The Australia-India Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement reconfirms that Australian Prime Minister Albanese stands for an ‘Excessively Big Australia’, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). Voters are coming off third best.
The Greens are at the crossroads as a political party — should they focus on the wider concerns of the electorate, or should they stick to environmentalism? For instance, the humanitarian crying out for the suffering of refugees needs to be focused on what drives people to become refugees, like our engagement in unjust wars, environmental damage and over-population. Dr Peter Cock says they need to stay green. [Comment from Candobetter.net editor: Some of us here think the Greens need to rebrand if they don't become green, but we appreciate the discussion in this article, which targets our concerns.]
POLITICAL DISCOURSE in Australia is dominated by jobs, deficits, refugees and living costs — and how these affect individuals. To tackle them well is to win an election. So, if the Greens want to remain relevant in Australian politics, should they respond to the issues that get media attention?
They seem to think so, having recently announced a “softening” of policies in preparation for the election. It’s the wrong course for the party.
The Greens need to accept their role as an irritating and educating core that challenges the political centre. To do so, they need to remain dedicated to applying a “green lens” to political issues and focus on educating the electorate about the impact of any proposed policies on our ecology.
The most difficult task is putting habitat before species and species before individuals. This difficulty is multiplied when the species in question isn’t our own.
Environmentalism has mobilised concern for human injustice and redirected it to other species. Live sheep trade is a good example. We are only just making connections between the well-being of other species and ourselves.
After forty years of environmentalism, “green” issues surround us. However, the focus has been to protect environmental victims. This has limited environmental advocates’ ability to challenge the values and social structures that create them.
The challenge of environmentalism is to educate citizens about deeper, harder issues and then turn that into support. Most donor and public resources help alleviate the suffering of human individuals and groups. There is little left for habitats, other species or future generations. While important, focusing on individuals limits our ability to create real change.
When environmentalism enters mainstream politics in the form of the Greens, the “green lens” of public advocacy is too caught up in humanitarian actions without reference to ecological impacts. For example, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s focus is on immigration and refugees as a substrate of the primary question of a sustainable population.
Need to focus on unjust wars that drive refugees
The humanitarian crying out for the suffering of refugees needs to be focused on what drives people to become refugees, like our engagement in unjust wars, environmental damage and over-population.
The environmentalist aspiration is to make all political parties “greener” and not to claim it as their own. There are many shades of green, yet the Greens need to be accountable to ecological criteria as the basis for the assessment of all policies. The Greens’ point of difference as a party should be to make green criteria central to policy, whether this be gay marriage, a wealth tax, or hunting feral animals in national parks.
The natural care for our own species can be the main vehicle through which environmentalists promote caring about other species and shared habitats. If they are to make the few supporters into the many, they have to confront their attachments and lead them to connections between their individual interests, our species, and the role of other species in sustaining life.
Forty years of environmentalism have revealed a politics embedded in using accumulated resources to suppress change. However, there is increasing awareness that our relations with the earth are at a critical junction. While small groups are creating a transformative possibility, many despair.
Many people still may not grasp the arguments made by environment activists — that to have a chance of avoiding catastrophe, the human race needs to end its perceived war against nature and embrace change. The true challenge of environmentalism is to gain wide acknowledgement of the possibility for societal transformation and then achieve it, rather than just blaming particular groups or corporations.
As important as grassroots efforts, change at the top of green politics is necessary. Applying a “green lens” to policy is part of this. It has the potential to shape not only political discourse, but also to encourage environmental thinking in the general population. Doing so, they can be a source of hope and energy for transformation.
The Greens would be remiss to abandon their part in guiding the change, and inspiring the next wave of ecowarriors to bring it to fruition.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
#comment-126189">more #comment-126190">comments: Flying Foxes hounded from their habitat (July 2013(?), Environment East Gippsland), Council keen to remove bat-attracting trees (23/1/14, ABC), Chester backs push for Bairnsdale bats removal (21/5/14, ABC), Flying foxes torment Bairnsdale community like bats out of hell (14/6/14, Herald Sun).Added links to other stories, including more recent stories, about the Mitchell River Flying Foxes, in response to
Chester backs push for Bairnsdale bats removal (21/5/14, ABC), Flying foxes torment Bairnsdale community like bats out of hell (14/6/14, Herald Sun), Council keen to remove bat-attracting trees (23/1/14, ABC), Flying Foxes hounded from their habitat (July 2013(?), Environment East Gippsland).Other stories, including more recent stories, about the Mitchell River Flying Foxes:
There is a breeding colony of grey headed flying foxes at Bairnsdale in poplar trees along the bank of the Mitchell River in Bairnsdale. It is now threatened by the East Gippsland Shire. This article, by Bob McDonald, contains a fascinating history of flying fox colonies in early Victoria, as well as some keen scientific observations. (Photos also by Bob McDonald.)
This letter is first to request submission to the federal process. http://www.environment.gov.au/
( See end of article for what you can do to help.)
In 1999 the species was classified as "Vulnerable to extinction" in The Action Plan for Australian Bats,#0066cc"> and has since been protected across its range under Australian federal law. As of 2008 #0066cc"> on the #0066cc"> . from the wiki article #0066cc">#0066cc">
The grey-headed flying fox summer nursery colony has been on the Mitchell River Bank for 10 years. This species, despite what DSE and some zoologists say - has been present in Victoria continuously. The removal of colonies from Sale and elsewhere last century, accompanied by the removal of vegetation they require for a summer breeding colonies had seen these colonies lost to the south of the state. The creation of a rainforest in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens and later, around 2002-03 the growth of poplars with a dense weedy understory at Bairnsdale, has enabled them to establish two summer breeding colonies. The one from the Botanical Gardens was forcibly evicted and the grey headed flying foxes moved to red gums on the banks of the Yarra River where they suffer a significantly increased mortality rate.
The East Gippsland Shire, in response to resident’s complaints, established a process to fell the poplars in stages and replace them with native vegetation - continuing 'revegetation program'. Unfortunately designing these plantings no consideration has been given to the basic physical requirements of the grey - headed flying foxes nursery area. From past experience vegetation will have to be least 2-30 years of age or even much older before it can provide the physical structure - especially shelter from sun - required.
The properties affected - 2-5 - have a legitimate grievance - but no steps have been taken to mitigate the impact of grey-headed flying foxes on these properties. The noise volumes experienced by residents and frequency has not been measured and proximity of the flying foxes to the properties has not been mapped. The proposal of the Shire here; http://www.eastgippsland.vic.
IF ANY TREES ARE CUT DOWN PLEASE RING DREW McLean 0417 418 070 and 02 6274 2384 IMMEDIATELY. UNLESS FEDERAL APPROVAL IS GIVEN THE PENALTIES ARE FINES AND/OR JAIL SENTENCES.
I have attached an article that I wrote in last weeks (Bairnsdale) Advertiser and basic internet searches will reveal both that Grey-headed flying foxes are likely primates http://www.batcon.org/index.
I am doing what I can but I would really appreciate any help and assistance that any of you could generate. Submissions for the federal process (see below) close on the 15th of February. The council date for closure of submissions finishes on the same day - but Kate Nelson of the East Gippsland Shire indicated on local ABC Radio yesterday that the council will be clearing the poplars out over 18 months. This will lead to the death of grey-headed flying foxes, especially the young, and the loss of the breeding colony and apparently pre-empts the process established by the shire.
The alternative approach is outlined in the letter below and involves continuing the rainforest revegetation on all available public land, developing tourism potential and only removing the poplars in two or three decades time when the grey headed flying foxes move on.
Before the council takes any further action it must;
1. Abide by the Australian Federal Law
2. Actually evaluate the nuisance caused to a few residents by the fruit bats and undertake measures to reduce their impact
3. Pay for or jointly fund research to determine what the physical parameters are for this nursery colony,
a. the temperature range within the colony,
b. the current mortality rate of young and adult grey-headed flying foxes and the cause of that mortality
c. collate all the known counts of animals in this colony and undertake a monitoring the numbers of adults and young
4. Measure the noise nuisance caused to residents and undertake research to determine what mitigation measures are required and install those that do not impact grey-headed flying foxes such as sound barriers etc.
The point Bob is trying to get across is for people to send submissions to: Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Send copies to the East Gippsland Shire and The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water etc.
East Gippsland Shire address:
Grey-headed Flying-fox Feedback
PO Box 1618
Bairnsdale Vic 3875
Email correspondence can be sent to [email protected]
All feedback must be received by 4.00pm on the 15th of February 2013.
Please, please follow the recommendations of Jill Redwood and Environment East Gippsland. All of the incredible battles won, rare animals and precious forests will be trashed unless we prevent this new legislation.
Please act ASAP.
This is an interim email while we prepare an East Gippsland forest update.
Most would recall that the Baillieu government, in response to our 2010 court win for Brown Mountain, is set to alter the laws governing protection of rare wildlife. It would allow logging to go ahead regardless of what is found there. We suspect they have their sights set on clearfelling Brown Mountain when this is passed – as pay-back.
For those who can, we are asking people to send comments (submissions) into the DSE opposing this plan in the strongest terms possible. Deadline is close of business on Wednesday 1st Feb. But please don’t put this aside. The sooner the better.
The story in brief:
Our Sept 2010 Brown Mountain Supreme Court win for endangered wildlife has upset the new Baillieu Coalition government - so they are going to change the laws that says they must be protected.
To start with, they are set to change a few words in the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2007 (see below).This Code is a ‘loggers environmental rule book’ of sorts and is part of the legal regime that is meant to ‘protect’ our forests while they are being clearfelled yeah ... I know).
The proposed change will take out ‘must do’ protection for threatened species and their habitat. It will allow the DSE Secretary to approve any and all forests planned for logging regardless of whether endangered wildlife live there. This lacks any transparency or accountability. It basically overrides the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act’s individual Action Statements for species protection.
They are knowingly and deliberately rendering useless, the only part out of the FFG Act that logging had to adhere to (especially since our court win). Quolls, Potoroos, the large owls and gliders would all have their home ranges or large parts of it wiped off the map if the logging industry says it must log those forests. And of course it will.
As part of the protocol for changing these rules, the government has to ask us, the public, what we think.
This is their main planned change:
“Forest management planning and all forestry operations must comply with measures specified in relevant Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Action Statements (unless determined by the Secretary that the requirements of an Action Statement do not apply) and any Flora and Fauna Guarantee Orders."
If you can let them know what you think about all this, below are some dot points that might give you some ideas to pad out and reword in any order or way you want – and as few or as many points as you want to use.
Please help deluge the government. Don’t forget. Bung it in your desk or computer’s diary or better still do it now. Let’s see if we can hit them with at least a hundred letters/emails. Five hundred would be even better!
1. This further weakens Victoria’s already weak legal framework for biodiversity protection.
2. Can’t claim wildlife is well protected elsewhere without first doing multiple and thorough surveys in every reserved forest in the state and in every season.
3. The FFGA listed species has already had a scientific committee assess the status and needs of each species. It was agreed that these animals are in danger of disappearing, hence their Action Statement. The secretary must not override these scientific findings.
4. Victoria’s forest dependent threatened wildlife like Quolls and those that need hollow trees are in serious decline mostly due to logging.
5. The past decade of fires has added to Victoria’s forest wildlife’s serious decline .
6. Simply assuming that wildlife can ‘survive and flourish’ (to quote the FFGA) inside the small disjointed reserves is being irresponsible and unscientific.
7. Parks and reserves have historically been declared in areas deemed unnecessary for development or resource extraction, or are of low quality for other uses. This does not always provide the prime habitat needed for many rare species such as gliders and owls.
8. Habitat modelling is not a fool-proof way to protect rare wildlife. They can be found in unpredictable habitats and not found in seemingly suitable areas.
9. There is a very real possibility of wildlife being made extinct in Victoria due to ongoing habitat destruction.
This will have Ted Baillieu’s name on it.
10. There is no credibility in the claim of ‘balancing’ the needs of logging industry and environment. It has been balanced in favour of logging for the past 40 years.
11. Looking after species at a “landscape level” is also rubbish. The species are listed as needing protection for the very reason that they no longer occur “at a landscape level” but in small often isolated patches.
12. The exemption of the logging industry from the FFGA, via the Code is outrageous.
13. The fact that the secretary is unaccountable to anyone in this decision is an outrage. He MUST consult with experts, notify the public of a decision and give reasons and evidence he used. His decisions MUST be able to be scrutinised, reviewed and challenged. To cut out this basic tool of democracy to aid one industry is another outrage.
14. Every forest stand which supports a listed species MUST be left intact and not clearfelled and burnt by VicForests.
15. Baillieu promised his government would restore integrity, transparency and accountability. Let’s see it.
Environment East Gippsland