Momentum for the #StopAdani movement continues
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Momentum for the #StopAdani movement continues

Stories/166 , Issues/Environment
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
27th Feb 2018
Momentum for the #StopAdani movement continues
The #StopAdani campaign to prevent the construction of a mega-sized coal mine is one of the key environmental fights of our times.

Another Adani megamine is in the works, and by the looks of it, it’s getting all the support it needs, given that the Australian federal government agreed to fund it with $1 billion of the Australian taxpayers’ money.

Evidently, this move has outraged activists, environmental groups, and concerned Australian citizens, as it gives off the notion that the Australian government remains apathetic in the move towards a safe and sustainable future.

For Stop Adani members, this sends out a clear message: Money talks, and coal mines are still given the go signal despite common knowledge of what a pollutant this limited resource is.

#StopAdani Protestors
#StopAdani Protestors

TheStop Adani movementhas grown into over 180 local groups (and counting). According to Kelly Purnell, spokesperson of theAustralian Youth for Climate Coalition(AYCC), they have been part of the movement and fighting hard for five years now.

Since the movement was launched, various groups all over Australia have taken the initiative to stop Adani from making a new coal mine that will regress the country’s steps in managing the impact of climate change.

“This mine is a disaster for traditional land owners in Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef, access to clean water, and other countless reasons,” Purnell explains. “Most importantly, we want to avoid the worst impact of climate change. We see this mine as the mine that stops all mines. If we can stop this, we can move towards stopping other mines in this country.”

TheCarmichael coal mineis set to be built in Queensland, endangering the already dying and heavily bleached Great Barrier Reef. It will also draw in a substantial amount of water from the Great Artesian and other water basins essential for drinking water and livelihood. Consequently, rivers risk contamination once this coal mine operates.

Say #NoToNewCoal

Nationwide protestswere held last October, such as Bondi Beach, Melbourne, Townsville, Mackay, and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

Over 600 people gathered in the Camperdown Memorial Park in Newtown, New South Wales, to protest the Adani firm’s move to create the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland. The Indian mining giant, Adani, recently announced its plans to create the controversial $16.5 billion coal mine project last October.

Protestors at Camperdown Memorial Park
Protestors at Camperdown Memorial Park

Other parts of Australia also held similar protests, accompanied with drone photos of protesters forming the words, “Stop Adani” from above.

Photos of #StopAdani went viral on social media. The Stop Adani Sydney group also made videos of these protests in efforts to gain the public’s attention.

According to Gillian Reffel, a representative of the Stop Adani Sydney movement, the whole issue is mainly a matter of money being funnelled to a mining magnate going bankrupt.

“That Adani mine is planning to dig it up and ship it to India where it’ll get burned and, ditto, marks for ‘the good of humanity’.” Reffel elaborates. “It’s just Gautam Adani and his Adani firm that are going bankrupt and they need to get this mine happening to save themselves from bankruptcy.”

For the Stop Adani movement, the call to stop burning coal is also a call to reduce greenhouse gases and to address the issue of the already dying Great Barrier Reef. Ultimately, it is a call to lessen climate change impact and extreme weather changes that can kill—such as heat waves, droughts, bushfires, powerful storms, floods, and the like.

In recent updates, China has backed out and is no longer going to fund Adani’s coal mine. Some overseas funding is also being pulled out.

In a recent update, Purnell stated thatfour Chinese banks ruled out funding the coal mine.“It’s just not a viable option anymore,” She says. “The market doesn’t really need any more coal projects because there are better, more sustainable investments.”

It was also reported that Australia’s big banks—Westpac, the National Bank of Australia (NAB), and ANZ—have alsopulled out from the deal, as they have been under pressure from the Stop Adani movement and other environmental groups.

The need for a transition to reneweable energy

According to astatementby the Adani firm, the coal mine will have long-term benefits for Queensland and will be funded by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and by foreign banks.

While the Opposition Party of the Australian government has clearly spoken in favour of renewable energy resources, protesters argue that the transition has been slow, given that coal mines are still being funded by companies and some banks. The federal government also supports such projects.

Naturally, this led to a more urgent call to action from environmental groups in solidarity with the #StopAdani movement. For them, the transition to renewable energy has to begin now, and it begins by phasing out the coal mines.

According to Angela Michaelis, Vice President of theClimate Change Balmain-Rozelle group, the transition will be slow but it will pave the way for building up and investing on big renewables.

“They are backing a resource that is no longer a resource—it’s a pollutant, and by that, I mean coal,” Michaelis explains. “I understand it’s going to take a while to wrap up existing coal mines but as long as we even contemplate, allow, and license new coal mines, we really are doing a disservice to the Australian public and to workers within that industry.”

“I just can’t see a future where, 20 years from now, we’ll live in a world in which coal is still important,” Michaelis adds, shaking her head in disbelief.

“Renewables are the way to go in Australia. It is starting up and it is being held back by the coalition and the stupid policies that are discouraging companies from investing in renewables,” Reffel says, expressing her frustrations over obstacles that block the transition to renewable energy sources.

Moving forward

Other groups have also shown their support for the movement, such as the Oxfam Community of New South Wales, Friends of the Earth Sydney, and the Australia, among many others.

Evidently, Stop Adani protesters are making bold moves to demand a stop of the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. The tension is building up; there is a clash between the government’s support for coal and the push for a transition to renewable energy.

Aside from other groups involved in the movement, the AYCC is also a key player in pushing this campaign forward. It consists of the youth who are passionate about climate action—through a series of campaigns, protests, and projects, they are able to make more noise on the issue, especially with the help of social media.

“It’s a coalition of young people who care about climate change and who believe that we need to be at the forefront of solutions of the climate change debate,” Purnell says. “We need to act now instead of waiting for old politicians to do it for us.”

As of this writing, plans to set up the coal mine are still in the works—and only time will tell if and when coal will begin to phase out.

Nonetheless, protesters and other concerned Australians remain vigilant and determined to keep speaking up against it.

#StopAdani protests always end the protests with a chant, sung to the tune of singer Freddy Quinn’s “Oh My Darling Clementine”:

Stop Adani

Stop Adani

Stop Adani

Stop the Mines,

Cause we’re learning,

The climate’s turning,

Stop Adani

Stop the Mines!

And one thing is certain—they’ll continue to sing.

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