Scientist Rebellion target Australian Open, ANZ, over fossil fuel funding

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Scientist Rebellion has launched in Naarm (Melbourne), conducting its first public action at the Australian Tennis Open.

Scientist Rebellion is a climate action group counting one thousand members across 32 countries. Its members are a multi-disciplinary group of people working in various fields of science and is loosely affiliated with environment and climate movement Extinction Rebellion.

The Australian Tennis Open is being targeted as its major sponsor, Australia and New Zealand Banking (ANZ), is financing the development of fossil fuel projects. ANZ is currently the biggest major bank actively financing fossil fuel developments.

Corporate entities engaging in socially and environmentally destructive practices often use sponsorship of major popular sporting events as a means of white-washing their complicity in the harms they cause. It’s a process dubbed as ‘sportswashing’.

An open letter issued by Scientist Rebellion says “we [scientists and academics] should expose the reality and severity of the climate and ecological emergency by engaging in non-violent civil disobedience”.

“Unless the people best placed to understand the emergency take urgent action, then how can we expect the public to act? Some believe that appearing “alarmist” is too negative, but our terror at what we know means we have to be honest and open about the seriousness of the situation we are facing”, the letter reads.

Further actions are planned during the Australian Open period.

Matt Hrkac

Matt Hrkac is a photographer and photojournalist based in Geelong and works across Melbourne and throughout Victoria.


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