Two Illawarra grandfathers are preparing to kayak from Wollongong to Newcastle to push for greater action on climate change and a better future for their grandchildren.
Tom Hunt and Simon Leslie have been swimming, cycling and paddling in preparation for the 400 kilometre voyage, which will kick off this weekend.
On Saturday, November 4, supporters will gather at Wollongong Harbour to farewell the pair, who are hoping the forecast southerly continues to help them on their way up the coast.
Along the way, the kayakers will come ashore and connect with environmental groups in greater Sydney and the Central Coast, including a protest against coal mine pollution in the Hacking River at Audley Weir and a planned rally on Sydney Harbour.
Their arrival in the Port of Newcastle is timed to coincide with a blockade of the world's largest coal port, with thousands expected to paddle and sail out to prevent the export of coal.
Mr Hunt said the world his grandchildren were inheriting was very different from the one he grew up in.
"We grew up in a time when everything was positive, development, growth, jobs were rosy, we looked at a brilliant future, and I look at what our children are seeing now."
The Illawarra, in the past two years, has been subjected to unseasonal extreme heatwaves, broken annual rain records and is facing the prospect of a hot, dry summer with the elevated risk of bushfires.
Dr Leslie acknowledged that the inheritance his generation was leaving behind was not always positive.
"It's our fault, our generation has known about this," he said. "I've been waiting my whole life for something to happen and things are happening, but now the transition is becoming more urgent."
The pair have recently fitted a new sail to their outrigger kayak that clearly states their goal: No More Fossil Fuel, and will be taking that message from one coal port to another, powered by their legs and the wind.
"There's a huge challenge ahead of humanity to transition to renewable energy, and it's going to entail risk, inconvenience and change," Dr Leslie said. "We're taking some risk, we're going out of our comfort zone, it's a bit of a metaphor of the challenge ahead."
"But also showing you can have a bit of fun without fossil fuels," Mr Hunt added.
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