Who are we?
One of the USYD SRC collectives, we are dedicated to learning about, and taking action on, issues of social and environmental justice both on and off campus. A Collective is an inclusive space where the direction of our campaigns and actions are based entirely on the interests and ideas of all our members! We are linked with like-minded mates across the country as part of the Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN) and together work on local and nation-wide campaigns such as ‘fossil free universities’.
- Are concerned about coal, coal seam gas (CSG), uranium mining, nuclear energy and the destruction of Indigenous autonomy, forests and marine parks as a result.
- Love: renewable energy, forests, reefs, food coops, community gardens… and sunflowers.
- Have a non-hierarchical approach to decision making that is inclusive and consensus based so everybody has an equal ownership of the group and its actions.
- Run campaigns, host forums, screen films, do actions, attend camps, discuss societal change, eat awesome food and enjoy good company!
- Always strive to campaign in solidarity with local and indigenous communities
We are a nation founded on colonisation and the exploitation of Indigenous peoples and their land.
Why Environmental Justice?
The struggle for environmental justice in Australia bears a remarkable similarity to The Hunger Games. We are a nation founded on colonisation and the exploitation of Indigenous peoples and their land. Australia is ruled by the notorious Abbott, a climate change denier with a neoliberal agenda. His government has made significant cuts to anything with the word ‘environment’ in it (or without it). We have seen budget cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, CSIRO, as well as the abolition of the Climate Commission and the removal from cabinet of the Minister for Science.
Instead of trying to transition away from coal, the government and king coal want to double Australia’s coal exports. A proposed plan to dredge part of the Great Barrier Reef to build a massive coal terminal, ‘Point Abbott’, has been approved by Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Abbott’s mate Barry O’Farrell lords over the fiefdom of NSW. Under his tyranny, the rights that the community had over their land air and water have been stripped away so that mining companies can make quick tax deductable cash. These companies go about business with blatant disregard for state heritage forests, hundreds of endangered species of birds and marsupials, the local water supply, and the effect that coal dust has on people’s health. Such is the case in what could become district 13, known only in historical whisper as the “Leard State Forest’.
Despite a 30% rise in renewable energy use and investment in the last three years giving us hope that we may be able to halt climate change, the odds will never be in favour of those peoples who are being affected by these companies. Now that’s why we work together to fight for our environment and communities affected from the capital and beyond!
The Sydney Uni Enviro Collective is committed to act now to fight the decadent forces that are wreaking havoc on our environment and our communities.
What do we do?
The Sydney Uni Enviro Collective is committed to act now to fight the decadent forces that are wreaking havoc on our environment and our communities. We have weekly meetings, host discussion groups and info nights, fight fossil fuels directly on campus, join the NSW anti-CSG movement and blockade bulldozers and logging machinery from destroying the Leard State forest. As part of a nation-wide campaign called Fossil Free Universities, we are pressuring USYD to divest from fossil fuels on campus. That is, stop investing hundreds of millions of dollars in coal companies and their financiers, such as ANZ. This is done in order to send the message of a lacking social and academic licence, as well as prevent such money from influencing the direction of our research and education.
In 2013 we joined the SRC, Food Coop and Centre for English Teaching (CET) to build a community garden on level 5 of Wentworth (Look up from Hermann’s). We’ve found that sustainability education and growing our own food has become a fantastic way to meet new enviro-y mates! In the past two years we joined ASEN folk from NSW on a roadtrip around the state to visit communities directly affected by the impacts of coal and coal seam gas.
In 2012 we filmed an award winning documentary ‘Mining the Truth’ which shares the stories of those we met on our travels. Themed ‘Just transitions’, in 2013 we met not just the fighters, but people working in the mining industry to build a dialogue of a just and sustainable future.
Punctuating the year is ASEN’s annual conference, ‘Students of Sutainability’ (SOS). In 2013, many of us went to SOS Tasmania, and road tripped with other ASEN folk around the state. We visited the Observer tree with Miranda Gibson and stopped sawmills using old growth in Lornevalle. We also used our collective fire fighting and first aid skills to survive when camping in the Tarkine. Watch out for SOS 2014, in Canberra! Get Involved! If you want to join the fight against Abbott and the mining companies that are destroying our environment, join us!
Amelie Van Der Stock