Protesters push their point on climate change

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Protesters push their point on climate change

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Queensland Parliament House.

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Queensland Parliament House.

by Ricco Caiulo

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Queensland Parliament House.

by Ricco Caiulo

by Ricco Caiulo

Extinction Rebellion protesters outside Queensland Parliament House.

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THEY came. They gathered. They disrupted. They delayed. They made the news. And they returned, again and again.

Their protests have all been to raise awareness of the unfolding climate crisis, environmental changes that scientists and the United Nations says will soon be irreversible.

Organised by Extinction Rebellion, a socio-political climate change movement with ties around the world, these protests have been popping up in and around Brisbane, Queensland, over several weeks.

Police detain an Extinction Rebellion protester at Queensland’s Parliament House.

by Micah Coto
Police detain an Extinction Rebellion protester at Queensland’s Parliament House.

 

They have been designed to make people stop, think and talk about one of the biggest challenges they will ever face.

Yet, while there is ample evidence calling attention to the detrimental impacts of climate change, some people are still reluctant to accept the warnings of eminent climate scientists.

“The political system is broken, and we need a new way of doing things.”
Tom Howell, Extinction Rebellion protest organiser

So, through non-violent protests, the Brisbane branch of the Extinction Rebellion has tried to change public opinion and get the message across that the world is facing an unprecedented, global emergency.

Brisbane protest organiser Tom Howell was unapologetic about the disruptions caused by Extinction Rebellion’s activities or its antics.

“The political system is broken, and we need a new way of doing things,” Tom said. “The reason that there are so many mines (functioning) or so many forests being chopped down is the way the system is set up.”

Hear a passionate Indigenous activist at the August 6 Extinction Rebellion protest near Queensland’s Parliament House on this video.

Emma Dorge, a climate activist who attended one of the Brisbane Extinction Rebellion protests, defended the protester’s “chaotic” methods.

Speaking outside News Corporation’s Brisbane headquarters, Emma compared today’s climate change crisis to some of the most significant human right movements in history.

Emma Dorge, an activist who attended the Brisbane Extinction Rebellion protest in front of News Corporation offices Brisbane in late July.

by Ricco Caiulo
Emma Dorge, an activist who attended the Brisbane Extinction Rebellion protest in front of News Corporation offices Brisbane in late July.

 

“There are other instances where civil disobedience has been used,” she said.

“If you look at the abolitionists, the suffragettes or the Civil Rights movements, all (featured) civil resistance.

“But we know that (their actions were) pivotal for humanity, and so is this.”

An Extinction Rebellion protester glues herself to a Brisbane road

by Celina Rigby
An Extinction Rebellion protester glues herself to a Brisbane road.

 

Emma said she felt she needed to change the public’s opinion about climate change and was willing to create a disturbance to achieve that.

See police move in on climate protesters in Brisbane in this video.

Professor David Hood, a civil and environmental engineering lecturer, attended the Extinction Rebellion protest outside News Corporation’s Brisbane headquarters, where he spoke about the importance of mass protests to changing public attitudes.

“If we can get 4 per cent of the population really shifting and demanding action, then the government will listen,” Professor Hood said.

“It’s no good talking individually or writing letters to politicians, because they just see that as an individual, they don’t see it as a mass of votes. So, we must elevate this issue somehow.”

Professor David Hood at the Extinction Rebellion protest outside the News Corporation offices in late July.

by Ricco Caiulo
Professor David Hood at the Extinction Rebellion protest outside the News Corporation offices in late July.

 

But those who were held up in traffic by the protests, there were differing reactions.

Some honked in frustration, others in support, and still others spat profanities at protesters.

Another protest, another log jam and some drivers coming into Brisbane's CBD were unimpressed with the hold up.

by Ricco Caiulo
Another protest, another log jam and some drivers coming into Brisbane’s CBD were unimpressed with the hold up.

 

During Extinction Rebellion’s main demonstration near Parliament House, bystander Nick Nyuin admitted he was of two minds.

“I think that they should instead use a different methodology, then that way they could influence more people, instead of making people frustrated.”
Bystander Nick Nyuin

“I feel that, even though it’s a good cause, I think that the execution is not the best because I feel that it’s a bit selfish that they are blocking everyone,” Nick explained.

“I think that they should instead use a different methodology, then that way they could influence more people, instead of making people frustrated.”

 

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Words: Ricco Caiulo
Images: Ricco Caiulo / The Argus; Micah Coto / The Argus; Celina Rigby / The Argus
Videos: Kahlin Van der Borgh / The Argus

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Want to read more?
The original version of this story is one of 30 in a special online Climate Change edition of The Argus that was compiled by Queensland College of Art students from a final-year course called Transmedia Storytelling.