At the ‘Keep the Coal in the Hole’ Summer Festival in Mataura in January 2012, the Cantabs discussed what actions we could take to prevent new and expanded coal mining in New Zealand. Inspired by the Festival, but shocked by the proposals for lignite extraction near Mataura, our group held our first meeting in March.
During the year, we have been generally trying to get our name ‘out there’ and attract new members. We have had a stall at the Frack Free Concert (another worthy cause), we have screened Bimblebox and we walked with our banner along Riccarton Rd to protest against asset sales. Our members have attended a bio-blitz, presented to select committees and supported a court action against mining on the Denniston Plateau.
So that we could get some ideas for possible actions, we held an afternoon brainstorming session (with 350.org). We are excited by some of the ideas generated by this meeting, and will look at implementing them in 2013.
Also on the agenda for 2013 is the continual hunt for new members and new energy. There’s only so much that a few people can do, especially busy people in post-earthquake Christchurch!
We have much to be grateful for. Solid Energy’s briquette factory in Mataura (using lignite- the dirtiest form of coal) has not yet opened, and any ideas about expansion are off the agenda. Next year we hope to be more proactive, and more positive. We want to send the right messages- that a sustainable coal-free New Zealand is not only possible, but the best choice.