Anti-coal protesters take to the streets in Sydney

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NSW farmers, traditional owners and activists have marched in Sydney to urge the government to choose environmental sustainability over coal mining.

Farmers on horseback, anti-mining activists and traditional owners have descended upon Sydney's CBD with a message to the NSW government - choose environmental sustainability over coal.

The five thousand protesters hailed from different corners of the state, some have seen the effects of climate change on their farms firsthand, others have been displaced by surrounding coal mines.

Glenn Morris, who made headlines in 2016 after riding his horse Hombre across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to raise awareness about climate change, was one of 25 farmers on horseback.

"There is devastation because of climate change all across NSW," the Inverell farmer told AAP.

"We can't afford to destroy any more healthy land."

He says crop reduction, dry land and a loss in pasture growth are already being felt across the agricultural community, and warned if the temperatures get any warmer "we've lost the game".

He called for a ban on coal seam gas and mining in order to prioritise sustainability.

Gomeroi man Raymond Weatherall said Aboriginal people shouldn't have to trade their land and cultural heritage for mining jobs.

Indigenous activists joined the Sydney anti-coal protests.
Indigenous activists joined the Sydney anti-coal protests.
AAP

"Our culture is our life and we need to protect it from coal and gas mining for our kids' sake," he said.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokeswoman Georgina Woods said the rally brought Sydneysiders together with farmers from Coonamble, the Hunter, Northern Rivers, Southern Highlands and Liverpool Plains.

The rally sent a message to the state's politicians ahead of the 2019 NSW election, she said.

"(It) puts all political parties on notice that protecting the countryside from coal and gas, and repowering NSW with renewable energy will be pivotal issues in the coming year," she told AAP.

Farmer Glenn Morris takes to the streets of Sydney on horseback in protest at mining.
Farmer Glenn Morris takes to the streets of Sydney on horseback in protest at mining.

Nature Conservation Council Chief executive Kate Smolski said NSW has one of the most coal-dependent energy systems in the world.

"Meanwhile, the Berejiklian government is squandering a clean-energy jobs and investment bonanza and failing to tackle climate change," she said.

"The transition from coal and gas to solar, wind and storage will attract $25 billion of investment, the construction of about 2500 wind turbines and installation of more 42 million solar panels across the state."

Source AAP - SBS

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