Environment Officer’s Report – Week 1, Sem 1, 2016

Yeaaaaah kids! What a summer wahooooooooooo!
Members of the Enviro Collective were engaged in a whole bunch of stuff off campus. We participated in the People’s Parliament, getting dragged out of Federal Parliament with about 200 others demanding real action on climate change. We did some citizen science and blockading with the Goongerah Environment Centre down in Victoria’s unique East Gippsland, culminating in one collective member spending 12 hours up a tree sit before Police Search and Rescue brought them down. Simultaneously, a legal challenge brought against VicForests was settled out of court with Environment East Gippsland over the controversial logging coupe the collective member was blockading.

Collective members have been engaged with the Gomeroi and Gamilaraay communities, and local farmers, from the Liverpool Plains in northern NSW. We have been helping with the Pilliga Push campaign, trying to prevent the development of Santos’ Leewood Wastewater Treatment Facility. This facility is a crucial piece of infrastructure for Santos, who plan on developing 850 coal seam gas (CSG) wells in the Pilliga forest against the wishes of the local community and posing a serious threat to the Great Artesian Basin. We have participated in several ‘walk ons’ to stop work at the Leewood Facility, as well as other ‘direct actions’ including capturing a truck for over 27 hours!
Another ongoing campaign in the Liverpool Plains region is the Leard Blockade, a campaign against the expansion of Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek open cut coal mine. Whitehaven is currently clearing forest which contains Box Gum Woodland a critically endangered ecological community of which there is less than 0.1% left globally. There are 34 threatened species reliant upon this habitat. Moreover, Lawler’s Well, the last of eleven Sacred Gomeroi Sites is scheduled to be cleared.

In the mid-semester break we will be going on a road trip up to the Pilliga and/or Leard forests. If you’re interested in coming along, or uncertain, fill out this form: http://tinyurl.com/asen-midsem-trip
The Enviro Collective meets on Tuesdays at 12pm on Manning Sunken Lawns (left of the main entrance to Manning House) to discuss environmental justice and organise upcoming events and projects. We welcome people of all backgrounds, knowledges, and abilities.

Lily Matchett and Maushmi Powar

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