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21 June 2016 |
It is now 12 months since Pope Francis issued his environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. He opined, 'Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the 21st century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.' Where are the Australian politicians who can give hope to the coming generation by focusing our attention on this most urgent issue?
20 June 2016 |
An accelerating number of institutions and individuals are moving their money out of planet-heating fossil fuels and into climate solutions. The total assets guided by some form of divestment policy was $3.4 trillion at 2 December last year, 50 times more than what was up for divestment 12 months earlier. It sounds like a lot, but it's a small amount compared to the $100 trillion-plus invested in the usual way. That's our money, in banks and super funds, managed funds and insurance companies.
02 June 2016 |
All politicians and political parties select the statistics and 'frame' that best suits their position. But even among the slippery-tongued ranks of federal parliamentarians, Greg Hunt is in a league of his own. The frustrating thing is that proving him wrong is almost counterproductive. One of the main reasons for stalled action on climate change is the issue has become overly abstract. Debating technicalities with the Environment Minister just reinforces these ways of viewing climate change.
29 May 2016 |
People understand that some of the solutions for the problems faced by current and coming generations are likely rooted in decisions made now. Future-proofing is not merely anticipation, but intervention on a scale that goes beyond households. It involves design and culture. It demands an international rather than insular outlook. Perhaps this is why gallows humour has seeped into my conversations about the future. I no longer expect our leaders to do something worthwhile about it.
26 May 2016 |
Many people have hoped that when global warming manifested itself as a concrete threat, politicians would be forced into action. Yet it's becoming horrifyingly clear that the political class is quite willing to let the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, slowly die. If we want to save the reef, we're going to have to do it ourselves. The Franklin dam blockade of 1982-1983 transformed the political climate and preserved an iconic river. We need to recapture that energy.
25 May 2016 |
Just how strictly controlled the process is becomes obvious when it emerges that the task of the 50 member Citizens' Jury will be to produce 'a short independent guide to help every South Australian understand the recommendations raised' by the report. ABC news has dubbed this whole process the Premier's 'public relations exercise', and surely they're not wrong. He is urging all South Australians to remain 'open' about the proposal. But are they, including the Citizens' Jury, allowed to be open to refusal?
02 May 2016 |
As fifth century BC Athenian historian and general Thucydides said: 'The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.' 'I'm sitting here trying to eat my weetbix and keep my thoughts calm,' said Enice Marsh, Traditional Owner for the Flinders Ranges area of SA. Enice and the other Adynamathanha Elders had just received the news that former Liberal Senator Grant Chapman's property Bardioota is 'at the top of the list' to be the site of Australia's national radioactive waste dump.
02 May 2016 |
It was as if Australian politics had regressed four years overnight. No sooner had Labor released its new climate change plan than the Coalition was resuscitating Tony Abbott's 'carbon tax' line. The Coalition's attempt to revive the defining debate of the 2013 federal election won't work. As other commentators have noted, Labor's plan has been carefully crafted to avoid the carbon tax sledge. More importantly, external factors have changed to make a scare campaign less potent.
22 April 2016 |
Ursula Rakova told how the sea that had been the friend of her people, was turning against them. It had crashed through and divided her island in two. Coconut palms were collapsing at the new shoreline. Food gardens were lost, as the soil was increasingly rendered infertile by salty tides that washed over them. The land that had been handed from grandmother to daughter, would bequeath no legacy to the granddaughters. The homeland of generations was disappearing before their eyes.
20 April 2016 |
In the face of the increasing environmental destruction legally occurring within Australia's borders, chasing actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard for bringing their undeclared dogs into Australia in breach of biosecurity laws comes across as a curated media stunt. Like everywhere in the world, Australian environmental law is at a crossroads. On one hand government regulations that permit violence against habitat increase, and on the other, legal challenges against this destruction rise.
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