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Friends of the Earth Australia's April E-newsletter

Welcome to the April edition of our national newsletter, a great place to stay up to date on all Friends of the Earth's updates, news, and solidarity!

This newsletter is possible because of our beautiful community, because of individuals like yourself. I thank you deeply for supporting FoE!

Want to get updates straight to your inbox? Sign up to our mailing list here

Webinar: The environmental and humanitarian crisis in Gaza and in the West Bank

At Friends of the Earth, we believe that the liberation of all peoples from systems of oppression is a precursor to peace. We campaign towards system change through the lens of gender, climate, economic, social, and environmental justice. It is for this reason that we have been outspoken and unwavering in our commitment to an end to the bombardment of Gaza, and to freedom for the Palestinian people.

Over the last six months, Israel's assault on Gaza has killed upwards of 30,000 people. We are now witnessing  one of the world’s most severe food crises, with the blocking of food aid entering the country, inaccessible farmlands and fishing grounds, leading to food deprivation for over 2.2 million people (outlined in our recent statement).

Even prior to the current escalation, an alarming humanitarian situation in Gaza existed as a result of the 17-year blockade by the Israeli occupation. Now, as a result of the destruction of cultivated fields and the shutdown of bakeries, factories, and food warehouses, Gaza’s population relies entirely on external food supplies.

To understand the devastating effects of the war on Gaza on the environment, and access to healthy food and water, we invite you to join an upcoming webinar hosted by our colleagues at Friends of the Earth International.

Date & Time: Apr 3, 2024 09:00 PM AEDT time

Register for the Webinar here

New Special Project in the works for FoE Australia

In exciting news, Friends of the Earth Australia is launching a special project soon, and we need your help!

We are looking for supporters to send in stories of why they support Friends of the Earth. Got a special memory or been a long time supporter? We want to hear from you. We're looking for a couple of sentences that we can include in some newsletters. 

Feel free to reach out to us to find out more by contacting us through the form on our website, or emailing [email protected]. Otherwise.... watch this space!!

Protect our Wildlife from Deforestation for Industrial Renewables

Rapid action is needed to stop burning fossil fuels and to mitigate climate change. However, it is becoming apparent that large, industrial sized, wind, solar and hydro-electric power stations are being built in the wrong place, at the wrong scale in areas of high biodiversity in Queensland.

We understand that, just in the north from Ingham to Lakeland, 19 projects are either being proposed, in process or completed - with the total remnant vegetation to be cleared being 14,100 ha. Much of this is along remote ridges, home to vulnerable or endangered species such as the magnificent brood frog, Sharman's rock wallaby, the koala, the greater glider and the northern quoll.

FoE FNQ has written to the Queensland Premier Steven Miles expressing our concerns. Contact the Queensland Premier now to demand a just transition to renewables with better planning - so that nature is able to thrive and mass deforestation is avoided. 

Photo Credit: Steven Nowakowski

Walanbaa Ngiiyani | Doco Sneak Preview & How to Host a Screening

'Walanba Ngiiyani - Stronger Together' is a 35 minute documentary film on the disastrous impacts of coal and gas extraction on communities around Australia and the Pacific. 

A one-of-a-kind trip to Gomeroi Country brings together Gomeroi Traditional Custodians, Pacific Climate Warriors and school strikers, as they share powerful stories of the impact the coal and gas industry is having on their lands, lives and livelihoods.

Join us from 6:30pm AEST on Monday 8 April to:

  • watch a sneak preview of the documentary 
  • hear panel discussion with folks who feature 
  • find out how to host your own screening 

Taking place on Zoom - RSVP for the link to join!

Stop investors like Clive Palmer from suing our government for billions over climate change policies

Clive Palmer, Australian billionaire, has registered his mining company in Singapore and is using an obscure provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in two trade agreements to sue the Australian government for billions.

ISDS, which is included in some trade agreements, allows foreign investors to sue governments over changes in policy or laws that they can argue reduce their profits, even if the change is in the public interest. Palmer’s cases join a growing global list of ISDS cases from fossil fuel companies against government decisions to reduce carbon emissions.

The Labor government already has a policy to exclude ISDS from new trade agreements, but this hasn’t prevented Clive Palmer using ISDS in existing trade agreements. We need to act now to urgently remove ISDS in existing agreements and stop investors like Clive Palmer putting profit before planet. Please sign this petition from our allies at the Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network.

Rise Up: 12 Days of Action 

The country is burning, we are all sweltering and many communities are still reeling from the effects of devastating floods. And yet, the Labor Government continues to make the climate crisis worse by picking the side of coal & gas billionaires. 

With an upcoming Federal Budget deciding what gets funding, and a looming deadline to fix our environment laws so they consider the impacts of climate change, right now is a crucial moment to rise up and make our demands loud and clear: no approvals or handouts for coal and gas 

That’s why from 29 April - 10 May, communities across the country are Rising Up to demand that ‘Labor keep us safe - no more coal and gas!'

Join this special national webinar to learn how you can take part in an action-packed fortnight by joining or hosting an action in your community.

Join the webinar here!

Uncovering Some Murky Facts about South Australian Drinking Water

On 11th of March 2024, ABC featured a segment on 7.30 about the quality of Quorn's drinking water quality. Quorn is a small community located in the Flinders Ranges with a population of 1150. For many years residents have been complaining about the quality of their drinking water. SA Water have been saying that the water is safe to drink, but according to the ABC, 97% of residents don't drink it due to it high mineral and salt content. The water is also causing economic issues, due to scale building up and making plumbing unusable.

The ABC story touches on some complicated problems concerning drinking water quality around Australia, issues which Friends of the Earth tried to address with the creation of the Australian Drinking Water Map in 2017. The map set up with the help of DVIZE, has attracted hundreds of thousands of visits since its creation.

What was not discussed during the ABC article was that a whole host of communities in South Australia are exposed to a chemical cocktail of substances that are being detected at higher levels than Quorn. Of particular concern are disinfection by-products (DBP's), most notably Trihalomethanes (THM's) and sodium.

Check out the full report from our very own Anthony Amis here

Genetically Modified Corn

The GM Free Alliance, a member group of Friends of the Earth Australia, has been doing important work analysing recent announcement's on the use of genetically modified corn, from the lens of their GM-Free campaign.

In Australia, “FSANZ has assessed an application made by Corteva Agriscience Australia Proprietary Limited to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to permit the sale and use of food derived from a new food produced using gene technology: corn line DP910521. This corn line has been genetically modified for tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate and protection from lepidopteran insect pests. A draft food regulatory measure has been prepared.” (FSANZ, 2024) “This safety assessment addresses food safety and nutritional issues associated with the GM food. It therefore does not address:

  • risks related to the environmental release of GM plants used in food production
  • risks to animals that may consume feed derived from GM plants
  • the safety of food derived from the non-GM (conventional) plant.”

“No potential public health and safety concerns have been identified in the assessment of herbicide-tolerant and insect-protected corn line DP910521. On the basis of the data provided in the present application and other available information, food derived from DP910521 is considered to be as safe for human consumption as food derived from non-GM corn cultivars.” (FSANZ, 2024) This is unsatisfactory and we disagree as the risks are unknown without the proper checks and balances.

If you'd like to support the work of the GM-Free Alliance, head to their website.


(Food Standards Australia New Zealand, accessed 8/03/2024) Application A1281 – Food derived from herbicide-tolerant and insect-protected corn line – DP910521.

(Food Standards Australia New Zealand, 23 January 2024) 278 -24. Supporting document 1. Safety assessment – Application A1281. Food derived from herbicide-tolerant and insect-protected corn line DP910521

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