Freedom Flotilla to West Papua meets the Reef Walk Against Coal

On August 3rd the Freedom Flotilla to West Papua, a journey from Lake Eyre to West Papua reconnecting the Indigenous cultures of the two occupied islands, crossed paths with the Reef Walk 2013 south of Marlborough. The Reef Walk is raising awareness of the impacts of Australia’s coal, coal seam gas and LNG exports on the iconic Great Barrier Reef. They are walking the length of the industrialized part of the Great Barrier reef, a three month journey from Cairns to Gladstone.

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Reef Walk is raising awareness of the impacts to the Great Barrier Reef from Australia’s coal, coal seam gas (CSG), and LNG export industries.

“It is so exciting to come together and see the number and diversity of people that are working together to make a better world. The issues of environment, land and people are all connected. We are trying to demonstrate the need and the way to live more simply as we tread lightly with our footprints for peace ’’ said Rosalie Schultz a Reef Walker from Alice Springs.

“We travel with the sacred water from Lake Eyre to unite the tribes from here to West Papua. We do not want to see this water poisoned. We are very concerned by the recent announcement of the coal seem gas exploration in the Lake Eyre basin. We will unite to stop this poison’’ said Uncle Kevin Buzzacott.

“I have been down in Dharawhal, my mothers country in the Illawarra fighting to stop the contamination of Sydney’s water catchment area. There are sacred sites all through that area, rock carvings, paintings tools and middens that need to be protected. Its dangerous insidious and unsustainable, it kills everything.’’ said Uncle Lyle Davis

“The environment of West Papua is gravely threatened. Our ancient rainforests are being destroyed both by government sponsored and illegal logging, making way for massive palm oil estates. Our sacred land is raped by multinational corporations greed, damaging both the environment and local peoples livelihoods” said Ronny Kareni.

“Whole rivers have been poisoned by the tailings of Freeport mine and by Ok Tedi on the PNG border. However under the occupation, opposing environmental devastation is very difficult as environmentalists are branded as separatists and are not free to protest.

Building links such as this with environmentalists around the world we are creating a movement to end investment in the companies that are destroying our Indigenous homelands.”

Photos of this meeting are available here

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