#STOPADANI: The landscape of environmental activism in Australia

#STOPADANI: The landscape of environmental activism in Australia Thesis

Geography and Environment

  • Author(s): Rupić, Michael C
  • Published: 2020
  • Publisher: University of Hawai'i
  • Volume: Master of Arts

Abstract: Australian grassroots action on climate change is a recent phenomenon. Climate change as an issueof concern entered the political landscape and the national psyche of Australia later than in othercountries, but since then there has been a surge of climate action. A grassroots layer of the climatemovement has been co-evolving with the proposal of development projects such as coal mines.Australia’s grassroots movement consists of concerned citizens seeking to address climate changethrough personal action by pushing for broader economic, political, and social change. The researchproduced by this analysis delves into this aspect of climate action in the context of the coal miningindustry in Australia, with particular focus on environmental discourses (e.g., sustainabledevelopment, environmental justice, green radicalism) characteristic of the #StopAdani movementthat has evolved to contest the proposed Adani mine. ​What is the geography/landscape of environmentalactivism in the case of the Carmichael Coal Mine in Queensland, Australia?​ I draw on social media data,interview data, as well as important documents and sources from the gray literature to address thisquestion. Analyzing across these various datasets, I show that the Australian grassroots movementagainst the Adani coal mine has been able to adapt its vantage depending on scale, employing aneconomy-centered argument about the infeasibility of fossil fuel extraction at the local scale and anenvironment-focused argument about the injustices of coal mining ventures on the global scale. Ialso find that while the movement historically engaged with diverse discourses, ideas ofenvironmental justice became more prominent in the movement following the Australian bushfires.Social media data illustrate how Twitter contributes to the dynamism of grassroots activism whilealso illustrating how important events, e.g., the bushfires, can have a dramatic effect on orientationof activism. The data also illustrate how different framings of the same issue, i.e., the economicunviability of the Adani mine and the environmental injustices of the Carmichael, can have aunifying impact on social movements.

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Suggested Citation
Rupić, Michael C, 2020, #STOPADANI: The landscape of environmental activism in Australia, Volume:Master of Arts, Thesis, viewed 04 July 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=18201.

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