seven campaigns in seven days

a week of FoE campaigns

#7 The South Melbourne Commons

The South Melbourne Commons is a collaboration between Friends of the Earth Australia and the Father Bob Foundation. It operates as a local village green, the and provides a local recreational & community services hub operating at the highest standards of sustainability.

It combines a high quality sustainable café, community food co-op, leading edge children’s services, community gardens, performance spaces and outdoor areas. South Melbourne Commons creates a relaxing atmosphere for people to be engaged and educated on a range of conservation and sustainability topics.

While inspired by iconic community conservation hubs such as CERES park in Brunswick and The Port Phillip Eco-Centre, the Commons aims to develop a project that is both self-sustaining financially and provide a template that is readily delivered within any community. Subject to securing finance Friends of the Earth plans to roll out some 20 more Commons over the next 5-7 years.

Opened in December 2011, the project has been supported by some 1,500 volunteers and over is already attracting over 1,100 visitors per week.

Core environmental programs include:
-    The operation of an organic / sustainable food co-operative “The Pantry”;
-    Operation of extensive community gardens & programs supporting the establishment of new gardens;
-    Tours and Educative programs about green building and sustainable home improvement;
-    A range of programs on sustainable food and food sovereignty;
-    Development of a Farmers Market;
-    Development & Distribution of a green living guide.
-    Additionally, the Commons supports and works with local community groups undertaking a number of social initiatives to provide a triple bottom line approach.

To find out more about the Commons, please check here.

To financially support our work, please check here. (Just add a note in the relevant field that this is intended for the South Melbourne Commons).

#6 Water – the Murray Darling Basin

FoE is ‘emerging as strong social justice advocates in the MDB water reform debate’
-    Roslyn Beeby, environment reporter, Canberra Times

After the successful campaign to gain protection for the red gum forests of northern Victoria, FoE moved north into the mid Murray Darling Basin in 2010, to help build the strength of environmental campaigning in a pivotal time.

The fate of the Murray Darling Basin is being decided now. FoE brings solid connections to Indigenous communities, a strong focus on justice, and excellent ecological credentials to this campaign.

We have had significant influence on the public debate, which has allowed us to highlight the monumental failure of the draft Basin Plan in meeting the requirements of the Water Act 2007 and restoring the balance between the needs of farming communities and the needs of vital and precious ecosystems.

We have exposed pollution by CSG companies, launched innovative community projects like the ‘we love’ program, lobbied, worked the media, engaged communities.

To continue our campaign we need further funding to support a lead campaigner’s wage and cover travel costs to briefings and regional communities.

For further details on our campaign, check here.

You can donate here.

#5 Nanotechnology – size does matter

Nanotechnology is the ‘science of the small’.

While industry touts nanotechnology as enabling the production of ‘miracle materials’, senior scientists warn that it could pose health risks as serious as those of asbestos.

In 2012 we anticipate the introduction of Australia’s first substantive nanotechnology regulation under the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS). NICNAS regulates the industrial chemicals that are used in products and workplaces, and the cosmetics that come in intimate daily contact with our skin. The outcomes will impact directly on the health of millions of workers and consumers, and on the environmental systems into which waste products are released.

With industry groups joining forces to lobby for weak, window dressing regulation, the safety of people and the environment is very much at risk.

We are the leading NGO voice on this issue in Australia.

We are seeking funding to take our campaigning activities to the next level, to ensure that right to know, transparency, public health and precautionary risk management are built in to this new regulation.

Check here for details on our campaign.

Check here to donate to the project.

#4 Yes to Renewable Energy

Climate science tells us that global emissions must peak and decline dramatically this decade, and rich nations must lead the way in driving the transition to renewable energy.

Wind energy is the cheapest, mass scale renewable energy source currently available to us. Yet here in Victoria, the state government listened to a small anti-wind organisation and has now implemented the most regressive planning guidelines for wind energy anywhere in the country. It has locked off large sections of the state to further wind development through the creation of ‘no go’ zones, and put an end to a number of community-owned wind farm initiatives.

It sets up a double standard when it comes to energy development, and makes it harder to build a wind farm than to open a coal mine.

This has already cost Victoria millions of dollars in lost investment.

We are working to build a powerful community groundswell to demand the over turning of the current state governments wind energy policy.

We are working to expose the ideological connections of the organised anti-wind groups, holding stalls to listen to communities and build support for wind and solar, we have brought together a range of industry and community groups to launch the Vic Wind alliance.

Our Yes 2 Renewables website is an important source of information and action. We track and respond to media stories. Earlier this year we got front page coverage of our Freedom of Information request to NSW Health, the public health authority in that state, which showed that the science behind the anti-wind group the Waubra Foundation had been deeply criticised by the health authority.

We are reliant on individual supporters to keep our work going. We need to keep our current capacity and broaden our work into other states. Please consider funding our campaign if you can.

To support our renewable energy campaign, please check here.

#3 New Coal and CSG in Queensland

Australian Coal Seam Gas (Coal Seam Methane, commonly referred to as CSG) development is undergoing massive expansion. In spite of concerns about farmland, climate change and water security, governments are embracing fossil gas expansion at all costs. With half the world's new gas developments in Australia, by 2020 Australia will have increased export sixfold, to make us the largest exporter of gas in the world.

Australian communities, predominately farming and remote rural communities, are bearing the brunt of the new industrial development. The South East of Queensland is expecting 40,000 coal seam gas wells to be established over the coming years, with 4,000 well already in place.

In response to this massive incursion, and the resulting resistance, FoE helped establish the Lock the Gate Alliance, and the current president is FoE activist Drew Hutton.

In 2012, FoE will be establishing a national campaign opposing CSG, on-shore gas and new coal operations across NSW and QLD. We urgently need funds for a national campaign co-ordinator position, plus travel costs to work with regional communities.

Friends of the Earth is concerned for our water resources, food security, but above all, climate change. CSG developments in Queensland will produce 39 million tonnes of GHGs each year. This represents 6.5% of Australia's current emissions and doesn't even include emissions from burning the gas.

Wandoan ‘mega’ coal mine, Queensland

Friends of the Earth have long campaigned for companies to withdraw investment from environmentally destructive projects and instead fund Australia's green energy future.

In 2011 we launched a legal challenge in order to contest Australia's massive coal export expansion. The coal mined at Xstrata's Wandoan will release more greenhouse gases over its lifespan than 150 low emitting countries. As the worlds most powerful nations argue over GHG reductions, Australia is actively pursuing an agenda of coal export expansion. In doing so, it is activity encouraging the worlds largest mining corporations access to Australian farming land, and turning a blind eye to land-grabbing activities.

We have taken the bold step of challenging the world's largest coal company in court, and mobilise farming communities to take action to have their voice heard.

If approved and financed, the Wandoan Coal Project mine will be the first of 34 new super size mines forming just part of the countries 10 year plan for another 120 new mines (or extensions), with the majority of these mines being coal mines.

To service the mine Xstrata plans to develop approximately 500 km of purpose built railway, divert and dam 2 river systems, and build a new coal port terminal in the Great Barrier Reef.

Under Queensland law the decision of Friends of the Earth's climate court challenge must be taken into consideration by the responsible state government minister.

Our campaign against the proposed Xstrata ‘mega’ coal mine in Queensland needs to step up and apply greater pressure on the state government. We will do this through strengthening the 'lock the gate' campaign in rural Queensland and the voting constituents in the deciding ministers seat.

Funding will support the Wandoan community, and those along the railway line and port terminal near Gladstone to develop skills to engage media, access to law and relevant support bases, to further this growing grassroots movement.

For further info on our CSG work, please check here.

Check here for details on the walk against CSG and coal currently underway in QLD.

Check here for details on Six Degrees, our campaign against new coal in QLD.

To financially support our work, please check here.

Six Degrees campaign

Wandoan Coal Mine Legal Challenge


#2 Stopping CSG in Victoria

Farmland not Gasland

There are a growing number of exploration permits being put in across the state for fossil fuel developments – for coal mining, coal seam gas (CSG), Tight Gas and natural gas. Meanwhile, the state government is putting public funds into the HRL coal fired power station proposal.

Unless we act now in a strong and concerted way, we could be facing a massive expansion of the on-shore fossil fuel industry in coming years. The best time to stop this industry is before new projects get going.

FoE is working hard to support communities across Victoria who are opposing this expansion. From the extended coal mine at Anglesea, new coal at Bacchus Marsh, CSG proposals in West Gippsland, new coal applications on the Gippsland Plains, and Tight Gas operations near the Gippsland coast, we are doing what we can to build the strength of local campaigns.

We are calling for a ban on all new coal and ‘unconventional’ gas operations in the state. This includes CSG, Shale gas and Tight gas. A broad alliance will be launched next month.

We’re working harder than ever, but are pulled in too many directions. To use an old phrase, much of our work is only an inch deep – because it's a mile wide.

We are doing great work with our volunteer team of activists but need to be able to deepen the level of work we do across regional Victoria. 2012 is a pivotal year for fighting the spread of new coal and gas operations in the state.

Please help if you can. You can donate here.

Check here for details on the campaign, and for Quit Coal's anti CSG work.


#1 Solar not nuclear

From day 1 in the early 1970s, FoE has campaigned against all aspects of Australia’s role in the nuclear fuel cycle. From the successful fight against Jabiluka mine in Kakadu, to the 2 decade long struggle against a radioactive waste dump, FoE keeps plodding away on the issue. We work closely with affected Indigenous communities, host the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, and have introduced generations of new activists to the issue through our radioactive exposure tours. We work internationally to make sure our uranium doesn't end up in reactors like Fukushima.

Anti nuclear campaigning is also one of the hardest issues to fund raise for. Philanthropic groups simply don’t fund this work. And sadly, campaigns against environmental racism just don't have the same resonance with many people as tall trees or cute animals.  We have to rely on individuals to financially support this campaign.

FoE has been there, and will be there, whenever and however the fight against nukes comes up. Please support our longest running campaign so we can ensure the 21st century is the time of solar, not dangerous and dirty nukes.

For details on the campaign, please check here.

You can donate to our anti nuclear campaign here.