Monthly Archives: November 2011

Jeanette Fitzsimons on selling Solid Energy

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Just Facts booklets on Lignite Mining and Asset Sales

The Social Justice Commission of the Anglican Church has put up new factsheets on lignite mining and assets sales on its website – they are a very useful one-page resource to introduce the issues to people. You can download them here:
Just Facts: Lignite Mining
Just Facts: Asset Sales

CAN Aotearoa November Newsletter

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter

November 2011


Contents

1. Keep The Coal In The Hole Summer Festival 2012 – registrations now open!

2. Summer Festival – how you can help

3. CAN Aotearoa announces new spokespeople

4. A successful Lush campaign

5. The Elections

6. Denniston campaign news and fundraising

7. Southland News and on-going actions

8. Opinion pieces on Southland lignite and intergenerational justice

9. International Occupy movement

10. CAN Aotearoa on Social Media

11. How To Donate To CAN Aotearoa

12. How Our Mailing Lists Work – Where To Post, Where Not To Post


1. Keep The Coal In The Hole Summer Festival 2012 – registrations now open!

The website has just gone live and registrations are now open for the Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival. Of course, the earlier you register the easier it is for us to plan ahead, so we are offering a generous discount to anyone who signs up before 20 December.

For more information and to register online go to: nocoalsummerfest.org.nz/information

About the festival:

The Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival will be held in Mataura, 20-23rd January 2012, on the farm of lignite opponent Mike Dumbar, half a kilometre from the pilot briquetting plant now being built.

We are excited to be organising a four day festival to stand alongside the people of Southland and build a movement around climate justice. There will be family camping, live music, fun for the kids, big cook-ups, visits to the proposed lignite mine, workshops on strategy, information from various groups actively campaigning against coal, training in non-violent direct action, videos, and an Open Day in Mataura with speakers and discussion groups on the issues relating to lignite.

Invite Your Friends

The Summer Festival now has a Facebook events page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=305271519500415

Whether or not you are on Facebook, please invite your coal-conscious friends to attend the Festival – but remind them that they have to register and pay before their attendance is confirmed.

2. Summer festival – how you can help

We have a great team of organisers working hard to get this festival off the ground, but they can always use more help. Here’s what you can do:

  1. First of all, please attend and invite others to attend! We would love for you to participate in the festival.
  2. Help us spread the word. We need posters put up in likely places in your community and around the country. We’re especially keen to get posters up on University and Polytech campuses before the end of term. If you can help please let us know by emailing: jeanette@greens.org.nz. Places we need help with this include Christchurch, Palmerston North, Hamilton, and regional cities with Polytechs.
  3. Complete the volunteer form on the festival website: http://nocoalsummerfest.org.nz/volunteerSome examples of tasks we still need help with are:
    • set up and pack down of the camp site in the days before and after the festival
    • designing and running the kids’ programme
    • more help with organising and preparing food
  4. If you can spare an hour a week or one day of your time – we can find a job for you! Just let us know by emailing: canasummerfestival@gmail.com

3. CAN Aotearoa announces new spokespeople

Frances Mountier is stepping down from her role as spokesperson for Coal Action Network Aotearoa. Over the past year, she has done a fantastic job dealing with all sorts of media interviews and has raised awareness about how important it is to stop coal in the fight against climate change.

In fact, she’s done such a great job it is taking two people to replace her! In future, you will see Kristin Gillies or Tim Jones making media statements on our behalf.

We’d like to say a big thank you to Francie for all her hard work. The campaign wouldn’t be where it is today without her.

4. A successful Lush campaign

The Lush campaign

This was an event initiated by cosmetics company Lush across Australia and New Zealand to gain support for the campaign to ban new coal. In Australia they partnered with Rising Tide and in Aotearoa with us at Coal Action Network.

Five of their ten New Zealand stores buried a staff member ‘neck deep in coal’ as a publicity stunt. This was picked up by the following media stories.

The Manawatu Standard (Palmerston North) http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/5820469/Protester-at-grimy-coal-face

Otago Daily Times (Dunedin) http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/183060/no-soft-soaping-these-coal-protesters

Lush not only helped us reach a sector of the population who might not normally come across our message, but they also raised funds to donate to the Keep the Coal in the Hole summer festival.

A huge thank you to our volunteers

Another great outcome from this campaign was having so many of you step up to help out at the Lush stores. We had volunteers at every one of the ten Lush stores around the country on both of the days of the campaign.

Thank you each of you for the huge effort and for helping us tell the public about the issue of coal. We collected a good number of names for the Keep the Coal in the Hole petition as well as subscribers for this newsletter.

Getting people more actively involved

You may have noticed over the last few months that our newsletter has been filled with requests for volunteers. This has been both for strategic and practical reasons. We’re deliberately trying to bring more people on board and build up more of an active movement around coal and climate, as well as acknowledging that there are just a small handful of us in the organising group and we simply need more help with the projects the we’ve taken on.

The Lush campaign was the first time we’ve asked for so many volunteers an in so many locations at once and it was just wonderful to get so many offers of support.

If you’re keen to get involved, just send us an email and let us know if there is a particular skill or amount of time you would like contribute: coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

5. The Elections

As you will be well aware, elections are just around the corner. We would encourage you to challenge candidates on their stance towards lignite and coal extraction and make this an election issue.

The relevant portfolio-holders for the two major parties are:

The 3 News website also has a form to submit questions for political debates.

http://www.3news.co.nz/Politics/Decision2011/Haveyoursay.aspx

An event which is well times to make an impact on the election campaign is the FrackNo! National Day of Action Against Fracking on 16 November. Check out the details, and get involved, on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=212038222201698

Labour’s policy on lignite

In its just-released Environment Policy, the Labour Party has come out in opposition to lignite mining in Southland, and says that, if in Government, it will not allow Solid Energy to go ahead with it. Labour joins the Greens and the Mana Party in taking a stance against the expansion of coal mining.

Labour Party policy release here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Lignite-mining-ruled-out-by-Labour/tabid/419/articleID/231873/Default.aspx

Coal Action Network Aotearoa statement in response here: https://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/589/

A dirty business

This Australian documentary, while over a year old, paints a vivid picture of what’s in store for Southland and Denniston communities if we allow the current government’s energy strategies to be persued unchecked: http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2010/s2867659.htm

6. Denniston Campaign News and Fundraising

Help fund the appeal to the Environment Court

West Coast Environment Network (WC Ent) are fundraising for an appeal of the Resource Consent decision on the proposed opencast mine on conservation land at Denniston. In their submission, they presented a significant amount of evidence from the Department of Conservation’s technical scientists on ecological impacts of the mine, and hope to raise enough money to call these witnesses to the Environment Court.

They are aiming to raise $5000 in the next three months to aid the running of an Environment Court case. If you would like to donate, here are the details of West Coast Environment Network’s account: Kiwibank: 38 9012 0009759 00, West Coast ENT Incorporated

Auckland fundraising dinner, 6:30pm Saturday 3 December

Find out all about the fight against coal mining on the Denniston Plateau while enjoying a yummy meal! Auckland Coal Action will be hosting a fundraising dinner to support the Denniston appeal. The speaker for the evening is Jeanette Fitzsimons and tickets cost $20 per person.

The venue is still to be confirmed and bookings are essential, so if you would like to come along contact aucklandcoalaction@gmail.com

Rod Morris on the Denniston Plateau

Along with West Coast Environment Network, Greenpeace and Forest and Bird, we hosted a public meeting with groups campaigning against Fossil Fuels in Wellington on Monday 17th October. Radio New Zealand were there and they produced this story:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ourchangingworld/audio/2500717/rod-morris-on-the-denniston-plateau

7. Southland news and on-going actions

Southland District Council Mayor, Frana Cardno wrote an excellent Editorial Opinion for the Southland Times in mid October, coming out against mining lignite in Southland. “We cannot expect to continue to market our agricultural exports to the rest of the world, using our clean green image to promote them, unless we show some commitment to reducing those emissions,” she said. She drew on the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright’s recent publication, to back up her reasoning. This strong stand puts another face on how people in Southland are feeling, with good follow up letters to the editor affirming Frana for her stand. (See link to Frana’s article in the next item, below).

A Reel Earth film festival including several focusing on mining and climate change was shown as an awareness raising event, at Centrestage Invercargill, over 10 days in mid-October, organised by Invercargill Environment Centre. The variety of how people around the world are responding to climate change and making a personal response to making a difference, along with NGOs, was inspirational- although the pollution shown was shocking at times.

A stall featuring concerns around lignite mining ran at the Invercargill Spring festival on Sat 8 Oct, gave a chance to have many conversations with attendees about the lignite and wider climate change issues, along with many signing up to the CANA email list.

Political candidates’ meetings are being held across Southland with CANA supporters asking relevant questions about the lignite proposals which is helping keep the topic in the public eye as well as ensuring candidates get involved in the debate.

There continues to be a steady stream of awareness raising letters to the Editor, Southland Times – thank you everyone for doing that.

Rangimarie,
Jenny Campbell
Member of CANA organising group.

8. Opinion pieces on lignite and intergenerational justice

Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno Speaks Out Against Lignite Mining

Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno has lent her voice to the campaign to keep Southland lignite in the ground, in a recent opinion piece in the Southland Times: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/opinion/5815643/Keeping-resources-for-future-generations

Climate crime is beggaring our children

Warrington poet Richard Reeve attacks Solid Energy plans to dig up lignite and argues that “Ours is the epoch of generational organised crime [as] we continue a way of life that we know full well will impact on literally billions of lives in the generations to come”.
http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/181484/climate-crime-beggaring-our-children

9. International Occupy movement

We are including some excerpts and links from the past month’s commentary on the international Occupy movement that may be of interest to our readers.

Naomi Klein’s speech at Occupy Wall Street: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/07-0

The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly.

An Open Letter To Occupiers of Mother Earth http://tewhareporahou.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/an-open-letter-to-occupiers-of-mother-earth/

Capitalism and colonial imperialism are ‘brothers in arms’. They feed each others greed. They support each others destruction of Papatūānuku, this great Grandmother Earth.

What a real revolution would look like! http://tewhareporahou.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/what-a-real-revolution-would-look-like/

This is what I wish our country would say.“We are with you now Tangata Whenua (People of the Land). We are now ALL fighting what you have been fighting since we arrived on your shores. We join with you to say that this system does not treat people or the earth kindly.

Climate activists join the movement: http://www.forbes.com/sites/eco-nomics/2011/10/07/environmentalists-join-the-occupy-wall-street-fray/

Wall Street’s been occupying our atmosphere, since any attempt to do anything about climate change always run afoul of the biggest corporations on the planet. So it’s a damned good thing the tables have turned.

The Official Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street read by Keith Olbermann

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8o3peQq79Q&feature=player_embedded

10. CAN Aotearoa on social media

Our Facebook Group

Our Facebook group is at http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_218300434877031 so you can join, and get your friends to join too.

A Facebook page we encourage you to Like is Leave the Lignite, Save the Soil: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Leave-the-Lignite-Save-the-Soil/12917904715925

@coalaction is on Twitter

If you are on Twitter, please follow our Twitter account, @coalaction, at https://twitter.com/#!/coalaction. Please look out for our tweets, retweet them, and encourage your followers to follow @coalaction as well.

Our Blog

Keep up with the latest news about our campaigns on the Coal Action Network Aotearoa blog: https://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com

11. How to donate to CAN Aotearoa

As this campaign grows, our costs are beginning to increase. Thank you to all those who have donated during the past month. If you’d like to help us financially, you can donate as follows:

Coal Action Network
Kiwibank
38 9011 0484435 00

12. How our mailing lists work – where to post, where not to post

This Coal Action Network Aotearoa list is an announcements-only list, so CAN Aotearoa can pass on news to you without your inbox getting too cluttered.

You cannot post to this list, so here’s a special plea from your mailing list administrator:

PLEASE DO NOT POST MESSAGES TO coalactionnetwork@lists.riseup.net

Doing so wastes your time, because your message gets stuck in an approval queue, and our time, because we have to work out where you meant to send it and forward it there instead.

But here’s the good news:

You are welcome, and encouraged, to discuss all aspects of our work on our Lignite Campaign Discussion list. But first, you need to join that list.

To subscribe to that list, send an email to lignite-campaign-discuss-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

Then, to post a message to the lignite-campaign-discuss list, email it to lignite-campaign-discuss@lists.riseup.net

Alternatively, if you’re having trouble joining the discussion list, please email coalactionnetwork@gmail.com with “Discussion list” in the subject line and we will add you to that list.

Membership of the lignite-campaign-discuss list is not vetted, so you should bear this in mind when choosing what to discuss on the list.

Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CAN Aotearoa) is a group of climate justice campaigners committed to fighting the continuation of coal mining in Aotearoa New Zealand.

CAN Aotearoa’s objectives are to:
1. Phase out coal mining and coal usage within 20 years, initially by opposing new and expanded coal mines.
2. Promote a cultural change so that mining and using coal are unacceptable.
3. Work towards a society where people and the environment are not exploited for profit.
4. Work towards a socially just transition to a coal-free Aotearoa New Zealand.

Find out more at: https://coalactionnetworkaotearoa.wordpress.com/

Or join the CAN Aotearoa supporters list by emailing: coalactionnetwork@gmail.com

Labour lignite policy a big step in the right direction

Press release
Sunday 6 November 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Coal Action Network spokesperson Tim Jones says the group is pleased the Labour Party has decided to oppose plans to mine Southland lignite. In its newly-released environment policy, Labour says it will, if elected to Government, not allow Solid Energy to mine for lignite in Southland or convert lignite to liquid fuels.

“We view Labour’s policy as a major step in the right direction,” says Tim Jones. “Labour has clearly taken on board the message that mining up to six billion tonnes of lignite that lies beneath prime Southland farmland will lead to many billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and also devastate the land, rivers, and air of Southland.”

Labour joins the Green Party and the Mana Party in announcing policy opposed to the expansion of coal mining in general and lignite mining in particular.

“Unlike the National Government, Labour, the Greens and Mana understands that New Zealand’s international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be completely undermined by a future in which we make our economy more, not less, dependent on fossil fuels,” Tim Jones continued.

But the Coal Action Network Aotearoa is sounding a note of caution about Labour’s policy. “Although stopping Solid Energy in its tracks would be a major achievement, private companies, such as L&M Mining, are also sniffing around the Southland lignite reserves. If these companies simply step in and take Solid Energy’s place, neither the climate nor the Southland environment will be any better off.”

“That’s why we are calling for a total ban on new coal mining, including lignite mining in Southland, as the first step towards phasing out the use of coal altogether,” Tim Jones concluded.

ENDS

Contact
Tim Jones, Coal Action Network Aotearoa Spokesperson
027 359 0293

Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival

Press release
Friday 4 November 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Climate change campaigners will gather near Mataura this summer to support Southlanders concerned about the impacts of lignite mining on their communities. The Keep the Coal in the Hole Summer Festival will run from 20-23 January 2012.

As well as music, local field trips and entertainment for the children there will be serious workshops on strategy and tactics for ensuring that the lignite stays in the ground, including training in non-violent action.

“Coal is the worst fuel for the climate, and lignite is a particularly dirty, low-grade form of coal. A safe climate for our children and grandchildren depends on moving to clean energy now. Banning new coal mines is the first step towards this,” said Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson Tim Jones.

Solid Energy’s plans for using Southland’s enormous lignite deposits start near Mataura, where Solid Energy is building a pilot plant to dewater lignite to make briquettes. After that they propose to build a ten times larger briquetting plant, then further plants to make urea and diesel on an even more gigantic scale.

The company has bought up 4,000 ha of good quality farmland for its industrial projects. The Festival will take place on the beautiful sheep farm of Mike Dumbar, who has refused to sell his land for mining.

Some local people are already concerned about the loss of good quality farmland and the health effects of living near open cast mines, as well as the noise, dust, heavy traffic and effects on ground water. People attending the Festival will be engaging with local people in a day of discussion at the Mataura hall where there will be speakers on lignite and the economy; lignite and health; and lignite and climate.

“Coal Action Network Aotearoa is committed to climate justice,” said Tim Jones, “and we are not proposing the closure of the existing small-scale mines in the area. But it does not make sense to begin a whole new industry and create a dependence on dirty coal.”

Registrations for the Festival are now open at http://nocoalsummerfest.org.nz/

ENDS

Contact
Tim Jones, Coal Action Network Aotearoa Spokesperson
027 359 0293