Human signs across Australia -and across the world?

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At the Climate Council’s City Power Partnership conference held in Kiama on October 18 2018 CEFE President Matthew Nott was a keynote speaker. In his presentation he floated the idea of communities across Australia each making part of a human sign calling for action by politicians on climate change. The idea was enthusiastically taken up by the councils and community groups present. Compared with the human signs crafted in CEFE’s early days (you can check some of them out here) where it was an expensive business chartering an aircraft to capture the sign and hard to synchronise the sign formation with the aircraft arrival, drone technology has made the process a whole lot simpler.

The intention is to spell out the message MAKE THE SWITCH NOW … 100% RENEWABLES …IMAGINE. There will be multiple versions of each word, each done by a different community. Play the video above to see how the project is developing. The NOW sign being constructed at the beginning of the video was for a sign on the lawns of old Parliament House that the conclusion of the ‘Human Face of Climate Change – an Urgent Climate Briefing’ event held on Novemeber 29 organised by the Multifaith Association of SA and others. Founding CEFE stalwart Philippa Rowland is now President of the MultiFaith Association of SA. You can read the coverage from the Guardian here

Tathra’s call to Australia

About 2000 people turned up at Lawrence Park in Tathra on a warm Sunday at the beginning of Spring to send a strong message about global warming to the Australian community. They, along with 14 RFS trucks formed a giant animated sign spelling out initially “Keep Tathra Cool”, “Reduce CO2” and ultimateley “Climate Action Now” – 34 letters in total.


Tathra is a town like no other, it really understands the threat of climate change and how it can be turned into an opportunity. The town has been at the forefront of solutions to climate change since 2006, when CEFE formed two human signs on the town’s beach with 3000 people that read “Clean Energy For Eternity” and “Imagine”.

Since then, 250 kilowatts of renewable energy had been installed in Tathra, coming from such locations as the solar farm at the sewage treatment plant, the primary school, the football club and many businesses.

Speaking to the media following the sign CEFE President Dr Matthew Nott said it was a “disgrace” and a “dereliction of duty” that Australia did not have a national emissions policy and the sign’s message to “politicians of all colours and stripes” was they needed to come together to develop a strong national policy to reduce emissions.

“Renewable energy is now cheaper than coal-fired electricity, so why do we focus on coal as a form of energy? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” Dr Nott said.


Nick Graham-Higgs, the founder of environmental consultancy NGH Environmental, who spent March 18 fighting to save his home and neighbouring properties when a bushfire hit the town participated in the sign.

“We are lucky that no lives were lost that day, but it took several months to recover from the emotional trauma as well as the smoke inhalation,” Mr Graham-Higgs said.

“Everyone is extremely uneasy about the coming summer, as a hot day and strong breeze could set off the nightmare for us once again.

“The clean energy solutions required for climate action are already technically feasible, affordable and available today.

“Making the switch away from fossil fuels is just a matter of political will.” .

David Gallan, President of the Far South Coast branch of the National Parks Association and member of the RFS, who sustained severe damage to his solar-powered home in the bushfire.

“In addition to renewable energy, protecting forests is also one of the cheapest and most effective ways to cut emissions and reduce bushfire risk,” he said.

“Our leaders must act in the best interests of all Australians and support climate solutions such as renewable energy and forest protection.”

Thanks to ABC South East for this coverage

20080608 Lifesaving Energy sand sign

698a17b970LifeSaving Energy is a campaign to get every surf club in the country set up with renewable energy. It was launched Tathra in the summer of 2007 with solar panels and a wind turbine installed on the roof of the Tathra surf club. CEFE managed to get good national media coverage, and we had calls from all round the country, but for some reason the idea just didn’t have the legs to turn itself into a national campaign. CEFE decided instead to focus on surf clubs in our region. SE NSW has 7 surf clubs, although the Bermagui surf club is yet to get a club house. As of August 2008 we have managed to get the Tathra, Jindabyne and Moruya surf clubs set up with renewable energy, with Narooma and Pambula surf clubs to follow in the near future. A wind turbine and solar panels will be launched on the Narooma surf club on 19/10/08.

The funding for the installations has come from the LifeSaving Energy Big Swim series, with strong support from local business and councils. I am hoping that CEFE can work in partnership with Surf Lifesaving Australia to set up a national LifeSaving Energy Big Swim series. The impact that this campaign has had at a regional level has been enormous, and it would be very exciting to roll this out as a national campaign. We are hoping to do just that at an EcoSurf human sign in Bronte on 12/10/08.

20080521 Nimmitabel school sign

1f4d96d91fThe Nimitabel primary school has 30 students and 2 teachers. The school population was 70 students 10 years ago, but has fallen to 30 enrollments, so consequently the schools funding has decreased. Despite reduced funding, the schools electricity bill remains high, so the school has decided to adopt renewable energy so they can afford to buy more books for students. There is a great wind resource on the Monaro, so why not use it. Here is the schools human sign of a rotating wind turbine

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