather precariously, I thought, handcuffed and arrested.

Their footprints in the coal told the story.

The rest of held a vigil, both silent and singing. The drummers kept drumming for the whole five hours.

Until the government stands up to the coal industry, and gets behind renewables instead, this sort of action has to continue.

3 thoughts on “Camping to halt climate change”

  1. Thanks to Graham & Rob & Lisa for their comments, and for their contributions to the Camp.

    Rob & Lisa live in coal mine country hell, between Wilpinjong & Ulan Mines, near Mudgee, NSW. On solar and wind power themselves, they battle the effects of the coal-for-power frenzy daily, plus find time to join the wider fight to help stop more climate change.

    Also on solar power. Graham is an ex-coalminer who now spends most of his time and energy trying to get the message out there that coal has to go, that there are better ways to provide both power and employment, as well as a future for the planet.

  2. We left our coal infected area at 3.00am -5 deg and arrived at climate camp ready to participate in the Human Sign and protest.
    We were both overwhelmed by the support and the energy vibrated by all the young people with passions to make our world a better place for all.
    The food and hospitality was second to none and we both enjoyed helping out in the kitchen.
    The biggest pots i have ever seen, i think they come from Jack in the Beanstalks place.
    Rob has never cut up so many pumpkins in his life,but was well worth the effort.
    A job well done to All !!!!!!
    Cant wait till the next
    “Camp for Climate Change”

  3. Well I cheated and at 4am I crunched over thick frost to the only shower working. 2 sets of thermals and back to the tent stiff with ice.Amazing camp, people, food aplenty networking with the best, I was on a high from start to finish. Thank you to the people that made it happen.

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