CASES builds on several years of advocacy on climate change in the eastern suburbs. In the mid “naughties”, Australian media reports on climate change began to increase from monthly to weekly and, from about mid 2006, daily as Australia headed towards the 2007 Federal Election for a possible fourth term of a Liberal government that were largely climate change sceptics and offered no real climate action policy. Australian public concern about the impacts of climate change and the Federal Government’s weak response began to escalate.
Many local volunteer-based community climate action groups (CAGs) formed across Australia at that time – including three in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs: Climate Action Coogee, Maroubra Climate Action, and Climate Action Bondi.
By the beginning of 2009, all three groups had become less active for a variety of reasons. In mid 2009, the South East Climate Action Coalition (SECAC) was formed, with a vision to build the climate movement across the eastern suburbs, as well as to foster collaboration between the many environmental groups already active in the area (such as Permaculture East, the UNSW Enviro Collective and Maroubra Junction Uniting Church’s Project Green Church initiative).
In our first year, SECAC:
– Helped secure the support of Randwick City Council for the Climate Emergency Rally
– Held a tree planting event at South Maroubra Beach for the 350.org International Day of Climate Action
– Delivered a community photo petition to Environment Minister and Federal Member for Kingsford-Smith Peter Garrett, calling for a plan to transition away from coal towards 100% renewable energy
– Ran a showing of the documentary film “The Future Makers”, about Australian renewable energy research and development, at the Randwick Ritz Cinema in collaboration with the Three Council Ecological Footprint Project, GoGet Carshare and the directors of the Future Makers
– Launched the 100% Renewables community campaign in Randwick
In 2010, SECAC changed our name to CASES (Climate Action Sydney Eastern Suburbs).
CLIMATE ACTION COOGEE HISTORY
The inaugural meeting of Climate Action Coogee (CAC) was held in November 2006, and within the first six months, 200 Coogee citizens had joined the group.
CAC sought to provide a way for individuals to take action in the local community, to demonstrate their support collectively for climate change policy, and to realize their agency in driving progress towards a safe climate future.
CAC’s major project was a community written bill on climate change. Inspired by the success of the grass roots movement in the UK that supported the UK climate Change Bill, which was written into law in 2008, CAC decided to embark on a similar project in Australia. The group drafted the “Climate Protection Bill” and facilitated its further development, sought support for it in the community, and worked to find a way for it to be introduced into the Parliament. The Bill received endorsement from several thousand individuals, and 65 climate action groups across Australia representing over 6,000 people. In September 2008, climate action groups from around Australia rallied at Parliament House in Canberra in support of the Bill and handed 2,500 signed postcards and over 1,000 individual signatures to Greens Senator for WA, Scott Ludlam, who distributed them to the other members of Parliament.
The Climate Protection Bill was never introduced to the Parliament. However, after meeting with members from climate action groups who presented him with the Bill, Independent Federal Member for New England Tony Windsor wrote his own version, and introduced it to the Parliament in October 2008. Mr Windsor’s bill did not receive sufficient support to progress through the parliamentary process.
By the beginning of 2009, several of CAC’s most active members had either moved out of the local area or taken on other commitments, and the groups activities wound down. Former members of CAC are now a part of CASES.
Climate Action Coogee’s efforts were a significant contribution to the development of community advocacy on climate change across Australia.
MAROUBRA CLIMATE ACTION HISTORY
In May 2006, Phillip Bay residents Leeanne and Greg attended a community meeting, held by Greenpeace, at the Eastlakes Community Centre. Among other climate change matters, Greenpeace’s Ben Pearson spoke about the intention the NSW government to approve an open cut coal mine at Anvil Hill at Wybong, west of Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW. Maroubra Climate Action was started in response to a call by Greenpeace and many other community organisations to join with the Anvil Hill Alliance in a campaign to stop the mine.
Leeanne and Greg twice travelled to the Anvil Hill site to protest against its development along with hundreds of other concerned climate change activists including the newly elected Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.
They were also involved in the first Walk Against Warming in November 2006 as well as helping on Greenpeace’s stall in the first Randwick Council Ecoliving fair in June 2007.
Maroubra Climate Action lapsed after the Labor Government was elected in 2007. The members believed that Australia would soon have a climate action policy that met their demands. How wrong were they!!
Greg joined SECAC (now CASES) in July 2009 after rekindling his fervour for climate action since it became clear that climate change inaction was the policy for the two major parties. Leeanne is also an active CASES member.
Written by Miriam, Greg and others.