Fighting for the Future.

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

Contact:Anne Rolfes, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, (504) 452-4909,
Julie Teel Simmonds, Center for Biological Diversity, (619) 990-2999,
Sharon Lavigne, RISE St. James, (225) 206-0900,

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.

Lavigne has helped attract national media attention and support from thousands of individuals around the country, as well as faith groups, national and international organizations, members of Congress and the Biden administration, attorneys general from other states, and United Nations human rights experts, who have called on officials to reject the Formosa Plastics project.’


Goldman Environmental Prize video of Sharon Lavigne.
Goldman Environmental Prize winner page for Sharon Lavigne.

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.”

Lavigne has helped attract national media attention and support from thousands of individuals around the country, as well as faith groups, national and international organizations, members of Congress and the Biden administration, attorneys general from other states, and United Nations human rights experts, who have called on officials to reject the Formosa Plastics project.

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.
Watch the beautiful short film about their journey >> 
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 Daythe 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.

The meeting is over but contact the Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development at Flinders University.
So different from the attitude of Formosa Plastics, isn’t it! Not just money-making in the present. The sciences and humanities are working for the future of humanity and the planet we must rely on.

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.’

Read their story

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.

Race to map Ashmore Reef as aquatic worlds change fast with warming waters

Scientists are mapping the diversity of Ashmore Reef. The area is changing fast with warming seas.

8mins 39secs

Sat 12 Jun 2021, 12:04pm

The fight for our future in the face of still too much corporate indifference goes on.

Fighting for clean energy.

On World Environment Day.
Very good news from Radio New Zealand – RNZ.


‘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.


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

The following research is published in Nature.

‘Long-lasting, quick-charging batteries are essential to the expansion of the electric vehicle market, 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

Northern gannet birds. Credit: Getty Image

‘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!

A call for strengthened environmental legislatioN
Despite five vertebrate extinctions in 1999, critics say proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act will weaken existing legislation.’

Are our citizens, as voters, going to let that happen?

In a democracy citizens, as voters, set the directions for the future.