The Advocates is a 83,000-word creative nonfiction written by Robyn Gulliver and Jill L. Ferguson, which tells the hidden stories of Australian women environmental activists. The book follows nine crusaders of iconic and lesser known campaigns whose behind-the-scenes efforts power activism across Australia.
An activist since childhood, Jan McNicol (Brisbane) has barricaded herself to coal mine gates and escaped police pursuit. She practices one climate action every day. Jane Bremmer (Perth) has fought against toxins and for environmental justice in the political arena and internationally, beginning after a toxic waste dump across from her house exploded.
Robyn Murphy (Perth) has faced off with Western Australian developers and politicians for over forty years. She has run for political office and led both environmental campaigns and women’s rights activism. El Gibbs (Sydney) was elected as one of NSW’s first Greens Councillors after being told that she was too disabled to participate in an election. Her work helped bring clean energy to the Blue Mountains and inspire people with disabilities to become vocal advocates for the environment.
Seventy-year-old Jill Redwood (East Gippsland) built her house in Victoria with her own two hands from forest, found, and upcycled materials. She’s faced off against violence and intimidation while protecting forests and was named 2015 Environmentalist of the Year. At age 72, June Norman (Sunshine Coast) walked 1200 km along the Great Barrier Reef. June won a UN award for facing down the military and authorities at numerous peace and anti-mining camps while working to support Indigenous cultures to protect their lands, resources, and ways of life.
Aboriginal women rangers have played a crucial role in caring for country since 2007 with the beginning of the Working on Country program. These women work together and share their stories, knowledge and skills to keep culture strong and the environment healthy. Heather Barns (Brisbane) created a profitable and sustainable urban forest regeneration business. She built one of Brisbane’s strongest conservation organisations while juggling a career, motherhood, and the challenges of building a business out of environmental protection. Caro Shields, 35, (Melbourne) created a 200,000+ follower online environmental group, ‘Be an Unfucker’. With a focus on eco-behaviour, sustainability trendiness, branding and environmental communication, she reaches out to those who want to help change the world but don’t know where to start.
The Advocates was published in July 2021. You can purchase your copy at Melbourne University Press.