My kind of activism

Like most of us, I fail daily to do enough about the climate emergency. My little effort revolves around Move Beyond Coal. This is an Australia-wide network of local community groups who are currently targeting the National Australia Bank which, in spite of talking a good talk about climate responsibility and taking some excellent initiatives, continues to fund fossil fuel extraction corporations. Notably, it funds Whitehaven Coal, with a massive new funding to them in the pipeline, which, if it goes ahead, would lead to major climate vandalism for short term profit.

Move Beyond Coal is currently in the middle of an Australia-wide Ten Days of Action, in which small groups turn up at local branches of the NAB aiming to draw attention to the bank’s contribution of the climate emergency. We hope to lead NAB to change course. Failing that, we will at least have kept the conversation alive, poked some holes in the prevailing silence.

On Thursday this week, our local group staged an action at the Newtown branch of NAB. Outside the branch, a number of people handed out leaflets in front of a beautiful hand-painted banner, one member wearing an excellent giant NAB logo she’d made from felt. Inside, we sat in the comfortable chairs provided, and read – to each other – from Greta Thunberg (who writes brilliantly), Saul Griffith (whose The Big Switch and The Wires that Bind are on my TBR list), Antonio Guterres (‘Our world needs climate action on all fronts – everything, everywhere, all at once’), and other relevant sources. One person said it reminded her o the teach-ins from the 70s (and yes, we were mostly from silver-haired generations).

The few customers who came in paid us at best cursory attention.

The manager didn’t want us inside, and when we politely disobeyed, he sent for the police. After some polite back and forth, we agreed to leave. Our disruption had lasted about 40 minutes. You can see more, with pics and a video, on facebook at this link. Here’s part of our reading group:

Three women on a couch, a man on a high stool, part of a fourth person in the right foreground. All are listening as the woman in the middle readds
Photo (probably) by Mary Regan

And here we all are after we readers walked out chanting, ‘Hey hey, ho ho, Whitehaven Coal has got to go!’:

Fourteen people lined up outside the Newtown branch of NAB, with a prominent banner reading 'No More Money for Coal'
Photo by Josh Creaser

Added later: There’s a fabulous reel on Instagram with suitably dramatic music at this link.

11 responses to “My kind of activism

  1. It is so cool that all these people came together for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good on you! Sounds like a great action. And even if the customers didn’t seem to pay you any attention, it would have lodged in their brains to pop up again at a later date.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They called the police?
    That seems a bit of an over-reaction to me, and a waste of police time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you Jonathan … it’s really hard to keep track of what companies – like banks – are supporting what. How does one keep up. Anyhow, sounds like you are doing more than your bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. robinandian2013

    You posted today about The Years – but the link doesn’t work. Can’t find the article – so I’m sending the comment via your previous post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting. The post on The Years isn’t ready to go yet. I accidentally hit the wrong button on my phone, which published the unready draft and notified the blog’s email subscribers. Sorry! I expect to post the piece by early next week


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