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Activism and the stern words of scientists are starting to wake people up

This owl reminds me of the magistrate at Newcastle court yesterday. He said some very wise words which I can’t remember accurately. One statement he made was something like, “Everyone is worried about what you are worried about, (the coal industry’s contribution to climate catastrophe) and if they are not, they should be.” The other was, “I should tell you that you should create change through the ballot box, but on the other hand, that doesn’t seem to have been working recently.”

Thank you very much to Kira Levin from the EDO who translated my fears, motives and actions to him. Thank you also to the support and confidence of the three friends, all of whom have known me for at least 30 years, who wrote me such glowing references. Thanks most of all to Front Line Action on Coal who enabled me to put my original plans into action. I was on that railway line at Sandgate for almost three hours and allegedly held up 14 coal trains, although I only saw one train.

It’s not a move which I am about to repeat, but perhaps, if we do not save ourselves through by more passive means like divestment, it will give some ideas to others. Remember, we are not helpless victims. We do not have to go along with the destruction of our future by stupid, greedy science deniers who can see no further than their next paycheck, bribe or dividend. The science is well and truly in on the causes of our changing climate with burning coal pinpointed as the major culprit. What point is there in having a clean criminal record now?

At a $400 fine, court costs and a continuation of my good behaviour bond (which I broke in order to lock my arms under the railway line), I consider myself to have got off very lightly, but the reason that I had such “luck” is that we all are in for the worst of all times, an Armageddon of our own making. Wise magistrates know it, decent politicians know it and anyone who wishes to elevate the standard of their knowledge above that of the “information” given out by the Daily Telegraph and Fox News is capable of finding it out.

I wish the scientific consensus was not in and I wish that I’d wake up and find it had all been a bad dream. Climate catastrophe is here and on this “World Environment Day” we are so far from doing anything about it that it is “laughable.” Plant a tree for every child and watch them wither in the heat. Recruit more people to the SES and watch your houses burn or wash away. Give all your loose change to feed, clothe and educate people in disasters overseas, then internalise the fact that it was your own precious “lifestyle” which created this havoc.

Can anyone tell from my words why I take and advocate extreme action? Activism and the stern words of scientists are starting to wake people up. There is still hope. I am only one of about 400 people who have been arrested in the peaceful battle against the coal industry in NSW in the last couple of years, particularly against Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Mine. It’s time for everyone to do their bit, whatever you can manage. Fight against coal, CSG fracking and uranium mines. Fight for our forests, farms, biodiversity and culture. Clean air, food and water are not luxuries. Fight for the future because we only have one Earth.

By Annette Schneider

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