EXTINCTION Rebellion has staged their first protest in Gippsland with more than 250 people uniting at the Inverloch Surf Life Saving club to perform a ‘Heads in the Sand,’ protest on Friday, January 17.
The action saw locals, children, adults and visitors bury their heads for five minutes, calling on the Australian Government to acknowledge climate change.
The non-violent but often disruptive group Extinction Rebellion (XR) have a reputation for causing a scene. However, the protest at the Inverloch surf beach was a calmer event.
XR convener Lynn Atkinson said their protests are planned relevant to the location.
“This protest is to highlight a number of politicians who are ignoring climate change,” Lynn said.
“We’re here on the eroding surf beach, facing rising seas, where just yesterday we were surrounded by smoke from the East Gippsland fires,” she said.
Many of the protesters called upon the Australian Government and large corporations to tackle climate change.
“Here we have hundreds of people who are concerned about climate change,” Lynn said.
“This negligence from successive governments is killing people, and harming the health of many more, with disadvantaged communities the hardest hit.
“Whole ecosystems have been destroyed while extinction threatens many species,” she said.
Acknowledging Bass Coast Shire’s climate crisis declaration, Lynn called on the Bass Coast Shire Council to take a leading role for other councils around Gippsland.
“Declaring the crisis is the first step, it’s important that Bass Coast shows other councils now how to deal with climate change,” Lynn said.
The event surpassed the rebellion expected turnout, with protesters from across Victoria.
The ‘climate refugees’ Riverlea family from Mallacoota were among those who attended the action.
“What is so amazing is to have no idea when we can go home, but to find a community of people here who totally get what our family is going through as a result of climate change,” Miriam Riverlea said.