I eavesdropped as the father explained to his very young daughter that the black balloons really came from this place, not the washing machine. Looming over us was the Hazelwood coal power station, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Around us were 500 other people, some of who had travelled long distances, as well as many locals, to help send the message that for our own survival, we need to urgently transition away from coal and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency, and that this means switching off Hazelwood and finding alternative jobs for the workers inside.
Scientists have made it clear that getting out of coal should be our number one priority for reducing emissions and avoiding runaway climate change.
We had spent the night before camping with 230 people, discussing tactics for the day and more general climate change topics, as well as sharing a meal and listening to some fantastic live music. On the day, despite early rain, the atmosphere was positive and friendly. We were welcomed to country by Robbie Thorpe, a local Gunai elder and heard from fantastic speakers.
We marched to Hazelwood and were met with a heavy police presence. Twenty-two people managed to get over the Hazelwood fence and deliver a community decommission order. They were charged with trespass. There were many more willing to commit civil disobedience, but were not nimble enough to get over the fence without the police stopping them.
We received blanket media coverage that night on TV and in the papers the next day. A great time was had by all and the importance of peaceful civil disobedience made clear. It was an historic day for all of us fighting for a safe climate future against the insanity of our governments and fossil fuel industries.
It’s time – switch off coal and switch on renewables!
See you at the next protest!
Click here for more photos.
www.switchoffhazelwood.org – for a summary of the media coverage