Rosemary Jacob, a Darwin great-grandmother, celebrated her one year anniversary of staging solo anti-fracking protests outside Northern Territory Parliament on Wednesday January 27.
She received a letter of support from Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, and the Northern Territory speaker of the house, Ngaree Ah Kit, had her staff bring down a cake to celebrate her 52 week protest.
Rosemary’s friend Sally Gordon Thomas AC, former Supreme Court Judge and Administrator of the NT, also attended to show her support.
Mrs Jacob, 85, a former maths lecturer who completed a law degree in her 70s, has kept a solo vigil in opposition to the NT Gunner Government’s decision to green light fracking every Wednesday for the past 12 months.
Despite Darwin’s notoriously oppressive heat and wild thunderstorms, Mrs Jacob has stood outside NT Parliament with her umbrella, having quiet conversations with passers-by about the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground so as to avoid the worst of global warming.
She said she started her protest at the beginning of last year because she was concerned the Covid-19 pandemic would distract the public from the threat of fracking, and that she was primarily motivated by wanting to leave a better world for her four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“As far as the Territory is concerned, we have more sunshine than just about anywhere else in the world, and more intense sunshine, so we shouldn’t have to worry about energy yet we are still fracking and not moving quickly enough to renewable alternatives,” Mrs Jacob said.
“We need to urgently move away from fossil fuels because time is running out.”
Mrs Jacob said she felt her quiet conversations with people outside parliament (and even those who work within the building) were making a difference.
“I have quite a lot of support from people who work inside parliament and I feel as though I am having an impact,” she said.
“There are a number of people who, for personal reasons, can’t get too enthusiastic in supporting our opposition to fracking.”
“I think for most people, one part of their brain says ‘we need to do something about the climate emergency’ and the other says ‘but do we have to do it now?’. So consequently nothing significant is happening in too many areas and it will all catch up with us in the not too distant future.”
“I believe we have to step back from our normal lives and look at what needs to be done and how to best go about it in as rapid a way as possible while realising we will have a lot of people opposing what we are asking for.”