Editor’s note: This article has been published in The International Journal of Human Rights. Unfortunaltly we don’t have the rights to publish the whole article which is behind a paywall, but we are publishing the extract and some quotes.
Featured image: The surface mine storage place, mining minerals and brown coal in different colours. View from above. Photo by Curioso Photography on Unsplash
This article describes the connections between resource extraction, prostitution, poverty, and climate change. Although resource extraction and prostitution have been viewed as separate phenomena, this article suggests that they are related harms that result in multiple violations of women’s human rights. The businesses of resource extraction and prostitution adversely impact women’s lives, especially those who are poor, ethnically or racially marginalised, and young. The article clarifies associations between prostitution and climate change on the one hand, and poverty, choicelessness, and the appearance of consent on the other. We discuss human rights conventions that are relevant to mitigation of the harms caused by extreme poverty, homelessness, resource extraction, climate change, and prostitution. These include anti-slavery conventions and women’s sex-based rights conventions.
Farley writes: “In this article we oﬀer some conceptual and empirical connections between prostitution, resource extraction, poverty, and climate change.1 These associations are clariﬁed by Seiya Morita’s visual diagram, in Figure 1.2 In the short term, resource extraction leads to a sudden increase in the sex trade, as shown by the arrow on the left side of the diagram. In the long term, resource extraction causes climate change as indicated by the right arrow. Climate change then leads to crises in peoples’ ability to survive extreme events such as drought, ﬂoods, or agricultural collapse. These climate change catastrophes result in poverty which then mediates and channels women into the sex trade. The arrow on the bottom of Figure 1 illustrates this process.
The initial phase of resource extraction launches and expands prostitution
“At ﬁrst, colonists and their descendants subordinate indigenous people who live on lands rich in natural resources. Historically, extraction industries have exploited young, poor men who are paid well to perform jobs that no one else wants because the jobs are unplea- sant and dangerous. This initial phase of resource extraction temporarily results in a boom economy with cash-rich but lonely working-class men. In order to pacify the workers and enrich the pimps, women and girls who are under pimp control are delivered to workers in these boom/sacriﬁce zones such as the Bakken oil ﬁelds in USA and Canada, gold mines in South Africa, coltan mining regions in Colombia, and logging regions in Brazil.3 This movement of traﬃcked women increases prostitution both in the boom town and in neigh- bouring communities. Following is an example of this process.
“The Bakken oil ﬁelds of Montana/North Dakota/Saskatchewan/Manitoba are located in lands where the Dakota Access Pipeline causes physical, psychological, and cultural damage to the community, and ecocidal harm to the land and the water.4 In 2008, large numbers of pipeline workers moved into the Bakken region’s barracks-style housing which were named man camps. Sexual assaults, domestic violence, and sex traﬃcking tripled in communities adjacent to the oilﬁeld sacriﬁce zones,5 with especially high rates of sexual violence toward Native women.6 Adverse consequences of living near extractive projects include increased rates of sexually transmitted infections and still- births; general deterioration in health; ecological degradation and climate change; threats to food security; and political corruption – all of which severely impact women.7 When resource extraction is terminated, for example when coltan mining was halted in Congo because of environmental protests, the newly expanding sex trade remains in operation, an enduring legacy of colonisation. Belgium’s domination of Congo gradually shifted from state to corporate colonisation.8 The Belgian colonists’ commodiﬁcation of the nation diminished the people’s social and political power, leaving them poorer, with fewer resources, and often desperate for a means of survival even before the later phase of climate change occurred. This sequence happens wherever resources are commodiﬁed. Initially, a boom economy based on resource extraction creates short-term job opportunities and wealth previously unknown. Prostitution is established both to pacify the workers and to generate money for pimps and traﬃckers. When the boom economy goes bust, men’s continued demand for paid sexual access, combined with women’s need for survival – drive the institution of prostitution, which remains even after the extraction industry has ended.”
Melissa Farley (2021): Making the connections: resource extraction, prostitution, poverty, climate change, and human rights, The International Journal of Human Rights, DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2021.1997999
The whole article is accessible here: https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2021.1997999
Melissa Farley is a research and clinical psychologist who has authored many articles and 2 books on the topic of prostitution, pimping/trafficking, and pornography. She is the executive director of Prostitution Research & Education, a nonprofit research institute that conducts original research on the sex trade and provides a library of information for survivors, advocates, policymakers, and the public. Access to the free library is at www.prostitutionresearch.com.
This article was produced by Local Peace Economy, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
By Koohan Paik-Mander
The U.S. military is famous for being the single largest consumer of petroleum products in the world and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Its carbon emissions exceed those released by “more than 100 countries combined.”
Now, with the Biden administration’s mandate to slash carbon emissions “at least in half by the end of the decade,” the Pentagon has committed to using all-electric vehicles and transitioning to biofuels for all its trucks, ships and aircraft. But is only addressing emissions enough to mitigate the current climate crisis?
What does not figure into the climate calculus of the new emission-halving plan is that the Pentagon can still continue to destroy Earth’s natural systems that help sequester carbon and generate oxygen. For example, the plan ignores the Pentagon’s continuing role in the annihilation of whales, in spite of the miraculous role that large cetaceans have played in delaying climate catastrophe and “maintaining healthy marine ecosystems,” according to a report by Whale and Dolphin Conservation. This fact has mostly gone unnoticed until only recently.
There are countless ways in which the Pentagon hobbles Earth’s inherent abilities to regenerate itself. Yet, it has been the decimation of populations of whales and dolphins over the last decade—resulting from the year-round, full-spectrum military practices carried out in the oceans—that has fast-tracked us toward a cataclysmic environmental tipping point.
The other imminent danger that whales and dolphins face is from the installation of space-war infrastructure, which is taking place currently. This new infrastructure comprises the development of the so-called “smart ocean,” rocket launchpads, missile tracking stations and other components of satellite-based battle. If the billions of dollars being plowed into the 2022 defense budget for space-war technology are any indication of what’s in store, the destruction to marine life caused by the use of these technologies will only accelerate in the future, hurtling Earth’s creatures to an even quicker demise than already forecast.
Whale Health: The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Sequester Carbon
It’s first important to understand how whales are indispensable to mitigating climate catastrophe, and why reviving their numbers is crucial to slowing down damage and even repairing the marine ecosystem. The importance of whales in fighting the climate crisis has also been highlighted in an article that appeared in the International Monetary Fund’s Finance and Development magazine, which calls for the restoration of global whale populations. “Protecting whales could add significantly to carbon capture,” states the article, showing how the global financial institution also recognizes whale health to be one of the most economical and effective solutions to the climate crisis.
Throughout their lives, whales enable the oceans to sequester a whopping 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. That astonishing amount in a single year is nearly double the 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon that was emitted by the U.S. military in the entire 16-year span between 2001 and 2017, according to an article in Grist, which relied on a paper from the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute.
The profound role of whales in keeping the world alive is generally unrecognized. Much of how whales sequester carbon is due to their symbiotic relationship with phytoplankton, the organisms that are the base of all marine food chains.
The way the sequestering of carbon by whales works is through the piston-like movements of the marine mammals as they dive to the depths to feed and then come up to the surface to breathe. This “whale pump” propels their own feces in giant plumes up to the surface of the water. This helps bring essential nutrients from the ocean depths to the surface areas where sunlight enables phytoplankton to flourish and reproduce, and where photosynthesis promotes the sequestration of carbon and the generation of oxygen. More than half the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from phytoplankton. Because of these infinitesimal marine organisms, our oceans truly are the lungs of the planet.
More whales mean more phytoplankton, which means more oxygen and more carbon capture. According to the authors of the article in the IMF’s Finance and Development magazine—Ralph Chami and Sena Oztosun, from the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development, and two professors, Thomas Cosimano from the University of Notre Dame and Connel Fullenkamp from Duke University—if the world could increase “phytoplankton productivity” via “whale activity” by only 1 percent, it “would capture hundreds of millions of tons of additional CO2 a year, equivalent to the sudden appearance of 2 billion mature trees.”
Even after death, whale carcasses function as carbon sinks. Every year, it is estimated that whale carcasses transport 190,000 tons of carbon, locked within their bodies, to the bottom of the sea. That’s the same amount of carbon produced by 80,000 cars per year, according to Sri Lankan marine biologist Asha de Vos, who appeared on TED Radio Hour on NPR. On the seafloor, this carbon supports deep-sea ecosystems and is integrated into marine sediments.
Vacuuming CO2 From the Sky—a False Solution
Meanwhile, giant concrete-and-metal “direct air carbon capture” plants are being planned by the private sector for construction in natural landscapes all over the world. The largest one began operation in 2021 in Iceland. The plant is named “Orca,” which not only happens to be a type of cetacean but is also derived from the Icelandic word for “energy” (orka).
Orca captures a mere 10 metric tons of CO2 per day—compared to about 5.5 million metric tons per day of that currently sequestered by our oceans, due, in large part, to whales. And yet, the minuscule comparative success by Orca is being celebrated, while the effectiveness of whales goes largely unnoticed. In fact, President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill contains $3.5 billion for building four gigantic direct air capture facilities around the country. Nothing was allocated to protect and regenerate the real orcas of the sea.
If ever there were “superheroes” who could save us from the climate crisis, they would be the whales and the phytoplankton, not the direct air capture plants, and certainly not the U.S. military. Clearly, a key path forward toward a livable planet is to make whale and ocean conservation a top priority.
‘We Have to Destroy the Village in Order to Save It’
Unfortunately, the U.S. budget priorities never fail to put the Pentagon above all else—even a breathable atmosphere. At a December 2021 hearing on “How Operational Energy Can Help Us Address Logistics Challenges” by the Readiness Subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, Representative Austin Scott (R-GA) said, “I know we’re concerned about emissions and other things, and we should be. We can and should do a better job of taking care of the environment. But ultimately, when we’re in a fight, we have to win that fight.”
This logic that “we have to destroy the village in order to save it” prevails at the Pentagon. For example, hundreds of naval exercises conducted year-round in the Indo-Pacific region damage and kill tens of thousands of whales annually. And every year, the number of war games, encouraged by the U.S. Department of Defense, increases.
They’re called “war games,” but for creatures of the sea, it’s not a game at all.
Pentagon documents estimate that 13,744 whales and dolphins are legally allowed to be killed as “incidental takes” during any given year due to military exercises in the Gulf of Alaska.
In waters surrounding the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean alone, the violence is more dire. More than 400,000 cetaceans comprising 26 species were allowed to have been sacrificed as “takes” during military practice between 2015 and 2020.
These are only two examples of a myriad of routine naval exercises. Needless to say, these ecocidal activities dramatically decrease the ocean’s abilities to mitigate climate catastrophe.
The Perils of Sonar
The most lethal component to whales is sonar, used to detect submarines. Whales will go to great lengths to get away from the deadly rolls of sonar waves. They “will swim hundreds of miles… and even beach themselves” in groups in order to escape sonar, according to an article in Scientific American. Necropsies have revealed bleeding from the eyes and ears, caused by too-rapid changes in depths as whales try to flee the sonar, revealed the article.
Low levels of sonar that may not directly damage whales could still harm them by triggering behavioral changes. According to an article in Nature, a 2006 UK military study used an array of hydrophones to listen for whale sounds during marine maneuvers. Over the period of the exercise, “the number of whale recordings dropped from over 200 to less than 50,” Nature reported.
“Beaked whale species… appear to cease vocalising and foraging for food in the area around active sonar transmissions,” concluded a 2007 unpublished UK report, which referred to the study.
The report further noted, “Since these animals feed at depth, this could have the effect of preventing a beaked whale from feeding over the course of the trial and could lead to second or third order effects on the animal and population as a whole.”
The report extrapolated that these second- and third-order effects could include starvation and then death.
The ‘Smart Ocean’ and the JADC2
Until now, sonar in the oceans has been exclusively used for military purposes. This is about to change. There is a “subsea data network” being developed that would use sonar as a component of undersea Wi-Fi for mixed civilian and military use. Scientists from member nations of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), including, but not limited to Australia, China, the UK, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, are creating what is called the “Internet of Underwater Things,” or IoUT. They are busy at the drawing board, designing data networks consisting of sonar and laser transmitters to be installed across vast undersea expanses. These transmitters would send sonar signals to a network of transponders on the ocean surface, which would then send 5G signals to satellites.
Utilized by both industry and military, the data network would saturate the ocean with sonar waves. This does not bode well for whale wellness or the climate. And yet, promoters are calling this development the “smart ocean.”
The military is orchestrating a similar overhaul on land and in space. Known as the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2), it would interface with the subsea sonar data network. It would require a grid of satellites that could control every coordinate on the planet and in the atmosphere, rendering a real-life, 3D chessboard, ready for high-tech battle.
In service to the JADC2, thousands more satellites are being launched into space. Reefs are being dredged and forests are being razed throughout Asia and the Pacific as an ambitious system of “mini-bases” is being erected on as many islands as possible—missile deployment stations, satellite launch pads, radar tracking stations, aircraft carrier ports, live-fire training areas and other facilities—all for satellite-controlled war. The system of mini-bases, in communication with the satellites, and with aircraft, ships and undersea submarines (via sonar), will be replacing the bulky brick-and-mortar bases of the 20th century.
Its data-storage cloud, called JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure), will be co-developed at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. The Pentagon has requested bids on the herculean project from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and Google.
Save the Whales, Save Ourselves
Viewed from a climate perspective, the Department of Defense is flagrantly barreling away from its stated mission, to “ensure our nation’s security.” The ongoing atrocities of the U.S. military against whales and marine ecosystems make a mockery of any of its climate initiatives.
While the slogan “Save the Whales” has been bandied about for decades, they’re the ones actually saving us. In destroying them, we destroy ourselves.
Koohan Paik-Mander, who grew up in postwar Korea and in the U.S. colony of Guam, is a Hawaii-based journalist and media educator. She is a board member of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, a member of the CODEPINK working group China Is Not Our Enemy, and an advisory committee member for the Global Just Transition project at Foreign Policy in Focus. She formerly served as campaign director of the Asia-Pacific program at the International Forum on Globalization. She is the co-author of The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth and has written on militarism in the Asia-Pacific for the Nation, the Progressive, Foreign Policy in Focus and other publications.
Banner image: flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
This article first appeared on the Association for the Tree of Live Website.
By JEAN ARNOLD
A ravenous, yet decrepit cyborg – part machine, part zombie – lurches onward as it is programmed to do. Its hunger is so insatiable that it eats its own flesh; it eats its offspring; and it eats the future. The catabolic effects are inescapable and its death rattle reverberates for miles. An entire city lives inside this beast. Yet in this late hour, inhabitants put their heads down and carry-on as usual, for they are all dependent upon this monster for their very own food, water, and shelter. No one dares utter a stray word, until the day one brave soul holds up a mirror that reveals who they have become.
A decade ago, I attended a series of contentious activist meetings with Rio Tinto, the mega-mining corporation that owns the massive Kennecott copper pit in the Salt Lake Valley. Rio Tinto planned to expand the mine, and activists were pushing back. The meetings foundered and collapsed upon the lack of viable possibilities for avoiding local impacts and for making operations more sustainable. Activists’ proposals were considered impractical and unprofitable. Ultimately, Kennecott got its expansion and activists got nothing.
Jean Arnold, Civilization, 2012, oil on canvas, 42 x 42 inches.
An early Egyptian pyramid is seen with the gaping hole of the Kennecott copper pit. As civilization builds up monuments to itself, it must tear down into Earth for her treasures.
As a visual artist, I took my angst to the studio and captured eviscerated earth in a series of paintings and drawings, depicting large-scale mining operations that are rarely seen or considered by the public. What better way to reveal our civilization’s insatiable hunger for resources?
I realized that the mining industry cannot be greened, intrinsically by its very nature. Mining casts a long shadow: habitat loss, land theft, worker exploitation, local health impacts, and groundwater contamination, to name just a few issues. Without mining and other forms of extraction, Industrial Civilization could not exist. Yet we rarely ponder our Wonder-World’s material basis and its extraction costs.
Turns out I’m not the only one working in this vein – far from it.
This year a broad panoply of photographers, painters, poets, and printmakers are raising a ruckus in a four-continent constellation of almost sixty exhibits, installations, performances, and events under the rubric “EXTRACTION: Art on the Edge of the Abyss.” When EXTRACTION originator Peter Koch announced the project, it took off like wildfire. Creators are shining lights on all forms of the omnivorous extractive industry, “from mining and drilling to the reckless plundering and exploitation of fresh water, fertile soil, timber, marine life, and innumerable other resources across the globe.” The project’s broad definition begs the questions: In our civilization, what isn’t based on extraction? What isn’t affected by extraction?
The Algonquin word “wetiko” reveals extraction as a symptom of the culture-wide soul-sickness driven by domination, greed, and consumptive excess. It blinds humans from seeing ourselves as part of an interdependent whole, in communion with all of life. It is through this toxic mindset that the world is divided up and consumed for profit.
Extraction is an uncomfortable topic: it confronts us with our system’s voracious appetite for taking Earth’s riches without reciprocity – the very epitome of wetiko. Sure, we can point at capitalism, corporations and elite interests, but as participants in this wetiko culture we are all infected by this mind virus.
Far beyond a “problem” – extraction and its consequences pose a predicament without escape. Humanity is hitting planetary limits: declining resources, excess CO2 in the atmosphere, and plastic choking our oceans. Many of the proposed “solutions,” are just new iterations of the same paradigm, bringing more extraction. For example, see our blog “We are Strip-Mining Life While We Drink ‘Bright Green Lies’” as to why “green” tech will never save us. Humanity has dug itself deep into a hole from which few of us may emerge.
Since stories create meaning, the “wetikonomy” seeks to maintain itself through a tight control over its own narratives. In our situation, the system rewards those that uphold its delusions: endless growth, techno-magic, fulfillment through consumption, and superiority over nature. We are told there is no alternative and things are getting better all the time.
Stephen Braun, The Hoarder, 2009, raku ceramics, 24 x 30 x 8 inches.
Clinging to the same mentality at the root cause of the crises.
The pressure to act according to these grand-yet-contradictory narratives is pervasive, which means compliance is near-universal. Witness the charades played by world leaders and diplomats at decades of climate conferences, giving lip service to fossil fuel phase-out while maintaining the techno-growth-extraction paradigm – essentially mocking the stated climate goals by clinging to the same mentality at the root cause of the crisis. Does anyone think this year’s climate conference, COP26 in Glasgow will play out differently?
Why are people so willing to surrender their agency? Society is captivated by a grand bargain described by social critic Lewis Mumford in his 1964 essay “Authoritarian and Democratic Technics”:
The bargain … takes the form of a magnificent bribe … each member of the community may claim every material advantage … food, housing, swift transportation, instantaneous communication, medical care, entertainment, education. But on one condition: that one must not merely ask for nothing that the system does not provide, but likewise agree to take everything offered … Once one opts for the system no further choice remains.
In other words, the bribe offers everyone a share in the largess, that is, the cornucopia of material goods unleashed by this industrial economy — as long as one does not question the costs to others, to ecosystems, or to the future.
The wetiko-spirit hates to be seen and named, as this begins to dissolve its parasitic power over its host. Dissent against the existing paradigm is ignored, penalized, or co-opted – that is, absorbed into the hegemony. Until it’s not. The time comes when costs become unbearable, limits are reached, and opposition finally boils over.
Thus, the last thing the power structure wants is a cultural spotlight on extraction, which exposes the core of our malady. And certainly not through art, which has a visceral, soul-level power – a power that scientific reports, statistics, and warnings do not have. Art can play a prophetic role: bearing witness to unsettling matters and grabbing attention before we can turn away. It can portray possibilities previously unconsidered, vitally needed at this time.
Jos Sances, Or, the Whale, 2108-2109, scratchboard, 14 x 51 feet
This very large scratchboard drawing was inspired by Moby Dick and the history of whaling in America. The whale’s skin is embedded with a history of capitalism in America—images of human and environmental exploitation and destruction since 1850.
EXTRACTION co-founder Edwin Dobb (now deceased) posed the question of our time: Can we break the spell? A growing chorus on the periphery – Greta Thunberg, poets, painters, performance artists, Extinction Rebellion – is revealing the sociopathic end-game holding us in its grip and unraveling slowly in real time. Learning to see wetiko within ourselves and our culture can begin to break its spell. Can we come to see our own hubris? Contraction is coming whether we like it or not – how can we deal with this if we are spellbound? We have no individual or collective roadmap for the coming post-extraction Reality.
The EXTRACTION project’s exhibits and events are winding down, although organizers hope for continuation in some form. Only a few more venues are scheduled to open, yet its effects will continue rippling outwards. The project has legitimized the extraction art movement and showcased some of today’s most potent work. It has broadened my own definition of extraction-inspired art, which helps me see new possibilities. The project will live on in the evolving work of extraction artists and in others forging authentic responses to our global predicaments. Art is all-too-often wed to money and societal embrace, compromising its own power and obscuring rather than illuminating Reality. Artmaking on the margins is not easy, so supporting this work is necessary.
Chris Boyer, Atlantic Salmon Pens, Welshpool, New Brunswick, Canada (44.885980°, -66.959243°), 2018.
Art that challenges the wetiko-extraction paradigm will become even more relevant, as extraction’s impacts widen. Extraction art is not going away, until extraction itself goes away. While industrial-scale extraction has “only” been with us for four hundred years, art has been with us for thousands of generations, since our early ancestors rendered images inside caves.
Listen to an audio of this blog, narrated by Michael Dowd.
Learn more about the EXTRACTION project.
EXTRACTION megazine (648 pages): download for free or purchase a printed copy for $25 + $7 shipping.
Partly a group catalog of extraction-related artwork, each artist or creator’s individual contribution documents their own personal investigations into the extraction question. The project is by no means limited to the visual arts—in these pages you will also find poetry, critical writings, philosophical treatises, manifestos, musical scores, conversations, historical or found photographs, and much more.
Make a donation to the EXTRACTION project.
Editor’s note: The preferred method to stop a coal port for hours or days would be anonymously, so as to “live to fight another day”. But this action does highlight the fact that this port exports 158 million tonnes of coal a year. This action shows just how vulnerable the system is. It can be stopped when two people have the courage to throw their bodies on the cogs.
We must fight empire “by any means necessary.”” —Frantz Fanon
This story first appeared in Common Dreams.
“It is now our duty to defend the biosphere that gives us life and to every person that Australia has forgotten and ignored,” said Hanna Doole of the campaign group Blockade Australia.
By JULIA CONLEY
November 17, 2021
A two-person protest halted operations at the world’s largest coal port early Wednesday morning, as two women scaled the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia to protest their government’s refusal to take far-reaching climate action.
Hannah Doole and Zianna Faud—both members of the campaign group Blockade Australia—filmed themselves suspended on ropes attached to the port, where they forced the transport of coal to stop for several hours.
“I’m here with my friend Zianna, and we’re stopping this coal terminal from loading all coal into ships and stopping all coal trains,” said Doole.
The Port of Newcastle exported 158 million tonnes of coal in 2020, and its production is not expected to slow down in the coming years despite clear warnings from climate scientists that the continued extraction of coal and fossil fuels will make it impossible to limit global heating to 1.5°C above preindustrial temperatures.
“Another system is possible and we know that because one existed on this continent for tens of thousands of years,” said Doole. “It is now our duty to defend the biosphere that gives us life and to every person that Australia has forgotten and ignored.”
“In a system that only cares about money, non-violent blockading tactics that cause material disruption are the most effective and accessible means of wielding real power.”
On the heels of COP26, where world leaders agreed to a deal pledging to phase down “unabated” coal power, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday that the country will continue producing coal for “decades to come.”
Despite the state of emergency New South Wales officials were forced to declare less than two years ago as wildfires scorched millions of acres of land, destroyed more than a thousand homes, and killed nearly 500 million animals and more than a dozen people, Morrison claimed his continued commitment to coal extraction was akin to “standing up for our national interests.”
Morrison pledged last month to make Australia carbon-neutral by 2050, but his statement was denounced as a “political scam, relying on unproven carbon capture technology without phasing out fossil fuel extraction.
Organizers said Doole and Faud’s protest took place on Blockade Australia’s tenth straight day of direct actions targeting the Port of Newcastle as the grouo denounces the government’s plan to continue exporting the second-largest amount of coal in the world per year.
Earlier this week a woman prevented coal trains from entering the Port of Newcastle by locking herself to a railroad track, and on Tuesday two other advocates held a demonstration on machinery used to load coal at the port.
“In a system that only cares about money, non-violent blockading tactics that cause material disruption are the most effective and accessible means of wielding real power,” said Blockade Australia on Wednesday.
The two demonstrators were arrested after scaling the port for several hours. Faud appeared in court on Wednesday following the protest, where she pleaded guilty to charges of “hindering the working of mining equipment,” according to The Washington Post. She was ordered to pay a $1,090 fine, sentenced to community service, and ordered not to associate with Doole for two years. Doole is expected to appear in court on Thursday.
Blockade Australia is preparing to hold a large demonstration next June in Sydney, where the group plans to “participate in mass, disruptive action” in Australia’s political and economic center.
Banner image: flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)