Policy advocacy involves the procedures that convince regulatory bodies to maintain adherence in a specific sector. Like-minded individuals come together to form social movements which can achieve greater success in pushing for policy changes. The “Lock the Gate” alliance is a collection of groups in Australia concerned about the environmental effects of coal, steam gas and fracking. The group has a website and social media handles which communicate their initiatives. They also criticize moves by the Coal Steam Gas companies, which threaten to destroy the environment. Through Facebook posts and Twitter hashtags, the group has stopped some selfish policies by the CSG companies. This literature discusses the campaign group’s steps in achieving a pollution-free nation. It also evaluates the effectiveness of the campaign strategy.
“Lock the Gate” is a campaign strategy that aims to protect the environment in Australia from coal mining, coal steam gas and fracking effects. Farmers, conservationists and urban residents came together to stop the impact of coal mining on their agricultural activities. The First Nation’s people had been affected by earlier effects, such as soil erosion, due to the voids created during mining (Lock the Gate.org). More so, they suffered deforestation and water pollution, which significantly affected the citizens’ survival. More so, coal mining is a threat to Australia’s tourism industry, a major revenue generator. Coal mining raised concerns about the integrity of vital tourist attraction sites such as The Great Barrier Reef and The Kimberly (Lock the Gate.org). This coal mining issue affected farmers, environmental conservationists and overall citizens.
The “Lock the Gate” campaign targets policy reforms that would protect the interests of Australian citizens. The movement advocated for a restriction on coal mining procedures. The government and its regulatory bodies had to control areas accessible for coal mining activities. This would protect residential areas, water sources, farming land, and natural sites such as forests. Australians also needed assessments on the impact of mining activities on health(Lock the Gate.org). Companies need to enforce proven and viable methods to prevent environmental pollution. More so, citizens need legal rights to reject the approval of mining activities on their land without their consent. There is also a need for independent, bias-free research on air pollution from coal mining. The coal mining companies should sign legal obligations to participate in environmental rehabilitation due to their harmful operations (Lock the Gate.org). Lastly, there should be restrictions on coal mining near important facilities such as dams. This can directly impact the citizens through pollution or damage to essential service amenities.
Evidence supporting the need for policy change
The “Lock the Gate” campaign uses numerous evidence sources. First, it utilizes key statistics and trends. It highlights the Channel Country gas impacts. Despite the Queensland government’s promise to protect the flood plains in Channel Country, the campaign literature shows that Origin Energy had applied to frack 11 leases on about 225,000 hectares of land (Lock the Gate.org). It also uses key statistics about the Australian oil and gas industry, which relates its employer contribution to the major producers. The oil and gas sector is the smallest employer compared to trade, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Secondly, it uses stories about lived experiences to support its message. The “Lock the Gate” campaign uses events such as the erosion effects in Coolah NSW along the Central Ranges Pipeline. It caused massive damage, which was expensive to rehabilitate. Furthermore, expert opinions and research studies have benefited the “Lock the Gate” campaign. It has assessed feedback from about 685 peer-reviewed articles to obtain data on the effects of unconventional gas exploitation (Lock the Gate.org). These research studies establish credibility in the campaign’s air and water pollution information and associated health risks. The “Lock the Gate” campaign has also used expert opinions and research to dismiss common myths about Coal Seam Gas operations. Finally, the campaign uses feasible policy propositions. It relies on articles from third-party organizations with similar goals. For instance, it uses a CSIRO article to review avoiding issues in the Gas Industry and Social Environmental Alliance.
Evidence in the “Lock the Gate” campaign is presented using varied techniques. The campaign has incorporated key statistics on the environmental effects of the Coal Seam Gas operations. Statistics indicate figures which show the condition of a subject under study. For instance, it shows the percentage contribution of the Petroleum Gas Industry to the employment figures in the country (Lock the Gate.org). Furthermore, it has used visual images and storytelling. The duo is compatible in illustrating the effects of the mining processes on the environment. The visual images also improve understanding of the conventional and unconventional gas mining processes. Some of the campaign literature has attached detailed reports for readers who may be interested in developing a deeper understanding. For instance, the campaign on unconventional gas risk has attached reports on scientific, media and medical findings on the risks and harms of fracking. The methods of presentation are all captivating. They also improve their audience’s understanding of the campaign issue.
Effectiveness of campaign strategy
The “Lock the Gate” campaign has majorly used media coverage such as mass media, social media, coalitions and alliances and stories to communicate its ideas. Mass media has a significant influence on the current society. Twitter hashtags and Facebook posts are effective in relaying information to the masses. The “Lock the Gate” Alliance has a Facebook page of one hundred and fifty thousand followers. It posts issues such as the effects of fracking on the Australian environment. These media platform illustrates The Facebook and Twitter platforms have also been used to communicate alternative renewable energy generation methods.
The campaign has more than two hundred and sixty local groups. Some groups include the Beyond Zero Emissions, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Gas Field Free Dubbo. These like-minded organizations work together to champion against environmental harm caused by fracking procedures. The campaign also uses stories on its website. These stories highlight the effects of fracking on the environment. They also present statistics on the Coal Seam Operations in other states. Stories supported by facts improve their followers’ understanding of previous, ongoing and developing events in the coal industry. Citizens are thereby compelled to pursue justice. They also stir the audience’s emotions by illustrating the gross violation of their rights. Digital informatics has been used by the “Lock the Gate” campaign to show relevant news about the Coal Seam Operations (Lock the Gate.org). It exposes violations by mining companies and predicts their effects on the environment and people’s health. The informatics also communicate measures that should be taken to combat the ongoing crises. More so, social media can influence the public to organize peaceful demonstrations, which pressure the government to respond to grievances.
Impact of the campaign
The “Lock the Gate” has significantly reduced environmental degradation due to mining activities in Australia. It has achieved partial success through persistent communities which resisted coal company activities in their area. Through the campaign’s education, citizens pushed Metgasco and Arrow Energy to pull out of their development programs (Dominic O’Dwyer, 2013). These anti-CSG alliances also pushed for lifting CSG moratoriums in Victoria (Blondeel and Van de Graaf, 2018). This campaign has achieved recommendable popularity in Australia. It has enabled landowners to reject mining activities in areas they find unsuitable. More so, the campaign has protected most of Australia’s productive land, such as farms and water catchment areas. However, as of 2023, several CSG projects still threaten the integrity of Australian land. For instance, the “Lock the Gate” foundation is yet to contain the Baralaba South Coal mine, which is to be situated on prime agricultural land (Lock the Gate.org). More so, the Hunter Valley operations will threaten Hunter River’s cleanliness. The campaign’s main challenge is the fight against billionaire companies that have zero environmental conservation interests at heart. These companies are headed by influential persons who are associated with political heads in government. The “Lock the Gate” campaign has thus to have stringent measures to contain these companies. Generally, this campaign has been beneficial in protecting Australia’s environmental soundness.
The “Lock the Gate” campaign is a formidable force in keeping the Australian mining companies in check. Coal Seam Gas exploitations have detrimental effects on the environmental soundness. They cause pollution and destruction of landscape beauty. These affect the air and water cleanliness. It also disrupts tourism which is a major revenue generator in Australia. “Lock the Gate” has resourceful articles on its website which enlighten its followers. They address the issues in the Australian space, such as activities conducted by the CSG companies. More so, the stories also communicate the effects of the CSG activities in Australia. “Lock the Gate” also has social media platforms to mobilize its followers. In order to tackle these wealthy CSG companies, this campaign will have to major in legal procedures. It should push the government to pass more regulations that regulate the CSG sector. More so, it should pressure the government to develop stringent follow-up procedures that ascertain the CSG companies’ adherence to environmental conservation regulations. Legal procedures will block the entry of profit-oriented organizations in the CSG sector.
Lock the Gate.org. Policy objectives. Policy Objectives – Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate.org. Supporter groups. Find Supporter Groups – Lock the Gate Alliance
Castleden, W.M., Shearman, D., Crisp, G. and Finch, P., 2011. The mining and burning of coal: effects on health and the environment. The Medical Journal of Australia, 195(6), pp.333-335. https://europepmc.org/article/med/21929497
Blondeel, M. and Van de Graaf, T., 2018. Toward a global coal mining moratorium? A comparative analysis of coal mining policies in the USA, China, India and Australia. Climatic Change, 150(1-2), pp.89-101. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-017-2135-5
Lock the Gate.org Unconventional gas: Shale and Tight gas and fracking risks. About Shale and Tight Gas – New Site (lockthegate.org.au)
Dominic O’Dwyer, 2013. Australia Locks the Gate on Mining. Australians Lock the Gate on Mining – New Internationalist Easier English Wiki