Geelong vigil for a sick planet

Sanja Van Huet will take part in a climate vigil outside federal member Richard Marles' office. (Ivan Kemp) 406117_01

By Jena Carr

Climate activists will gather outside Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles’ Geelong office to demand urgent action.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Geelong, Move Beyond Coal and Friends of the Earth will rally together for a vigil at 92-100 Brougham Street from 9.30am on Friday, May 10.

Friends of the Earth and ACF environmental advocate Sanja Van Huet said the Geelong vigil was part of the national Rise Up climate action campaign.

“We decided that we’d target Mr Marles because no environment groups have had any luck in getting face-to-face meetings with him,” she said.

“It’s only through people power that we’ll compel the Albanese government to prioritise climate change and phase out coal and gas in Australia.

“I have to say our Geelong council is trying their hardest and they’ve pledged to a number of things, but they’re strapped of funds and that makes it very difficult.

“The protest doesn’t stop on Friday and we’re continuing to petition Mr Marles for a face to face to talk about this. So, the more people that get into this, the better it is.”

Ms Van Huet said the vigil would be a peaceful and uplifting gathering, which featured kids’ activities like decorating a giant get-well-soon card for the earth.

ACF Geelong secretary Judith Ridley said the vigil was happening at a critical time given the government’s delays to environmental reforms.

“We urge the Labor government, including Deputy PM Richard Marles, to immediately reform our nature laws to protect communities across Australia facing bushfires, heatwaves, floods, and mass coral bleaching,” she said.

The vigil will feature key-note speaker Torres Strait Islander woman Julie Saylor-Briggs who will discuss the importance of urgent climate action.

Local musicians Lachie Chomley and the Geelong Climate Choir will also perform during the event with the community welcome to attend.