Another big climate rally will be held in Sydney today in response to the bush fires and smoke sweeping NSW. Here's everything you need to know.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment recently told Gizmodo that the poor air quality being experienced across the state is the longest and most widespread in history. As fires continues to rage and the thick blanket of smoke remains, experts have predicted that this could last throughout the summer. It can't be ignored, so we have pulled together some of the best apps so you can keep a digital eye on the fires, smoke and the air quality near you.
Why is it being held?
Named 'NSW IS BURNING, SYDNEY IS CHOKING - CLIMATE EMERGENCY RALLY' on its Facebook event page, the rally is a response to the "unprecedented fires raging across the state."
The event description states after the federal government denied the encroaching climate emergency and expanded the fossil fuel industry it went on to cut funding for fire services and mismanaged important water systems.
"Now the result is here: unprecedented drought, bushfires, and now a massive health crisis, with millions choking, with no escape, and severe consequences for people's immediate and long term health."
One of the named organisers of the rally is NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge. He has stated that climate change need to treated as real and that Australia needs to commit to a renewable future
"With our forests on fire and our cities and homes shrouded in smoke, this is the time to step up and demand politicians take climate change seriously," said Mr Shoebridge in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
"We need to urgently commit to a 100% renewable future, leaving dangerous fossil fuels in the ground and building the jobs rich sustainable economy needed to survive."
He also points to the fires as a result of ignoring climate change and Australia's reliance on fossil fuels.
"Climate change can no longer be treated as some academic argument. It’s real. It’s burning our country right now. It’s time for immediate commitments to a net zero carbon economy by 2040, additional state and federal support for the firefighters on the front line and increased public health resources to address the health crisis from the fires."
Mr Shoebridge also takes aim at prime minister Scott Morrison for his response to calls for more renewable energy in 2017, as well as his reaction to the current bush fires.
"A lack of leadership from this PM is hardly a surprise, after all he’s the politician who took a lump of coal into parliament and said we shouldn’t be scared of it.
"Right now people are genuinely and reasonably frightened by the climate damage being caused by coal and other fossil fuels, and Scott Morrison has no comfort and no answers for them," Mr Shoebridge said over email.
As chunks of our country burn today, we thought it might be a good time to remind everyone of the time that Scott Morrison brought a lump of coal to parliament for the lols. And we're still feeling the effects of his blasé attitude today
How many people will show up?
While it's hard to say until the rally starts, at the time of writing 8.4K people had hit 'attending' on the Facebook event page, with a further 21K saying they were 'interested'.
Who is organising the rally?
The event hosts include:
- Uni Students for Climate Justice
- David Shoebridge - Greens NSW MP
- Extinction Rebellion Sydney
- Extinction Rebellion NSW
We have reached out to the hosts for comment.
What are the demands?
There are three main demands attached to the rally, with some subsections included.
1. Climate action now!
- No new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine
- 100% publicly owned renewable energy generation & exports by 2030
- Fund a just transition & job creation for all fossil-fuel workers & communities.
2. Fund fire services!
- Reverse the funding cuts and increase funding immediately to the RFS and NSW Fire and Rescue
3. Action to address toxic smoke and protect workers!
- All employers required to cease operations immediately in areas where air pollution reaches dangerous levels for workers.
- Special allowances made for additional, paid, sick leave for people suffering from the effects of air pollution.
- All hospitals, aged care facilities, schools and child care centres to be fitted with proper HEPA filters or air conditioning.
- Those particularly vulnerable to respiratory conditions offered government-supplied HEPA air purifiers, or fully funded evacuation to clean areas for the duration of the crisis.
- Publicly funded, free P2 masks.
What time and where?
The rally will kick off at Town Hall in Sydney at 5:30pm AEDT on Wednesday December 11.
A march will then take place along George Street, Park Street and Elizabeth street. The rally will finish at the northern end of Hyde Park at around 7pm AEDT.
Here is an map from the event page:
This route has reportedly been agreed to with the NSW Police.
What should I bring?
People are encouraged to bring signs and to wear P2 smoke masks.
"We encourage participants to wear a P2 facemask as a symbol of the climate crisis and public health disaster we're facing," says the event page.