‘No one is coming to save us, except us’ – Sydney demands action on the environment
‘No one is coming to save us, except us’ – Sydney demands action on the environment)

In the face of climate crisis megafires and an air quality health crisis, 40,000 people rallied and marched in Sydney to demand action on Wednesday night. The city is choking, and New South Wales is on fire. In Randwick on Tuesday, the air pollution was 11 times higher than “hazardous”. Such is the density of the smoke that fire alarms inside buildings are being triggered across the city. There’s a run on P2 air filtering face masks at Bunnings Warehouse; people were desperately messaging the Uni Students for Climate Justice page asking if there will be some for sale at the rally.

As we’re poisoned in Sydney and as firefighters battle blazes across the state, millions of people are recognising that the climate crisis is not some future threat; it is upon us. With only five days’ notice, the Uni Students for Climate Justice pulled off this mass demonstration. The anger at the rally was palpable. People came in P2 masks and with home-made placards. One, a picture of Parliament House ablaze, read: “If we burn, you burn with us”. The crowd spilled from Town Hall onto the tram tracks of George Street. At the back of the rally, where the speakers couldn’t be heard, a marching band started a street festival. 

People have been asking where Scott Morrison is. We know where he is: somewhere praying and speaking in tongues, concocting some scheme to introduce more homophobic and transphobic legislation after Christmas. The bigger question is where the fuck is Labor? Oh, that’s right, the opposition leader is touring Queensland coal fields pledging his undying love for the fossil fuel industry. But what about the forces who are supposed to be on our side? Where are the environmental NGOs? Where is GetUp? Where is Richard Di Natale? By and large, they have focused on parliament and on lobbying and on appealing to businesses to find a conscience, break ties with Adani, put a few solar panels on their roofs and use a bit more recycled paper. That strategy is up in flames, along with NSW. 

Almost the entire political establishment, and almost every aspect of Australian capitalism, is tied to the fossil fuel industry by a thousand threads. Coal is king. It’s the country’s biggest export. We need regular city demonstrations of 40,000 people to start disrupting business as usual. We need unions to start treating the climate crisis like the urgent threat to working class living standards that it is. The Maritime Union walked off Port Botany last week because of hazardous air quality. Good – but we need more. We need to use the social power of strikes to shut down the profits of the big corporations to win immediate provisions for our safety – more sick leave, more safety gear and more professional paid firefighters – and to win a transition to renewable energy. As the rally chanted on Wednesday “One struggle, one fight! Climate justice, workers’ rights!” 

As the crowd spilled onto the streets, I was reminded how much the environment movement has changed over the last few years. From the “be the change you want to see in the world” and “think global, act local” politics of consumerism, the message today is becoming “system change, not climate change”. But system change will not come through a change of government or a change in the boardrooms. We need a radical restructuring of the economy – a total dismantling of capitalism and the building of a world run for human need rather than business profits. No more polite appeals to the climate criminals, no more “climate elections” to elect another class of liars and careerists, no more wasted time lobbying people who have already proven that they won’t act. As one placard at the rally read: “No one is coming to save us, except us”.

Read more
Canada's fossil fuelled catastrophe
Zak Borzovoy

Wildfires are tearing through the Canadian province of Alberta, the heart of Canada’s lucrative oil and gas industry. The images of orange and black skies from the thick smoke—which is now billowing across the US border, causing air quality warnings in several northern states—are dystopian yet familiar.

Right to protest under attack in SA
Briana Symonds-Manne

The South Australian government has followed New South Wales and Victoria to undermine democratic rights. A bi-partisan bill has been rushed through parliament’s lower house, which proposes fines up to $50,000 or three months in jail if protesters “intentionally or recklessly obstruct the public place”.

Partners in pollution: Australian universities and the fossil fuel industry
Universities and fossil fuels
James Gallagher

In 2020 the University of New South Wales (UNSW) partnered with universities around the world to form the International Universities Climate Alliance. Ian Jacobs, vice-chancellor of UNSW, boasted of the university’s “proud history of being at the forefront of climate science and renewable energy”.

Willow project exposes Biden’s climate lies
Oil project exposes Biden’s lies
Freya North-Hickey

US President Joe Biden has approved a 30-year oil drilling lease for ConocoPhillips’ Willow project. Last July, Biden admitted that “climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to our world”, but expanding the fossil fuel industry with ventures like Willow is ensuring climate catastrophe.

Mass arrest of climate protesters
Jasmine Duff

Police have arrested 47 people involved in an act of civil disobedience targeting coal trains in the New South Wales Hunter region.

Greens back Labor's greenwashing
Cormac Mills Ritchard

By agreeing to pass the safeguard mechanism reforms, Labor’s signature climate policy, the Greens have helped greenwash the continued expansion of fossil fuels.