- by E Lennon
- The Guardian
- Issue #1955
Despite the weather, plans went ahead on Friday, 19 March, for a demonstration in Illawarra’s CBD.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken attention away from climate change and associated environmental issues; however, eased restrictions now mean that protests can gain traction once more.
Many protestors turned out, with members of the CPA Wollongong Branch taking part. One comrade spoke on how pleased they were at how many people attended the rally and subsequent march.
A speaker at the rally talked about how many people in Illawarra are ignorant to what is happening to their local environment. There have been a few crucial issues at the forefront of environmental concerns for the region. Plans for a coal mine expansion were rejected, upon the IPC (Independent Planning Commission) determining that the project could cause irreversible damage to water catchments, affecting the Illawarra and Sydney. Another example is the potential impact that ongoing longwall mining could have on the swamps in the Dharawal National Park. Also brought up, was the need to shift jobs from fossil fuel to clean energy.
Professor Tim Flannery, an environmental scientist and author, echoed this idea.
“There is massive change happening,” said Professor Flannery. “Massive industrial change happening all over the world. Coal has reached the end of the road.”
“Germany used to be a very coal dependent country but now it’s brokered deals with the coal industry to transition away and not a single job will be lost.”
Professor Flannery then talked on the importance of intergenerational support and solidarity.
“Adults learn from their children. You are at the forefront of so much. […] Here in this region, I think we’re poorly served by our politicians. It’s not just political, it’s social. We know time is short.”
Younger speakers got up to address the crowd as well, giving their perspectives on climate change. One young boy gave a speech, calling for help to safeguard his generation’s future.
In Fighting for the Future by Dr Hannah Middleton, published for the CPA, an outline of the intrinsic link between capitalist exploitation and environmental impacts is identified.
“Capitalism is an unsustainable system. The scientific and technological progress which has occurred under capitalism is directed toward profiting from the exploitation of humankind and nature. This has been the major contributor to the development of the current environmental crisis.”
“Humanity now possesses the knowledge and resources to provide food and clothing for everyone, but capitalism prevents the realisation of the potential it has created.”