Making valuable connections at the 2018 Beyond Coal and Gas National Conference at Alexandra Headland were (from left) Sandra Williams from Reef Watch Whitsundays, Ray Yoshida from Getup, Dr Vaishali Patil who travelled from India and Jessica Harwood from The Sunrise Project campaign group which convened the event.
Making valuable connections at the 2018 Beyond Coal and Gas National Conference at Alexandra Headland were (from left) Sandra Williams from Reef Watch Whitsundays, Ray Yoshida from Getup, Dr Vaishali Patil who travelled from India and Jessica Harwood from The Sunrise Project campaign group which convened the event. Craig Warhurst

Farmers, environmentalists join hands in mines fight

THE Sunshine Coast is playing host this weekend to the grass roots campaign fighting to stop the Adani coal mine and driving community demand for the transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable alternatives.

The event will be staged at the same time the Sunshine Coast celebrates its 39th annual World Environment Day on Sunday at Cotton Tree.

The 2018 Beyond Coal and Gas National Conference over three days at Alexandra Headland was the fourth by The Sunrise Project which aimed to drive the change to a pollution-free future powered by sun, wind and water.

It has attracted more than 350 people from across Australia and internationally who have lead or have led campaigns to protect their land, water and future.

The key conference focus would be on the campaign to stop the Adani coal mine in north Queensland as would strategies to shift the politics of climate change.

The Sunrise Project founder and executive director John Hepburn who convened the conference, has an engineering background and has also spent a decade working with Greenpeace Australia Pacific including managing its climate and energy campaign.

"Tens of thousands of people around Australia are fighting fossil fuel expansion and championing the shift to clean energy that is taking the world by storm," he said.

The conference purpose was how best to use a social movement to defend communities, natural heritage and the global climate from the impacts of the fossil fuel industry.

Speakers include Beyond Coal campaigner Bruce Nilles from the United States who has helped slow and stop construction of 196 new proposed coal plants and to retire and replace another existing 266 and Indian campaigner for environmental justice Dr Vaishali Patil, whose representation of India's poorest and most marginalised people has brought her head to head with Adani and other coal and nuclear projects, was also on the speakers' list.

She would explain why Adani won't give up on trying to build its Carmichael mine and that it would take intervention from politicians who get that three quarters of Australians don't support the project.

Central Queensland graziers Bruce and Annette Currie from Jericho who have fought in the courts and community proposed Galilee Basin coal mines and John Dalton from the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens Group which has opposed a range of coal and bauxite projects on fertile agricultural land were also on the speaking program.

World Environment Day and Renewables Expo is on at Cotton Tree Park from 10am to 5pm tomorrow.

Sunshine Coast Climate Action Now (SCCAN) would host the renewables expo showcasing the supply and installation of renewable energy and smart systems; electric vehicles, including the Tesla Models S and X, and electric bikes; recycled e-waste and plastics to produce affordable, smart products and demonstrations of how sustainable communities could be created by creating elegant housing diversification through the concept of Small is the New Big.

SCCAN founder Denis White said by working with the local community and joining the global climate change movement it was possible to affect radical social and political change needed to create a sustainable, clean energy future.

A feature of the expo would be a demonstration of what a 'renewable village' could look like, linking solar power, battery storage and electric vehicles in a small dwelling.

The 2017 World Environment Day run by the Sunshine Coast Environment Council was named the Queensland winner of Australia's Best Charity or Cause-Related Event of the Year at the 2017 Australian Event awards.