As thousands of people discovered at Camp Liberty at the Bentley blockade there is more to protests and blockades than potential confrontation with the corporate police state. If you have any time at all to travel in the near future do yourself and the planet a favour and visit camp Binbee, permanent base camp in North Qld that supports people involved in the ongoing campaign of protest against the giant reef destroying Adani coal mine and the associated Abbott Point coal export terminal.

Clean, calm and comforting. Camp Binbee - anti-Adani base camp in North Queesnland.
Clean, calm and comforting. Camp Binbee – anti-Adani base camp in North Queesnland.

I visited recently and very quickly concluded that irrespective of the outcome of blocakdes and protests against the insane proposals for giant coalmines in the Galilee basin, Camp Binbee is a highly valuable experience in its own right.

Located on privately owned rural tropical woodland backing onto a beautiful dry river bed inland from Bowen, the camp is a veritable learning laboratory in regenerative culture. The camp is a fair way from the site of ongoing protests against the mega mines and port but provides a welcome respite for weary activists and a chance to live and learn amongst a committed community of protectors.

Social movements achieve far more than the campaigns for change that they work on. Just like at Camp Liberty, this camp is a learning laboratory that showcases a regenerative culture of respect, participatory democracy, shared responsibility, sustainability and ongoing learning.

I witnessed a core group of participants welcoming, educating and inspiring a steady throughput of visitors from around Australia and the globe. From my years in social movements, I could see that there was just so much that was being done well at camp Binbee.

Upon first arriving in camp, a thorough induction process guides new arrivals through the basics:  respect for traditional owners, camp housekeeping, environmental sustainability and maintaining safe and inclusive peer culture for all participants. Camp Binbee is situated on traditional Birri lands, and acknowledgement and respect of that vast history and sovereignty is impressed upon all visitors and camp residents regularly.

Part of regenerative activism is learning new skills of living and working together for the common good that have been sublimated by individualist and consumer culture. Our toxic corporate culture has led us to believe that our individuality is the most precious asset that we have but in so many ways, our individualism ends up being little more than poor compensation for having lost the really important things in life, our connection to ourselves, to other people, to nature and to the planet itself.

The gardens at camp Binbee are the first very real physical evidence of the positivity and practicality of camp. They are a vibrant burst of lively greenness amongst the mostly brown hue of the tropical woodland. Bananas, paws paws, salad greens and more thriving with the daily rosters of watering and tending. So too the kitchen provides a daily fare of nutritious delicious food prepared again by a roster of camp dwellers. These things may just be the housekeeping and practical side but they are at the core of the groundedness of the experience.

Daily meetings with rotating facilitators keep everyone informed of goings on, and there are constant learning workshops taking place with any skills people have to share from bread-making through to more pointedly activist skills such as tree climbing, or workshops covering intellectual and spiritual themes such as personal resilience and distributed leadership.

Of course it’s not just a utopia, it is a serious camp supporting a very real and very challenging campaign that is up against incredible odds. The fossil fuel industry is a dangerous opponent with a history of corruption, misinformation, and human rights abuses around the globe.  The mining and fossil fuel industries have been funding and lobbying politicians for decades in this country and hold undue influence over both major political parties, and as a consequence over all Australian parliaments. The recent federal election has only fueled the bravado of the reckless vigilantes that are constantly being whipped up by Murdoch and various radio shock jocks against greenies, protesters and activists, and the QLD police are as always ready to serve their political masters. The arrest of French journalists last week near Bowen at an anti-Adani action has drawn global attention to the recklessness of Australian governments and the unhealthy state of our democracy.

Protest and direct action remain essential in the democratic fight for climate justice. The Adani mine is not only a climate crime, it is economic stupidity. There is every chance that despite the political corruption, mining subsidies and misinformation in the media that these mines may not go ahead due to their faulty economics, but the blockades must persist. There are hundreds of thousands of Australians opposed to the mines in the Galilee basin, and there is work being done in every city and town to defeat this corrupt leviathan. The brave and wily direct action protesters at the front lines are like the burning flame atop the much larger candle of public sentiment that continues to stand in the way of these insane projects.

Front Line Action on Coal (FLAC), Stop Adani and Galilee Blockade all deserve our support in whatever way we can offer it, but despite the gravity of the situation there is a spirit of renewal and regenerative culture alive and well at camp Binbee and I encourage anyone who can, to treat yourself to a visit and to participate.

There is every chance that direct action protest will also become more urgent up north again soon, as Adani prepares to clear native forests as it tries to keep proving to gullible politicians and not-so-gullible markets that its proposed mine is viable.

Support the campaign against Adani any way you can, but if you can spare the time, make sure you visit and participate at Camp Binbee.

You can view more info and videos about Camp Binbee at


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