“The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change” – The Oxford Dictionary
A few weeks ago I wrote
“History will record the present era as one of enormous upheaval and change. Let there be no doubt about that. Democracy itself is under threat. The middle class is disappearing and the 1% has more wealth and power than ever before. Scientists are pulling their hair out as governments around the globe ignore the real threat of climate change. People are on the move in their millions, displaced by war, hunger, terror and collapsing economies. Around the globe extreme right wing actors are emboldened with a louder voice. But what has that to do with volunteering and with those that lead them? It has everything to do with us. Because the modern and future volunteer is an activist for the globe. If there is no leadership on the issues that matter to the people then people will take matters into their own hands. They will not only be volunteering for causes that they hold dear. They will be volunteering for the very future of their planet and for the future of their children and grandchildren. “
Well today I took action. Here is the story of my day.
Saturday morning 6am. I am awake ready to head into the city of Brisbane. It’s about 55 minutes away by train. It’s also my first day of leave from work as I take a pre-Christmas vacation with my family. It’s the end of an extremely busy week at work. I am simply exhausted and have not slept well. I could just turn over and go back to sleep for the next 3 hours. My body screams at me to do so. It’s a cloudy day. It isn’t too hot. I don’t have to move.
But this is what volunteering means. I don’t have to and I do. I throw myself out of bed and hit the shower. Today I am volunteering for the future of the globe and the future of my kids. I’ve been in Volunteer Management for 23 years. I’ve volunteered for various organisations since I was 16. This feels different. The feeling of compulsion to do this is particularly strong this morning.
Last night I had sat down with my young kids to explain what I was doing. Now let me tell you a bit about the proposed Adani Mine in Queensland Australia knowing that I have a substantial global audience.
The Carmichael coal mine is a proposed thermal coal mine in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, Australia. Mining is planned to be conducted by both open-cut and underground methods. The mine is proposed by Adani Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of India's Adani Group.
“Coal is killing us and our planet. Pollution from burning coal is the single biggest contributor to dangerous global warming, threatening our way of life. Coal mining drains and pollutes our water supplies, harms our health and destroys our natural landscape.” – Stop Adani Website
And so here I am today.
The starting spot for the rally was at 10 Eagle St Brisbane. This is the HQ for Adani.
I got there far too early but I was glad to do so. With my interest in Volunteer Management I was delighted to mix with all the event volunteers who had decided to meet an hour before the March. I was so impressed by the volunteer coordinators. They gave out roles, they talked about health and safety, they talked about First Aid, they gave out different colour vests for different tasks and they were super friendly and welcoming.
There were no forms. No checks. No interviews. No barriers.
Most of the volunteers there at the start were young people. And this was inspiring.
But I worried as I looked around. I could see only about 50 people gathered an hour before the rally. I need not have worried. As the rally took off and marched toward parliament house there were at least a thousand of us!
As you can see I am hopeless with selfies
And we marched. Through the streets of Brisbane.
And it was wonderful.
And it was a start.
But here are a few points I would like to make after my experience.
· I am not a rusted on Green supporter. I was a member for a short period and left because no one connected with me.
· I attended today as an ordinary member of the public. Yes there were people there from schools. There were students. There were people form the Green movement and the left side of thinking. But this is bigger than labels. For this movement to work you must win over the ordinary member of the public. You must win over the office worker and the construction worker and the bank manager!
· 1,000 people in Brisbane today and thousands of others across the country marching was good. But it is not nearly good enough. In Brisbane this week 14, 000 might attend a soccer match. Normally 35, 000 will attend a Broncos match. We can be happy but we cannot celebrate a thousand people marching in our city taking action on one of the greatest threats to mankind!
· Politicians will not take notice of 1,000 people
· Today we marched on parliament. It was closed. No one was there.
· Today we protested outside Adani HQ. It was a Saturday. What was the impact?
What we need to do
· Nonviolent peaceful resistance: And this will be the topic of my next blog! Contact me on email@example.com if you want to take action!