Newcastle climate activists win conservation award

Rising Tide, the Newcastle-based climate group, has won this year’s Peter Rawlinson Award for tirelessly and fearlessly drawing attention to the looming climate crisis.

In 2009 Rising Tide generated national media coverage when its activists abseiled down the front of Parliament House on Federal Budget day with a banner that read “Carbon Budget Blowout”, co-convened a huge summit for community climate action groups, stopped work at a notorious aluminium smelter for several hours with a non-violent protest, jointly organised a peaceful sit-in at Parliament House a week before the Copenhagen climate talks and staged a day-long blockade of the rail line into the world’s biggest coal port at Newcastle.

Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry said Rising Tide was a loud and vital voice in Australia’s broad environment movement.

“As a small and agile group Rising Tide does things that bigger national groups like ACF simply can’t do,” Mr Henry said.

“Since its birth in 2004 Rising Tide Newcastle has made a lot of people sit up and take notice of the climate crisis and what we as Australians need to do to be part of the solution.

“Rising Tide prove that a small, committed group of volunteers can make a big impact.”

A new report by ACF and the ACTU, Creating Jobs - Cutting Pollution: the roadmap for a cleaner, stronger economy, shows if governments act now to shift Australia from a pollution dependent economy to a cleaner economy it would create more than 60,000 new jobs in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley by 2030.

ACF’s annual Peter Rawlinson Award acknowledges the outstanding voluntary contribution of an individual or group to conservation. Dr Peter Rawlinson was ACF’s Treasurer and Vice President and one of Australia’s leading biologists and conservationists. He died while doing field work in Indonesia in 1991.