It has been a wild year, to say the least, with everyone fatigued and confused at the current state of the world.
With the world glued to the madness that is the American elections, it might be time to re-shift our focus onto what’s happening in our own backyards. We would be forgiven for temporarily forgetting about several major environmental campaigns that have taken place in the last few years, which before the global COVID-19 pandemic came along, were front and centre.
Image Stop Adani Campaign
#StopAdani, Fight For The Bight and Save the takayna / Tarkine, to name just a few. These are still important issues to refocus on, with the updates below highlighting the true power of grassroots movements.
The controversial monster project that is the Carmichael coalmine (or Adani coal mine) in Queensland, has been one of Australia’s most controversial fights.
The Indian company Adani Mining has set up shop on First Nation’s land around the Great Barrier Reef, to build a huge thermal coal mine (yes, really). The Climate Council, which is an independent organisation, states that if the mine were a country it would rank in the top 15 worst emitting nations in the world.
Campaigns such as #StopAdani have been instrumental in highlighting the climate crime to the masses, with millions of Australians stepping up to say no and big banks refusing to fund it. Thanks to mass protesting and pressure on the government, the Adani coalmine in 2019 was forced to reduce the size of the mine down to one-sixth of its originally proposed size.
“Adani knows its brand is toxic – which is why insurers, financiers and other contractors continue to abandon it…” – Christian Slattery, Australian Conservation Foundation Campaigner.
What’s happening now?
The fight continues and so far, according to the Stop Adani Group, no coal has been dug. In June 2020, the bank Investec pulled out of helping to raise capital for Adani over climate risk, which adds to the list of over 85 major companies that have refused to work with Adani.
This month, most likely due to the negative fame of the name, Adani Mining Australia changed its name to Bravus Mining.
Hilariously, Bravus forgot to claim the names on social media, with Stop Adani campaigners claiming it instead. Even more hilariously, The Guardian pointed out that Bravus means “crooked” in Latin, not “brave” as they thought. Someone has definitely been fired for that f*ck up.
There have also been multiple stories of corruption that may have slipped under the radar, most recently with the Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow resigning due to being found guilty of misconduct relating to Adani’s private coal project.
The Great Australian Bight is a beautiful coastal area of paradise off the southern coastline off of mainland Australia. It’s estimated to be so unique, that around 85% of the species in it can be found nowhere else in the world. It is also worth around $1.2 billion per year for tourism.
Big oil companies unsurprisingly have also had their eyes on drilling it, including most recently the Norwegian company Equinos. In 2016, organisations and local advocacy groups came together to form the Great Australian Bight Alliance, fighting off big oil companies.
What’s happening now?
The grassroots movement protecting the Bight has been strong, with surfers up and down the country coming together for a paddle out protest on the Day of Action (including multiple surf legends such as Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore). Thankfully, companies have seen this fight as ‘too much effort’, with Equinor pulling out of drilling in February this year.
The Takayana / Tarkine, is Australia’s largest cool temperate rainforest located in Tasmania (and second in the world). Its beautiful rich wilderness also has one of the largest concentrations of Aboriginal archaeology in the hemisphere. Sadly, like many wild and sacred places, the government has allowed 90% of it to be up for grabs to mining and logging. In 2018 outdoor activist brand Patagonia got involved with Bob Brown Foundation, to campaign for takayna / Tarkine to be listed as a National Heritage site. They produced a must-see film takayna (below) to raise awareness.
Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.