ACA challenges Mystery Creek crowds on climate change

17 Jun



Auckland Coal Action confronted Fonterra over its use of climate-cooking coal at the North Island’s largest gathering of farmers this weekend.

Jeanette Fitzsimons reports:

The tens of thousands of people queuing to get in to the Mystery Creek Agricultural Fieldays was too good an audience to miss. So twelve ACA people converged on the site on Saturday, the final day. First we set up our “sign trail” along the edge of the road beside the queuing traffic. It told the story as you moved along: already 1 degree hotter; heading for four degrees. Scientists say we may not be able to adapt to that. We need to stop coal mining and deep sea oil drilling. We could live on renewable energy. Climate change is the biggest threat to farming.

A lot of heads turned and it seemed to make an impact. Police and road transport authorities came for a look and were quite unconcerned. Fieldays security would have loved to remove us but had no jurisdiction on the road side. So we stayed some hours.

Inside we gathered at Fonterra’s site with a different set of signs: Fonterra is third biggest user of coal; coal cooks the climate; Fonterra could use wood waste; coal is so last century. There was a long wall on the main thoroughfare painted with Fonterra scenes so we lined up there with our story. We also had small simple fliers telling the same story. People stopped to talk in detail, and many of the Fonterra staff came out and took photos on their cell phones. They mostly seemed sympathetic to our message.

We have cut Fonterra some slack since they told us they were working on a plan to convert up to three of their boilers to wood waste and had applied internally for capital. However that was December, and still nothing has happened and there has been no report back to us. So we have concluded they aren’t serious, or that top management doesn’t support those who are genuinely working on the issue. Whatever, they need to know it isn’t good enough and we will keep on their back.

We lasted maybe half an hour in all before security seized their chance and moved us on, in a particularly officious way. They wanted to take our signs, search our bags, force us to stay together in one place while they called the cops, all of which we laughed at and eventually talked them out of when more senior people arrived but some of them had been just spoiling for a stoush.

We certainly made our point to Fonterra and to quite  few of the public. I get the feeling that there is more awareness of and concern about climate change now than a year or two ago, though there is still a long way to go.




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Adaptation oil and coal Renewable energy

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