Peter Newman says in the future we’ll live in smart cities with distributed energy systems and change is coming and politicians will be driven by civil society and people demanding change.
What future are we deciding to choose?
In Australia, in addition, we have a way forward in Tim Flannery’s book ‘Climate Cure’ and the vital role of sea kelp in so many ways. Even decreasing methane in cattle.
From the United Nations we have ‘The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis. The authors outline two possible scenarios for our planet. In one, they describe what life on Earth will be like by 2050 if we fail to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate targets. In the other, they lay out what it will be like to live in a regenerative world that has net-zero emissions. They argue for confronting the climate crisis head-on, with determination and optimism. The Future We Choose presents our options and tells us what governments, corporations, and each of us can, and must, do to fend off disasters.
Consider the climate changes people are facing across the world in this crisis.
In Asia – what are so many places facing?
Floods of major impact in China
Floods and landslides in India killing so many.
Following torrential rainfall, a landslide was triggered which swept through the Izusan neighbourhood of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan on 3 July 2021
Heat waves, the like never felt before in Siberia.
Which country had a year’s rain in two days?
Those disastrous floods destroying lives in towns in Western Europe
In North America – those unprecedented fires on the west coast
In South America – May 18, 20214:12 AM ACSTLast Updated 3 months ago
America’s Brazil’s pandemic-weary Manaus flooded by rising Amazon river
Reuters MANAUS, May 17 (Reuters) – Heavy rains in the Amazon rainforest have caused rivers to rise to near record levels, flooding small Brazilian towns and threatening the state capital Manaus with another disaster after it was severely struck by the coronavirus pandemic. Across the state of Amazonas, more than 400,000 people have been affected by flooding, said the state’s Civil Defence service, many of whom were evacuated as water levels climbed. The Rio Negro river was rising by about 3 centimeters (1 inch) a day and on Monday streets in the center of Manaus were already under water, according to city hall. “The water level is… the third highest in the history of the city. If it continues like this, it will pass the record 2012 flood,” said mayoral spokesman Emerson Quaresma.
On the African continent?
11 May 2021 — The African continent alone experienced over 2,000 major disaster events during the last three decades with most of them being extreme weather, …
In Australia, – and it is winter, for much of the continent, severe tropical cyclone Seroja. A town in the Pilbara flattened. In New Zealand, in Wellington, storms and floods.
The U.K.’s national weather service declared its first-ever extreme heat warning on Monday. The alert now sits alongside age-old ones, such as thunderstorms, fog and lightning. In explaining why a new category was needed, the Met Office was unequivocal: “Research shows that, as a result of climate change, we are now much more likely to see prolonged spells of hot weather.”
Here is the danger civil society faces but it has the capacity to reject all that Sky News represents.
You won’t, however, find any mention of climate change in the Sky News story describing how Northern Ireland, a part of the U.K., hit the hottest-ever temperature recorded. You will find plenty of photos of people enjoying themselves at parks and beaches.’
This is the point. Murdoch’s Sky News, in the UK as well as Australia, like Fox News in USA, is driven by an ideology that has no interest at all in the quality of the future for our children.
In the face of the intransigence of many governments across the globe, we must value people being optimistic, doing their best to try to bring out the best in us.
Professor Peter Newman, contributor to July 24th 2021, important ABC Science Show presented by Robyn Williams, has written 17 books and 286 refereed articles. Peter’s book with Jeff Kenworthy ‘Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence‘ was launched in the White House in 1999 and their most recent book is ‘The End of Automobile Dependence’.23 May 2011. In 2021, only the Coalition government in Australia, with its Minister for Energy, calls electric vehicles ‘luxuries’!
So, this Australian Coalition will not invest in EV vehicles. In fact it is proudly funding petrol and diesel machinery for farmers to help them recover from droughts. Using our revenue to do it. And there’s that gas-fired power house for NSW for $600 million It rejects the need to do much more about climate change for our Great Barrier Reef.
First, this month – in USA the fight against Formosa Plastics.
News from the Center for Biological Diversity – Meet Sharon Lavigne of Louisiana.
For Immediate Release, June 15, 2021
Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909, firstname.lastname@example.org Julie Teel Simmonds, Center for Biological Diversity, (619) 990-2999, email@example.com Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206-0900, firstname.lastname@example.org
Leader of Campaign to Stop Formosa Plastics Wins Top Environmental Award
Goldman Prize Honours Louisiana’s Sharon Lavigne of RISE St. James
(Photo by L. Kasimu Harris/Louisiana Bucket Brigade)
SAN FRANCISCO — Louisiana’s Sharon Lavigne, who has led an international environmental campaign to stop Formosa Plastics from building one of the world’s biggest petrochemical complexes in her predominantly Black community, will be honored with a Goldman Environmental Prize today. She was recognized for stopping the Wanhua plastics plant, proposed for St. James Parish, Louisiana, in 2019 and her ongoing work against other polluting projects proposed for the region.
‘Her allies say they hope the honor — the environmental movement’s biggest annual award — will help Lavigne build on her past success to realize her current goal of preventing the Formosa Plastics project from ever being built.
The Center for Biological Diversity is an American national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Read the whole article to see how vital her fight is – if people say nothing!
“When the governor of Louisiana came to St. James Parish and announced Formosa Plastics was coming to town, Sharon Lavigne was brave enough to stand up and say no. Sharon said she had a different vision for her historic Black community,” said Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “When parish officials told her that Formosa was a done deal, she insisted that it was not. Her leadership, courage and vision are rewarded today by the Goldman Prize. And she would be the first to say that this is just the beginning. The fight has just begun.”
Lavigne started RISE St. James with her neighbors in the already-polluted corridor along the Mississippi River in Louisiana known as Cancer Alley or Death Alley to fight new industrial projects from being built in her community. Last year Lavigne’s group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Healthy Gulf challenged the project by filing a federal lawsuit, represented by the Center for Biological Diversity. That suit resulted in a construction delay and the permit being suspended pending further review.
“Sharon is in an intense, ongoing fight for the life of her community and our planet. We hope this richly deserved honor and recognition helps Sharon reach her goal of stopping Formosa Plastics,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney at the Center. “Sharon has battled through pollution-related illness and the loss of loved ones, and she keeps faithfully fighting environmental racism. Under the leadership of this amazing woman, we’re going to stop Formosa Plastics and advance environmental justice in this country.”
Formosa Plastics is proposing to build a 14-plant complex to turn the U.S. oversupply of fracked gas into mountains of new plastic, much of it destined for throwaway packaging. The complex would emit 800 tons of toxic air pollution each year, doubling toxic air emissions in St. James Parish. It would also generate more than 13 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended its permit for the project in November 2020. More than 20 groups and 40,000 individuals have demanded that the Army Corps and Biden administration more thoroughly review the project and its environmental justice issues and ultimately reject it.
“Americans have been shouting ‘Black lives matter,’ and we need Formosa, the Army Corps and local officials to listen,” Lavigne said last July when the Center filed an injunction to force Formosa to delay work on the project. “They should listen to the people of St. James. Why should we sacrifice our homes, our land and our lives so this huge company can make money? They just aren’t concerned about people, and it angers me.” They are not concerned about what plastics do, or about the impact of fracking.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
And in the southern hemisphere
in Australia, ‘Down Under’ Our not-for-profit organizations have to fight so hard.
Their volunteers give all they can. And how we need it. In Cornwall, while the G7 were talking real move for positive climate change action – despite these plastics and petrochemical factories – Australia’s Prime Minister was bent on his commitment to the very expensive carbon capture and storage in the mines of mining companies, like Glencore, for example,with questions about its commitment to effective rehabilitation.
And just as I write now, one part of the Coalition, the supposedly ‘National’ Party, wants to trash our major public eastern waterway. The Murray-Darling-Baaka system is just as important to Australia as the Mississippi river system is to USA. They want to support big business, so much of it at its headwaters. And we are just recovering from years of drought! And we are the driest habitable continent on our planet. And our Government is trying to pass legislation to use our revenue, set aside for renewable energy, for coal in Queensland and a valley in NSW and for gas and gas pipe lines across the fertile agricultural land in the NSW Liverpool Plains and ‘fracking’ on First Nations land.
In Queensland, the Lock the Gate Alliance has a fight on its hands.
It is Queensland and New South Wales where the worst fossil fuels – coal and gas – corporations have the greatest political support.
Notice their commitment to the land and the water!
Many issues affect the water resources and ecosystems of the Murray-Darling-Baaka System including salinity, erosion, blue-green algal blooms, water quality, and invasive species. Climate change and resultant possible increases in drought pose a significant risk to the availability of surface water in the Murray-Darling-Baaka. All made worse by politics! We have to thank all the fighters for the future with their various methods.
Thank you Tuesday and Carol.
These two fine women have got together a flotilla to go down the river to show what is being done to it by turning our main publicly-owned eastern public waterway into the market. Protecting its vital role for the environment and the bio–diversity it makes possible gets harder and harder every day as politicians don’t care about its future.
Part of our great public waterway has its headwaters in Queensland. The Murray-Darling system has been turned into a market with licences selling its public water to businesses. The fact that a river must flow to its mouth is of no concern to corporations whose profits are made up stream. One politician made clear he couldn’t careless!
Two women, officially ‘retired’ but not retired from the need to care about our major public waterway.
I hope visitors will be able to see it and tell me they have!
I’m afraid you might not be able to see the film of their beautiful journey along the river and their call out of May Day, May Day – the universal call – for help and rescue. They had a little flotilla of friends on their sometimes home-made boats showing us just the dangers this lifeline faces. [I am not yet good enough with this machine.] The problem is that the politicians, and the people who elect them, care too little for our public waterways and our environment. Why do 51% of us elect them when we know what drought and extreme weather events do? How are the public waterways surviving around the world? Do they face these problems? In democracies we should be able to do something about it. When we choose or have thrust on us demagogues? What then?
We provide the revenue! But we vote in this or that party without thought. Now we have a new Deputy Prime Minister whose job, for his political party, is to make everything worse for our environment. When this Member for New England was Minister for Water, he paid a private company $80 million of our revenue to buy back a flood plain that should never have been sold to it, with its tax haven, in the first place.
However, there is good news from Adelaide –
‘Green plastics – Blue Ocean’ –Is it possible? This is the combination of the work of
a scientist and an artist at Flinders University.
Then there are these three remarkable women fighting for decades for their land.
The Australian Conservation Foundation provides as annual award in the name of Peter Rawlinson. Here are the 2019 award winners
Here is what the Australian Conservation Foundation stands for
‘We are dismantling the old story that people and nature must be in conflict. We are creating a new story – a story of connection. In this story, we value the whole web of life and the incredible diversity of life on Earth.’
Shirley Wonyabong, Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicki Abdullah.
Three Tjiwarl women, Shirley, Elizabeth and Vicki, were awarded in recognition of their decades-long campaign to protect their country and culture from a proposed uranium mine at Yeelirrie in outback Western Australia.
‘The Australian Conservation Foundation acknowledges their tireless work speaking up for country and culture around campfires, in politician’s offices, on the streets of Perth and in Western Australia’s highest court. Over the decades they have seen off at least three mining companies, including BHP, and have given strength and courage to their own community and many others.’
Elizabeth, Vicki and Shirley at WA Supreme Court. Photo: Conservation Council of Western Australia.
And our Australian Conservation Foundation – the ACF – tells all Australians why the Australian Prime Minister’s obstinate insistence on Carbon Capture and Storage [CCS] is not good for us. It is a delaying tactic, in fact, to allow fossil fuel magnates to keep going and it costs six times more than wind plus battery storage.
Back to the Northern Hemisphere for a moment, then back ‘Down Under’
The G 7 now says we need to protect 30% of our oceans. So far only 2%is protected. News from the ABC’s Science Show on Radio National with Robyn Williams as the presenter.
Go to ‘Australian Odyssey’. See what warming is doing to our east coast current. See my blog focusing on the work of another remarkable woman, Dr Sylvia Earle, pushing for Maritime Protected Areas to save the oceans from over fishing and deep-sea drilling.
‘In a landmark decision, Royal Dutch Shell has been ordered by a court in The Hague to drastically reduce its global carbon emissions. The oil giant was told it has a duty of care,and that the level of its emission reductions should be brought in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Shell now needs to cut emissions by 45 percent – compared to its 2019 levels – by the end of 2030.’
‘David Tong is a former litigator and a Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International. He joins the show to discuss the case and its wider implications.’
Just as the Australian Prime Minister goes to the meeting in Cornwall with his gas-fired power house, and the ground water he gave to the Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland for possibly 30 years, he is saying this is the ‘Australian’ way, but there are so many of us saying, “No, it is not. Definitely not. We want renewable energy and a clear policy for climate change.”
New Zealand and Canada, both with clear climate change policies, do not have the Murdoch media! They do not have to fight its deleterious impact.
However – in Australia, our Coalition government is being fought in law.
Our Federal Court has told the Federal Minister for the Environment that she, currently Sussan Ley, has a duty of care to the children who are the most vulnerable in the future for the actions that governments take, too often in the interest of the profit-first few, in our name and on our behalf. Decisions she makes – like possibly supporting the Whitehaven coal mine extension – should take into account the future impact on the young.
“The court considered evidence in the case from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, and globally renowned ANU climate scientist Will Steffen.
In a tear-jerking moment during the Federal Court’s live-streamed summary, the court found that one million of today’s Australian children are expected to be hospitalised because of a heat-stress episode, that substantial economic loss will be experienced, and that the Great Barrier Reef and most of Australia’s eucalypt forest won’t exist when they grow up.‘ And Australia is a developed country! Why are we letting this happen?
And the Coalition government is being challenged by so many non-government groups – to be threatened with prison for protesting for climate change if their legislation is passed by the Senate.
Meet Climate Action Network for Australia – Read CANA’s Common Agenda which is to rapidly cut Australia’s climate pollution. For information on joining the network, click here.
‘WE ARE A NETWORK THAT SUPPORTS OUR MEMBERS AND THEIR ALLIES TO TAKE ACTIONS TO PROTECT PEOPLE AT HOME AND ABROAD FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, TO SAFEGUARD OUR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, AND TO BUILD A FAIR, CLEAN, HEALTHY AUSTRALIA FOR EVERYONE.’
The CANA Annual Report for 2019-20 details how our network members support each other to build a powerful, connected, diverse and innovative climate movement. To view all our Annual Reports, click here.
The decline of koalas in NSW and Queensland is due to habitat loss – more loss is intended by the NSW government with the removal of an important corridor.
However – Good news from the northern hemisphere.
Australia has been told we can develop lithium batteries. Ross Garnaut said it in his book Super Power. Elon Musk has reinforced it. See how solar power, wind power and his Tesla batteries have taken South Australia to the forefront of renewable energy across the Nation. However, Australia’s national grid is inadequate. There’s little effort by government to make it fit for this century?
In America, President Biden is investing in clean energy for his country. He has recognised the positive financial role of government for the future. Here is one of the results of investment in the future in research and development at Harvard. Long lasting lithium batteries
‘Long-lasting, quick-charging batteries are essential to the expansion of the electric vehiclemarket, but today’s lithium-ion batteries fall short of what’s needed — they’re too heavy, too expensive and take too long to charge. . . . . .
A lithium-metal battery is considered the holy grail for battery chemistry because of its high capacity and energy density,” said Xin Li, associate professor of materials science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). “But the stability of these batteries has always been poor.”
Now, Li and his team have designed a stable, lithium-metal, solid-state battery that can be charged and discharged at least 10,000 times — far more cycles than have been previously demonstrated — at a high current density. The researchers paired the new design with a commercial high energy density cathode material.
This battery technology could increase the lifetime of electric vehicles to that of the gasoline cars — 10 to 15 years — without the need to replace the battery. With its high current density, the battery could pave the way for electric vehicles that can fully charge within 10 to 20 minutes.
“Our research shows that the solid-state battery could be fundamentally different from the commercial liquid electrolyte lithium-ion battery,” said Li. “By studying their fundamental thermodynamics, we can unlock superior performance and harness their abundant opportunities.” Such good news!
But, on this World Environment Day, this warning from the northern hemisphere.
Struggling Seabirds Are Red Flag for Ocean Health
These sentinels of marine ecosystems point to the damage climate change, overfishing and other human pressures are causing
‘Seabirds are “sentinels” of ocean health. If marine ecosystems are suffering, the birds will be among the first to show it.
Now a major study finds that seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere are already struggling. And without extra precautions, those in the Southern Hemisphere might be next.
The findings point to broader patterns of environmental change across the world’s oceans.Climate change, combined with pollution, overfishing and other human activities, is steadily altering marine food webs. Food sources are shifting. Some fish populations are dwindling or migrating to new areas.
As a result, seafaring birds perched at the top of the food chain are struggling to breed and raise their young. They’re canaries in the coal mine, so to speak—clear indicators that something is wrong with the entire ecosystem.
“Seabirds travel long distances—some going from one hemisphere to the other—chasing their food in the ocean,” P. Dee Boersma, a biologist at the University of Washington and one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “This makes them very sensitive to changes in things like ocean productivity, often over a large area.” See Andrew Darby’s Flight Lines on migratory birds.
The new study, published yesterday in the journal Science, examines 50 years of data on 66 seabird species worldwide.
Back in Australia on World Environment Day
The Coalition avoids responding to the Graeme Samuel Report on the 1999 (2000) Environmental and Bio-diversity legislation. It is ‘not fit for purpose.’
‘There is real fear that the changes this Coalition intends to make will weaken it further.’ And we are being governed by legislation drawn up in a way that set out to protect ‘the carbon club’ in 1999. See Marian Wilkinson’s book.
Go to today’s ABC RN’s Science Show with Robyn Williams covering so much for World Environment Day, Take in what we are facing 12 years on!
Supported here by the Federal Court and the Knitting Nannas.
First of all. In Canada. The International Children’s Peace Prize.
“Autumn Peltier already has years of advocacy behind her. She’s met the Prime Minister, she’s attended the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly and she’s marched on the highway in the name of water protection. At just 13 years old, Peltier is now a nominee for the International Children’s Peace Prize.”
The 151 nominees for the International Children’s Peace Prize were recently announced and the only Canadian candidate is this Anishinaabe teen from Wikwemikong First Nation.
Peltier has been advocating for clean drinking water since she was about 8 years old and is already considered a water protector — just like her aunt Josephine Mandamin, who received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation in 2016.
Launched in 2005, the International Children’s Peace Prize is awarded to a child who has worked to improve children’s lives around the world.” Article Source: www.globalcitizen.org
I set up this blog in 2019 to reach voters in our democracies with the best information I can find. Too often fossil fuel mining corporations, makers of pesticides, makers of artificial fertilizers and plastics have done and are doing so much to prevent the positive action we need to be taken. I search for hope in the face of governments, too often my own, nations and corporations only concerned with short-term profit on land, in public waterways, in coastal areas, in oceans and in the atmosphere. Often I find information in our wonderful public ABC’s Radio National’s Science Show. This month I go to Australia’s Federal Court first of all. In this May blog I celebrate young people and the grandmothers. But governments can still be acting against their future interests. So ‘Some good news – but you’ll see when you reach the budget.
At last, the Australian Federal Court follows the Netherlands.
So many students joined the March4Climate Change of Friday May 21st.The pity is they can’t yet vote. They are not yet 18. So, they must rely on the adults to do what is right. Now, our Federal Court has spoken for the young.
The Netherlands began to recognise the impact of climate change on children in 2015. Governments have a duty of care for the children who must live in the nation and the world that voters choose to create in democracies. Ones that cares about climate change like Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. Or one like Australia’s national Coalition government. However, in 2021, despite being in the midst of a pandemic, Australia’s Federal Court has spoken for the vulnerable young people of Australia.
Enough Americans voted for President Biden prepared to invest his nation’s wealth in a range of positive ways to support actions to bring about a safer, cleaner future for everyone in USA including the children yet to be born.
Read the article. Our e-paper with academic integrity is ‘The Conversation’
In Australia, too much of the commercial media is controlled by Murdoch.
Dealing with a recalcitrant Coalition government that prefers to support coal and puts $600 million into a gas-fired power house with money from our revenue since the market refuses to have anything to do with it, the young people of Australia have taken the Minister for the Environment to the Federal Court. She – Sussan Ley – and all future Ministers for the Environment now have a duty of care to young people. The young people, their future, must be considered in her decisions. BUT she can choose to act against the interests of the vulnerable. Think of what it says about the government if she does act against the children’s future. That is what the voters need to be taking into account.This Coalition will try to get us only to focus on the pandemic.
In a landmark judgment, the Federal Court found the environment minister has a duty of care to young people
May 27, 2021 5.12pm AEST
Author is Laura Schuiiers, Research Fellow in Environmental Law, The University of Melbourne.
Laura Schuiiers does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
We believe in the free flow of information
Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence.
‘This morning, the Australian Federal Court delivered a landmark judgement on climate change, marking an important moment in our history.
The class action case was brought on behalf of all Australian children and teenagers, against Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
Their aim was to prevent Ley from possibly approving the Whitehaven coal mine extension project, near Gunnedah in New South Wales. They argued that approving this project would endanger their future because of climate hazards, including causing them injury, ill health, death or economic losses.
The court dismissed the application to stop the minister from approving the extension. But that’s just the beginning.
Before making those orders, the court found a new duty it never has before: the environment minister owes a duty of care to Australia’s young people not to cause them physical harm in the form of personal injury from climate change.
‘Australia will be lost’: the court’s moving findings
The court considered evidence in the case from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, and globally renowned ANU climate scientist Will Steffen.
In a tear-jerking moment during the Federal Court’s live-streamed summary, the court found that one million of today’s Australian children are expected to be hospitalised because of a heat-stress episode, that substantial economic loss will be experienced, and that the Great Barrier Reef and most of Australia’s eucalypt forest won’t exist when they grow up.
It found this harm is real, catastrophic, and – importantly from a legal perspective – “reasonably foreseeable”. In decades past, courts have considered climate change to be a “speculative”, “future problem”.
That is no longer the case. The court concluded, in a moving paragraph from the written judgment:
It is difficult to characterise in a single phrase the devastation that the plausible evidence presented in this proceeding forecasts for the children. As Australian adults know their country, Australia will be lost and the world as we know it gone as well.
The physical environment will be harsher, far more extreme and devastatingly brutal when angry. As for the human experience – quality of life, opportunities to partake in nature’s treasures, the capacity to grow and prosper – all will be greatly diminished.
Lives will be cut short. Trauma will be far more common and good health harder to hold and maintain.
None of this will be the fault of nature itself. It will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults, in what might fairly be described as the greatest inter-generational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next.
To say that the children are vulnerable is to understate their predicament.
Establishing a new duty of care
The children took a novel route in asserting the federal environment minister owed them a duty of care. A duty of care means a responsibility not to take actions that could harm others. A duty of care is the first step in a claim of negligence.
A similar duty was found in the Netherlands in 2015, as a global first. In 2019, the Supreme Court upheld that duty – the Dutch government owed it citizens a duty to reduce emissions in order to protect human rights.
Other cases around the world were inspired by that success, including the one decided in Australia today.
The court today didn’t say the minister has a duty to stop all coal projects of any size, as it was only considering the Whitehaven extension project. But this is still hugely significant.
Australia has been repeatedly criticised on the global stage for its stance on new coal and climate change more generally. Now, we may find the decisions made by its environment ministers could amount to negligent conduct.
The buck doesn’t stop at governments
Back in the Netherlands, something else significant happened this week — the world learned the buck doesn’t stop at governments.
In what’s been described as “arguably the most significant climate change judgement yet”, a court in The Hague ordered Royal Dutch Shell, a global oil and gas company, to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels, via its corporate policy.
So now we have a dual momentum — governments need to be careful what they approve, and fossil fuels companies need be careful what they propose.
Putting the minister on notice
It’s important to recognise Sussan Ley hasn’t made a decision yet to approve the coal mine extension. The young Australians were seeking to stop her from approving it, and in that they didn’t succeed.
However, her responsibility to young people has now been formally recognised by the court.
Today’s children are vulnerable to climate change and they depend on the environment minister to protect their interests. We don’t know yet if the minister will approve the mine extension, or if she does, whether that means she has breached her duty to the children. But we do know how significant the harm from climate change will be.
What’s more, in 2019, a NSW court confirmed now is not the time to be approving new coal, and every coal mine counts.
Today’s judgement opens the door for future litigation if the minister is not careful about approving projects that could harm the next generations of Australians.
But importantly, it puts the federal environment minister on notice — while political terms might be only short, decisions now have intergenerational consequences for the future.
Short-term financial gain can have detrimental consequences for the health and economic wellbeing of those who can’t vote yet.’
But the children are not alone. Meet the Knitting Nannas.
BUT – Here is the central problem the children and their grandmothers continue to face.
It is what this Australian Coalition government’s 2021 budget tells them.
Information in The Guardian – Guardian Australia is the Australian website of the British global online and print newspaper, The Guardian.Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmorton
Thu 13 May 2021 03.30 AEST
‘Last modified on Sat 15 May 2021 13.12 AEST There was little talk of the climate crisis or the environment in Tuesday’s budget, perhaps because the Morrison government has succeeded in framing the climate crisis and the environment as side issues.
But once you dig into the detail there is plenty to know. Here are some key points.
The response has been mixed, but countries that Australia likes to compare itself with have embraced the idea. The US president, Joe Biden, has proposed a US$2tn infrastructure plan to drive “transformational progress” in tackling climate change, including US$174bn for electric vehicles and support to make the electricity grid emissions-free by 2035. Germany has dedicated US$47bn to green recovery measures, including $9bn to “green hydrogen”. Even fossil fuel-rich Canada has committed more than US$36bn to clean energy.’ US$2 trillion! President Biden knows such investment is needed.
The government remains averse to even using the word “climate”. It appears in just two items in the 197 pages of budget paper number two, which lays out proposed spending measures for the next four years.
Elsewhere, a table dedicated to “climate spending” confirms just 0.3% – 30c in every $100 – of budget spending is dedicated to addressing the climate crisis. The government expects that to fall to 0.2% in 2022-23.’
While there is all this evidence of such limited interest by the Australian government in the climate crisis on land, that terrible logging destructive of bio-diversity and costing us great carbon sinks continues unabated, there is this glimmer of hope in Marine Protected Areas.
Refer to the blog related to the work of Dr Sylvia Earle.
Bridging the world of sciences and humanities, – July 2020
‘BREAKING: Incredible news! The Australian Government has announced plans to establish two new marine parks around the spectacular Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
These will be the world’s next big marine parks, providing critical protection for globally significant marine life in an area twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park!
🦀Christmas Island has thriving rainforests, deserted beaches and a reef that provides shelter to extraordinary rare seabirds, crabs and marine life.
🏝️The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are Australia’s unspoiled tropical island paradise. Their azure waters are home to an incredible array of diverse marine life including tropical fish, corals, turtles, manta rays and dolphins.
There are few comparable unspoiled tropical island environments left in the world.
Creating world-class marine parks will protect a wealth of marine life, make a significant global contribution to the health of our oceans, and bring much needed long-term benefits to the people of Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.’
Important as these plans are, they cannot be allowed to be substitutes for efforts to protect from short-term, profit-based, so often mining exploitation, our sacred cultural sites, what sea kelp we have left, our wetlands, our public waterways, our ground water beneath the driest habitable continent on the globe, our old growth forests, our unique fauna and flora, the Great Barrier Reef, the Ningaloo Reef off the coast of Western Australia and all the Ramsar World heritage sites across the nation.
To do this, the Australian government must up-date its National Standards Policy for Environment and Bio-diversity. The Graeme Samuel’s Report must be implemented. This Australian government has avoided putting it in place.
It could be forests again. Earth Day is coming on April 22nd 2021. It could be forests beneath the sea – the role of sea kelp. It could be the future. In democracies, voters hold the power. How we decide affects how we proceed. I hate the phrase ‘push their buttons’. We sound like automata, not thinking human beings able to take in the consequences of our decisions. Are we going to go on as we have? More are feeling the reality of climate change through extreme events they never expected to face.
When did Rachel Carson write The Silent Spring? John Chafee made climate change clear to the United States Senate in 1986. Schools have taught about the ‘green-house effect’ in our public schools across Australia since the 1980s. Often through the humanities! The science of ecology has become more and more important from the 1960s on.
Germany, a democracy, led the way thirty years ago to decrease then end the use of coal. Government, business, workers came together. They cooperated so no one was left behind.There was government investment in the process of change. Workers were able to get jobs in nearby developing chemical industries.This trinity is needed for us all.
In the English-speaking developed world today which are the three nations that have been the worst in their development of government policies, plans and investment to face the facts of change, according to Reese Halter?USA by far is the worst. Australia is not far behind. Then, there is the UK, although they have moved towards clean energy faster than USA or Australia. See Reece Halter’s analysis for ‘Earth Day’. [Below here] And, my blog ‘Complexity and Stability’ – June 15th 2020 – and the work of the Australian physicist and ecologist, Robert May, Baron May of Oxford, the UK’s Chief Scientist from 1995 – 2000.
‘From Sydney to Princeton, to the job of the UK’s Chief Scientist. Lord Bob May of Oxford brought physics into biology, moved from there into ecology with the knowledge of mathematics that helped to prove the essential connection between stability and complexity. He helped the UK to accept climate change and make the move towards clean energy. He showed the problem of relying on economists, too often tied to ideology.’
The Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Radio National’s the Science Show with Robyn Williams, who has presented it since 1975, tackled so much. On Saturday April 17th 2021, the program first went to Mars with Dr David Flannery. Next, Robyn Williams introduced The Climate Cure, by Tim Flannery, showing how sea kelp, ‘forests’ deep in oceans, could be the carbon sinks the planet needs to take carbon from the atmosphere.
Tim Flannery of the Climate Change Council has not given up. He gave us warning with The Future Eaters in 1994. In 2005 he wrote The Weather Makers. For a little time, between 2007 and 2012, Australia began to decrease its carbon footprint. In 2011 the Climate Change Commission was set up as a statutory independent body to talk to all Australians so that the science was made accessible. How can voters use their precious votes thoughtfully if they don’t have access to the knowledge needed to inform their decisions? The Commission was bringing us all together: experts were communicating clearly, sharing the evidence with us all.
In 2013, when the first of these three national Federal Coalition governments came in, the Australian Climate Commission was abolished by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who insisted ‘Climate change is crap’All the work being done to connect with the public was reversed. And it was made worse in 2015. A review of our national curriculum for our schools by reviewers chosen by the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, decreased interdisciplinary connections, identified as vital by the Deans of the Schools of Education in 2000. ACARA now formalised that destructive separation of STEM versus HASS. A Seaweed Festival connecting science and the arts is below. See it.
We knew, and know, that history comes into everything. Look at this terrible history of climate change responses in Australia because too few of us have cared enough to make our governments act for the future. Let’s never forget, in all of this, the role of ‘The Carbon Club’, a joint Australian/USA combination of mining corporations and the Institute of Public Affairs denying climate change. Fortunately, enough Australians were not prepared to lose all the expertise the Commission had provided for the public. So, a truly independent council was established.
The Climate Council was founded in 2013 by tens of thousands of Australians to create a new, independent and community-funded organisation in response to the abolition of the Australian Climate Commission. More info? See our FAQs
President Biden is now caring about climate change in USA. But the market-driven Federal Coalition Australian government has, in its place, a Climate Change Authority. What matters is the choice made by Australia’s Prime Minister to lead it. He has chosen, as Chair, a man with a background in oil and gas! It is a bit like President Trump handing power to a Secretary of the American Environmental Protection Agency who had no commitment to America’s great public National Parks or the sacred lands of the Native Americans. Australia’s latest Coalition Prime Minister is insisting on a gas-led ‘recovery’ that will suit the fossil fuel mining industries like Santos and Woodside. At the same time the Indian magnate, Mr Adani, is being enabled to go ahead with the Carmichael coal mine. This Prime Minister says zero emissions by 2050 is his ‘preferred’ position. But is he now unlocking gas in South Australia, offering us $2 billion to do it?
Tim Flannery offers us an avenue for capturing carbon.
Robyn Williams has not ignored the question of the future for workers in coal. This statement by a union leader gives worrying information for us ‘down under’. Most corporations are based in the northern hemisphere. ‘Capital’ can move quickly from place to place after we have been squeezed dry. That is clearly evident already. So many corporations set out to avoid or evade their responsibilities to pay their dues to us.
As working environments change, trade unions help their membership work through changes to their industries. Knowing what’s coming and what’s inevitable is helpful. Ross Garnaut has suggestions for regional industries in his book ‘Super Power’, what Australia is capable of doing.
Today’s program has ranged widely. The Science Show has made many of the connections we need as voters. Our decisions make the difference, for good or ill, for the future for children being born across the world today.
A slowdown in the Earth’s heating has not even started! Is there hope? Journalist, Jo Chandler, reads from her essay in The Griffith Review. Jo Chandler’s decision about how to retain hope in the face of all the frightening signs of media manipulation matters very much for our citizens. Rupert Murdoch owns or controls almost 90% of Australia’s commercial media. Does he intend to ‘stream’ his Fox News ‘down under’? We face so many powerful corporations using tactics to defer action about global warming until they have made all they can from fossil fuels.
We need investigative journalists with the courage of Jo Chandler.
We cannot afford to give up hope for the children’s sake.
In Adelaide, World Frog Day was being celebrated. I decided to focus on these animals that tell us about the health of our waterways. ‘Habitat loss, climate change and pollution are large causes of declining frog populations around the world. Australia, like many other countries, has experienced dramatic declines in frog species with more than 40 Australian frog species threatened with extinction. Want to know more? Hop into our Envirodome tomorrow and learn more about these fascinating animals.’ www.adelaidezoo.com.au/tickets/
Frogs are important indicators of the health of many ecosystems. Think of our rivers and lakes. How many are now polluted? What is the state of the rivers in Europe, in Africa, in Asia – I think of the Mekong – and the Americas? Australia has allowed its major eastern public waterway, the Murray-Darling, to be marketed for sale for licences! Irrigation upstream affects downstream. So, a major part of the waterway, the River Darling is dry in parts. Too many Murray cod are gone. Too little flows to the sea. Salinity will come further upriver. But, it is not only a decline in the voice of the frog in our rivers and lakes. Think of the decline in fish stocks in rivers and lakes. And in the oceans. Visit the blogs about the work of Dr Sylvia Earle.And the need for Marine Protected Areas and the need to check industrial fishing.
Children can’t vote. it is the parents, citizens in democracies, who vote. Children know the climate crises we are facing and march, ‘strike,’ to try to make us face it. They ask us to care about the future.
Too many of us were taught not to see connections, to think of subjects as ‘silos’. That blinkered approach has helped corporations that do not want us to make connections. They don’t want us to connect what they are selling with what is happening. That was true of tobacco companies and asbestos companies. Profit was everything. It is as true now of those selling artificial fertilisers, plastics, and those mining and selling fossil fuels. Fracking the land for LNG. Pesticides. Think of logging old forests!
I have chosen this article from 2018 in ‘Science made Simple’. Three years on, in Australia, I fear that too few care enough. It might be the same elsewhere. A Canadian Conservative Society has just said there is no climate crisis! And they live near the Arctic! The protection of Australia’s major eastern side public waterway, the Murray-Darling system has been hamstrung by major political decisions made without any thought of consequences down river. The efforts to keep water for the environment is bedevilled by narrow state-based political attitudes. The impact of upstream irrigation. Add that to the royalties they get from coal and LNG gas wells on agricultural land and in a forest in NSW and fracking in the NT.
Do you know what happens when we decrease the bio-diversity of our lands and oceans?Read about what happened in India in the 1980s. Add the impact of global warming into the mix of the indifference in too many governments. This article is comprehensive. Provided for students in the UK, we need it in Australia. Our environment and bio-diversity is under threat in Australia. We have no up-to-date national standards legislation, though we have the report by Graeme Samuels about what we need to do as a nation. The Coalition government intends to hand regulation ‘as a one-stop-shop’ to the States. And ‘one-stop-shop’ means market first!That’s trouble!
by guest blogger Karin, who loves finding out animal facts! This is a UK production. You can find more animal facts here.
White lipped tree frog CC-SA Bignoter
‘From their sticky toes to their eyes that seem to pop, frogs have hopped into a central place in fairytales and science alike. Children are perpetually delighted by Kermit the Frog and scientists are still unlocking the secrets of these mysterious green amphibians. If you have ever caught a frog, you have probably been mesmerized by their almost otherworldly appearance. Frogs really are amazing animals – did you know that consisting of about 90% of the class of Amphibia, frogs are vital to a healthy and functioning ecosystem? Check out these 3 reasons why frogs are so important to the ecosystem.
1. Frogs Are an Indicator Species
How is a frog like a canary? This isn’t just a silly question. Historically, miners would take canaries and other birds into the mines with them. If there was poisonous gas in the underground tunnels, the canaries (unfortunately) would die, and the miners would know that they needed to leave the toxic tunnels right away. In a similar way, frogs act as a natural bioindicator, which means that they measure the health of the environment.
Because frogs are amphibians, they can live on both land and water. In fact, the word “amphibian” is Greek for “two lives.” Frogs also have very sensitive skin and pores, making them extra sensitive to the health of both land and in the water.
What is alarming is that frogs are increasingly showing signs of deformities and mutations, such as extra limbs, missing limbs, deformed tails, and missing eyes. Scientists have also discovered that frogs are dying off at an alarming rate. What is even more alarming is that frogs have been around for at least 250 million years, and amphibians have been around for over 350 million years. This means that frogs have lived through 3–THREE–different mass extinctions, including the one that killed all the dinosaurs. Despite living millions of years and surviving even the extinction of the dinosaurs, frogs are now dying off in record numbers. In fact, nearly ⅓ of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. They simply are unable to handle the current environmental stressors, which is a desperate signal that the earth needs help combating pollution and other environmental stressors.
2. The Food Chain Would Crumble Without Frogs
Frogs go through several stages in their life cycle. At each cycle, frogs play a crucial role in the food chain, both as predator and prey. Specifically, as eggs, frogs provide food for spiders and wasps; and as tadpoles, they are food for shrimp dragonfly nymphs, and shrimp. As adult frogs, they provide valuable food for birds, lizards, snakes, monkeys, and more.
Additionally, frogs are a critical part of the food chain in more active ways as well. As tadpoles, they feed on algae, which helps filter and keep our water supplies clean. Full-grown frogs feed on insects, such as moths, grasshoppers, flies, crickets, mosquitoes, and spiders.
Indeed, frogs help keep insects from wreaking havoc on crops. For example, in the 1980s, India exported large amounts of frogs to France as food, leading the population of frogs to drop dramatically. This led to an increase in insect population that decimated crops and fields. Realizing how crucial frogs were to a healthy ecosystem, the Indian government finally banned the export of frogs.
Frogs also help keep insects from spreading diseases, such as Zika, malaria, dengue, and more. Adult frogs eat mosquitoes and help keep the insect population under control. Importantly, tadpoles also eat many insect larvae that make their home in pools, puddles, ditches, swamps, and other water-filled containers. The death of frogs would send a catastrophic ripple through the ecosystem and compromise human health around the globe.
3. Frogs are Nature’s Medicine
Researchers have found that frogs are important for various medicinal purposes. In fact, scientists have found over 200 beneficial alkaloids in amphibian skin. One of these can be used as a painkiller that is 200 times stronger than morphine and without morphine addictive qualities. Frog skin secretions can also be used as a powerful antibiotic, and some frogs produce peptides that can help heal cuts and bruises and can even heal organs after surgery. And that’s not all. Frog secretion can also provide treatment for heart attacks, depression, strokes, seizures, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. In Australia, the red eyed tree-frog and its relatives can even reduce compounds that scientist believe can prevent HIV.
Because frogs occupy the front lines of Earth’s ecosystems, they act as a lens to the ways we understand climate change, pollution, conservation, evolution and a host of other profoundly important issues. Beyond being bioindicators, frogs also act as a “conveyer belts” by transferring energy from invertebrates to predators higher up the food chain. Frogs also control pests, provide medicines, and have a social value that inspires art and culture alike. They are extraordinary animals that add not only diversity but also beauty to our Earth. Their disappearance would radically rewire ecosystems all over the Earth and change the way humans inhabit their many environments.’
Author Profile: Karin holds a master’s degree in English and rhetoric and has been a university writing tutor and writing instructor for many years. She loves researching, reading, and writing for factretriever.com. An admitted adrenaline junkie, she married her skydiving instructor and loves to go adventuring with him and their 4 kids.
Marent, Thomas. Frog: A Photographic Portrait. New York, NY: Penguin, 2008.
Now, here is the voice of Mike Tyler, on the ABC Radio National’s Science Show. Professor Mike Tyler was at the University of Adelaide, Australia’s special ‘frog man’. He did so much to try to wake Australians to the often irreversible results of the destruction of habitat.
1 Aug 2020 This is the final of four excerpts from Mike Tyler’s broadcasts on The Science Show. Mike died in March 2020. Vale Mike Tyler.
‘Leydy Pech, a Mayan beekeeper who led a coalition that stopped Monsanto from planting genetically modified crops in seven states in southern Mexico, was recently awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize.
Pech, a 55-year-old Indigenous woman from the state of Campeche in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, works with a rare, stingless, native bee species (Melipona beecheii) that has been cultivated by the Mayans since pre-Columbian times. Beekeeping is a key part of Mayan culture, and quite important economically. In Campeche, an estimated 25,000 families, many Indigenous, rely on the honey trade for their livelihoods, and Mexico is the sixth-largest producer of honey worldwide.
In 2012, after failing to consult with local and Indigenous communities, the Mexican government granted Monsanto permission to plant GMO Roundup Ready soybeans in seven Mexican states, including Campeche. Pech formed a coalition of NGOs, beekeepers and activists who filed a lawsuit against the Mexican government. Her coalition advocated for research into the effects of the GMO plots, resulting in evidence that GMO soy pollen was present in local honey, and that glyphosate, a chemical best known from the widely used pesticide Roundup, was found in the water supply and urine of people in Pech’s hometown of Hopelchén.
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled unanimously that Indigenous communities must be consulted before the planting of GM soy. Monsanto’s permits were cancelled in Campeche and Yucatán states. Further organizing by Pech led to Mexico’s Food and Agricultural Service revoking Monsanto’s permits to grow GMO soy in seven states.
In a statement thanking the Goldman Environmental Foundation for the award, Pech said: “The award gives me the opportunity to tell the world that the territories of indigenous peoples are being dispossessed by extractive megaprojects, agro-industry, tourism, and others that strengthen a capitalist model that affects natural resources and our way of life.
“I call on all governments and world leaders to rethink more comprehensive development models that respect and recognize human rights, autonomy, self-determination of Indigenous peoples, and ancestral heritage.”
Martina Doblin describes some of the research programs underway and plans for the future.
Then in the Australian Federation where so much relies on the decisions of the States and Territories, there is this good news from the Northern Territory government
‘The Northern Territory Government has just announced that seabed mining will be permanently banned in NT waters. Those NT waters are so close to West Papua, claimed by Indonesia, and the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. Not quite a Maritime Protected Area.
This is a huge win for Territory coasts and sends a strong signal nationally that seabed mining is too risky for our marine life and coastal communities!
‘The Top End has some of the last healthy tropical coasts in the world. Seabed mining is like bulldozing the seafloor. It would decimate our marine life, pollute our waters, threaten our fishing and destroy places of cultural significance.
‘The NT Government asked Territorians to have their say on whether or not seabed mining should be allowed. Territory locals, Traditional Owners, environment groups, commercial and recreational fishers, tourism operators and scientists sent a strong message calling for a permanent ban on this destructive industry.
Huge congratulations to the Territory community and our friends at Keep Top End Coasts Healthyfor achieving this massive win for marine life, and to the NT Government for listening to the community and putting this ban in place.’
On the other hand, the Northern Territory government is permitting fracking near Booloola!
‘Fossil fuel interests are trying to blame climate change on individuals while also sowing division, says Michael Mann, one of their prime targets, by Richard Schiffman on January 12, 2021’ Now I add reference to this book. Professor Mann was in Australia when the nation faced those terrifying bush fires that should have woken us up to global warming.
Here are excerpts from an article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Nick O’Malley, February 15th 2021, about his Michael Mann’s book, The New Climate war.
Michael Mann sees reasons for optimism!
‘Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, spoke at the climate change science panel held by the Sydney Environmental Institute last year. ‘Professor Mann asserts in The New Climate War that, with the impacts of climate change now obvious to those living through it, those fighting effective action are determined to deflect and delay rather than deny.’ ‘Proponents of deflection,’ he argues, ‘range from the fossil fuel industry and their allies in the media across the political spectrum to purveyors of what he calls “doom porn”, who, in defiance of good science, preach that a climate cataclysm is inevitable and imminent.’
Don’t they sound like members of the Australian Coalition government who wanted to exempt agriculture from efforts to reach zero emissions by 2050 when they heard the Prime Minister say zero emissions by 2050 was his ‘preferred option’? Didn’t one of them say he wouldn’t be here in 2050 anyway? Some need to be voted out at the next election.
‘The cry for survival comes from the planet itself.’
We heard the truth in the words of the 46th President of the United States of America. In that recognition hope surfaced again. USA will re-join the Paris Accord. There’s to be an end to the deliberate destruction of the environment to advance the coal, gas and oil industries. An end to logging Alaskan forests? In USA at last we see signs of reasons to be hopeful.
Meanwhile, in Australia our wonderful, courageous Australian Youth Climate Coalition is fighting for the future because of the problems we face since our Australian government refuses to hear the cry for survival from the planet. Note their latest decisions beneath this image.
We have had orchestrated deliberate antagonism to dealing with global warming. A joint fossil fuel combination, in Australia and USA, as far back as the 1990s, set out to prevent action to deal with global warming If you haven’t read The Carbon Club by Marian Wilkinson, do so. With all their wealth and power, these corporations set out to deny the truth of science. Now that global warming can’t be denied they are changing tactics.
Fossil fuel interests are trying to blame climate change on individuals while also sowing division, says Michael Mann, one of their prime targets, by Richard Schiffman on January 12, 2021
They certainly have their allies in the Coalition government in Australia that intends to take revenue set aside for our Clean Energy Climate Fund to promote gas! They are backing gas wells in a State forest in NSW and on agricultural land!
Imagine 800 gas wells in the State Heritage Pilliga Forest, an iconic Australian landscape and the Minister for the Environment has approved these wells!
Members of the Auyu tribe of Papua, Indonesia, are demanding a halt to the operations of palm oil company PT Indo Asiana Lestari (IAL), which appears to be gearing up to clear their ancestral forests.
They say that the company failed to obtain the community’s consent for the project, and that it’s not clear whether it even has the requisite permits to begin operations.
IAL’s concession is part of the Tanah Merah megaproject that is already dogged by allegations that key operating permits have been falsified.
The Papua region is home to the world’s third-largest contiguous swath of tropical rainforest, after the Amazon and the Congo Basin, but large areas may be cleared for plantations.
[Too often, it is profit now. No care for tomorrow.]
I have written about Carlo Rovelli before. He made clear he sees the modern separation of the sciences from the humanities as pernicious. Go to my blog
– Carlo Rovelli – Enhancing our understanding of nature. Now I bring him in again. I go to his essay, written in 2015, Certainty and Global Warming in his book There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness, published by Allen & Unwin, 2018, translated by Erica Segre and Simon Carnell 2020.
Dealing with those climate deniers using the uncertainty principle to denigrate climate science – remember our Coalition government got rid of that section of our CSIRO – Carlo Rovelli wrote: ‘If a fire breaks out in a cellar, a reasonable person looks for a fire extinguisher, calls 999, escapes from the building. Whoever says, ‘But there’s no certainty that the fire will spread, therefore let’s carry on with breakfast’ is a cretin. And yet this is precisely the attitude taken by those who argue that the problem is not serious, because we have no certainty regarding the climate.’ p. 166
They are still here lobbying. Unlike New Zealand, Australia does not have a climate change policy. The Coalition government has not signed the UN declaration to protect bio-diversity despite the fact that this continent has fauna unique on the globe. The marsupials and the monotremes. And our flora is so different!
So, where is the hope in this blog? First go to the
Artists are facing the future. Among the works, one dealing with the impact of extreme flooding is ‘Floodtide’ – a video poem by Ian Gibbins of South Australia – Artists know fossil fuels are significant enemies of the future. Plastics are another.
While there are some concerns with his point of view, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on ABC RN is presenting the Boyer Lectures for 2020, delayed by the virus. The first lecture by Dr Andrew Forrest calls for a move to green hydrogen.
Ross Garnaut in his book Super Power promotes green energy. But, does this Australian government have the political will to make the investments we must have? And in our democracies will voters care about the future for the young people? Go to http://www.aycc.org.au/
President Biden of USA has said it clearly.
The cry for survival comes from the planet itself.
With so much out of sight and out of mind, we are still offered more reasons for hope.
In 2010, Sylvia Earle’s book The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s are One, was published by National Geographic, Washington. This outstanding American oceanographer has been working internationally to set up Marine Protected Areas – ‘hope spots’ – in our global ocean. She has not been alone. There are scientists now called ‘Ocean Elders’ working with her and the UN. She recognizes, while we designate the oceans the Pacific, the Atlantic or Indian, that they are one. and we are inevitably tied to them in so many ways.She is providing the evidence of what we have done and the knowledge to help us act in the positive way we need to act for our future.The health of our oceans as well as our land is vital for our own health. We seem to ignore this fact while we face the random, continuing attacks of this mutating corona virus. There will be no vaccine for climate change.
People on coastlines know it. South Pacific Nations know it. The First Nations of the Torres Strait Islands know it. The east coast of Australia is learning it. Fiji begged the Prime Minister of Australia to recognize we are facing a climate emergency. Our major political parties have not done so. Louisiana could become the first American State to have climate refugees.
Sylvia Earle, recipient of the International Lewis Thomas Award, is the narrator for our wonderful Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Australian Odyssey . The documentary describes what is happening along our east coast as the warming east ocean current, flowing south from the tropics – bringing rain to the Daintree forest – past the east coast of Tasmania, to the Southern Ocean, affects changes for our marine life and the vital sea grasses.
Sylvia Earle gives us her ‘Reasons for hope’ – Marine Protected Areas – ‘hope spots’. See pp 256 – 259 after we have acquired the knowledge she gives if we are to care and push for positive action. She gives us weblinks and names! One of her Ocean Elders is –
Graeme Kelleher AO, an Australian scientist,
Sylvia Earle says he is high on her list as a ‘science-based hero of ocean conservation.’ Formerly Head of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority for 25 year until 1996, ‘[He] has helped to guide a global initiative to consider what is needed to maintain the health of the ocean through a system of protected areas, and developed working groups in all of the world’s marine regions to identify priorities for the establishment and improved management of marine protected areas with particular emphasis on the protection of biodiversity.’ p 252 . This was 2010.She named Australia, New Zealand, America, Kiribati, South Africa and Indonesia as adding to marine protected areas between 2006 and 2009. But the area that remained protected was less than 1 percent of the world’s oceans. [In South Australia, we did save part of the Great Australian Bight from oil exploration, though not the breeding grounds for cuttlefish from commercial intrusion.] In the national sphere, since 2013 in Australia, Coalition governments have reduced areas set aside as marine sanctuaries. Preservation increases biodiversity. Industrialized fishing does to the ocean what logging does to the carbon sinks that are our old growth forests. Our Coalition backs commerce before care for our environment, just as it prefers to ensure profit for fossil fuel companies of coal and LNG that have effectively lobbied for our national Clean Energy Fund to be used for fossil fuels.
The majority knows we need to act now. Why don’t we all, as democracies, do so? Ask our Prime Minister who has gas and media men in his Office. Ask the outgoing President of USA.
In America, The Revelator, an initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity now is identifying 12 ways in which he is undermining the environmental protections that have been put in place over the last 100 years before he is forced to leave the White House.The article written by Tara Lohan was published December 14th 2020. Climate Change
12 Trump Attacks on the Environment Since the Election
In its final days, the administration is rushing to cement its destructive legacy with attacks on clean air, wildlife and public lands that could be difficult to undo.
In Canada,a valuable organisation is keeping watch .– Think about that oil pipeline, the Keystone Pipeline, as well as the impact of warming in the Arctic.
In Australia, Rebecca Giggs, a Western Australian author, has been published ten years on from Sylvia Earle’s proposal for increased Marine Protected Areas, the ‘hope spots’ that are her ‘Reasons for Hope’. We are offered more knowledge. Fathoms: The world in the whale has made us aware of our world in the whale, literally in one case. The irony of it. Found in the stomach of a beached whale in Spain is all the plastic of a green house. It has been too easy for too long for us to use our oceans as dumping grounds. In The Waste Makers, Vance Packard identified us in 1960. Now we face the power of fire. But we have not given thought to the increasing loss of bio-diversity in our lives by our cavalier treatment of the oceans.
Published by Scribe, 2020, a decade on from Sylvia Earle’s advocacy for oceanic ‘hope spots’, Anna Westbrook reviews Rebecca Giggs’ book, ‘Fathoms’ is a meticulously crafted opus, showing off Giggs’ bower-bird eye for glittery detail dredged from trenches of research, down every whorl and fossicked from the silt. . . . Carl Sagan, as Giggs mentions, included whale song on the Golden Record sent out into space with the Voyager in 1977. He called the record: ‘A love song, cast upon the vastness of the deep.’ Equally true of this inimitable book.’
Here is the hope I am adding to ‘Hope in Hell’. Nations need to establish more Marine Protected Areas – hope spots – for the future. 1% of the ocean protected is not enough.Many people, organisations, businesses, governments have what the UN now calls the ‘climate ambition’ to face what needs to be done by 2030 and 2050. More need to act.
Do we want to leave what David Attenborough calls a ‘dangerous legacy’ to the children of a climate catastrophe brought about by the absence of thoughtful transition?
In his book ‘Hope in Hell’ we are told, there is still hope. We may even have hope of avoiding hell if we act with wisdom. Jonathon Porritt saysIt’s the excitement of young people everywhere willing to drive change for a better future which gives him hope of avoiding hell.
‘Hope in Hell‘ provides a brilliant analysis of humanity’s impact on the Earth. Jonathon Porritt still allows us a little hope, but no excuses for further delay, urging radical political action.
Jonathon Porritt was interviewed by Robyn Williams on our wonderful citizen-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National’s Science Show.
On my first blog, back in February 2019, I went to the UK’s Astronomer Royal.
In Thank you Martin ReesI quoted from his work. On the Future Prospects for Humanity.
Sir Martin Rees wrote: It is the felt connection that helps us make the wiser decision.
Often poets awaken that felt response. It’s Snowing Underwater –See the blog – March 2019.
Sent to me by Professor Dietmar Muller, the poet is Dr Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at the Manchester Metropolitan University.
For Lewis Thomas we are The Fragile Species. See his essay ‘Science and the Health of the Earth’ My blog – April 2020. AXIOS is making clear what is happening to fossil fuel giants that relied on ‘The Carbon Club’ – See Marian Wilkinson’s book. AXIOS says, ‘Exxon has lost 54% of its value this year alone. That’s some $163 billion. By contrast, Chevron is down 42%, or $95 billion, while NextEra is up 23%, or $26 billion because it is focused on renewable energy.’
Jonathon Porritt says ‘…While politicians have only been able to deliver grudging incremental change, business now understands, talking about solid change and achievable goals.’
Hope also comes from JoAnne Growney – JoAnne Growney, Silver Spring, MD @MathyPoems with this information.
A virtual conference is to take place November 19th at noon Toronto time.
Subject: Art and climate change.
Massey College in Toronto is putting on a virtual conference on short notice since the global conference on climate that should have happened this month in Glasgow has been postponed for a year because of covid-19. One of the sessions — in which Alice Major will be a panellist, along with Canada’s heritage minister and two other artists — is about the role of arts and climate change. https://www.masseycollege.ca/event/missing-cop26-arts-and-culture/
Australia, despite the National Farmers Federation, the Business Council, the Australian Medical Association wanting us to commit to zero emissions by 2050, has a Coalition government determined to have a gas – fossil-fuel – led ‘recovery’. It refuses to make that commitment. So, we need wiser minds and hearts to prevail. And we need citizens in democracies like ours and in USA to stop sleep walking into the future we see coming all around us. Vote for politicians who care about the quality of the world they leave behind them.