This time last week a flock of Climate Guardians had just returned from a ‘visitation’ to the Latrobe Valley where they had joined community calls for a #LVTransition for workers (not speculative fossil fuel investors) who will be directly affected by the urgently required sustainable transition away from toxic and finite power sources towards zero pollution, 100 per cent renewable ones.
Long impressed by the ongoing Voices of the Valley campaign, we timed our Latrobe Valley ‘visitation’ to support Earthworker’s Walk With The Valley fundraising event. Walking 100km from Pakenham to Morwell over 7 days, in solidarity with people in the Valley, the Earthworker Cooperative is calling on governments to “commit to concrete plans to support sustainable livelihoods and the environment.”
With determined, progressive government policies combined with collaborative community consultation, the Latrobe Valley could quickly become a global leader in demonstrating what a socially and environmentally sustainable #JustTransition looks like. Imagine the opportunities for local farmers* if the Valley’s fertile soils were properly rehabilitated (jobs!). And given the Valley’s existing power generating infrastructure, there are surely some exciting opportunities for solar and wind power supported by pumped hydro for energy storage
Within a few days a super storm was unleashing ferocious winds, rain and 80,000 lightening strikes across South Australia, smashing 22 transmission towers and causing a statewide blackout. In response—largely ignoring those affected and deserving of consideration—with impressive rapid fire efficiency, polluters and an embarrassing number of Australia’s leaders busily engaged in devil-may-care finger pointing at the wind power industry for causing the carnage. In fact, SA’s blackout ideally demonstrated just how vulnerable our electricity system is to climate change, and how urgently we need to build its resilience through a just transition to more decentralised renewable energy sources with backup storage capacities.
Meanwhile, the irony of blaming renewable energy (aka the solution) for the ferocious storm (aka the problem of unnatural weather due to climate change) wasn’t lost on climate activists as the #stuffwecanblameonrenewables took twitter by storm, thanks to Environment Victoria’s CEO Mark Wakeham.
As if we needed any further reminders of how entrenched, globalised vested interests will shamelessly twist public debates to protect their profits, this last week served up a beauty. While it has made a minuscule proportion of the world’s people phenomenally rich, the free market has proven extraordinarily successful at dividing local communities and destroying the environments that support them, all the while fuelling gross inequity within and between nations.
So we think it’s time that everybody who believes in a ‘fair go’ and equal justice for All stands up to the greedy vested interests that are selling out our future on this beautiful planet just to protect their own short-term profits. Please join us in calling for an urgent #LVTransition now.
*as distinct from environmentally and socially destructive corporate/industrial scale farms
^this is the same Red Line fabric that helped lead a crowd of more than 10,000 through the streets of Paris on D12 (12 December 2015) of COP21. Activists from all around the world had marched that Red Line around five kms from L’avenue de la Grande Armée to the Eifel Tower where the bridge over the River Seine was occupied for more than an hour. The Red Line symbolises a crossing of the Earth’s critical physical and social limits; it marks a non-negotiable no go zone where wholesale systems collapse.