As dawn broke over Swanbank Power Station this morning, 4 Greenpeace activists stirred from their cold, uncomfortable resting place at the top of one of the smokestacks and started painting “Go Solar” down the side. Meanwhile, 800 kilometres to south, 250 people woke to a field of frost at the Camp for Climate Action and warmed themselves with cups of tea in preparation for a human sign spelling out “Cut carbon: now or never”.

The last 2 weeks has seen a swell of climate change action by concerned groups and citizens, coinciding with ongoing media coverage of the Garnuat Review, the emissions trading scheme, and the G8+ Summit. There’s been a flurry of opinion pieces and letters to the editor as climate change once again makes the headline news. It’s hard to escape the sense that eight months into the Rudd Government the Australian people are starting to sit up to see whether Kevin Rudd is going to deliver his election promise of real action on climate change. There’s overwhelming support for a shift to renewables, and a growing awareness that what’s lagging is political will.

Luckily, in the absence of strong government action, there are others who are prepared to take a stand for the renewable future we want to see. As Greenpeace activists begin their second day of occupation of Swanbank, sending the clear message that Queensland needs to see renewables begin to replace old coal-fired power stations, hundreds more people are converging in Newcastle in readiness for the mass community protest against the coal industry tomorrow. There was a sense of building anticipation last night as people assembled for a meeting to discuss their roles on the day. Today, people are preparing banners, practising street theatre and organising support teams to hand out orange quarters and be on first aid standby. Most people at the Camp have also attended non-violent direct action workshops to learn about the history of civil disobedience and to prepare for peaceful tactics to make the protest as effective as possible in stopping the coal chain.

Hundreds of concerned citizens are camping at the Camp for Climate Action in Newcastle

Tomorrow at 10am there is a public rally at Islington Park in Hamilton, Newcastle. If you care about climate change, come along and march to the Carrington rail terminal to support the courageous people who want to stop the coal trains and send the strong message to the government that it’s time for action.

An activist on the roof of Swanbank Power Station captures public sentiment for strong action on climate change.