Today the Perth community will gather for a peaceful candlelit vigil outside fossil fuel company Woodside’s headquarters to show their concern for vulnerable marine wildlife threatened by Woodside’s Burrup Hub gas expansion.
The vigil has been organised by the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and Greenpeace Australia Pacific and is supported by the Wilderness Society, XR Grandparents Perth, Doctors for The Environment, 350 Perth, the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, School Strike For Climate and Australian Youth Climate Coalition WA.
It comes as Woodside tries to start work on its controversial Burrup Hub gas project off the Pilbara coast.
What is seismic blasting?
Seismic blasting involves firing high powered compressed air cannons at the ocean floor in order to identify oil and gas. These blasts occur every 10-15 seconds – perhaps for months at a time – and are so powerful that they penetrate deep into the seabed. The noise generated by these blasts can reach 250 decibels – 1,000,000 times more powerful than the loudest sound a whale is capable of making.
Seismic blasting can kill or injure marine animals in the vicinity, with even microscopic zooplankton – the basis of the ocean food chain – at risk of death. The noise can deafen whales and deter them from visiting areas where seismic blasting is taking place, which can coincide with breeding and feeding grounds.
The Perth community is calling on Woodside to abandon its plans for dangerous seismic blasting to protect whales and other vulnerable marine life.
There are community-run vigils being held in Margaret River and Karratha on Wednesday evening to coincide with the Perth event.
Conservation Council of WA Fossil Fuels Program Manager Anna Chapman said:
“Through invasive and destructive dredging and seismic blasting, Woodside is endangering some of our most vulnerable marine life. When considered alongside the enormous climate impacts of the Burrup Hub, the true scale and seriousness of Woodside’s plans are clear.
“West Australians have nothing to gain from Woodside’s plans – the majority of the gas and most of the profit will be sent overseas. However, our state’s iconic and endangered species – and our climate – have so much to lose.”
Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner Sophie McNeill said:
“Woodside’s destructive gas is a danger to our climate and nature. We want thriving, healthy oceans, clean jobs and a safer climate future for us all to enjoy, not Woodside’s dirty gas. We call on Woodside to stop its dangerous seismic blasting and the harm it would cause to whales. We will continue to oppose and challenge Woodside until it changes course.”
Member of School Strikes for Climate and school student from Margaret River Emma Heyink said:
“I am terrified of Burrup Hub. The climate and environmental devastation of this project terrify me more than anything, keeping me up at night. The impacts of Woodside’s seismic blasting for gas, destroying sea Country, destroying the climate and my hopes of a safe future, deafening whales, the same whales that migrate yearly past Margaret River where I live, that we all watch and love, must be stopped.
“I want to have a safe future with clean seas, clean air, clean environment, and a safe future and Burrup Hub cannot coexist. I want a safe, clean future, and there is absolutely no place for Woodside’s dirty gas in this.”
Australian Youth Climate Climate WA’s (AYCC WA) Jordan Rowand said:
“As young people, we are concerned about the impacts that fossil fuels like gas have on our future. We know that pollution from fossil fuel projects is causing more extreme weather and yet big corporations like Woodside are lining up to open risky new gas wells, pipelines and power plants across the continent – putting their profits ahead of communities.
“Our communities deserve better. All of us want clean air and water, a healthy environment, and a safe future to grow up in.
“Woodside’s proposed projects off the coast of Western Australia would put our national and global emissions reduction obligations far out of reach.”
The Wilderness Society WA campaigns manager Tim Clifford said:
“The Wilderness Society WA stands with Greenpeace, CCWA, and many other concerned and rightfully outraged community members in condemning Woodside’s seismic blasting activities.
“The fact that Woodside are putting the lives of whales at risk just days after dredging in critically endangered turtle habitat shows their complete disregard to the harm they are inflicting on the environment and marine life.
“The destruction Woodside is causing for their Burrup Hub project is completely unacceptable and the only thing we have to gain from this project is six billion tonnes of toxic emissions, irreparable damage to the sacred Murujuga rock art and the escalation of the climate crisis.”
350 Boorloo Perth’s Nick Doyle said:
“The fact Woodside are threatening marine life in serve of a project which would be the most polluting in our history is almost cartoonishly evil. It’s not just whales at stake but people’s lives, as we have seen with the recent climate-fueled fires ravaging Hawaii and now Canada.
“We simply cannot allow the Burrup Hub to go ahead. We must hold these climate criminals to account and stand against Woodside’s Burrup Hub just as we have done with their James Price Point project.”
Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, WA’s Rev Ken Devereux said:
“West Australians can’t afford to be complacent as massive gas companies offer assurances of the need for their product long into the future, in a critical time of energy transition. We need to take seriously the moral principles embedded in the world’s great religious traditions.
“As a major continuing source of climate pollution Woodside’s Burrup extensions violates the rights of future generations to a safe environment. As the project gets underway with seismic blasting off our shores precious marine life will be devastated. Traditional custodians and others concerned for the wellbeing of whales and other wildlife are aghast at the threat of water and seabed vibrations blasting loudly for extended periods during geological research.
“Similarly, respect for Island people to our west and our east, recognizes that global warming and rising sea levels threaten their existence. Let’s accept that we need to change our lifestyle priorities and pull back from this unconscionable project.”
CCWA encourages those opposed to Woodside’s highly controversial proposal to join the new Go Beyond Gas campaign. The campaign aims to solve WA’s biggest contribution to climate change, big gas exporters, so that WA can play its part in preventing catastrophic and extreme weather events associated with a warming climate.
For more information, visit: https://www.gobeyondgas.com.au/
MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing nearly 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia.
For more information, visit: ccwa.org.au.
CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies
08 6558 5156 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]