ClimActs is a politically strategic, voluntary run Australian performance collective using striking visual spectacle and satire to communicate the urgent need for the world to respond to the climate and extinction emergency. Our theatrical work shines spotlights on corruption; on the political forces blocking effective climate action while allowing extractive and exploitative industries to continue to make massive profits from activities that are destroying the natural world and the fabric of society.
Each act has been carefully created to address an aspect of the climate debate. As the founding act, the Climate Guardians represent selfless and fearless care and guardianship. The global media coverage the Climate Guardians received during the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations that led to The Paris Agreement, and prior to that during the G20 in Brisbane (November, 2014), appears to have inspired many other artist activists to embrace creative tactics while taking peaceful direct action.
ClimActs‘ satirical acts include the Coal Diggers (aka BUMS – Billionaires United Mining Services joint venture with the COALition), and their cyber-psycho-analysing Hackers Guild which epitomise the recklessness and insatiable greed of the fossil fuel industry and their political and financial backers. The Medieval Astronomers from the Flat Earth Institute of the Universitarse of Climatastropharse (est 1033AD) are wilfully, blindly ignorant serial deniers, and the players from the substrata-obsessed Frackers Guild are as ridiculously desperate and shortsighted as they are subhuman.
Regardless of the guises in which ClimActs appears, they play a role of peaceful social disruption; manifesting at major rallies, backdropping or intercepting political events, and bringing a theatrical and uplifting presence to public demonstrations, non-violent blockades and occupations against major polluters and their political and financial backers. All of our work demands climate justice, as outlined in our Safe Climate Demands.
ClimActs has also performed as guest artists at Australian and international festivals including staging the opening performance art piece for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2014, two performances for the City of Ballarat’s Interventions (2014), four performances for the City of Ballarat’s Winter Laneway Festival (2015), at ArtCOP21(Paris, 2015) for which we received a Community Environment Award from Environment Victoria, at the Sydney Lord Mayor’s special Preview Opening of Janet Laurence’s H2O Water Bar (Paddington Reservoir, Sydney, 2016), the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (UK, 2016), the Australian Performing Arts Centres Associations (APACA) Conference/PAX (2016), the Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA) in Ballarat (2018), and at the launch of Janet Laurence: After Nature at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2019).
For helping to inspire ClimActs’ creative tactics, we gratefully acknowledge the brilliant work of the John Howard Ladies Auxiliary Fan Club (aka The JoHos, co-created by Liz Conor and Zelda Grimshaw), The Yes Men, and the founders of Victoria’s Quit Coal Collective.
The following gallery of images will take you back through our history of actions dating back to 2013, including links to blogs and critical references informing the climate and ecological emergency we face.
[vimeo 240638112 w=640 h=360]
This clip was created for projection on public walls during the United Nations COP23 climate negotiations in Bonn. Please read our blog: ‘Only One Earth’, November 2017
Here we are at Melbourne’s International Mining and Resources Conference where Coral Bleach appeared as a key note speaker addressing the key topic: ‘How to Get Rich and Powerful from Digging Up and Burning the Planet!’ After Coral’s talk, along with her Guatam, more than 10,000 people lined up to be photographed by BUMS latest private celebrity photographer Luigi Paparazzi! 31 October 2017
As the US was reeling from unprecedented hurricanes,Climate Guardians hand delivered scrolls with universal messages to Silicon Valley, September 2017. Read our blog: Force for Sustainable Progress or Tool for Tyrants?
Thank heavens we were there to protect our mate (and Federal Environment Minister) Josh from hordes of elitist lowlife leftist greenies who gate crashed the Kooyong 200 Club’s fundraising brekkie, September 2017
Read ClimActs submission re Reforms to the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Tax
Coal Diggers formally seeking to retain a prestigious law firm to represent us in a claim for $666 billion in lost profits suffered as a direct consequence of ongoing government failure to address Coal Investile Dysfunction (“CID”). Read our blog: Coal Diggers’ Landmark Claim Against Mums & Dads and Farmers!
Read ClimActs‘ submission to the Federal Climate Change Review 2017
As Victorian police stand guard Coal Diggers launched the Hackers Guild, the latest tool in the BUMS* arsenal, at Melbourne’s Liberal Party headquarters and the elite gentleman’s Melbourne Club, April 2017. Read our blog: Hey Malcolm, choose our Hackers Guild!
Coal Diggers with powerful political backers prospecting for coal & gas at the MCG, February 2017
With members of Melbourne’s determined climate movement Climate Guardians descended on the US Consulate early on ‘Presidents Day’ to demand urgent action to address the global climate emergency and decry the apparent hijacking of US politics by the fossil fuel industry, February 2017. Read our blog: Climate Guardians descend on US Consulate Melbourne
To debunk ideologically motivated rumours that clean coal doesn’t exist, Coal Diggers joined key Federal Government Ministers and mining industry heavy weights held a press conference at Federal Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg’s office to announce the innovative Clean Coal Fairy, February 2017. Read our blog: The Clean Coal Fairy, Every Polluters Fantasy
Coal Diggers helping to ensure fossil fuels get top priority during the ANZ AGM’s Agenda, December 2016
Climate Guardians marking a year since COP21’s Paris Agreement, the Climate Guardians descended on the ABC Southbank studios to lock out polluting industry stooges who are hijacking Australia’s public broadcaster and national information provider, December 2016. Read our blog: Our Auntie is not a Murdoch
Coal Diggers welcoming dignitaries (at least 8 politicians) and special guests of neoliberal, tax-exempt-think-tank Institute of Public Affair’s ‘coalabration’, November 2016. Read our blog: Crashing the IPA’s Coalabration!
Read ClimActs‘ Submission re Retirement of coal fired power stations, November 2016
Climate Guardians honoured with an Environment Victoria Community Environment Recognition Award, October 2016. Read our blog: Climate Guardians honoured with an Environment Victoria Community Environment Recognition Award
Climate Guardians Latrobe Valley ‘visitation’ to support Earthworker’s Walk With The Valley fundraising event (100km from Pakenham to Morwell over 7 days) #JustTransition, September 2016. Read our blog: #JustTransition #JustDoIt
Climate Guardians manifesting in support of Australian Conservation Foundation’s ‘Reef Not Coal’ rally, September 2016
Climate Guardians at dawn on Wednesday 24th August, a flock of Climate Guardian Angels proudly manifested on the Princes Bridge—a key gateway in to Melbourne Australia—to demonstrate their support for the indigenous Native American protectors standing strong at Standing Rock, August 2016. Read our blog: #NoDAPL
To add to Fossil Free MU’s celebrations during Enviro Week, Coal Diggers bore witness as BUMS* CEO2 Coral Bleach bridled fellow coal devotee Senator Malcolm Roberts [the living soul], August 2016. Read our blog: Save Our Aussie Coalture!
Climate Guardians manifested at London’s Australian embassy, a key voting centre in the weeks before Australia’s 2016 Federal election, July 2016
Climate Guardians appeared as guest artists at the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival over the weekend following the shock results of the #Brexit vote, July 2016
All Climate Guardians who faced charges for their role in the Pilliga Push blockade were either mothers or grandmothers. Having no choice but to plead guilty as charged, the final plea did not proceed to convictions, or fines and all received 12 month good behaviour bonds (NSW only), May 2016. Read our blog: Climate Guardians Escape Convictions.
One of the Angels arrested was a 75 year old mother of five, grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother of three children as well as the first person in Australia to have been arrested for taking direct action against gas fracking, and a recipient of a United Nations Association of Australia community award for her commitment to world peace and the environment. June is pictured here defying the State of Emergency ban on protesting in Paris during COP21, December 2015.
The Climate Guardians appeared at Downing Centre in Sydney on 30 May 2016. In driving home the seriousness of our offences, in his opening statement, the Magistrate advised that the penalty for our actions could result in a maximum of two years imprisonment. He then proceeded to insist that was not going to happen in his courtroom. In finishing, the Magistrate advised that next time Climate Guardians are in between the bulldozers and the police, remember that when they say it’s over or have placed us under arrest, that’s the time to end the protest, May 2016. Read our blog: Climate Guardians Escape Convictions
Five (of 7) of the Climate Guardians who blockaded at Pilliga Push were arrested and four of those women were handed the exceptionally severe charges of resisting address and failing to obey police. Within weeks of their arrests the NSW government rammed through new anti-protesting laws designed to protect profiteering corporations like Santos. In NSW the protest fines now faced by concerned citizens have risen ten-fold to $5,500 while the fines faced by companies engaged in illegal mining activities have plummeted from a maximum of $1.1 million to a maximum of $5,000. Expressed another way, it’s cheaper to mine illegally than it is to protest illegal mining, May 2016
A flock of Climate Guardians staged a ‘visitation’ in the marginal federal seat of Corangamite, while Raf Epstein of ABC774 Melbourne was holding an outdoor broadcast, interviewing candidates, May 2016
Climate Guardians descended upon the devastated coupes of the logged Mountain Ash Forest to stand with the Knitting Nanas of Toolangi demanding these precious natural forests—reported to be the richest sources of carbon storage in the world—be protected as the Great Forest National Park, May 2016. Here is a clip from our joint action, which was also reported on the evening news.
Climate Guardians descended on Newcastle for #Breakfree2016 where they joined around 2,000 people to shut down the world’s largest coal port. While kayakers blocked coal carriers at the harbour entrance, others occupied railway tracks effectively locking down the coal trains and halting $20 million worth of coal shipments, May 2016
Heralding the start of a global wave of resistance to keep coal, oil & gas in the ground, on the eve of Mother’s Day 2016 in the hottest year in recorded history, flocks of Mother and Grandmother Climate Guardians descended on the offices of Federal Ministers for Resources & Energy The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP and the Environment, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, May 2016. Read our blog: #Breakfree2016
Coal Diggers welcoming fellow coal loving guests at the then Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Josh Frydenberg’s Kooyong 200 Club’s fundraising brekkie. Interestingly one of the police officers who attended to us had read about the Liberal Party’s tax dodging ‘clubs’, March 2016. Read our blog: Coal Diggers Frack with Josh Frydenberg @ Kooyong 200 Club
Coal Diggers threw their formidable might behind the Coalition’s latest coal loving candidate Barnaby Coalala, February 2016
After devastating cuts to the CSIRO, Coal Diggers celebrate the merger between Australia’s national science institute with BHP (note: CSIRO management had already made that sign for us, we just printed it off the Internment), February 2016
Climate Guardians manifested at Janet Laurence’s stunning H20 Water Bar in Paddington Reservoir Gardens, 11 February 2016. Read our blog: From the Great Artesian Basin to Janet Laurence’s H2O Water Bar
Climate Guardians supporting Pilliga Push’s blockade of Santos’ Narrabri Gas Project involving 850 coal seam gas wells in the Pilliga State Forest. In addition to threatening the largest inland forest left in Eastern Australia, Santos’ project sits above a critically important ‘recharge zone’ supporting the crucial pressure head enabling ground water from the Great Artesian Basin to flow to the surfaces of the massive expanse of land dependent on it (yep, for growing food), dawn 9 February 2016. Read our blog: From Paris to the Pilliga
Within days of returning from signing the COP21 Paris Agreement, the then Federal Environment Minister approved the world’s biggest single carbon bomb, the Carmichael coal mine. So on Christmas eve the Coal Diggers joined Santa to hand deliver his favourite thing, coal, 24 December 2015
In protest of the deep injustice and lack of ambition inherent in the Paris Agreement, Climate Guardians broke through police barricades to lead a crowd of more than 10,000 through the Paris streets on the last day of COP21, December 2015. Activists from all around the world marched that Red Line around five kms from L’avenue de la Grande Armée to the Eifel Tower and occupied the bridge over the River Seine for more than an hour. The Red Line symbolises a crossing of the Earth’s critical physical and social limits; it marks a non-negotiable no go zone where wholesale systems collapse. Read our blog: Organised and Armed
In a few prominent public places—including the Palais Royale, the Archives Nationales in Paris and the Paris Opera—highly talented and dedicated young musicians (also dressed as Angels) joined the Climate Guardians and played music in between readings of Australian children’s letters, December 2015. Read our blog: #AngelPost COP21
At a time when their city truly was under siege, Climate Guardians felt deeply touched by Parisians’ incredibly warm and generous responses to our COP21 ‘visitations’, December 2015. Read our blog: 2015: Reflections
Featuring children’s messages in Climate Guardians‘ street performances for ArtCOP21. To increase their reach, a number of letters were left tied to posts and taped to ancient street walls, December 2015. Read our blog: #AngelPost COP21
Coal Diggers occupying the red carpet and delaying the Heartland Institute’s world premiere screening of climate denying doco ‘The Climate Hustle’ for more than an hour, here we are with our mentor Lord Monckton. The Parisian police who dropped everything to attend to us billionaires couldn’t have been more understanding of our mission, December 2015
Coal Diggers welcomed guests at The Heartland Institute’s counter-COP21 conference at the Hotel California in Paris, December 2015. Read our blog: So, we lied. What to do about it?
After nearly four hours blockading Engie’s global headquarters in bitter cold, Climate Guardians kneeling before a Parisian riot squad detailing the findings of a major report on Engie’s failings of Victoria’s Latrobe Valley community, December 2015. Read our blog: Climate Guardians blockade Engie’s global headquarters
Climate Guardians supporting a spectacular Big Oil Out of Culture action at The Louvre urging cultural institutions to reject funding derived from fossil fuels, December 2015
Climate Guardians at the COP21 entrance at dawn on the first day personally delivering heartfelt letters, artworks and poems from young Australians urging world leaders to consider their futures. Read our blog: #AngelPost COP21
Climate Guardians also manifested at Melbourne’s global global ‘March for Climate’ mobilisation, reported to have been the largest march in the world, on the eve of COP21, 29 November 2015
Climate Guardians supporting Avaaz’s innovative shoe exhibition, Paris’s contribution to the global ‘March for Climate’ mobilisation, 29 November 2015
With utmost respect and compassion for how Parisians were feeling following the brutal Friday 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Climate Guardians defied the State of Emergency declaration that strictly limited civil society movements, including public protesting, during COP21, December 2015. Read our blog: Bonjour COP21, Paris!
Climate Guardians appearing at a Melbourne community Vigil to honour the memory of George Bender who took his own life after a decade long fight to keep the gas industry off his farm, October 2015
Climate Guardians occupying the roof of the then Federal Minister for the Environment to protest his approval of the Carmichael coal mine, October 2015. Read our blog: Responding to the approval of the Carmichael coal project, blockading the Federal Environment Minister’s rooftop
The Flat Earth Institute verily endorseths Senator David Leyonhjelm’s candidates for the role of Wind Commissioner, October 2015. Read our blog: Flat Earth Institute Proudly Endorseth Senator David Leyonhjelm’s Candidates for Commissioner
Coal Diggers welcoming panelists to the Abbott’s government’s Green Groups Inquisition, September 2015
Climate Guardians supporting the community’s ongoing calls for renewable energy solutions, September 2015. Read ClimActs‘ Submission to the Review of Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2010
Climate Guardians supporting Fossil Free MU’s campaign demanding Melbourne University divest from fossil fuels, August 2015
Climate Guardians supporting the community’s ‘End of Coal’ party, August 2015
Coal Diggers prospecting for coal & gas, commissioned by the City Ballarat’s Winterlude Laneway Festival, July 2015
The Flat Earth Institute demonstrating its faith in the Coal Gods, commissioned by the City of Ballarat’s Winterlude Laneway Festival, July 2015
Climate Guardians manifesting during a stunning light show commissioned by the City of Ballarat’s Winterlude Laneway Festival, July 2015
Frackers Guild haunting Victoria’s substrata, commissioned by the City of Ballarat’s Winterlude Laneway Festival, July 2015
Read ClimActs‘ Submission to the Inquiry into Unconventional Gas in Victoria, July 2015
Climate Guardians manifesting with Melbourne Federal Member Adam Bandt at the CLIMARTE festival’s Maldive Exodus Caravan Show calling for the release of climate activist & first democratic President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, May 2015
Coal Diggers infiltrating a full day community blockade of the Commonwealth Bank for refusing to halt loans to new coal projects, May 2015
Read ClimActs‘ Submission re Australia’s post-2020 emissions reduction target, April 2015
Climate Guardians standing with Friends of the Earth as the community environment group is targeted by the Abbott government’s Green Group Inquisition, April 2015. Read ClimActs‘ Submission re Register of Environmental Organisations
Read ClimActs‘ Submission to Working towards a National Clean Air Agreement, April 2015
Read ClimActs‘ Submission to the Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines, March 2015
The Flat Earth Institute throwing its weight behind the Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines, endorsing the inquisition, March 2015. Read Yes2Renewables’ blog: Senate Wind Inquisition Nothing but a Witch Hunt
Read the Flat Earth Institute Submission to the Select Committee on Wind Turbines, March 2015
Coal Diggers hosting a Laborals #VoteCoal Party on the steps of Parliament early on the Friday before Victorian State election, November 2014. Read our blog: Coal Diggers launch new cook book at the Vote Coal Party!
Climate Guardians blockading the well-disguised VIP entrance of Brisbane’s G20, for which the Climate Guardians earned the Courier Mail’s ‘Most Aussie Moment’ after agreeing to end their three and a half hour ‘visitation’ in exchange for a lift to the pub of their choice, November 2014. Read our blog: Climate Guardians blockade Brisbane’s G20.
Climate Guardians supporting members of Darebin Climate Action Now to hold their local ALP member to account, October 2014
Climate Guardians supporting the #PeoplesMarch, September 2014
Climate Guardians manifesting on behalf of rural Victorian communities demanding a ban on the exploration and development of unconventional gas, June 2014
Climate Guardians joined Melbourne’s climate community in challenging major polluter AGL to divest from fossil fuels, October 2014
Climate Guardians join community members standing with Jonathan Moylan at the Melbourne vigil outside ANZ HQ to hear his sentencing for the hoax Media Release announcing ANZ’s withdrawal of funds for the appalling Whitehaven Coal project in the Leard State Forest, July 2014
Joining thousands at the March in May rally, although it appeared theCoal Diggers were alone in supporting Abbott’s Billionaire Welfare policies, May 2014
‘Coal Requiem’:Climate Guardians‘ opening performance art piece for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale, specially commissioned by its then curator Julie Collins. The Angels were accompanied by a singing ‘mother’ dressed as the iconic Columbia Films ‘Torch Lady’ in a cream gown with a sea blue coloured sash, and backed by two young brothers Rupert and Tristan Buesst, playing violin and cello respectively.‘Coal Requiem’ was writ large on the foreshore, with burnt wood resembling coal and seaweed. In addition to the haunting songs, the classical musicians performed a nature-honouring piece they had specially composed for the occasion, March 2014
In preparation for Climate Guardians‘ Lorne Sculpture Biennale performance, Allana Beltran created our first sets of giant wings, with a total of seven (one angel representing every continent on Earth) beautifully made by talented seamstress angels Janice Appleton and Tracy Naughton, from late 2013 to March 2014
Celebrating Climate Guardians‘ first anniversary with Giselle Wilkinson, Founder and President of the Sustainable Living Festival, February 2014
The Flat Earth Institute appears as expert witnesses at the Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Inquisition, February 2014
Climate Guardians host a Press Conference in Parliament House Canberra on the Carbon Price Repeal Legislation with the Hon. Kelvin Thompson, Sen. Christine Milne and Sen. Louise Pratt, Day 2 Abbott Federal government, November 2013
Clive Palmer hemmed in by adoring Billionaire Coal Diggers on his first day of Federal Parliament, November 2013
“Thank you Ladies & Gentleman of the 4th Estate. You’re no longer needed because from now on we will conduct our own press conferences without your pesky questions about departmental spending, weddings, wikipedia and carbon emissions”Coal Diggers Doorstop Press Conference, Day 1 Abbott LNP government, November 2013
We’re told that “ANZ is committed to sustainable development” and together with Whitehaven Coal, Coal Diggers proudly present the Leard State Forest’s clean & green, minimum chic clearfell forest fashion look, October 2013. Read our blog: The Coal Diggers seal a venture-partnership with ANZ
Climate Guardians manifest for the City of Ballarat’s Interventions project, October 2013
Coal Diggers offering Cachécoal mineral beauty fusion facials at our ‘al fresco’ salon during City of Ballarat’s Interventions project, October 2013
Climate Guardians after debating with Kevin Ekendahl, Liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports, September 2013. Read our blog: The Angel Diaries: Close Encounters with Climate Culprits
Hey Melbourne bebes! Adam shmadam, we Coal Diggers own your substrata. Just sayin xx, September 2013
Climate Guardians portending at dawn as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report is released with dire warnings, September 2013
Coal Diggers playing Giant Scrabble in Federation Square. Everything is large scale for us Billionaires, August 2013
Coal Diggers welcoming BUMS* shareholders at Melbourne’s Stock Exchange, August 2013
Coal Diggers taking truckies Gina & Clive for walkies, August 2013
Coal Diggers line dancing in BHP global head office foyer, August 2013
Coal Diggers Hazel Wood and Coral Bleach join ClimActs, forming the Billionaires United Mining Services (BUMS*) to stage a takeover bid of BHP’s global headquarters and Australia’s government, August 2013
Climate Guardians stencilling the facades of Australia’s big four banks during mid-week peak traffic lunch period, July 2013
The Flat Earth Institute confer an honorary BhP for substrata profiteering on the shadow minister for Climate Change Greg Hunt for his Direct Action Plan, July 2013
Climate Guardians manifesting for Environment Victoria’s Paid to Pollute campaign, at MP Michael Danby’s office, May 2013
Climate Guardians visitation to BHP’s global headquarters, May 2013
Climate Guardians stencilling BHP’s global headquarters, May 2013
Climate Guardians portending at Treasury, May 2013
Climate Guardians visitation to the electoral office of the then Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Nick Kotsiras, May 2013
Climate Guardians Lakes Oil Visitation, May 2013
Climate Guardians stencilling Lakes Oil office on behalf of the then threatened Seaspray community. Coincidentally former LNP Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer (who was then on Lakes Oil’s board) just happened to be there, and we later learned that they were so spooked by the sight of Climate Guardians that for at least the following six months visitors to the floor on which Lakes Oil is situated required a security escort, May 2016.
With fabulous support from our creative friends at Rose Chong Costumiers, the Frackers Guild manifests for the first time, to appear as key note speakers for a Gas Symposium hosted by Minter Ellison, April 2013
Climate Guardians Victorian Parliament House visitation, March 2013
Climate Guardians seeking relief from unprecedented Autumn heatwave, NGV mote, March 2013
Climate Guardians cooling down during Melbourne’s record breaking autumnal heatwave, Stanford Fountain opposite Parliament House, March 2013
Climate Guardians visiting the then Federal Minister for Resources, Martin Ferguson, March 2013
Flat Earth Institute welcoming delegates to Lord Monckton’s presentation, April 2013
Lord Monckton declares his admiration for the Flat Earth Institute and, inspired by our NZ Flat Earth brethren and stunning support from our creative friends at Rose Chong Costumiers, another ‘ClimAct’ was born, April 2013
Within weeks of connecting with Quit Coal activists, Guardian Angels for the Future evolved into the Climate Guardians, pictured at our inaugural manifestation for the Sustainable Living Festival, February 2013
Inspired by Allana’s Weld Angel, Liz Conor established a website called Guardian Angels for the Future and designed the first climate angel costumes, January 2013
Our inspiration and dear friend, Allana Beltran whose haunting, 10-hour Weld Angel occupation in the Weld Valley woke the world up to the tragic destruction of Tasmania’s natural forests. Thanks to photographer Matthew Newton, 2007