Last year, over 150 people were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience and direct action to stop the expansion of the coal industry. In the tradition of Martin Luther King, Ghandi and the Suffragettes, people the world over are increasingly taking to the streets and putting their bodies on the line to help force real action on climate change.
This morning, a team of Greenpeace activists chained themselves to one of the massive coal excavators at Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe valley. Hazelwood is a brown coal polluting dinosaur, built in the 60′s with 1950′s technology, it was due to be closed this year before being granted a new lease of life. Under the CPRS, International Power, the owners of Hazelwood, will be given millions of dollars in public handouts so that they can keep the plant operating for longer.
With an emissions trading scheme designed to protect the big polluters it is no wonder that more and more people are getting frustrated with Government inaction and are taking matters into their own hands.
Civil disobedience has played an important part in democracies the world over, and as Government failure on climate change becomes more accute, it is destined to play an increasing role in forcing change once more.
I reckon most people wouldn’t be up for this sort of thing – from the photo it looks pretty cold and desolate – but there are lots of ways that people are expressing their dissent. There were over two thousand people who peacefully and happily formed a human chain around Parliament on the first sitting day this year, in open disregard of police instructions. It was a beautiful, fun and friendly way for people to raise their voice. We sometimes forget that it is ultimately people who are powerful. We give our power to politicians to weild on our behalf – but if they fail to act in the public interest we can always take it back.