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March 2018 Update

Recently it was International Women's Day and we celebrated ALL the women - cis, non-binary, trans - who are part of the world wide movement for social and environmental justice. Despite being disproportionately affected by environmental injustice, women are not victims. Women are fighters. Women are protagonists in the defense of territories and the fight for autonomy over our bodies, lives and labour force. You can read more about Friends of the Earth's work dismantling patriarchy and for gender justice here.


War and the Environment

The Australian government’s announcement of its goal to make Australia a top-10 arms exporter came only days after the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to 2 minutes before midnight -  in response to the increasing global threats of nuclear weapons and climate change.

Australian universities are being designated Defence HUBs, states are scrambling to get cashed up to build their “defence” industries and there’s talk of increasing U.S. troop numbers in Darwin… plus more!

The social justice implications of militarism and war and the environmental impacts of training for war on the everyday lives of most Australians - in one way or another.

But we’re at a moment right now, where we could be turning ourselves from the brink of disaster.  Tragedy is happening all around us but … the Koreas stood together and shook hands at the Olympics, thanks to the great efforts of Australia-born ICAN, nuclear abolition is within reach, people in the USA are questioning the role of guns in their society and massive protests led by young people are changing the debate in that country. And back home, Australians are questioning the increasing cost of supporting the U.S. alliance and an era of endless war.

There’s been no better time to take action!  Australia has the real opportunity to decide how it wants to relate to its friend the U.S., the message it wants to send the region and the world, and whether it wants to protect its environment and its people.

Friends of the Earth has just launched our national project on War and the Environment. Using a social and environmental justice framework, the project will map, respond to and challenge war and the ongoing militarisation of people and places. 

To get involved, contact Robin at [email protected] or 0411 118 737

War is not healthy artwork: Artwork: Lorraine Schneider. Design" is a registered trademark and copyright 1968, 2003 of ®Another Mother for Peace, Inc. All rights reserved.

Say NO to Kur-World!
Say NO to Kur-World!
We need you to act now to save the ecologically fragile Myola valley and its unique and endangered wildlife! 
If approved the mega KUR-World project would be one of the biggest infrastructure projects ever to occur in Northern Australia. The fact that it is proposed in the Myola valley in the Kuranda region, an ecologically sensitive location, is alarming.Help us stop  large scale development in the Myola valley.Help us to protect the Myola Valley's unique biodiversity such as the  IUCN critically endangered Kuranda tree frog and the Myola Palm.
Email Josh Frydenberg, Federal Minister for Environment, responsible for looking after our endangered species and conserving the Australian biodiversity. Tell him to act soon – and to strengthen our environmental laws by adopting the Blueprint for the Next Generation of Australian Environmental Law. We need to show Minister Frydenberg that people care about our wildlife and want better protection for it- especially in places as biodiverse and sensitive as the Myola Valley, a buffer zone for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Email to: Josh Frydenberg
Watch the FoE FNQ facebook page and website and the campaign page at Kuranda Region Planning for support to write both complex and basic submissions on the Environmental Impacts.

Stop the Government deregulating genetically modified animals

The Government is proposing changes to our Gene Technology Regulations which would make Australia the first country in the world to deregulate a range of new genetic modification (GM) techniques in animals, plants and microbes.

If the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) deregulates these new GM techniques there will be no monitoring or surveillance. Anyone from amateur biohackers, to industry, to terror groups would be free to use them to genetically modify plants, animals and microbes. Entirely new diseases and poisons could be made. And they could enter our food chain and our environment with no safety testing and no labelling. The risks are enormous and the results could be catastrophic.

Reviews commissioned by the Austrian and Norwegian governments concluded that not enough is known about the risks posed by these new GM techniques. They recommended that products derived from them require comprehensive case-by-case risk assessments.

You can find further information - and sign our petition to the government - here.

Stand up for forests in the Batman By-election - no matter where you live!

It’s been two decades of doom for our forests.

But the disastrous Regional Forest Agreements are soon meant to expire.

These twenty-year-long agreements reach their use-by-date just ten days after the Batman by-election.

No matter where you live, the Batman by-election is a great opportunity to tell Federal politicians that you don’t want any more dodgy logging agreements, and that it’s time to protect forests in the Great Forest National Park.

TAKE ACTION: Email the candidates and MPs here.

Apple isn't a lone bad fruit... How can we hold companies to account?

Apple routinely disregards humans and nature in its push for super profits. A couple of years ago suicide nets were installed to catch burnt-out workers who thought their only escape from their production lines was suicide.

This disregard is highlighted again in the recent investigation by China Labour Watch into Apple supplier Catcher. The investigation was launched following a toxic gas leak in one of their supplier factories that resulted in over 80 workers being sent to the emergency room with acute poisoning.

We need to make that resistance international so companies can be held to account where ever they go. That doesn't just mean boycotting certain brands or even shutting down shops. Brand damage is defiantly one part of the puzzle, but we need a bigger strategy that uses every tool we have.

Read more and find out how to get involved here or email [email protected]

Pesticides in Food Forum Featuring Professor Alfred Poulos

Friends of the Earth is proudly hosting Professor Poulos to speak about the risks associated with pesticides in food. Emphasis during the presentation will include:  Different susceptibilities to pesticides (based on genetics, age and development in the womb) and acute and chronic health impacts.

Professor Alfred Poulos has a PhD from London University and a law degree from Adelaide University. The latter University awarded him a professorship for his research into genetic diseases, fats and fat metabolism. He has worked in universities, hospitals, and research institutes in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the USA. His most recent appointment was as a Chief Medical Scientist at the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia, a position he held for many years.

WHEN: March 28, 2018 at 7pm - 8:30pm
WHERE: Friends of the Earth Melbourne

CSIRO planning US military funded genetic extinction experiments in Western Australia

A raft of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information request (The Gene Drive Files) reveal that CSIRO and University of Adelaide scientists are part of a US military funded global network researching a risky new genetic modification (GM) technique referred to as gene drives. The group have already identified six potential islands in Western Australia where they intend to use the technique to drive local mice populations to extinction.

The release of gene drives could have potentially catastrophic ecological consequences. Even gene drive proponents have now admitted that the gene drives are too risky to be released into the environment. We find it incredible that CSIRO and its GBIRd partners are already considering the environmental release of this technology.”

CSIRO scientists have already decided they want to release gene drive mice into the environment. The community engagement work they are planning is no more than a cynical marketing exercise. They clearly have no interest in a genuine societal debate on the use of this technology.

Read more about gene drives including our briefing paper here.

One year anniversary of the ban on fracking

March 7 marked the first anniversary of the #VicGasBan legislation which created the first permanent ban on fracking in Australia.

The win is a great testament to the power of smart community organising. FoE launched the campaign for a ban back in 2011. You can read a short history of the campaign here.

Sadly, the Liberals are threatening to undo part of what the community fought so hard for. The Liberal Party has announced it will lift the moratorium on conventional gas drilling if elected. We need your help to ensure the ban stays in place. Please donate now to help us ramp up our efforts in the lead up to the state election.

Our plan for the election is here.

You can donate here.

Earthworker at the pub!

Join Earthworker at the pub for a good old social time, to celebrate and have a collective yarn about what the co-operative has been up to, and the exciting things ahead!

All welcome! If you have a friend or two you think might be interested in coming, bring ‘em along! If you’re not yet a member, you’ll be able to sign up on the night. We’ll also have a table of hoodies (winter is coming!) and other sweet merch to peruse. 

When: 6:30pm, Thursday, 22nd March (speakers will start at 7pm)
Where: The Clyde Hotel, 385 Cardigan Street, Carlton

Entry is free. RSVP not essential, but you can RSVP on Facebook, or drop us a line here.

Getting ready for the Victorian election

We’re working hard to ensure climate change and the environment are on the agenda for all political parties in the build up to the November election.

We have a comprehensive plan – available here – and will be launching the election campaign at an event in Melbourne on May 24 (full details in next months newsletter).

We are already working on the ground in a range of metro and regional communities.

Please tell party leaders that you share our vision for Victoria>> SIGN ON HERE

Can you chip in with a donation to help us keep up the pressure? >> CONTRIBUTE HERE

Energy Justice Victoria

Quit Coal has just announced it’s new campaign called: Energy Justice Victoria! And they would love to share it with you at their info night. []

The campaign aims to connect the dots between coal pollution, climate change, corporate corruption and energy poverty. Victoria’s energy system is a mess after years of privatization - prices are skyrocketing, power is held in corporate companies hands & energy poverty is on the rise for low-income communities.  This campaign is sprouting the seeds for the Government to intervene by creating a publicly-owned, non-profit, 100% renewable energy retailer, giving people clean energy at cost price. But they need all the help they can get. It’s a huge election year and already things are getting wonderfully crazy at FoE HQ.  Everyone's welcome - even if you don't have the capacity to volunteer your time. Come to here more 6.30pm, March 22nd @ Friends of the Earth, Collingwood. 

If you can’t come but want to support the campaign you can here []. 

And if you like soul tunes, coffee & croissants then the Get Up & Dance is perfect for you. It’s a fundraiser for the Energy Justice campaign and the perfect way to start your day. Nice & Early 7am, March 16th @ Friends of the Earth Food Co-op [LINK:]

Renewable Energy Politics in the Pub with Yes 2 Renewables, Thursday 8th March 6:30PM at Friends of the Earth Melbourne
Do you love renewable energy, and think Australia should be at the forefront of creating jobs in wind, solar and energy storage? Want to be part of a community campaign for good sustainable jobs and action on climate change?

Join Yes 2 Renewables for a casual night of 'Renewable Energy Politics in the Pub' on Thursday 8th March, 6:30PM at FoE Melbourne to talk about the big changes underway in Australia's energy system and how to get involved.
After a massive year of community campaigning for renewable energy, 2018 already looks no different.

With the Turnbull government continuing to attack states leading on renewables and pursuing a dirty energy target at the national level that would send investment in wind and solar off a cliff, it's time for the community to make a stand. But first we need to get organised!
No prior knowledge required, only passion and interest. All welcome!  Light snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available per donation.

States and territories must push back while Turnbull trashes the climate 

Just days after scientists sounded the alarm over climate change impacting the Arctic (seeing extreme heat at the weekend and record low ice coverage), the Turnbull government has proposed to let big polluters increase their emissions!

The ridiculous proposal from the Federal Coalition will only accelerate climate change and expose communities to impactssuch as intensifying heatwaves, droughts, bushfire risk, and extreme weather. 

The Turnbull government's do-nothing approach to climate change reinforces the need for states and territories to step up and show more leadership. FoE's Act on Climate campaign made the case for states and territories to lead in an article published by Renew Economy 

In Victoria, the most immediate opportunity for the state to lead on climate change is fast approaching. 

The Daniel Andrews government committed to set the state's first interim Emissions Reduction Targets for 2025 and 2030 THIS YEAR. These targets will shape the state's response to climate change for decades. 

Act on Climate collective member Kate Wattchow whipped up an article to bring you up to speed. It provides everything you need to know about the process so check it out. 

We're keeping a watching brief on the Emissions Reduction Target process and stand ready to take action. We need to see Premier Daniel Andrews set science-based targets to trump Turnbull's weak efforts on climate. Sign up to action alerts here so you can take action!

Act on Climate are ramping up our efforts in 2018—an important election year for Victoria. The city-based collective is growing and we're working closely with allies in rural and regional Victoria. If you have a few spare bob, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help us cover transport costs.

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