our campaigns 2014
As 2014 comes to an end, we thought we'd reflect on our work this year. The following images, in a rough chronological order, show some of what we got up to over the past 12 months.
Thanks for your support during the year. If you wanted to help our campaigns with a donation, you can do so here. You can also sign up to our monthly newsletter via the front page of the website.
JANUARY 2014. FoE publishes a report on the high levels of chlorine disinfection byproducts in water supplied by Westernport Water to Phillip Island and surrounds in Southern Victoria.
JANUARY 2014: The Barmah Collective released the final report of the Matakupay Project, detailing an innovative community science project aimed at restoring the culturally significant platypus to Wadi Wadi Country, in the heart of the Murray River.
Our Victorian campaigns have had some fantastic outcomes this year. We put the issue of unconventional gas firmly onto the agenda of the main political parties, and made renewable energy an issue that mattered in the lead up to the November state election.
Our report on the cumulative economic impacts of natural disasters on the state of Victoria highlighted the growing impacts of climate change on the people, landscape and economy of the state.
In conjunction with CounterAct, we hosted our first formal advocacy training program, called The Change Course.
Throughout the year we reminded the community and decision makers about the many benefits of renewable energy.
We hosted the Melbourne launch of 'the way the wind blows', which details the positive side of the Waubra wind farm story, located in Victoria. It features interviews with local residents and land owners. The film's producer Neil Barrett introduced the film.
We campaigned successfully to stop the proposed trial logging that had been planned for Victoria's Red Gum national parks along the Murray River.
Ararat Councillor Gwenda Allgood received the inaugural FoE Renewable Energy Champion Award at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne in February 2014.
We supported the Gippsland community of Seaspray when it declared it's intention to blockade gas drilling operations near the 90 Mile Beach. As a result of their campaign, the government refused the drill application.
With local environmental groups, we built support for a wind project proposed for Cherry Tree Range in Central Victoria.
MARCH. We hosted US rancher John Fenton, who spoke about his experience of living with gas drilling on his property. John warned audiences about the many negative impacts of drilling.
APRIL. FoE launched it’s fact-finding RET Review Road Trip, an 11-week road trip to get a real understanding of the impact the Renewable Energy Target has on communities in Victoria, the ACT and South Eastern NSW.
We visited places that have benefitted from renewable energy projects or experienced the negative impacts of fossil fuel pollution.
FoE's Radioactive Exposure Tours have been going since the 1980s. The tours visit northern South Australia, to see the impacts of the nuclear industry on land and people. This year we travelled to Muckaty Station in the NT to visit Traditional Owners opposed to the radioactive waste facility planned for their country.
MAY: We released a report Way too little which highlights the failure of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to ensure that nanomaterials used in the Australian food chain are safe.
In it's second year, FoE affiliate project Market Forces has had enormous impact on the lending policies of large institutions such as the Big 4 Banks.
JULY: Our Nanotechnology Project became the Emerging Technology Project as we broadened our scope to look at other important emerging technologies. These include synthetic biology and geoengineering, which both pose grave potential threats to human health and the environment.
JULY 2014. FoE publishes report looking at impacts of plantations and Forest Stewardship Council certification in Victoria.
We continued to develop pro environment policy at the state and federal level, lobby and engage with all Parties, and critique existing government policy and action.
FoE operates from a grassroots perspective. We work with local communities and organisations to build power to achieve change on environmental and social justice issues. We hosted or, in collaboration with local partners, co-hosted well over 100 public forums and events during 2014, such as this one in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
FoE has been heavily involved in the first population count of koalas in the Strzelecki Ranges in south eastern Victoria.
Throughout the year we supported communities in making their coal and gasfield free declarations. There are more than 70 communities which are active in opposing new coal and gas proposals in Victoria. 44 of these communities have now made their declarations in Victoria.
Market Forces and FoE launched Super Switch, to help people understand whether their superannuation fund is exposed to the fossil fuel industry through its shares in Australian and international companies, and to take action to reduce their super funds’ exposure to the fossil fuel sector.
Our Green Pledge was a great success, encouraging people to reduce their environmental impact while raising funds for FoE's campaigns.
OCTOBER. We were a proud supporter of the 2nd Beyond Coal and Gas gathering.
In OCTOBER the Victorian government announced that it had withdrawn from a proposed trial logging operation in the Red Gum forest national park along the Murray River.
OCT: In a unanimous decision of 194 countries, the United Nation’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) formally urged nation states to regulate synthetic biology (synbio). The landmark decision followed ten days of hard-fought negotiations between developing countries and a small group of wealthy biotech-friendly economies - which unfortunately included Australia.
We played a role in stopping the major open cut planned for Big Hill, in the town of Stawell in western Victoria.
The film 'Farmland not Gaslands' was released to packed crowds at the Melbourne Environmental Film Festival. It is the 2nd film which details the on-going community campaign against unconventional gas drilling in Victoria.
Market Forces, working with a range of allies including 350.org, organised a series of divestment days through the year.
The 2014 FoE International meeting was held in Sri Lanka in October.
Traditional Owners at Muckaty in the NT won a decade long campaign against the Commonwealth radioactive waste facility planned for their country.
We used a range of techniques to build interest in climate change, and raise awareness of renewable energy and coal and gas in the build up to the Victorian election, including kitchen table conversations, community surveying, door knocking, information stalls and leafletting.
The first community declarations happened in western Victoria.
We made unconventional gas a key issue in regional Victoria in the state election.
Anglican Archbishop of Polynesia, Winston Halapua, pictured here with our colleague Aunty Rose Elu at our forum on climate change impacts on Torres Strait and the Pacific, held in November in Brisbane.
FoE Brisbane played a key role in organising the alternative community events around the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November.
Aunty Rose Elu (far right), prominent member of FoE Brisbane's Climate Frontlines Torres Strait climate advocacy project, joined the multi-faith group, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, at an international press conference in Brisbane in the lead up to the G20 meeting in November.
In November, we hosted Arie Rompas from WALHI/ Friends of the Earth Indonesia, who spoke about the activities of Australian coal companies who are trying to open massive new mines in the forests of Kalimantan.
DECEMBER. We urged Federal Forest Industry Advisory Council Chair Rob de Fegely to reject calls for logging in national parks, as he toured red gum forests in the NSW Riverina.
FoE International had a strong presence at the UN Climate Change talks held in Peru in December.