People's Blockade of the World's Biggest Coal Port - 21 March 2009
'The People's Blockade of the World's Biggest Coal Port' # 4
Saturday 21st March 10am - 5pm
Horseshoe Beach, Newcastle
What: A fun day on the beach and water, for people of many backgrounds to come together and stand up for immediate, effective, safe and just solutions to climate change. There will be speakers, music, a BBQ lunch, face painting for the kids, and beach volley ball!
Kayaks will be available on the day (but please bring your own vessel if you can). There will be a peaceful flotilla of hundreds of vessels and people in the shipping channel, and we will attempt to stop the passage of coal ships for the entire time we're there.
This is the fourth protest of its type in Newcastle. See photos of the other flotillas here (3rd November 2007), here (10th February 2007), and here (5th June 2006).
Where: Meet at Horseshoe Beach, Newcastle, NSW (aka "the dog beach" - on the Harbour side of Nobbys Headland). There is a car-park there and we will reserve the parks closest for boat unloading. Don't drive, if you can help it. There will be space issues, among other reasons. Here is a map to Horseshoe Beach.
When: Saturday 21st March, 10am - 5pm. Come for all or some of the day, but please consider staying the whole time if you intent to help blockade the port. Some short speeches will be heard at 10am, just before launch. A BBQ lunch will be served from 12 onwards, more speakers and music will be on between 12 - 1.
Why: The time for action on climate change is fast running out. Dangerous and uncontrollable tipping points are approaching. We know that greenhouse pollution needs to start falling rapidly and immediately if the countless amazing species of this beautiful planet are to survive.
Australia's domestic and export coal industries contribute a full two thirds of our total greenhouse footprint. Coal exports are not just Australia's biggest greenhouse impact, but our fastest growing, with coal ports in NSW and Queensland all undergoing rapid expansions. Here in Newcastle, the worlds' biggest coal port, developments now under construction will see coal exports double. Other plans in in the pipeline will see them triple.
Our political leaders are clearly failing us. Both State and Federal Governments appear unable to find the courage to stand up to the powerful coal lobby. While the earth warms, governments approve more and more coal projects, and hand over more and more public money to the coal industry. The Rudd Government was swept to power on a wave of community angst with climate change. But now it has committed Australia to a mere 5% cut in CO2 by 2020 - the worst target in the developed world - and promises to hand out billions of dollars in free pollution permits to the nation's worst polluters. All the while it continues to underfund and disadvantage solutions to the climate crisis like renewable energy and public transport.
Governments will continue to place the interests of polluters over the demands of the community and the needs of the biosphere until we force them to change. We've voted, we've written letters, we've met our local members. Now is the time to take the next step, and join the campaign of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action to achieve the effective, necessary, and entirely possible solutions to the climate crisis.
Who: You, and other Australians that want effective action against climate change. There will be young families, grand-parents, blue-collar workers, students and professionals. People from all walks of life have come together for each of the past Port Blockades, and this one will be bigger and more diverse than ever!
Kayak Training: We've finished the kayak training workshops for this flotilla. If you'd like to try and convince us to put another one on send an email to risingtide (at) risingtide (dot) org (dot) au.
Affinity Groups: are encouraged to participate with their own separately organised contribution to the larger action. An 'affinity group' is a group of people that share a common bond of any type and choose to take action together. It is certainly not necessary to come as part of an organised group, but if you contribute something separately, this is encouraged. Some examples could be: a group of friends coming dressed like sea creatures from the Great Barrier Reef, a fellowship group sharing one of their boat's together and decorating it with climate change banners, or playing a particular strategic role in the direct action objectives of the day.
If you would like more information or ideas about affinity groups or actions your group could take, please call someone from Rising Tide on 4926 1641.
Legal Information: The Port of Newcastle is owned by us, the people - it is public water. It is not illegal to occupy the port. We will be submitting a 'notice of assembly' over the waters of the harbour for the day which gives us legal protection on our right to protest there. Hundreds of people have participated in each of the three flotillas in the past, and not one person has been arrested.
If you follow police directions, you will not be arrested.
Fund-raising for the Flotilla
We don't yet have enough money to put on the Blockade! So we're on a fund-raising drive. Attached to this page is a letter appealing for donations to help make the protest happen, please have a read and consider making a donation, even a small one. Otherwise (or also), please come along to the following fund-raising event:
- Wednesday 11th March, 6-11 pm
- The Lass O'Gowrie, Railway Street Wickham
- Featuring: Dhopec, Unfit for Human Consumption, Square Onions, Paul Spencer, Number Two, films, food, and a raffle.
- Wear something dotty: Because coal mining is dotty! There will be a prize for the dottiest costume.
What to Bring!
- as many boats or floating things as you can muster,
- some colourful flags if you can, or anything else to make the occasion atmospheric (excuse the pun)
- sun protection (hat, sun-cream, long-sleeves),
- a change of clothes in case you get wet and cold on the water,
- a camera - we want a good record of the day,
- beach or water games - anything to amuse yourself and others throughout the day!
- Constructing visual props and rafts. There are weekly working bees, every Sunday, 11 - 3 in Waratah. Call someone from Rising Tide on 49261641 for details. We'd love to have your creativity and muscle!
- Marshalling and ensuring everything runs smoothly on the day. Please reply to this email if you're interested.
- Do some cake baking! We will be selling cakes and chai on the day. If you'd like to help prepare or run this stall or bake a cake to contribute, please send an email to risingtide (at) risingtide (dot) org (dot) au.