Ishbel Dunsmore, Tiger Perkins, Angus Dermody – Environment Officers, 94th SRC

Week 7, Semester 2, 2022

It’s a busy time for the Enviro Collective, with lots happening politically and on the ground. We’ve seen climate devastation in Pakistan, new coal and gas projects approved at a ridiculous rate, and Labor commit to taking no action; but also the first resistance under the Labor government with a mass climate rally called for September 24 by a coalition of climate organisations!

The scale of the climate crisis is surely not lost on anyone at this rate – the devastation of fires and floods here in Australia in recent years has been repeated around the world at an alarming rate. The brutal summer faced in America and Europe has seen unprecedented fires and droughts – two thirds of Europe faces the worst drought in over 500 years, with rivers running dry for the first time in recorded human history. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a third of Pakistan is currently underwater, with at least 33 million people displaced from their homes. The climate movement here in Australia must extend our solidarity to those suffering the brunt of the catastrophe right now – particularly in the case of countries like Pakistan who release negligible carbon emissions in comparison to Australia.

It should be seen as a travesty in light of this, that the Albanese government has committed to their plan for 43% emissions reduction. This plan is a farce; it offers little to no real improvement, relies on bogus technologies and schemes, and is incompatible with our push for a just transition to 100% publicly-owned renewable energy. The Enviro Collective reaffirms our commitment to real climate action, and that includes fighting against all new coal and gas projects. In particular, it has been shameful to see the Labor government embrace Santos’ destructive plans for the Narrabri Gas Project which would see up to 850 gas wells drilled on Gomeroi land in the Pilliga. The Enviro Collective is organising a trip to the Pilliga in mid october at the invitation of the Gomeroi community to take part in a cultural festival and see the site on the ground – reach out to get involved!

We must be clear that the climate movement cannot retreat under this government, if Albo acts like Scomo we’ll treat him like Scomo. Luckily, we are fighting back. The Enviro Collective is proud to be supporting the rally for urgent climate action called for September 24, meeting 1pm at Town Hall. Join us on the streets on the day, but also help us build for it over the coming 2 weeks! Go for a poster run, help out on a stall, or come to a meeting!

Finally, the Enviro Collective’s annual publication Embers is now accepting pitches! Write, create or edit a zine concerning all things environmental! Again, reach out to get involved – see you September 24!

Week 3, Semester 2, 2022

This past month hasn’t been a quiet one for enviro! While our last report was a little woeful of the current state of the climate movement, this one will hopefully be a little more optimistic. We’re back to regular weekly meetings, with multiple over the holidays too.

We also had the national day of action for climate in the last couple of weeks with USyd Enviro and other groups on campus being a big part of the building efforts for the Sydney Rally.

We’ve had great community support for our recent rallies, with endorsements flowing in from SS4C, Knitting Nannas, Blockade Australia activists and more. We are working hard to continue collaborating with community groups and the broader union movement. We’ve also continued collaborations with other uni collectives with the forums held with UTS and UNSW enviro. We heard from some great speakers in late July, including education officer Lia Perkins, NTEU member Dani Cotton, Gomeroi activist Raymond “Bubbly” Weatherall and UNSW Enviro member Mikhael Burnard. Bubbly and the other speakers spoke to the continual need for effective relationships between student unionists and Indigenous activists, trade unions and beyond in helping bolster the climate movement and its demands.

At present, we have just finished a couple of days of stalling during welcome week, in which we cleared out a good portion of our stickers and all one-thousand of our strike flyers for Friday!! In future, we have a forum coming up next week, and we have called our own September rally in lieu of an SS4C strike.

Things are looking up, which means that there is never a better time to get more involved in Enviro!

Week 10, Semester 1, 2022

The last month for the Environment Collective has been as busy as ever. Following the March 25 Global Climate Strike that saw students march from USYD to UTS to central and then board the train on our way to Kirribilli House, the Enviro Collective has run a number of contingents as well as collaboration events. There was a reading group with the Autonomous Collective Against Racism for a chapter from Anna Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World with plans to read a second chapter postponed for the coming weeks. Alongside the USU we ran a number of forums for the USU’s Enviro Week on the topics of what the law can do about climate change and how environmental activism can effect change. We sent a contingent in solidarity with the Gomeroi people in the court case against Santos who are trying to extinguish their Native Title rights in order to build gas wells on Gomeroi land in the Pilliga. We have also been busy preparing for what was termed by one member as the ‘Month of Mayhem,’ which will see a busy couple of weeks for Enviro, starting with May Day, an annual holiday on May 1 that celebrates the trade union and labour movement. On May 6 we have the next Election Climate Strike at Town Hall at Midday, which will see students and workers striking to try and kick the liberals out. The USYD contingent organised by the Enviro Collective will see students meet at 10:15 outside Fisher Library – join us there before we march to join the main event at Town Hall! Following that we will be busy building student support and solidarity for the NTEU Staff Strikes and Pickets on May 11-12. If you’d like to get involved in organising the climate strikes or are otherwise interested in environmental activism, reach out to our Facebook page or get Honi Soit to put you in touch with us!

Week 6, Semester 1, 2022

The last month has seen the Environment Collective building consistently for last Friday’s March 25th Climate Strike. Many of you will have seen us in your classrooms giving announcements about the importance of the strike and passing motions of attendance which saw a broad array of over 200 students from STEM to FASS come on strike. After a mammoth petitioning effort, the collective amassed almost 2000 signatures of support, which we took to VC Mark Scott, who agreed to a no penalty approach to the strike for staff and students.

The strike was highly successful as approximately 2500–3000 high school students, uni students, workers and unionists from the MUA, NTEU, ETU and more gathered outside Scott Morrison’s Kirribilli House residence after a long march through the city with the broader uni contingent. A highlight of the day for many would have been storming the trains to get to Milson’s Point. Amid chants of “Platform six-teen! Platform six-teen!” which kept us on track to, you guessed it, platform sixteen, it was so inspiring to see students from Sydney Uni take the power back into our own hands, with help from the RTBU and transport workers who let us through. On the whole, today’s action was proof of the real and popular desire for climate action in the leadup to the election, which neither Labour nor Liberal have proven to provide.

Although we are yet to rebuild the momentum of pre-Covid years, we marched successfully, disrupting traffic and daily proceedings, received mainstream media coverage and forced a woeful response from the PM. We called for a just transition to renewable energy, Indigenous sovereignty and jobs on country, and above all, an end to Scomo’s gas-fired recovery. Looking forward, we will turn our attention to helping the Gomeroi people defend their Native Title rights against the gas extraction of mining giant Santos on April 8th. If you would like to attend collective meetings or start organising for Indigenous rights and climate action, find the USYD Enviro Collective on FB or reach out to the Honi team who can put you in touch. To quote one 13 year old school student who spoke at the strike, “if all of us here today chip in, we can overthrow the government!”

Welcome Week, Semester 1, 2022

The Enviro Collective are expecting a huge month ahead, with the climate strike on March 25th. The climate movement needs to build back stronger than ever out of these repeated lockdowns – climate action is more important now than ever. The Morrison Government has continued to support the fossil fuel industry even in the midst of the climate crisis, which is becoming a more real threat every single day. We’ve witnessed horrific fires around the world, famine in Madagascar, and rising sea levels in the Pacific. All sides of the political system have failed; only a strong climate movement can win now.

The sort of movement that we need to build will be demonstrated on March 25. We need to organise our own campus and draw masses of students behind strong climate politics. We need to engage with unions whose rank and file will be at the frontlines of the fight against the fossil fuel industry. We need to be standing in solidarity with First Nations peoples, particularly with the Gomeroi people who continue their staunch resistance against Santos’s attempts to dispossess them for the Narrabri Gas Project. We need to force the Morrison Government and their cronies to offer meaningful climate action, which looks like an urgent just transition to 100% publicly owned renewable energy.

This movement won’t just come about. It will take the tireless work of students from all across this campus. This is work that we are proud to take up, and are keen to get more students involved in. Come join us at our weekly meetings, help us stall on Eastern Avenue, and get your class to go out on strike!

Lauren Lancaster, Drew Beacom, Isabella D’Silva, Deaglan Godwin – Environment Officers, 93rd SRC

Week 6, Semester 1, 2021

Enviro has been very busy over the last 5 weeks.

O-week saw about 450 new sign ups, which led to many fresh faces at our weekly meetings. Zoom constraints and the rain have put a bit of a dent in meeting attendance each week, but we are back in person and organising for a range of big actions coming up.

On Tuesday 30th March we held a successful forum on the anti-gas movement in the Pilliga (north-west NSW), with guest speakers Ian Brown, activist from Gamilaraay Next Generation, Dr Madeline Taylor, a USYD academic specialising on the anti-gas protests and legal challenges of expansion attempts by Santos near Narrabri, and Niko Chlopicki, a UWU rank and file organiser and representative from Workers for Climate Action. Each had a different and fascinating perspective on some of our key focuses as a collective – fighting the expansion of coal seam gas projects and destruction of First nations sites. By the time of this report, we will have just hosted our Mid-Sem Workshop day, upskilling members on design and propaganda creation, clarifying our anti-capitalist, anti-colonial politics and sharing building knowledge for stronger campaigning moving forward. Thanks to all facilitators and attendees.

2021 continues to pack punches, with extreme flooding, torrential rains and heat waves occurring within weeks of each other. This weather is not freakish, it is the expected manifestation of the climate crisis – and will only worsen over time. We must not allow that to happen. We must keep climate action front and centre on the agenda of the government, the university and the radical left. That is why we have been doing stalls, lecture-bashing and having conversations with students all over campus for the last few weeks about radical climate action. We have already amassed over 200 signatures for our petition calling for an SRC-led Student General Meeting, which will bring together a quora of undergrads to discuss the urgency of climate action now. This constitutes part of our building for the major upcoming May 21st Global Climate Strike, headed by School Strike 4 Climate. We urge all students, staff and others to attend this protest, we need everyone in the fight for action. It has never been more important to speak truth to power and demand #nomorebrokenpromises. Join our contingent here:

Welcome Week, Semester 1, 2021

The summer break has been a busy period for the USYD Enviro Collective. Over the course of the break contingents have been sent to Invasion Day, numerous Gamilaraay Next Generation protests fighting gas exploration in the Pilliga and Narrabri, and an Australian Student Environmental Network (ASEN) ‘say no to gas’ rally. In addition to participating in and building existing campaigns, extensive work has gone into planning for 2021. This has included the production of the Collective’s O-Week Zine ‘Combust’, and hosting a Collective meeting to establish direction for the year to come.

While we strongly encourage the student community to join us at face to face collective meetings, for those who are unable to attend, there will be various options made available. The use of Zoom in collective meetings will be maintained, which will allow students from all over to have a say in the direction of the collective and what the collective should be actively doing in the name of environmentalism. This will allow students to volunteer for various roles throughout the year in accordance with their capacity to fulfil them. Our events and actions will be livestreamed where possible in order to allow those who are unable to attend, to watch and share campaigns that they have worked on. Furthermore, USYD Enviro will be looking to maintain and build upon its social media presence, with an emphasis on building local environmental campaigns and general knowledge sharing. We can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Heading into 2021, we are working with ASEN, Gamilaraay Next Generation and a coalition of other parties to fight against the push for coal seam gas extraction in the Pilliga and Narrabri regions, and the ‘gas-led recovery’ more generally. Greta Thunberg has also called for an international day of action on climate change on March 19 and the collective will aim to work with local environmental organisations to help build a solidarity campaign. Additional campaigns for later in the year will be discussed within the Collective.