SEVERAL environmental events will be held around the New England and North West to coincide with Lock the Gate’s national week of action activities.
From October 13 to 21, progressive film screenings, picnics and koala habitat surveys will be held to highlight the impacts of the mining industry.
Armidale’s Progressive Cinema group will screen two films, including The Sky is Pink by Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of GasLand, and Battle for a CSG Free Northern Rivers on Wednesday night.
One of the organisers, Bea Bleile, said the October screenings would provide further information on coal seam gas mining and the campaign to protect water, environment and health.
Ms Bleile said when they showed another film about the industry, Bimblebox, the audience was shocked about the results in the Hunter Valley.
“Now the coal industry is targeting Maules Creek near the foothills of Mt Kaputar,” she said. “The heart of Maules Creek is Leard State Forest, the largest area of remnant native vegetation left on the heavily cleared Liverpool Plains.”
In conjunction with the October screenings, Armidale Action on Coal Seam Gas will hold a picnic at the Leard forest on Sunday, with another community event to be held at Armidale’s community garden the following Saturday.
A koala picnic will also be held at the same forest on Sunday, October 21, to bring attention to the threat of mining to koala habitat. A recent survey by koala expert David Paull revealed a type of eucalypt tree, the Pilliga box, was a critical link to the North West koala population’s survival.
Mr Paull said the tree was a primary food source for those koalas and could be at threat from clearing of land for open cut coal mines.
Event organiser Pat Schultz hopes many people will attend the event, which will involve children’s activities and campfire discussions on protecting forests and farmland from open-cut mining.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for children to have fun in the forest while it is still thriving,” Ms Schultz said.
The picnic will be held at the Front Line Action on Coal group’s camp at the southern end of the forest near Boggabri.