December 2, 2013

Joining the Maules Creek Blockade

Maules Creek – if you’ve heard of it – is a pretty long way from Sydney. Nearly seven hours drive give or take, with the traffic. However, once out of the lower Hunter and the Newcastle sprawl, the country opens out to a wonderful classic Australian landscape. To get there you drive through Muswellbrook, Gunnedah, and Boggabri, before reaching the blockade camp, 
Maules Creek is a new to complete a complex of three mines. Unlike the existing Idemitsu and Whitehaven mines, Maules Creek will be a behemoth. If it reaches full production, the CO2 output will be 30 million tonnes per year – roughly equivalent to New Zealand’s energy sector. We simply cannot allow this coal to be mined and burned. Nor can we allow the destruction of the last remaining original forest of the Liverpool Plains.
At the blockade I camped and worked with a group of a dozen young activists, loosely aligned with a number of different organisations, but led by  Front Line Against Coal, or FLAC.  Many organisations are part of the Maules Creek Alliance, including FLAC, Greenpeace, Quit Coal, 350.organd others. It’s a perfect example of the kind of movement that we are going to need in order to stop catastrophic climate change, and to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The folks here are young committed activists, nearly all in their early twenties, who collectively have maintained a presence for nearly five hundred days. That’s almost a year and a half. The activists are supported by locals, farmers, and indigenous people who are all allies in this struggle. We should salute their commitment and resolve.
But what struck me (as a fifty year old) is how few older people are prepared to be here, and to participate in non violent direct action in order to prevent this behemoth coal mine from going forward. Why do we leave this critically important work up to the young? This issue affects us all.
In the coming weeks and months, all of us will need to build on this commitment to do whatever we can to support and join these passionate Australians in order to protect forest, land and atmosphere. They need many more people here and a diversity of groups in order to show that everyone cares about this issue.
There will be many opportunities to come and participate in this campaign, and to move the work forward…. Lets not just leave it to the young people.
If you want to get in touch today and organise a time to join the camp, email