ENVIRONMENT


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Environmentalists' potential allies on the populist right

6 Comments
02 August 2016 | Greg Foyster

Donald TrumpThe neoliberal right is losing political power to the populist right, which isn't filled with the same ideological zeal for free-market capitalism. Suddenly debates can expand beyond the narrow confines of economic growth. Moral and social arguments won't be relegated to the intellectual fringes anymore. Mainstream parties of the left and right, both of which bought into the neoliberal agenda, will have to break their bipartisan dismissal of discontent with the side effects of globalisation.


Environment groups face fight for their lives

13 Comments
30 June 2016 | Greg Foyster

Advocate bound by green tape. Cartoon by Greg FoysterBy the time polls close Saturday, tens of thousands of voters in marginal seats will have received 'election scorecards' from environment groups. Almost all will rate the Liberal Party worse than Labor or the Greens on a range of issues, from protecting the Great Barrier Reef to encouraging investment in clean energy. Privately, some Liberal candidates will be seething - and, if the Coalition wins, they'll have the means for brutal revenge.


Laudato Si and the Australian election

23 Comments
21 June 2016 | Neil Ormerod

Laudato SiIt 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?


Is your super doing dirty work?

4 Comments
20 June 2016 | Thea Ormerod

Coal plant smoke stacksAn 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.


Greg Hunt is the master of polluting the debate

11 Comments
02 June 2016 | Greg Foyster

Greg Hunt's verbal emissions pollute climate discussion. Cartoon by Greg FoysterAll 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.


Laughing in the face of climate change despair

12 Comments
29 May 2016 | Fatima Measham

Drying cityPeople 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.


We need a grassroots revival to save the reef

12 Comments
26 May 2016 | Jeff Sparrow

Franklin dam protestMany 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.


SA Premier coopts democracy for nuclear nefariousness

18 Comments
25 May 2016 | Michele Madigan

Maralinga Painting, by artists Mima Smart, Tjunkuna Rita Bryant and othersJust 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?


Dumped-on Elders down but not despairing

11 Comments
02 May 2016 | Michele Madigan

Aboriginal elders oppose dumpAs 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.


Five reasons the LNP's carbon scare campaign is doomed

6 Comments
02 May 2016 | Greg Foyster

Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt throws lumps of coal from a bag held by Tony Abbott at Bill Shorten's solar panelsIt 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.


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