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Australia Vigil: Mourning for Australia

What: A vigil and procession for what has been lost in the Australian bushfires on the Global Day of Action for Australia

Where: Aotea Square, Auckland CBD

When: 12pm

Friday 10th January is Extinction Rebellion’s Global Day of Action for Australia. In 22 countries, we are holding a vigil that is both a memorial to what has already been lost in Australia, and a call to action.

Australia’s bushfires have already claimed the lives of at least 25 people and it is estimated that more than 1 billion animals have been killed. 1 billion animals. A thousand million animals. An area stretching the equivalent of the distance between Napier and Auckland has been burned, and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated.

The evacuees are Australia’s first climate refugees. Climate change has increased the intensity and severity of Australia’s bushfires, this is unequivocal. Despite the massive scale of devastation, the Australian government continues to actively pursue and subsidise coal mining – a major source of greenhouse gas emissions which cause unstable heating patterns across the country. Australia has a coal problem. The industry in Australia accounts for 30% of global coal exports annually (worth around $67 billion in 2019). Coal behemoth Adani receives approximately $4.4 billion per annum from the Australian government in tax exemptions and subsidies, and is currently developing the Carmichael Coal Mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

There is a lot to lose. We only need to think of the platypus to understand just how entirely unique Australia’s ecosystems are. Extinction Rebellion is fighting for a future where all forms of life can thrive. 83% of Australia’s mammals, 89% of their reptiles, 90% of their fish and insects and 93% of their amphibians are native, and it is estimated to be home to 30,000 plant species, 250,000 species of fungi and 3,000 lichen. This flora and fauna has played an integral role in the lives of Indigenous Australians for at least 40,000 years.

What can we do? This is the question people like to ask to about climate change. Keep cups are not enough.

Extinction Rebellion calls for solidarity with Australia and climate defenders globally.
We demand that the Australian government:
1. declare a climate and ecological emergency, and communicate the urgency for change
2. disengage from fossil fuels and withdraw tax exemptions, subsidies and all permits from Adani and all other coal energy companies
3. manage the bushfires in a constructive and positive manner. This includes providing suitable funding and resources for the fire services and wildlife rescue services.
4. support the communities affected by the bushfires for the future two-five years, the time it takes to rebuild the communities.
5. act now to halt biodiversity loss by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
6. respect issues identified in the 2018 I.P.C.C report such as; the urgency to cease fossil fuel use, change to sustainable energy sources, obtain regenerative food production and make changes in urban planning to stop heat sinks.
7. Move beyond party politics and make decisions in the interests of all Australians by creating an independent body called a Citizens’ Assembly to make decisions on climate and ecological justice. Decisions made within the Citizens’ Assembly must be adhered to.

The countries participating the Global Day of Action for Australia include:
Argentina, Brazil, Berlin, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Denmark, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington), Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Sweden, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America

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