Half Time Score - our campaigns in 2015
2015 has been an incredible year. And we're only half way through! Here are some highlights from our work since January.
ABOVE: FoE supported the call by Indigenous leaders, who presented an urgent demand for a more meaningful role in water management as the Darling River looked likely to cease flowing for the third time in 12 years.
FoE revealed that large quantities of nanomaterials are being used in agricultural chemicals overseas, bringing into serious question claims made by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), that nanomaterials are currently not being used in agricultural chemicals in Australia.
ABOVE: Friends of the Earth drew national media attention to the fact that koalas are still being impacted by plantation logging in South West Victoria.
Footage sent to Friends of the Earth shows a koala with baby being felled inside a plantation owned by the Cayman Islands based, Australian Bluegum Plantations Pty Ltd. This triggered a state-wide debate about how plantations are managed.
ABOVE: FoE highlighted the need for greater community input into forestry operations in the Strathbogie Ranges in north eastern Victoria, in order to improve the long term viability of the Strathbogie Koala Population.
ABOVE: we are proud to be part of a global movement. FoE's renewable energy campaigner Leigh Ewbank joins an anti-fracking rally in California.
Chinese imported frozen berries linked to a number of cases of hepatitis A in Victoria and NSW has led to a national call for stronger food safety regulation and country of origin labelling.
However under the new China Free Trade Agreement and pending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), this could be unfeasible. Friends of the Earth’s Fair Trade spokesperson, Sam Castro said “like other similar trade agreements the TPP could make it impossible to set higher standards on imported foods or labelling, because labelling regulation can be deemed a ‘barrier to trade’.”
FoE mobilised public support to ensure that current protections for Tasmanian World Heritage Areas were not weakened.
Throughout the year we have advocated for the need for a rapid transition away from our current reliance on polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy pathways.
Above: for the second year, FoE, joined with the Melbourne Campaigners Network and CounterAct to host the Change Course. This course takes place over one month and is designed to give a broad overview of the skills needed to be an effective campaigner.
FoE intensified its call for Australia to regulate the use of nano-sized silver in everyday products such as food packaging, following the United States peak environmental agency's decision to start doing so.
April 2015: The Seaspray community in Gippsland meets with Senator Ricky Muir.
“I support the call to exempt all communities that express concern against unconventional gas mining to be exempt from all existing licences. A community should have the right to veto,” he said.
ABOVE: FoE continues to work with local communities to declare themselves coal and gasfield free.
ABOVE: FoE continues to support the global efforts to stop the development of GM tree plantations.
We supported Totally Renewable Yackandandah in north east Victoria in launching a 100% Renewables Target for their community.
ABOVE: during April, May, and June we helped organise over 15 successful community screenings of the 'Frackman' film across Victoria.
ABOVE: Alcoa Australia have announced closure of the Anglesea coal mine and power plant on Aug 31 in response to a strong community campaign by Surf Coast Air Action.
Friends of the Earth have been a proud supporter of the Anglesea community in their fight for closing the polluting power plant and protect public health.
ABOVE: The Australian Environmental Justice (AEJ) research team at RMIT University is creating a public online database of cases of environmental injustice — for affected communities, campaigners and educators.
The AEJ project has Friends of the Earth (Australia) (FoE) as a partner and is associated with the EU-funded international Environmental Justice, and was launched at FoE in May.
FoE continued to provide support to residents concerned about the impacts of aerial spraying of the herbicides Clopyralid, Glyphosate and Metsulfuron Methyl in the plantations around Bright and surrounding townships, in north eastern Victoria.
ABOVE: Three major French banks have announced they will not fund the mega coal mines proposed in the Galilee Basin, or associated infrastructure such as the new coal export terminals at Abbot Point.
BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Credit Agricole have issued statements that bring to eleven the number of international banks that have spoken out against the prospect of funding mega-coal mines in the Galilee Basin or new export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secret trade agreement that will adversely affect the environment, worker’s rights, cost of medicines, internet freedoms, food safety, intellectual property rights and indigenous rights.
With a range of partners, FoE held a side event during the national Congress of the ACTU featuring a Roundtable with a range of speakers.
The full plenary of the ACTU Congress reinforced the position of the Roundtable by unanimously passing a motion on behalf of their 2.4 million members, calling the Australian Government to release the TPP text or withdraw Australia from the secret negotiations.
ABOVE: FoE has provided support to the local group WHAM, which is seeking to stop the destruction of red gum trees up to 700 years old as part of the widening of the Western Highway in Victoria.
The Federal government announces its Inquiry into the tax status of green groups. This is widely seen as an attack on the environment movement.
We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from our partners in the community. Trev and Di from Seaspray, VIC.
You can read more about these attacks here.
ABOVE: The Senate Inquiry into wind farms and health drags on ... We continue to highlight the fact that wind energy needs to be a key element in the transition that is required as we move away from polluting fossil fuels.
Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) are lands owned by Indigenous people and voluntarily managed for conservation. There are currently 60 declared IPAs, covering land three times the size of Victoria! IPAs are recognised as providing real social, cultural and environmental benefits through providing employment, protection of country and cultural connection to land.
But federal government funding for IPA's is under threat.
ABOVE: FoE campaigned during 2014 for all parties to adopt a commitment to establish a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET). We welcomed the Andrew government's commitment to reinstating a VRET.
A new report by the IMF reveals “shocking” $5.3 Trillion global fossil fuel subsidy for 2015, which is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.
ABOVE: FoE Australia turns 40! (well, 41 but we were too busy last year to have a party).
And no, the sign is incorrect. We haven't sold out!
ABOVE: our Barmah Millewa campaign (BMC) re-launched as the River Country campaign, with a broad mandate to protect our inland river country in conjunction with traditional owner groups.
ABOVE: A new report from Market Forces shines a light for the first time on Australian banks’ financing of the fossil fuel industry and the disparity between lending to ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ energy.
Covering over 150 financial institutions, the report – Fueling the Fire – identifies ANZ as the leading lender to fossil fuels, having provided $12.6 billion to coal, oil and gas in Australia since 2008.
Healthy Futures is a network of health professionals, students and supporters organising to take action on climate change and related public health challenges. They joined FoE Australia as an affiliate in 2015.
ABOVE: the campaign lead by FoE and Quit Coal and many regional groups helped achieve a moratorium on drilling for unconventional gas in Victoria and a commitment to a state inquiry into this industry.
The inquiry is now underway, with hearings due to start in late June.
ABOVE. The radioactive exposure tours have been going most years since the mid 1980s, and have introduced many hundreds of people to the wonderful - and threatened - arid landscapes of northern South Australia.
ABOVE: The Climate Frontlines campaign of FoE Brisbane, and the sub-group, Friends of Tulele Peisa, are focused on those at the frontlines of climate change in the Pacific.
In particular, the Climate Frontlines Collective raises awareness and funds for people in the low-lying Pacific nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu who are being forced to leave their communities due to climate change. These island communities are already being displaced by rising sea levels.
ABOVE: In June we supported the launch of the Reef Defenders campaign.
ABOVE: and now we are gearing up for the international climate change negotiations which will start in Paris in late November.
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You can check out our campaign diary from 2014 here.