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Protesters with signs at Sydney Climate Protest
Photograph: Flickr/Kate Ausburn

Everything you need to know about today’s bushfire and climate justice rally

Written by
Maxim Boon

In every major Australian city today, as unprecedented bushfires continue to destroy our landscapes, incinerate our wildlife, and clog our air, protest rallies will be assembling to express the public outrage over the government’s inaction on climate policy. Several major demonstrations protesting the climate emergency have taken to Melbourne’s streets in the last year, including a gathering of around 100,000 for the Global Climate Strike in September. However, today's protest at the State Library of Victoria at 6pm is shaping up to be one of the biggest gatherings yet.

Whether you’re planning on adding your voice to the throng calling for decisive leadership through the climate crisis, or you’re hoping to avoid the protest crush, these are the essential details you need to know about today’s Climate Action Now rally.

If you’re going

It’s worth arriving early

The official kick-off time for the protest is 6pm, outside the State Library. However, it’s likely, given that the number of attendees is estimated to be at least 15,000, that prime positions close to the library will fill up quickly, so it’s worth arriving early if you want a decent spot.

It’s going to be rainy 

Yes, today is expected to hit a hot, hot, hot top temperature of 34 degrees but then the city is expected to receive a classic Melbourne cool change with bonus rain. The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a 95 per cent chance of rainfall, which is expected to hit mid to late afternoon – likely just before or during the protest. Due to the throngs of people expected, we advise bringing a raincoat or poncho instead of an umbrella and wear enclosed shoes with a good grip. Or if you must bring a brolly, take it down when you're in the crowd.

Bring your outrage, but keep it civil

Today’s protests, which are also happening in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, have raised concerns among city officials that unreasonable demands may be put on infrastructure and emergency personnel, who are already stretched thin. Please show our amazing fire, police and ambulance workers the courtesy of protesting peacefully.

Make sure your placard brings the LOLs

Today's protests are a serious business, but as climate rallies in recent months have reliably shown, Melbourne's protestors are masters when it comes to making LOL-worthy placards. So, make sure you bring your pun, meme, and dad-joke a-game to your protest banners.

If you’re not going

Rush hour is going to be hectic

The protest in the heart of the CBD is due to start at 6pm, and with the massive influx of people converging from all over the city, the post-work rush hour is likely to be nightmarish. If it’s possible, take an early mark and get out of the city beforehand, or plan an alternative route to avoid the area around the State Library.

Public transport is likely to be disrupted 

While rail and bus services are scheduled to operate as normal, tram services will be disrupted. Trams that travel along Swanston, Bourke, La Trobe and Elizabeth streets are the most likely to be affected. If you're relying on public transport and specifically trams to get out of the CBD this afternoon, plan ahead and consider alternate routes. 

Donate to the bushfire relief efforts

Demonstrating isn’t for everyone, we get it. But we’re sure you support the four main actions this protest is calling for: funding for firefighters, relief and aid for affected communities, land and water sovereignty for Indigenous communities, and an immediate transition toward renewable energy. Even if you can’t make it to today’s rally, you can still show solidarity with climate change protestors by donating to one of the amazing charities working to support the people and animals from the worst impacted areas, such as the Red Cross or Wildlife Victoria.

You can do your part for the bushfire relief efforts by attending one of these incredible fundraisers.

Or visit one of these restaurants and bars that are hosting fundraisers

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