Friends of the Earth Brisbane is a community based social change co-operative working on local, regional, national and international issues. We are working towards the creation of an ecologically sustainable and socially just society through community action.
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Updates from Friends of the Earth Brisbane
Finally - No Coal for Felton!
A huge sigh of relief has been breathed by Friends of Felton and the Darling Downs community; the State Government has finally provided written confirmation of their election promise to prohibit mining and exploration in the southern food-bowl. Click here to read Premier Newman's letter.
There's also a great article in New Matilda that looks at the social licence of mining in Australia, in particular focusing in on the four struggle of the Felton community to make Ambre Energy finally take 'no!' for an answer. Read the article here.
Tension has been mounting on the central Darling Downs near Cecil Plains, where Arrow Energy seems determined to press ahead with controversial plans to drill coal seam gas (CSG) wells on the floodplain. Arrow’s ‘Surat Gas Project’ plans involve 7500 wells stretching from Wandoan almost to Goondiwindi. (Source - Friends of Felton)
PACE Collective News
PACE, the peace and anti-nuclear campaign of Friends of the Earth Brisbane, played an active role this month in co-ordinating an action commemorating Fukushima outside the Japanese Consulate in Brisbane. Jack was invited to join Kishko in a meeting with a consular representative to deliver a protest letter on behalf of friends and relatives in Japan, to keep the country's nuclear reactors off-line. The rest of us enjoyed the chanting, singing and discussion outside the consulate. The evening helped to forge links between the Japanese community, FoE and other anti-nuclear groups.
PACE is planning to commemorate Maralinga Day on September 27th. Many Australians, and people around the world, are unaware that Australia shares a link with Japan and the Pacific through its use as an atomic weapons testing ground. The legacy of these tests still lives on with birth defects and health impacts, contamination of land and ongoing displacement of first peoples.
On First People's issues, we have given on-going media support, food and general support to the Musgrave Park Aboriginal Tent Embassy. The Brisbane Embassy was inspired by the Fortieth Anniversary of the original Tent Embassy set up in the grounds of Parliament House in 1972.
To get in touch with PACE, contact Robin Taubenfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Frontlines Update
On the opening day of the national conference of the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA), held in Brisbane 22 - 24 August, the Climate Frontlines collective hosted a Round Table on "Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Pacific". After a screening of the deeply moving film, There Once Was an Island, there were presentations by Ursula Rakova (director of the Carteret Island resettlement program, Tulele Peisa), Donovan Burton (of Climate Planning, former FoEB member), Siliga Kofe (formerly of Tuvalu and a former official of UN ESCAP) and Fred Gela (Mayor of the Torres Strait). The recommendations from the Round Table were then presented at the full forum of the conference for follow up.
To view a copy of the recommendations click here or to get in touch with CF, contact Wendy Flannery on email@example.com
Richard Heinberg - The End of Growth
Not to be missed! World-famous sustainability author and educator Richard Heinberg will be speaking at the University of Queensland, as the first stop on a national tour.
Friday 14 September, 6.00 pm
Abel Smith Theatre, University of Queensland, St Lucia. Entry by donation.
Innovate Symposium 2.0
Innovate is a two-day experience with like-minded people to explore the big questions around community engagement.
The event will go on a journey to explore how we engage and work with communities in creating social change. The unconventional nature of the event allows participants to facilitate, encourage and inspire better practice through community engagement, creativity and sustainability.
Innovate Symposium 2.0 is an unconference, expect reflection groups, open space technology, practice sessions and social change case experience.
Griffith University EcoCentre - October 4+5.
Check out the program here, or register via the Volunteering Qld website.
News and Resources
We Can't Walk on Water
Wendy Flannery writes for RightNow.org.au
There’s a story told about the time when the British began to mine phosphate on Nauru, one of the three great phosphate rock islands of the Pacific. It was impossible for them to build a seaport because of the surrounding coral reef which became exposed at low tide. They then began to construct a cantilever for transporting the phosphate to a ship anchored offshore.
To the horror of the Nauruans, the plan was to build the cantilever right across one of the limited number of small channels through the reef which allowed them access to the ocean by canoe for fishing. The right of use of the channels was determined on a clan basis. When the British brushed aside their objections, the Nauruans wondered how these people could really be human when they refused to recognise such a fundamental thing as sea access rights.
I tell this story because it illustrates for me one of the central dilemmas of responding to climate change, especially because it impacts those least responsible and most vulnerable to its ravages... Keep reading here.
Friends of the Earth Condemns Carbon Floor Drop
Last week’s announcement by the government to cut the floor price for carbon represents another significant watering down of the environmental and democratic credibility of the scheme according to Friends of the Earth Australia, a leading environmental justice organisation.
“Greg Combet’s announcement represents a major cave in to the interests of polluting industries which have been calling for drastic cuts to the carbon tax,” said Gareth Bryant from Friends of the Earth Sydney.
“The purpose of dropping the floor price is to reduce costs for polluters that have already been showered with free permits and compensation.
“The floor price was one of the few positive features of the original scheme because it was a safeguard against the notorious price volatility of carbon markets.
Read the media release here
The Government has this week also caved in to the fossil fuel lobby, scrapping the Cash For Closures scheme. We're now in a ridiculous situation where coal companies are now making money from a carbon price instigated to transition them to renewables. We ask you to email Tony Burke and Greg Combet and demand the re-instating of this scheme.
Alpha approved - time to stand up
Last Thursday, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke approved Gina Rinehart's Alpha coal project in Queensland. If built, it would be as big as any coal mine operating in Australia. This mine will contribute towards the collective environmental disaster of mining and fossil fuel burning in Queensland.
Alpha's developer also plans to build the third terminal at Gladstone Port, amidst the strongly worded opposition from the United Nations that no further development go ahead inside the reef World Heritage area.
Please get in contact with Tony Burke and tell him of you opposition to this project. You can also send him an email at Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au.
Help Stop Brisbane Coal Trains
The low hum of the loco followed by the rattle of 41 coal wagons is a familiar sound in Brisbane suburbs like Fairfield and Cannon Hill. But as well as noise and coal dust, that sound signals the 1 million tonnes of climate change we're exporting through Brisbane every month.
Stop Brisbane Coal Trains is a new campaign raising awareness in Brisbane about these local and global harm done by dirty energy. And they're already making an impact. Transport Minister Emerson has announced that QR will monitor air pollution from the trains in Ipswich and Brisbane. With no further details, however, Stop Brisbane Coal Trains spokesperson John Gordon says it's "like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank".
Join us on facebook, or drop us a line if you'd like to help paint a banner. Captain climate change, coming to a train station near you.
Beasts of the Southern Wild - Free Movie Passes!
There are five free double passes to see Beasts of the Southern Wild currently available through FoE.
Winner of the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Beasts looks like a beautiful film with environmental and social justice themes. Find out more about the film here.
To get a double pass, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. The first five people to get in contact will receive the passes.
You can stop a new mega coal terminal in Newcastle
The NSW Government will soon decide whether or not to approve a fourth coal terminal for Newcastle. This terminal, T4, would double the volume of coal exported from Newcastle, and it's already Australia's biggest export port. It would also double the coal dust from coal trains, piles and loading that blankets suburbs between the Hunter's coal mines and the harbour.
Please take a minute to support our friends in Newcastle and sign their e-petition: http://stopt4.good.do/stop-t4/stop-t4/