Our nature movement has a long history of saying no. No to damming the Franklin River, no to Adani’s coal mine, no to dumping in Ningaloo Reef.

But we’re now at a critical point where the future of the communities, nature and people we love depends on us saying yes to some things. Like saying yes to well-designed solar panels and wind farms necessary for increasing renewable energy to power our lives.

We as communities across the country must loudly say yes to these projects because the alternative, burning more coal and gas, is the gravest threat to our oceans and forests.

We face an urgent threat that demands an urgent solution. Burning fossil fuels is warming our atmosphere, acidifying our oceans, fuelling heat waves, intense rainfall, extreme fires, storms and floods, wiping out homes and habitats and pushing threatened species to the brink.

  • Warmer temperatures mean less ice cover and food for Humpback and Blue pygmy whales when they migrate to Antarctica in the summer, and uncomfortably hot breeding grounds when they move to Australia's tropical waters in the winter. 
  • The 2019-2020 Black Summer fires are estimated to have killed or displaced three billion mammals, birds, frogs and reptiles. 
  • In the wake of tropical Cyclone Jasper, thousands of reef fish, plus tropical birds, wallabies, echidnas and other animals washed up dead on Far North Queensland beaches.

Ramping up wind and solar solutions in all our communities will let us phase out coal and gas and provide critical relief to wildlife across Australia.

But it's a big task and renewable energy can only succeed in kicking out fossil fuels if people across Australia unite to loudly and urgently welcome it into all our communities.

People in the Illawarra and the Hunter Valley are leading the way. In their communities, disinformation campaigns are disrupting important offshore wind zone proposals. In response, locals are gathering together on Sunday 4 February to say yes to renewable energy.

ACF is asking people from all over the country to stand with the Illawarra and Hunter communities and spread their message for a brighter, renewable-powered future.

If the proposed offshore wind zones in the Illawarra and the Hunter stumble, it will impact the rest of Australia's renewable build and we will be burning fossil fuels much longer than we can afford to.

Climate impacts have no boundaries or jurisdictions. The consequences affect us all. We must stand with Illawarra and Hunter Valley communities to protect all our communities and the places we treasure.

It's time for all of us to say yes to renewable energy. 

Write a message showing your support for renewable energy that’s good for people and nature before 4 February – and we’ll share it on social media to coincide with the gatherings in the Illawarra and Hunter.

It goes without saying, but our big renewable energy build must be kind to nature.

On our over-cleared continent, there's no need to knock down even more rainforests or destroy more threatened species' habitats.

Building on already disturbed ecosystems, close to cities and regional industrial precincts should be the priority.

Every project must pass thorough environmental assessments. Once offshore wind zones in the Hunter and the Illawarra are approved, each proposed wind farm will undergo environmental assessments and mapping.

Saying no is very often the correct response to new developments – we’ve said no to many that our communities didn't need! But in the bigger picture, our living world needs us to say yes to renewable energy in our communities now.

Our best way to end destructive fossil fuels is urgently building lots of new projects in all our communities to ramp up our renewable energy supply.

For nature, our climate and our future – say yes.

Australian Conservation Foundation