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Turtle Times June 2021

Hi friend,

We've been busy at ECNT & COOLmob this past month, take a read to get updated and see what's happening throughout June! 

Friends of the Earth Australia, Jubilee Australia and ActionAid Australia just launched the inaugural Cane Toad Award. This is your opportunity to have your say on which Australian corporation should be named and shamed for being the biggest #CaneToad. The nominees are ANZ, Rio Tinto, BHP, Mayur Resources, The Just Group and Resgen. Find out more and cast your vote here

Did you miss hearing from the experts speaking about the Barossa Project at our event last month? Catch up on our Youtube channel

Message from our Co-Directors

We hope you’re loving the crisp air and cool nights of the dry season, when the Territory is at its most beautiful and its busiest!

We’d like to start by congratulating our environmental watchdog, the NTEPA, for listening to Territorians and taking a cautious approach to development in Darwin Harbour. Territorians want a pristine harbour and clean air to breathe and won't accept slipshod development in this most precious of places. As ECNT noted in its submission to the NTEPA regarding TNG’s minerals processing facility at Middle Arm, there are still some big issues with TNG's proposal to process minerals in Darwin Harbour, including that over 500,000 tonnes of waste will be produced, air quality national criteria will be exceeded, and the greenhouse gas emissions will be over 1 million tonnes per annum, more than 7% of the NT's entire annual carbon emissions. Well done to the NTEPA for holding the line, in the interests of the environment, and the community. Read our media release here.

In other mining news, ECNT has been busy with our McArthur River Mine campaign.  We visited Borroloola in early May to support community members during the visit of the Commonwealth Parliament’s Inquiry into the destruction of Juukan Gorge by mining giant Rio Tinto. Traditional Owners powerfully conveyed their hurt and concern about the devastating impacts of this mine over four decades.  In the words of Traditional Owner Josie Davey Green, "I just hope they listened to us, to the problem we've got here," she said. "I want the mine to clean up the damage that they done and to look after our sacred sites, protect them."

We are plaintiffs with Josie, and her husband Jack Green, in court action challenging the Mine Minister Nicole Manison’s decision to slash the security bond by $120million. This case was in court in May, with the Territory refusing access to key documents relating to the security bond calculation.

On 30 May 2021, the Independent Monitor for McArthur River Mine released its long overdue report into McArthur River Mine. ECNT was completely blindsided by the findings of Advisianwhich are completely out of step with every Independent Monitor report published since the mine was converted to open cut in 2008. The new report does not address a significant number of environmental risks identified by the previous Independent Monitor. There’s no way these problems have vanished into thin air. Not only does the latest report ignore key environmental risks, it is also nearly 3 years late. This is an unacceptable delay and raises questions about the utility of the Independent Monitor as an oversight mechanism. There is no doubt that the Independent Monitor completely failing as a mechanism to ensure oversight of this toxic mine. The public, and Borroloola community, deserve an explanation.

Our work on the McArthur River Campaign needs your support.  Help us to stop the damage at Australia’s most toxic mine, and to overhaul the Territory’s shocking mining laws, by donating here on our website.

ECNT, in collaboration with TOP END STS (Social studies of Science, Technology and Society in Northern Australia) bring you the Rapid Creek Gurambai Walkshop. 

Using listening and walking as method, participants will be guided by experts in the military and environmental history of Rapid Creek, and with a Larrakia welcome to country and reflection, to think through how multiple histories, actions and events have shaped Rapid Creek. The topics covered will include Indigenous histories of Gurambai before and after colonisation, the piecemeal cumulative impacts of ‘development’ on the Rapid Creek catchment, the caring labour of people in Darwin who work to conserve what remains, and the everyday militarisms infiltrating Rapid Creek. Be prepared to have your perspectives challenged about this most beloved place.

More info and tickets on our website. 

Fundraiser bush walks & hikes

This year ECNT invites you to join us for some bushwalks in beautiful places around the Top End. These experiences are about enjoying yourself, getting to know the landscapes and learning about their natural heritage. 

The second hike is in the Upper South Alligator River and its tributaries draining from the Arnhemland and Marrawal Plateaus of Kakadu National Park. It’s a valley of great natural heritage and is culturally sacred to Indigenous people of Jawoyn language heritage, who own the land both traditionally and in Australian law. It was also the site of a passionate environmental and cultural stand-off – one of the biggest in Australia’s history – which lead to the toppling of a prime-minister back in the 1980s.

If you have some experience with overnight bushwalking, have good fitness and a desire to experience and learn about this area,  join us on this trip along one of the wild and beautiful tributaries of this valley.

Four days (Friday-Monday), medium-difficult grade (off-track walking through rough, remote woodland and along rocky creeks with an overnight pack).

Trip cost: $650 (Territory Guardians / members: $600). There are 8 spots available.  

Climate Conversations Update 

ECNT's Climate Conversations Facilitator Training commenced with bang! 💥🌟💫 in May. Five Facilitators signed up to be part of the first round of Facilitator Training, with lots more interest from the members of the community to jump on board in the coming months.  
Training consists of attending a Climate Conversation as a participant, 2 x 3hr face-to-face training sessions (remote dial-in is an option), and some pre-training reading and homework in between sessions.  Volunteer Facilitators are asked to commit to facilitating a minimum of 2 Conversations a month for 6 months (about 12 hours a month), and regularly participate in ongoing monthly training sessions (2 hours).  This is a fantastic opportunity to develop your professional facilitating skills, connect meaningfully with other people concerned about Climate Change, experience ongoing personal growth, be part of an awesome community and inspire others to take action on Climate Change. 🌍
Follow the link to find out more about our Climate Conversations program. Facilitator Training #2 is scheduled for Saturdays 26th June & 3rd July, 9am-12noon @ ECNT, Darwin.  Subsequent rounds of Facilitator Training will be scheduled outside of Darwin with eyes set on Alice, Katherine and Tennant Creek, and possibly further afield).  Contact Jodie our Climate Conversations Coordinator to find out more [email protected] or 0421 006 407

ECNT's getting office renovations - time to pack!

We're feeling extremely lucky to be able to renovate the ECNT offices - making them a cleaner and more vibrant space to work and hold meetings and events. We're going to be packing *every single item* that's not furniture - books and the like, including the kitchen items, but not including the store room items, into boxes and these will be stored whilst the renovations take place during July.

If you'd like to volunteer some time to help us pack we'd be extremely grateful! Or even if you have some large packing boxes you could donate, we're currently stockpiling these so we're ready. Email us if this is you

We'll confirm closer to the time, but our office will most likely be closed during this time - and we will be working remotely.

EOFY Donation Drive 

Donate now to help the Territory’s nature thrive, and ensure YOUR generous gift is spent in the Territory. Unlike large national NGOs, all donations to ECNT are spent here, to protect the Territory’s natural environment.

In the next twelve months, ECNT will run the following campaigns and programs:
  • saving Territory savannas and freshwater from collapse due to the expansion of industrial-scale irrigated agriculture;
  • keeping the Territory’s magnificent rivers flowing wild and free-flowing;
  • running the McArthur River Mine campaign to change our rotten mining laws;
  • protecting Darwin Harbour from further industrialisation; and
  • expanding our Climate Conversations” program to inspire our community to take climate action.
Make sure your EOFY tax-deductible donation is spent in the Territory, for the Territory. Or consider becoming a Territory Guardian by giving regularly to ECNT.

Right now, big cotton interests from down south are planning to strip much of the surface and flood waters of our iconic Top End rivers - the Roper and Douglas-Daly. And new research has found that this could have a devastating impact on our barra!

Our wet season river and floodplain runoff is critical to the productivity of the Territory's barramundi. Sign the petition calling on the Gunner Government to protect the Roper and Daly rivers by ruling out proposals to strip away our rivers’ surface water and floodplain run-off - our barra depend on it.

We’ve seen the disastrous impacts of water extraction for cotton on the Murray-Darling Rivers. It would be a huge mistake to repeat that on the Roper and Daly.

We cannot let this happen. 

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has launched a national People’s Inquiry Exploring the costs and consequences of Australia’s involvement in the U.S.-led wars, the U.S. alliance and its alternatives.

The Inquiry aim is to promote a national conversation on this vital subject and is currently inviting submissions from a wide range of organisations and individuals, an invitation that is extended to you. The great majority of Australians have never been asked about this alliance, its implications and its limitations.

Read more and make a submission on the IPAN website.  

Green Drinks is an international informal meet up network, and we're getting it back to Darwin. See you there sometime, at the end of each month. Sometimes we'd love to have a speaker on a relevant enviro topic, so get in touch if you'd be interested. But all in all, it's informal and social, and a way to meet like-minded people. 

Behind the scenes 

Lots of what we do to achieve our vision happens behind the scenes, and we've had some requests to share what we've been working on. Below are the submissions and media we've written over the past month:

Upcoming events 

Talk to you soon, 

Shar, Kirsty & the team @ The Environment Centre NT

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