Coffs Coast Red Rebels make debut at climate rally
GHOSTLY-white figures draped in red robes proved a spectacle at the Climate Crisis National Day of Action in Sawtell held over the weekend.
These figures, protesters with faces painted white, were the newly launched Coffs Coast Red Rebels - a local performance group based on the globally-recognised street theatre started by climate advocacy group Extinction Rebellion.
Around 400 people donned the colour red and gathered at Sawtell on Saturday for what was one of dozens of protests which took place across the country.
The rally called for more government action on transitioning away from coal and gas to 100 per cent renewable energy.
Among several demands, protesters urged for public funding for 100 per cent renewable energy and a promise that there will be no new fossil fuel projects.
Protesters also called for a 'just' transition and jobs guarantee for fossil fuel workers, funding for fireys, funding for indigenous-led land management and a levy on fossil fuel companies.
"We've just experienced an unprecedented summer of extremes, from the devastating fires to floods. This is what climate scientists have been warning us about," Coffs Coast Climate Action Group spokesperson Liisa Rusanen said.
"We know that burning coal and gas fuels dangerous global warming which intensifies extreme weather events. Yet our government is still failing to act, protecting their billionaire mates in the fossil fuel industry, ahead of our communities."
Local ecologist Mark Graham was among several speakers on the day, and highlighted the need to protect forests in the region which did not burn as havens for koalas and other threatened species, as carbon sinks and for other important ecological values.
CEO of Coffs Harbour & District Local Aboriginal Land Council, Nathan Brennan, spoke of the need to invest in indigenous land management to protect the country, and to support indigenous communities on the front lines of coal, such as the Wangan and Jagalingou people, whose land he said was threatened by the proposed Adani coal mine.
Local year 11 student Ellena Cheers-Flavell, who helped organise a school climate strike and spearheaded a petition calling on Coffs Harbour City Council to declare a climate emergency, announced plans for the next big strike of May 15.
Reverend Dr Jason John also encouraged attendees to sign the petition to support Independent MP Zali Steggall's bill for a Climate Change Act.