Below is the unabridged speech written for the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, where 350 Boorloo Perth held a joint stall with WAFA (W.A. Forest Alliance) from the 6th – 11th of July, at the screening of “End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock”.

By Rhiannon Hardwick

Hello everyone, thank you for supporting the incredible Revelation Perth International Film Festival, which actively refuses fossil fuel sponsorship and gives a platform to progressive groups and causes.

And thank you for supporting this inspiring documentary, “End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock by Shannon Kring.”

My name’s Rhiannon and I’m a co-coordinator of 350 Boorloo Perth, a group that takes action to support the global movement for a just transition away from fossil fuels to secure a safe climate future for all

Just as the Dakota Access Pipeline was going to be a disaster for the climate and water on Indigenous lands in the United States, the Scarborough gas project in Western Australia will be an environmental disaster if it goes ahead.

Woodside & BHP’s proposed Scarborough gas development not only threatens our climate, producing 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon pollution over the life of the project, but increased gas emissions would also exacerbate the destruction of the culturally significant and world-renowned Murujuga rock art on the Burrup peninsula.

Furthermore, the Scarborough gas project endangers our precious marine ecosystems and wildlife in the Dampier Archipelago, which is the richest area of marine biodiversity in WA, home to turtle nesting beaches, humpback whales, dugongs, dolphins, coral reefs and more than 650 fish species. 

Scarborough gas is no sure thing, but we need all hands on deck to build the power of this movement and put enough public pressure on project stakeholders for them to pull out.

We are very privileged to live in one of the safest places in the world for dissenters, and due to the presence of the gas industry in WA we are also well-positioned to make a huge difference by stopping fossil fuel projects in their tracks. 

As this documentary will demonstrate, we have so much to learn from the brave environmental defenders across the world who put their bodies on the line to save their homelands.

Did you know that last year, at least 222 environmental activists were murdered? 86 of these people were Indigenous defenders of the Amazon. 

Once you learn a truth about the world, it is impossible to unknow it. And the truth about the risks people were taking to protect our planet was what finally compelled me to become a committed climate activist. But for someone who cares so deeply, it still took me a very long time to get here.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems easy to forget that we’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, that our oceans are dying, inequality is rising, and that we’re heading towards climate catastrophe. Especially when we’re so busy working to pay bills, finding time for loved ones and trying to fit in a workout or Netflix show.

Maybe it’s easier to forget because the truth is too overwhelming, too devastating to carry with us at all times. Maybe it feels like we couldn’t possibly have an impact on these issues, or perhaps it’s just easier to pretend that everything is okay. I know that I have felt all of these at some point. 

And let’s face it, it is easier to be ignorant of the state of the planet when corporations outsource pollution and exploitation to communities that are mostly out of sight and out of mind for the Global North.

It is these communities – often communities of First Nations peoples such as those in the Amazon, at Standing Rock, or in remote parts of Australia – who have been, and continue to be, the front line of defence against corporations and the destruction of our natural world. 

If we can learn from the wisdom of Indigenous cultures, then we will realise that we are all connected, to each other and to the whole web of life. We will realise that the struggle of First Nations peoples is our struggle.

And as the film shows, it’s critical to realise that when we take action together, we can become powerful enough to take on huge corporations.

If you are inspired by the activists in this documentary and feel compelled to take action, please come see us in the lobby after the film to learn more about joining 350’s campaign against Scarborough gas and WA Forest Alliance’s fight to save our native forests. 

The truth about the climate emergency might be overwhelming, but when you are motivated to act from a place of love – for the natural world, our fellow humans, or for your family, then doing the right thing becomes easy. 

We look forward to having you on board.

To support our campaign, register to get a stack of postcards asking BHP not to fund the disastrous Scarborough gas project, which you can distribute to your friends, family, colleagues or at a community event.

 Otherwise, you can sign up to volunteer here!