Fight For The Bight: Day Of Action
Yesterday, thousands of people paddled out in 62 locations across Australia for the National Day of Action in the battle to halt Equinor’s oil exploration plans in the Great Australian Bight.
Channel Nine pegged the numbers at 10,000 but anecdotally the numbers were higher - the Torquay, Manly, and Byron protests alone would've cracked 10K.
Regardless, it was one of the largest coastal environmental rallies ever in Australia, with mass lineup invasions from Darwin right around to Townsville expressing disapproval of the Norwegian oil giant’s twice-rejected proposal.
Equinor has until November 29 to resubmit their drilling plan after its second rejection by governing body NOPSEMA, who turned down the plans on factors surrounding oil spill risk, threats to marine life, accident prevention and consultation with the community.
Yesterday saw speeches and appearances from the likes of Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Bede Durbidge, Steph Gilmore, Cheyne Horan and Layne Beachley. It was a proud day for surfing, a powerful stand of solidarity against environmental exploitation and one that drew much-needed mainstream media coverage.
In Bondi, the surf was waist-high, disfigured by a relentless onshore breeze which removed any hope of a pre or post-paddle session.
The crowd gathered at the southern end marinating in rubber. Steph Gilmore’s glowing smile was spotted amongst the sea of foam and glass, banners, and cameras. Jet skis and helicopters circled while the mob made its way out to form an enormous, disorganised ring roughly out in line with Icebergs.
We splashed and cheered, “Fight for the Bight!” It was a surreal experience; a community united.
We’ve all seen the worst-case scenario graphics which illustrate the horror a spill could wreak on coasts ranging from Margaret River to Port Macquarie. The fight certainly isn’t over yet and if Equinor’s third attempt is given the green light there will be more action required.
“If there’s an approval to be given, you will see this escalate beyond anything that we’ve seen in Australia before,” said Peter Owen of the Wilderness Society to Channel 7 News.
Here’s what you can do right now:
Head to https://www.fightforthebight.org.au/ for updates and upcoming activities.
Follow https://www.instagram.com/fightforthebight/ and https://www.instagram.com/seano888/
Flex your trolling muscles over at https://www.instagram.com/equinor/
Sign the Greenpeace petition https://www.greenpeace.org.au/what-we-do/bight/
Last word goes to Sean Doherty:
"The big question now is: what next? We just sent a huge message to Equinor and the Feds that we won’t tolerate this bullshit on our coast, but how do we stop ‘em?"
"Keep turning up, that’s how. We can hammer them in social media, but turning up is what changes hearts and minds...and decisions. And then once Equinor are kicking a can back to Norway, what then? Seems like everyone’s ready to keep this rolling, to fight the next Equinor or the next casino-cruise ship terminal or the next big dumb money-making idea that risks the coast. Our best hope is to get behind Surfrider Australia who led many of the paddle-outs yesterday."
"Battling the oil and gas lobby has proved one thing: we need a surfers’ lobby group. I’ve signed on as a board member with Surfrider and there are a lot of good people already there fighting for the Australian coast."
"Memberships are as little as $15 for groms, $25 for adults or $85 for families. We need to get Surfrider strong and send it into battle for the coast and our kids future."