5th April 2020
In 2012, the Rand Corporation’s research concluded that a pandemic was likely and was ‘capable of destroying America’s way of life’. In 2015, Ezra Klein, after talking with Bill Gates warned that in a globalized world, “a pandemic disease is the most predictable catastrophe.” When all is running smoothly, it is too easy to ignore such warnings. Our way of life seems to be so settled and stable it is inconceivable that it could be turned upside down in a few short weeks. Political leaders are scrambling to limit the damage. Our medical scientists are striving to develop testing kits and vaccinations. Hopefully, they will be successful. We thank and applaud them!
We are all hovering over a reset button. Our cities are in lock down. Our children are at home. We cannot travel.
Had we listened to the scientists earlier, we would have been better prepared with resources and contingencies.
A major lesson from this is to take heed of the warnings of science and be prepared to take action that reduces catastrophic effects. If we ignore the warnings about climate change, there will be long term catastrophic effects, not as sudden and dramatic as a pandemic, but irreversible because we only have one planet. There will be no reset button. Unless we act now, climate change will be permanently devastating to the lives of those that follow us. We must not let the pandemic swamp our concerns about the long-term future of our children.
3rd April 2020
GRANDFATHER MIKE’S STORY
I was born into a Christian family – well my mum was! As a young boy, I pleased my mother by going to Church. One of my earliest memories of the Christian message was that humans were born to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” I was indoctrinated albeit gently to believe this was the natural order. I could see it all around me – an industrial world. Then, in my late teens, I tried to make sense of ‘blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth’.
Later, as a lecturer, I worked with Aboriginal people, and Torres Strait Islanders. I realised that they had a completely different perspective about their place in the scheme of things. For them, the world around them, the land and the sea, was what sustained them. They were one with it, a mutual nurturing. And it had been like that for forty thousand years!
The contrast between these cultural perspectives is obvious. How can we blend them to get the best of both? Is it possible? My one hope is in the younger generation. They see the planet differently from previous generations. They see the world every night from space (on the weather report at least). They know it is delicate and small and that there is no planet B. Many have listened to people like David Attenborough and have learned to cherish the natural world. Let us hope they can reverse the ‘domination’ and begin to nurture the Earth and its climate so that it, in turn, can sustain them.
Say no to new coal mines
Written by Kylie from Yarraville.
Stepping off the plane in the Whitsundays, with backpackers, tourists and families looking for adventure, there was a definite holiday feeling in the air.
But we weren’t on holiday. My son and I had decided to spend the March long weekend at the camp that’s been setup in central Queensland, outside the town of Bowen, to protest against the continued building of the Adani Coal mine.
In Melbourne we’ve marched in the CBD, we’ve signed online petitions and we’ve boycotted businesses that support this mine. But we needed to take the next step and find out what’s happening on the frontline.
Why? We didn’t feel that we had any other way of showing our disgust at the plans to move ahead with this new coal mine, located 350km from the Great Barrier Reef and set to pump out thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
We’ve just gone through what’s now being called the Black Summer, where almost 80 percent of the adult Australian population was affected either directly or indirectly by bushfires. These bushfires were caused by the impacts of climate change.
But the Australian government is continuing to provide subsidised loans, on secret terms, to an Indian conglomerate that has pleaded guilty to providing false information to the environmental regulator, to build a new coal mine, that will open up the whole of the Galilee Basin to more coal mining.
Camp Binbee is set on several acres deep in the Queensland bush, has solar electricity, a fully stocked kitchen, showers and toilets. The river Bogie runs along the bottom of the property. We spent our time working in the vegetable garden, listening to updates on the Stop Adani campaign, cooling off in the river, learning to climb trees safely with ropes, understanding the concept of non-violent direct action and pitching in with the feeding and cleaning up for the camp.
Anyone at the camp is able to participate in the actions that are regularly run and which stop work on the mine, even if only temporarily, and end up costing the business thousands of dollars.
How can we let our government get away with this crime, particularly now when the cleanup from the fires has only just started and countries around the world are ridding themselves of their reliance on coal?
The answer to this question is obvious to me and thousands of other people. We can’t.
Find out more about the camp here https://frontlineaction.org/redalert/ and join me next time. I’m going back.
Time for a concience vote on Climate Change
12th March from Helen Tasmania
I have worked as a psychologist, school counsellor and teacher. I have authored two books for young people: Teen Time and Finding Your Way in Early Adulthood. With numerous grandchildren, I grieve over the kind of planet and lifestyle these children will inherit and I feel ashamed to be leaving this world in such a diminished state.
It is time our politicians exercised a conscience vote rather than comply with party mandates influenced and backed by greed and corporate sponsorship. The political system is broken and outdated when politicians are merely driven by their own egos, personal gain or blind loyalty to party policy. They are naive if they think they can spin public opinion away from the realities of climate change. By failing to act in a bipartisan way, our politicians continue to lose respect and credibility. They are serving their party interests, not those of the public.