BLOCKADE: Extinction Revolution protesters making a point at the Byron Bay Lighthouse.
BLOCKADE: Extinction Revolution protesters making a point at the Byron Bay Lighthouse. Contributed

Extinction rebels block lighthouse access

EXTINCTION Rebellion activists temporarily blocked the access road leading to the Byron Bay lighthouse on Saturday

The action lasted around 10 minutes and according to the group's spokesperson Emma Briggs, it was about giving tourists time to reflect on the future of one of Byron's most popular natural attractions

With a banner reading "Enjoy Byron while you can”, the activists stopped traffic going in both directions and handing drivers flyers with information about Cape Byron or Walgun, the shoulder, as it was originally known.

Ms Briggs said reactions to the protest ranged from very supportive to fairly annoyed.

"Most motorists were patient, turning off their engines and waiting quietly until the road was cleared,” she said.

In a statement to the Byron Shire News Ms Briggs said:

"The Cape plays an important part in Arakwal Dreaming stories and was a special place for ceremony as well as providing precious food and shelter.

"Since 1828 when colonial cedar cutters first began setting up camps nearby, ecosystems have been decimated and burial sites, middens, scarred trees and ceremonial Bora rings have been destroyed by sand-mining and development.

"Thanks to the hard work of local Bundjalung people over the past decades, much of the cultural and natural heritage has been restored, as the area was part of the first National Park formed under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and today Arakwal people jointly manage the park with National Parks and Wildlife.

"However now, along with every other ecosystem on Earth, Walgun faces its biggest ever threat as human-induced climate change brings rising sea levels, coastal erosion, extended droughts, lethal bushfires and devastating floods to our region.

"Carbon dioxide concentrations are now at the highest level the Earth has experienced in three million years and natural systems cannot adapt to this pace of change.

"Governments are failing to stop the crisis from happening. Emissions keep rising and leaders are not hearing our demands for a serious and rapid response to this emergency.

"Extinction Rebellion is based on social science, which has found that mass non-violent civil disobedience has always been the quickest and most effective way to achieve change on a large scale.

"Like the suffragettes and the civil rights movement, we resist our unjust systems and sacrifice our liberties in order to make ourselves heard.”