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Katherine Smyrk

I have had a passion for community organising around social justice issues since I was a nerdy teenager in high school running the Amnesty International Club. Throughout university my involvement in things was sporadic, limited mostly to rallies and petitions. However, for the last two years I have been an active member of Quit Coal, working to stop new coal and gas projects in Victoria. I am still working with Quit Coal in Melbourne. We work with metro communities to raise awareness about climate change and with regional communities to help fight individual proposals and raise awareness about more immediate issues of coal and gas mining.

At the moment our strongest campaign is Coal and Gas Free Communities, where towns under threat from exploration licenses, conduct surveys of all landholders and then (if the landholders agree) declare themselves Coal and Gas Free. This has been highly successful, with every town (five so far) obtaining over 96% agreement. This then leads to active resistance against projects and more engagement in the general climate change debate. My role within Quit Coal has been Media and Social Media Coordinator, as well as helping out with basic tasks to do with running the collective and the Coal and Gas Free Communities campaign.