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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

Geography teacher blockades coal train in ‘self-defence’

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Greg Rolles, a 37-year-old Victorian geography teacher has become the third person in a week to blockade Aurizon’s coal trains. Photo FLAC

Early Wednesday morning (November 21) 37-year-old Victorian geography teacher Greg Rolles became the latest person to mount a tripod blocking Aurizon’s coal railway.

This railway services the Bowen Basin, feeding coal into Adani owned Abbot Point coal port.

It is the third time in seven days that Aurizon rail networks have been shut down by climate activists, following the Brisbane line being held up for over nine hours on Tuesday by 21-year-old, Sadie Jones.

Last week, an 18-year-old activist blocked Aurizon’s rail line stopping all trains accessing Abbot Point.

Mr Rolles said his act was the last option he is left with in the hope of saving himself from the risks of premature climate related death.

‘I have no other way to defend myself against companies profiting from global warming’, he said.

According to the 2014 World Health Organisation Report, Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of deaths 2030s and 2050s by the time Mr Rolles is 70, an additional 250,000 people, at a bare minimum will die due to global warming – most of those will be due to heat stroke.

‘My government has known about, and is supposed to be acting to protect me from global warming since 1992,’ Mr Rolles said.

‘They have failed and now I have to try and protect myself.

‘In 1992, Australia ratified the UN Convention on Climate Change. Australia has had a legal responsibility to cut emissions and stop climate change – and has done nothing about it. I’m 37 now and Australia is still exporting coal along this train line and looking to build the disastrous Adani coal mine.’

Mr Rolles said he was ‘dismayed’ with the proposed Adani mine.

‘Despite these warnings from the UN convention back in 1992 and Australia’s apparent commitment to restraining their carbon output, we’re still exporting coal – the emissions from which are actually double our domestic use. I’ve watched Australian governments dither on global warming since I was 11: we have no carbon tax, no carbon trading scheme and no sufficient regulation to protect my life.’


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