Global Day for Climate Justice marks the mid-point of COP26
By Extinction Rebellion Australia, on 7 November 2021
A burning koala in a mock funeral procession in Naarm/Melbourne was one of many climate actions and protests across the world.
The sombre procession through Catani Gardens in St Kilda was accompanied by a group of musicians playing Chopin’s Funeral March. Silent Red Rebels led the protest. The focal point was a four-metre high skeletal koala puppet called ‘Blinky’, letting out wisps of smoke and groans and crying noises as the protest went by.
Earlier in the day, skeletons clutching briefcases full of money cycled from the Melbourne CBD to St Kilda, to highlight the failure of this week’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
"UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that it's code red for humanity. But Australia has gone to the last-ditch COP26 climate negotiations as a laggard and a wrecker," Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Jane Morton said.
"We are approaching the point of no return for out of control warming and billions of deaths. Today we are conducting a funeral."
Climate activists made their way back to the CBD where Mark from Extinction Rebellion Westside spoke at the Uni Students for Climate Justice Rally.
In a powerful speech, Mark said:
"The earth is warming – so they say. We see this every day in the compounding catastrophes that tear lives and livelihoods apart around the world, with terrifying increasing frequency. In the floods that devastated Europe and Africa and Asia and Africa this year - the heatwaves that traumatised North America - the fires that ripped through our nation two years ago.
"The earth is already too hot. Our planet is dying - so they say. We see this every day as we witness the 6th mass extinction. We see it in the loss of 80% of insect biomass in the last 30 years and in the rapid extinction of mammals in which Australia is leading the way. In the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the slowing of the slowing of ocean currents. Our planet is dying – they say. But it is more accurate to say that our planet is being killed.
"The system is broken, so they say. We see this every day as our government continues to deny the overwhelming evidence of the crisis at hand. Approving coal and gas mines at a rapid pace. Appealing their legally mandated duty of care to protect our children from climate harm. We see it in government and corporations around the world continuing to pulverise our planet for profit. In the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest and expansion of gas projects throughout the globe. We see it in the absolute sham of the Cop26 Summit, where our so-called leaders gather to pretend that they are taking action, when they can’t even agree on a 2050 target - a target that we know to be a death sentence.
"But friends, make no mistake. The system is functioning perfectly well. It is this system that brought imperial invasion to this land. The un-ceded land of the Bunurong Boon Wurrung people and the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people. This stolen land on which we now stand and all the lands of so-called Australia.
"It is this system that enslaved the people of Africa, oppressed native peoples around the globe, forced children into factories, and fed millions of young men into the meat grinders of the world wars. It is this very same system that we live under to this very day that is destroying our planet every single day, knowingly and willingly in the name of profit. It is no exaggeration to say that we face a crisis of apocalyptic proportions.
"I spoke with renowned climate scientist Will Stefan earlier this year in Canberra. He told me that if we do not act now we face social collapse followed by a precipitous drop in the human population of this planet. Or in other words, he said, hell on earth.
"The former chief scientific adviser to the UK, David King, said this year that the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity. Because it’s not just fires and cyclones taking our lives. The climate and ecological crisis will destroy our capacity to feed ourselves, to live in stable homes, to care for our young people. Sooner of later, countries will resort to blowing each other up, to ensure their own survival. The climate crisis is a refugee crisis, a starvation crisis, a peace crisis.
"In this climate we must make a choice. In the face of misinformation, of denial, of outright lies, we in Extinction Rebellion and everyone here in the climate movement - we choose TRUTH. Painful as it is. We recognise the truth. That the planet is already too hot. That our planet is being killed, And that our leaders and their friends in big business are the ones doing the killing.
"We live in this truth every day We demand this truth be told. In the face of delay and inaction, in the face of practices we know to be murderous, we choose ACTION.
"Massive mobiisations of society towards a single goal are possible. History has shown this time and time again So we demand action NOW, not in 2050, not in 2030 – NOW. We must reach net zero by 2030, draw down carbon from the atmosphere and halt biodiversity loss. As soon as humanly possible. And in the face of rising authoritarianism of governments that seek to divide and segregate us, of racism, and imperialism, and the capture of the state by corporate interests - We choose solidarity and democracy.
"We believe that everyday people can do a better job of determining their own future than some old men in a boardroom. It’s time for a radical expansion of democracy. REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLIES with the power to make decisions - lest we leave those same decisions to the same people who have thrown workers to the dogs and protected the profits of the rich through this pandemic.
"It’s time to resist. The time for petitions and elections campaigns is over. IT'S TIME TO DISOBEY. It’s time to take to the streets and stand in the way of this machine of death. To disrupt the workings of this system until we have our demands met.
"With a song in our hearts and love for this world. Our Love for this world is stronger than their greed. In these days of, extinction, it is time now for rebellion! So tell me - When our planet is under attack, what do we do? STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!
When our planet is under attack, what do we do? STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!