Apollo Bay: a community standing up to the oil industry

17 December 2018

What does it take to get a whole town standing up for a good cause? 16-year-old Grace brought her Apollo Bay community together to take a stand against deepwater oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight.

My name is Grace, I’m 16 years old and I organised a flotilla – a floating protest against deep sea oil drilling – in my home of Apollo Bay, Victoria.

Apollo Bay is a small, beautiful town on the Great Ocean Road, located just by the sea. I’ve lived here my whole life.

When I was much younger, I was kayaking with a mate in the local harbour when a pod of three dolphins swam up beside us and jumped around for a while, so close I could reach out and touch them. It was the most exhilarating and beautiful experience from the ocean.

For us, the ocean is more than just a beautiful view. It’s the lifeblood of our community, with tourism and fishing supporting so many families here in Apollo Bay. But big oil companies are planning to drill for oil off our coast, risking our pristine environment and way of life.

It’s not only oil spills that worry me. As a young person, I care deeply about climate change. My generation will have to deal with the consequences of the decisions being made by big fossil fuel companies trashing the environment.

But one thing I love about my community is that we come together to do incredible things – like standing up to  those greedy oil companies. In the lead up to the flotilla, we held a stall at the school fete, we painted our surfboards, postered the main street of town. We got together and made a banner. The morning of the flotilla, I felt nervous but extraordinarily excited. It made me so happy to see all my friends, family, school and community so pumped to be involved.

Grace (center) with friends Eleni (left) and Hannah (right). 

Apollo Bay has a population of just 1500 – but on the day of our flotilla, 350 people were out there on the water and on land to protect the oceans we love from oil drilling – despite the wind and rain! I learned throughout this project how bringing a community together can really make a difference, and that anyone can do it. There are people like us right around Australia – standing up for what we believe in.

Join Grace in standing up against oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight: