On Friday morning a crowd of about 70 met at the front of the Masonic lodge on their way to carrying out East Gippsland Climate Action Network’s (EG CAN) first climate action. Protestors of all ages were present including, pleasingly, a large number of children wearing red and carrying placards and pots. Dividing into two groups they converged on the Nicholson Street Mall from east and west making a rowdy entrance banging their pots. At a signal from organiser Angela Crunden about 50 of the group lay down in the Mall centre.
After 3 minutes silence simulating death by extinction a message from the Swedish teenage founder of the Student Strike movement Greta Thunberg was read to the crowd: “Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if your house is on fire. Because it is.” (No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, Penguin, 2019 p.24) Though this was the end of the short protest most of the participants stood around chatting and taking photos for some time.
A small explanatory pamphlet was distributed whilst the die-in was going on with EG CAN principles and contact details listed. The pamphlet noted the “human race is at risk of becoming extinct as a result of climate change” and that “we still have time. If we act now we can avert the worst effects of climate change and make this a safe place for our children.”
Over a quiet coffee at The Stables afterwards, organisers considered the action a success. EG CAN founder Ro Gooch had already done an interview with ABC radio before the event and there are hopes for further publicity in mainstream and social media. EG CAN’s facebook page is here and all likes and other support appreciated. Organisers can be contacted here and it’s hoped many more interesting actions will follow. Watch this space!