Towards reingagement: changing politics to change the world

May 31, 2016

Back in the 90s, poet and political activist Judith Wright (who was born on this day, 101 years ago) had a sticker on the back of her car saying “subvert the dominant paradigm”. Over the last 25 years we have watched our public education system undermined and weakened, the gap between rich and poor widen, workers’ rights eroded, obesity and health problems spiral out of control, greenhouse gases increasing, record losses in biodiversity and native vegetation – the list goes on. And as this year’s federal election approaches, the Australian public’s confidence in their elected representatives and its enthusiasm in engaging in the political process seems to have reached rock-bottom. continue…

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Political aspirants need to acquaint themselves with the facts

April 29, 2016

With media outlets dominated by vested interests, The Saturday Paper, first published in March 2014, is a welcome edition for those of us who like to see progressive views in journalism. In last week’s edition, there was a front page article on the bid by the previous One Nation leader to re-enter politics, and it was accompanied by an editorial on the same subject. With letters to the editor restricted to 160 words, I had to limit my views accordingly, but I couldn’t let some of the opinions of this political aspirant go without a response. Postscript: it was printed the following week, barely edited! Here it is, in its original form. continue…

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The government says yes to Adani

April 03, 2016

At a time when large expanses of coral are bleaching, temperature records keep being broken, extreme weather events are no longer unusual, and there is general agreement around the world that we need to move away from fossil fuels, the decision by the Queensland ALP Government and the Federal Coalition Government before that to approve the Adani coal mine is obscene and abhorrent. continue…

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Pollutant run-off is not how to stop coral bleaching

March 21, 2016

Greg Hunt, you have got to be kidding. It’s all very well to raise the bleaching alert to its highest level and fund constant monitoring. But much more is needed, and you are clearly either in denial or blatantly ignoring the science if you think that stopping pollutant run-off is going to stop coral bleaching while at the same time you give approval to enormous new coalmines. The majority of Australians urge you to free yourself and your government from the power of the fossil fuel industry and do something meaningful and effective to address the problem that Australia is fuelling by its refusal to act.

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A new low in politics

March 18, 2016

It was predictable but disappointing that those opposing changes to Senate voting embarked on a campaign of lies about secret preference deals and accusations of Green self-interest.  The delaying tactics displayed by opponents brought politics to a new low, and congratulations to ALP retiring senator Gary Gray for calling it for what it was. As a result of these changes it is the voter who will have more power, rather than the smaller parties and the ALP; it was their secret deals that made the previous system so undemocratic and unreflective of voter intentions, allowing the election of people with a tiny proportion of the primary vote. continue…

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It’s time for the Australian people to sue the Abbott government

July 09, 2015

Science isn’t enough for the Abbott Government. Neither is world opinion, nor even the recent people versus the Dutch government verdict. Things appeared to be looking up earlier this week when it was recognised that LNG projects might be delayed or not go ahead at all because the world was looking for fossil fuel alternatives, but almost immediately the Government said yes to the latest coal-mine, in the NSW Liverpool Plains catchment.   continue…

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Liberals fiddle while the country burns

April 26, 2015

One of the most unjust aspects of climate change denialism is that many of its more vocal proponents will not be around to suffer the consequences of their insistence on inaction, inaction which itself is denying a safe future for our children and the world as we know it. With this injustice comes a huge arrogance, given that thousands of scientists around the world agree it is an indisputable fact that the burning of fossil fuels is affecting our climate, and unless we act decisively and soon, we will have runaway climate change.

Let’s be frank here. The Liberal ethos, which seems to have quickly evolved into a belief in the right of the individual to do just about whatever they choose as long as it contributes to profit for themselves and growth for the economy, is at the heart of the problem, manifesting in the government’s refusal to act in our best interests when it comes to climate change.   continue…

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How loudly must we shout?

June 05, 2014

World Environment Day has rolled around again and I want to put down some thoughts about it as I  sit outside on a barely cool winter’s day.

The UN WED website says
“World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

“In support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), WED this year will adopt SIDS in the broader context of climate change as its theme. Our objectives are to help build momentum towards the Third International Conference on SIDS in September and encourage a greater understanding of the importance of SIDS and of the urgency to help protect the islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities, particularly as a result of climate change. We believe WED will be an excellent opportunity to raise a call for solidarity with the islands.”

This website and the many others related to it and/or the calendar event highlight the positive actions that people are taking to improve their local environments and strengthen their local communities in doing so. And maintaining positivity and optimism is important if there is to be any hope at all of having a real impact on the chaos we have created.

But it is hard not to feel very, very sad about the actions that corporations and governments are taking which are having far greater and long-term impacts in the other direction. Rather than simply looking at the environment itself on this WED, it may be useful to look at the “World Environment”, because it is what is happening in the global environment that is contributing to, if not directing, what is happening to the “environment” that WED is all about. continue…

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Greenwash – a book by Guy Pearse

November 23, 2012

Now I don’t have to read council business papers and other related material, I have time to read books, from start to finish! So I was very keen to get get my teeth into Guy Pearse‘s latest offering, Greenwash. Whether you have been comforted by Earth Hour or carbon credits or environmentally friendly chocolate, or been sceptical about the genuineness of oil corporations when they say they are going green, then this book is for you.

After an enormous amount of research, the author presents, in a chatty and readable way, a breakdown of how corporations and individuals involved in everything from fashion to freight, banks to beer, pets to petrol, cars to coffee and much more are duping the world into thinking they are leading the way in slowing down climate change. And although the author doesn’t spell it out, the book crystalises just how dangerous and irresponsible it is for corporations and others to engender a false sense of security in literally billions of current and potential consumers. continue…

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March 12, 2012

This song is a great illustration of why I refuse to sing the national anthem at citizenship ceremonies, January 26 events, etc.

It was written by Dan Warner, who sings it here, but Tiddas also did another great version.

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