FoE’s Action Collective marked WED in Melbourne today with an action designed to draw attention to the issue of climate refugees “and to build a movement around what’s shaping up to be one of the most serious environmental justice issues ever.”
Compared with the spectacular rally and march last year, WED 2005 in Melbourne passed almost unnoticed – the main business of the day seemed to be the launch of this year’s Celtic Festival at Federation Square. But a small group of activists including members of FoE and Greenpeace used the opportunity to launch a campaign to raise awareness of an aspect of climate change which has up until now not been given much attention – certainly not in the mainstream media – but which is shaping to become “one of the biggest environmental justice issues ever encountered” (FoE leaflet – “What is Climate Justice?” – See further on FoE’s website – http://www.foe.org.au/climate).
As well as a large banner – which was carried through the streets after initially being displayed from the balcony at the Concert Hall – some of the group were in ‘boats’ and all wore black in a symbol of solidarity with the bereaved and dispossessed. Hundred of leaflets were distributed setting out “Seven Actions for Climate Justice”, one of which suggested writing or emailing Amanda Vanstone to call on her to commit to recognising and accepting climate refugees… (New Zealand has agreed with the government of Tuvalu that half the population of that country will have migration rights to New Zealand in the event of serious climate change impacts.)
Refused access to Federation Square the flotilla headed up Swanston to Bourke Street, and then back down Elizabeth Street across the river back to Southbank.
(These photos are stills from video, so not of the highest quality…)
The banner at the Concert Hall:
‘Border Control’ – the plan to spread the word around the crowd in Federation Square had to be abandoned when security refused admittance: “If you want to come in here with placards and leaflets you have to pay”:
Along the Bourke Street Mall – an opportunity for all sorts of interesting reflections: