"To date, I understand that 2,268 jurisdictions in 39 countries have declared a climate emergency. It is the one issue about which there is widespread global consensus. It presents a common threat to all countries and no country can isolate itself from it. However, to effectively tackle climate change, there must be an equal focus on population growth and the disastrous effect it is having on the earth's natural environment. To date, there is little evidence of governments doing that.
Report headlines: Heritage Protection Forum planned; Federal Election; The Committee that ate Melbourne (The Melbourne Committee); Wattle Park Heritage Submissions sought; Curtin Hotel; Kilmore Land Deal; Crowag Green Notices; South East Water Reservoir, Mt Eliza; Heritage Victoria Permit Application for 2022 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show; Ivanhoe Developer goes direct to Planning Minister; Queen Victoria Market; Big End of Town Complaints Department; High-rise A
Most of us will remember the second pandemic year of 2021 more with regret or anger than fondness. For the nature lovers among us, its closing days delivered a triple whammy, for they also proved to be the closing hours in the lives of three venerable conservation champions of international renown whom we had long revered. By sheer coincidence, Thomas Lovejoy, E. O.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) believes there is nothing to fear from the downward projection of population size in the Inter-Generational Report (IGR) from 40 million to 38.8 million by 2061. National President Jenny Goldie says what is to be feared are the environmental, social and economic cost of adding another 13 million people to the population.
“The IGR fails to take into account the costs of infrastructure which amounts to at least $100,000 in public money for each new person, be they immigrant or born here,” says Ms Goldie.
“The IGR fails to take into account the environmental costs of urban encroachment on natural bushland, threatening iconic species such as the koala, and adding to carbon emissions,” she says. “It fails to address the social costs of crowding, housing unaffordability and longer waiting times that generally accompany population growth.
“Having more people generally means a bigger GDP but not necessarily GDP per capita, which is a better measure of living standards. In fact, GDP is well past its use-by date and, before the end of the IGR time frame, will have ceased to be used. In looking so far into the future, we should be using a range of the newer measures of living standards and well-being.”
Ms Goldie says neither should we fear an ageing population.
“The projection that there will only be 2.7 workers per person aged over 65 in 40 years’ time will probably be wrong,” says Ms Goldie. “In fact, as the working age population shrinks and the labour market tightens, fewer people will be unemployed, and employers will improve wages and conditions to attract job-seekers.
“This will have the effect of drawing more people into the workforce who were not working, or keeping people in work who would otherwise have retired. In other words, the participation rate will improve.”
Ms Goldie says rising health expenditure, while a problem in narrow fiscal terms, is actually a good thing, by keeping people happier and healthier for longer, and by reducing human suffering.
I think it is timely to highlight the fact that HRH Duke of Edinburgh appears to have had a pretty good understanding of environmental issues and the role of human population numbers in environmental degradation. His reputation for having a curmudgeonly persona went before him, and possibly gave him licence to blurt out his thoughts, uncensored by notions of political correctness. His gratuitous remarks to more or less strangers, regarding their appearances, or rude questions, characterised his multitudinous "gaffes". He was refreshingly "un careful" and honest in interviews, so he spoke of what many refer to as "the elephant in the room" - human population numbers - as though this reality was indeed not only visible but very obvious. He remarked in one interview that where humans are, there is nothing else (!) He was unmeasured in his comments, so his message was clear. He also remarked, in one interview, that no-one wants to talk about it [population]. I have not, so far, found an interview where any interviewer delves deeply into this with him.
Other conservationists will speak of population as being the huge problem, but it is inserted, rather that the key message, e.g. David Suzuki and David Attenborough. The Australian Conservation Foundation, of which Prince Philip was once president (1971-76), now refuses to discuss population, although it is the biggest, if not the sole, threat to wildlife and biodiversity in Australia. ACF have made a statement https://www.acf.org.au/acf_statement_on_the_passing_of_prince_philip and credit him with seeding the idea of creating this body, but they do not mention his stand on global human population. Here is one of the prince's statements to People Magazine:
“Human population growth is probably the single most serious long-term threat to survival. We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed–not just for the natural world, but for the human world. The more people there are, the more resources they’ll consume, the more pollution they’ll create, the more fighting they’ll do … If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation, and war.”
Prince Philip was in a privileged position which may have, in a different personality, stifled self expression, but it seemed to have given him licence to make utterance on the subject that others would have steered clear of. It was his choice to speak out, and his good fortune to have a ready audience.
The question is, has it done any good? The world's human population is steaming ahead and, at the last count was around 7.9 billion. When Prince Philip was born, nearly a century ago, the world population was around 1.9 billion. Did Prince Philip not say it loudly enough or often enough? Or would it have made no difference if he had saved his breath?
He has apparently passed on his concern and viewpoint to his son, Prince Charles, and also to his grandson, Prince William. Although they will probably make no difference, there is some satisfaction and comfort in knowing that a few individuals, who hold positions of respect in the realm, are conscious of the perilous position of life on Planet Earth. Although they, as individuals, are not in immediate peril, they must realise that, ultimately, the demise of the biosphere will affect them too. They certainly are not exceptions to the need to protect each other and the rest of the population from Covid-19. It is ironic that the bluntly spoken duke once said that he would like to be reincarnated as a virus to control population! 
The Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) current design for the new railway station will permanently occupy a significant part of the Lorne Parade Reserve at the expense of open public parkland.
Despite lack of details from the LXRA, the public documentation provided indicates the permanent footprint of the Reserve could reduce by about 30%. LXRA is yet to confirm the physical and overshadowing intrusion from the new railway station and other railway infrastructure, whether there will be any level changes to the topography of the Reserve and the extent of vegetation removal proposed, but it is clear the infrastructure will have an intrusive presence on the Reserve.
The trench is expected to significantly encroach along the length of the Reserve, reducing the permanent footprint of the Reserve.
All of the significant mature trees adjacent to the existing rail corridor, that are a feature of the neighborhoods character will be permanently lost and construction activity is likely to remove a significant number of others that create our wonderful treed canopies and deciduous colours.
The proposed main southern station exit/entrance leads directly into Lorne Parade Reserve rather than via a concourse to the northern and southern carparks (and Union Road commercial district) and the associated pathways is permanently reducing the footprint of the open green space in the Reserve.
The proposed ‘kiss and ride’ facility unnecessarily directs people to the Reserve and the associated infrastructure permanently reduces the footprint of the green open space in the Reserve. This could be avoided if it was located in the carpark.
The primary entrance/exit for the Station is on the northern side of Lorne Parade Reserve. The prominent height of the proposed station will create shadow on the Reserve.
Vegetation, that is not replaced with permanent infrastructure, will be demolished for the sole purposes of storage and construction convenience.
A statement of replanting does not mean the Reserve will be protected or replanted to maintain the neighborhood character and amenity. The LXRA can plant any type of tree and vegetation anywhere and meet their commitment.
UPDATE: Youtube has removed the film again, but you can watch it at https://planetofthehumans.com. We reproduce a letter from Jeff Gibbs, Director of Planet of the Humans.
Did you know that YouTube has removed Michael Moore's massive environmental film, "Planet of the Humans"? The reason appears to be a purported infringement of copyright, which its producer vehemently denies. They didn't like the message, he argues in this rivetting and educational interview. Michael Moore joins Rolling Stone's "Useful Idiots" show to discuss the removal of Planet of the Humans from YouTube, and addresses criticism he and the film have received. This fascinating interview has nearly as much to offer on the environmental movement and its problems - notably with corporate interference - as the film itself.
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan claims to deliver the first Victorian integrated river corridor strategy and to identify immediate actions for the river corridor, enabling long-term collaborative management between agencies and Traditional Owners. It is intended to guide local planning. We publish here a critical submission to this draft plan. Summary of submission by candobetter editor: Climate Change and human failure to interact safely with the natural world. Plan fails to adequately factor in transport interaction with Yarra. Lack of proper transport interconnectivity. Higher density depends on high quality public transport. Private car still dominates. Forecast population growth and new constructions will inevitably cause major environmental damage. North-East Link Freeway will comport massive land-fill problems, hardly referred to in Draft Plan. Likely potential for destabilisation of groundwater in the Yarra Valley in the Bulleen and Rosanna area as a consequence of the North-East Link Freeway project. Substantial areas of public open space is threatened by the project, together with about 25,000 mature canopy trees. Adverse human health effects of the project would include increased air pollution and heightened road noise. Lack of cycling provision on roads in cities of Boroondara, Banyule, Manningham and Maroondah and the Shires of Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges. Proposal in Plan to increase lanes capacity on the Eastern Freeway to cater for the North East Link project by over 40%, from 802,000 square metres to 1,127,000 square metres. Adverse environmental effects would include increased run-off of polluted stormwater into the Yarra River and elevated ambient temperatures as a consequence of the large increase in concrete and asphalt surfaces. Report of the Commissioner of Sustainability, State of the Yarra and its Parklands (2018), concluded that the status of the Yarra river was poor for 18 of its 25 environmental indicators. This can only deteriorate if planned stressors go ahead.
Submission on the Draft Yarra Strategic Plan
The draft Yarra Strategic Plan rightly identifies climate change as a threat to the Yarra River. In this regard, climate change is neither more or less than a register of the failure of the human species to interact properly with the natural world. COVID - 19 also falls into that category.
Transport and the Yarra
The draft Plan gives too little attention to the relationship between transport and the health of the Yarra. This is a major flaw. The functionality of large cities is decided more than anything else by the dominant modes of mobility deployed in them.
The draft Plan declares (p. 16) that the Department of Transport "plans, builds and operates an integrated, sustainable and safe transport system across Victoria. It does not, actually, as little effort is made to integrate the various modes. Within the public transport sphere in particular, insufficient effort is made to ensure the connectivity of the network.
Even more importantly, the concept of integrated transport and land use planning has pretty much been abandoned by the Victorian government, and has done so since Melbourne 2030, with the concept of the poly-centric city at its core, was all but forgotten.
The idea (p. 12) that higher density residential development should be the sole province of inner areas is flawed. There is significant demand for higher density residential development in locations well removed from inner Melbourne. The central problem is that the government has abandoned the key enabler of this, which is high quality public transport across the whole of Melbourne.
The reality is that the modal mix for personal travel in the City of Melbourne is little different from what it was 50 years ago. The private motor car dominates. And it is very space-inefficient.
The draft Plan anticipates that Melbourne's population will grow to nearly 8 million by the year 2051, and with an extra 140,000 dwellings to be built in the Yarra River corridor by 2041.
There are no grounds, within current policy settings, that these "milestones" would be reached without damaging the environment very seriously. The central issue is that the Victorian government does not have a transport plan for Melbourne.
North East Link
The Victorian government's North East Link freeway project is hardly referred to in the draft Plan. It should be. It was developed in the absence of any consideration by the government of other forms of transport, and especially public transport, which would have a relatively benign effect on the Yarra River corridor.
It is understood that the extensive tunnelling proposed for the project would require the excavation of about 1.5 cubic metres of rock and soil, which would go to landfill (see Timna Jacks and Benjamin Preiss, "Warning over toxic soil from 'big dig,'" Sunday Age, December 1, 2019). It is not known whether any of the material is toxic and there appears to be insufficient landfill capacity to take it.
There appears to be potential for destabilisation of groundwater in the Yarra Valley in the Bulleen and Rosanna area as a consequence of the project.
Substantial areas of public open space is threatened by the project, together with about 25,000 mature canopy trees.
Adverse human health effects of the project would include increased air pollution and heightened road noise.
Paved surface area
One of the dysfunctional elements of the dominance of the motor car is the increase in paved road surface that is required to cater for ever-growing motor vehicle numbers. For instance, it is proposed to increase lanes capacity on the Eastern Freeway to cater for the North East Link project by over 40%, from 802,000 square metres to 1,127,000 square metres. The adverse environmental effects would include increased run-off of polluted stormwater into the Yarra River and elevated ambient temperatures as a consequence of the large increase in concrete and asphalt surfaces.
Local government and transport
It is not only at state government level that we have major policy failure in transport. For instance, if one is to consider the land area of the City of Boroondara, it is comprised of about 6,022 hectares, of which 1279 hectares, over 20%, is comprised of road reservations. About 80% of the land devoted to road reservations is controlled by the City of Boroondara, with the balance controlled by VicRoads. The reservations controlled by Boroondara contain about 560 kilometres of local roads.
Significantly, very few of these roads have been developed to provide for safe cycling traffic. They are designed, with few exceptions, exclusively for motor car traffic. Apart from the City of Yarra, the other councils with a direct interest in this project (the cities of Banyule, Manningham and Maroondah and the Shires of Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges), also appear relatively uninterested in increasing the mode share of space-efficient, and therefore environmentally friendly forms of transport.
The Status Assessment contained in the report of the Commissioner of Sustainability, State of the Yarra and its Parklands (2018), concluded that the status of the river was poor for 18 of its 25 environmental indicators.
These measures will continue to deteriorate unless substantial reforms are made to transport capacity in Melbourne, and especially in the Yarra River corridor, to preference space-efficient and less carbon polluting transport modes.
29 March 2020
It has been great to re-live the Apollo 11 Moon Landing’s 50 th Anniversary. What a monumental achievement and tribute to human intellectual candlepower, endeavour and above all courage. I was a Year 9 student at the time; like other classes we downed tools to watch it unfold. Our teachers were just as astonished by the audacity and precision of the Landing as we were. I – and I think most of the people who I talked with or heard from at that time – had a very rosy view of the future. Yes we were involved in a stupid war in Vietnam, but I thought the Second World War and the Holocaust were so wicked and so evil that we’d learned from that, and that there was a very strong worldwide appetite for peace. I thought that war and conflict would become a thing of the past.
I also thought that we were learning from our environmental mistakes, and that the public interest and community action groups springing up to oppose air pollution, water pollution, toxic pesticides and habitat destruction would see us lift our environmental game. In short, I thought everything would improve.
But to reflect on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing raises the question for me – what has actually happened to the world in the last 50 years?
The most striking global phenomenon of the past 50 years has been population growth. It took us the whole of human history to get to the 3.6 billion people we were in 1969. It has taken just 50 years to more than double that, to 7.7 billion now. Australia is no exception – back in 1969 we were 12 million; now we are 25 million.
The impact of this growth on wildlife and the environment has been catastrophic. The latest World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report says that since 1970, 60% of the population of all mammals, birds, reptiles and fish has been lost.
60% in 50 years. It is a disgrace. It makes an absolute nonsense of the idea that we’re decoupling growth from environmental damage; that we can continue to grow, and our wildlife won’t disappear. Let me repeat – in the last years our numbers went up by over 50%, and the world’s wildlife went down by 60%.
Co-incidence? Hardly. As has been noted by The Overpopulation Report, the total weight of vertebrate land animals 10,000 years ago was – Humans 1%, Wild Animals 99%. Today it is Wild Animals 1%, Humans 32%, Livestock 67%.
And the population doubling in 50 years has not just been catastrophic for our wildlife and environment; there have been many other consequences too. Back then Australia had negligible unemployment. Now we’ve got unemployment, we’ve got underemployment, we’ve got job insecurity, we’ve got no wage growth.
Back then we had virtually no homelessness and much lower levels of mental health problems and drug addiction. Now we have homelessness and beggars in the streets, our young people have mental health problems. Ice used to be something you needed to keep the beer cold. Not any more. We have housing unaffordability. In 1969 Australians not only owned their own homes, many Australians had a holiday home down by the beach as well. Not any more. In 1969 there was no such thing as traffic congestion. Now the traffic congestion is terrible. We have road rage (unheard of in
1969) and Melbourne is on track to add over one million extra cars in the next 20 years. How will we go with another million cars?
In 1969 we did indeed take a giant leap forward. But it’s the increasing size of the foot, and our footprint on the earth, that the past 50 years will be most remembered for in time to come. The next giant leap for mankind will be the one that moves us from using “growth” as our measuring stick, to using “wellbeing”, and which enables us to put into effect the lesson of those beautiful photos of the earth taken by the astronauts – that we’re all in this together.
The Hon. Kelvin Thomson
22 July 2019
Dingoes play a key role in the conservation of Australian outback ecosystems by suppressing feral cat populations, a UNSW Sydney study has found. A UNSW Sydney study has ended an argument about whether or not dingoes have an effect on feral cat populations in the outback, finding that the wild dogs do indeed keep the wild cat numbers down.
In a paper published recently in Ecosystems, the researchers compared dingo and feral cat populations either side of the world’s longest fence that also doubles as the border between South Australia and New South Wales.
The fence was erected in the 1880s to in an attempt to keep dingoes from attacking sheep flocks in NSW and Queensland.
With a very small number of dingoes on the NSW side of the fence and much larger number on the SA side, the fence offered a perfect opportunity to observe feral cat numbers in identical environments with and without the influence of dingoes.
Professor Mike Leitnic from the Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, says that over the course of a six year study – between 2011 and 2017 – he and his fellow researchers compared the numbers of dingoes, cats and their major prey species either side of the dingo fence in the Strzelecki Desert.
“We collected dingo scat and cat scat and analysed them to compare diets, while we also used spotlight searches to record numbers of each as well as two of their common food sources – rabbits and hopping mice,” he says.
“In our spotlight searches, dingoes were pretty much absent from the NSW side of the fence, with only four spotted in our six years of study. We also observed on this side that feral cats fluctuated as their prey numbers fluctuated.
“But on the SA side, where dingoes were common, the cat numbers were consistently lower.”
Co-author Dr Ben Feit says that early on in the study, both dingo and cat numbers on the SA side appeared to fluctuate along with numbers of their rabbit and hopping-mice prey, but from 2013 onwards, dingo numbers remained high while cat numbers remained low for the remainder of the study.
“In fact, the feral cats had basically disappeared by the end of 2015 and we went for a two year stretch without seeing any,” Dr Feit says.
“We think the cat population took a dive because of interference competition – either from dingoes actually preying on cats, or by scaring them completely away from the same hunting ground.”
The authors say that while the scat analysis showed that the wild dogs and cats eat similar foods, there wasn’t any evidence to suggest that competition for food was a major factor in how dingoes reduce cat populations. On the contrary, prey remained plentiful on the SA side of the fence, suggesting that dingoes had a direct, rather than incidental effect on the numbers of feral cats.
Feral cats are a serious conservation threat and have been linked with the extinction of at least 20 mammal species in Australia and threaten the ongoing survival of more than 100 native species.
The authors believe their study shows that dingoes play a key role in the conservation of Australian outback ecosystems by suppressing feral cat populations. Their work adds to previous studies that found dingoes help conservation efforts by keeping numbers of introduced red foxes, feral goats and feral pigs in check while also keeping kangaroos from overpopulating in certain areas.
In this 1973 video, the Club of Rome envision a world with far less need to work long hours and with a benign system of international cooperation. I think that they would be horrified if they could see what has actually happened, and the role that the IMF has taken. I think the Club of Rome got the material settings right, though.
This short Australian interview with men from the Club of Rome in 1973 is interesting in that the data seem right. It's 1973 and they are looking to 2040-ish. Population growth is coming right up against the time they expect it to be overwhelmed by deaths. The use of natural resources has happened as predicted as too the production of waste and the dwindling quality of life. Those interviewed advocate international cooperation to address global problems and cite the European Common Market as being a good start.
It's a good effort at looking into the future but I think things are worse than they thought. They are envisioning a world where a more sensible course is taken rather than the current mad rush to get as much out of the system as possible. They are seeing internationalism and international cooperation (re trade for example ) as an opportunity to avert catastrophe, rather than the hideous heartless, overblown monster that has actually emerged.
This interview happened in the year of the 1973 Oil Shock, just when various colonial oil-producers were declaring independence and nationalising their oil industries.
It is interesting to see how the man from the International Monetary Fund appears so much milder than his current manifestations, although we do hear him defend private enterprise over nationalisation of industries. And to think of how the United States and the EU are currently threatening Venezuela, one of the last countries to maintain a national oil-industry despite the constant efforts at take-over by US-NATO since 1973.
It seems that the Club of Rome did not predict the number at which global population might fall, but they show death-rates rising to the point that population numbers fall rapidly around 2020.
A recent interview of the Prime Minister by Leigh Sales in the 7.30 Report on Tuesday 29 January 2019 provided a good illustration of the lack of understanding of economics by ABC journos or their deliberate and calculated rejection of some simple truths. John Coulter has written to Leigh Sales as follows.
Last evening in your interview with the Prime Minister you raised the issue of government debt. You suggested to Morrison that he was not really such a good economic manager because government 'debt' had increased on his watch and you allowed the PM to go on and claim that he had to pay back the debt that Labor had created. This part of the interview was initiated by you and predicated on the undesirability of government debt.
What you should have asked Morrison, 'to whom is government debt owed' for it is actually owed to itself and is not a matter of concern as long as certain conditions are met. You may then have gone on and asked whether 'if the government does achieve a surplus is this not likely to lead to an economic downturn?' A government surplus means that the government is taking more from the economy and there is less for private investment.
Nearly all the ABC interviewers are firmly embedded in the existing economic paradigm which regards endless growth of GDP as both desirable and necessary whereas it is one of the fundamental drivers of our environmental degradation and not actually leading to improvements in human welfare.
With best wishes,
John Coulter, former leader, Australian Democrats
Transcript of the actual interview
Economic experts have warned the Government faces a challenge in meeting its new jobs target if it restricts migration, and even if it does deliver on its pledge, Australians may not be the ones to benefit.
It follows a similar pledge by Tony Abbott prior to the 2013 election to create 1 million jobs by 2018.
Peter McDonald, Emeritus Professor of Demography at ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy, said it was an “achievable” target and that a recent projection of labour market demand by Victoria University had already earmarked a similar level of demand.
But he also noted migration was the largest contributor to the growth in employment numbers in Australia since 2013, ahead of the growing trend for older Australians to stay in work.
The permanent migration program was reduced from around 190,000 to just above 160,000 in the past two years.
Mr Morrison revealed last year it’s likely the intake would remain at this new, lower level.
Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson said his firm forecasted that, at this stage, jobs growth would fall short of the Government’s 2023 target.
“You get, basically, growth in jobs pretty much anyway — over time, there are more Australians, that typically means more jobs, but it does get more complicated than that,” Mr Richardson said.
“An ageing population means more people are retiring, that makes it harder.
“The migration debate — if it means winding back the number of migrants — that also makes it harder.”
The Department of Jobs’ Employment Outlook, released last year, projects employment to increase by 886,100 over the five years to May 2023.
Mr Richardson said the ratio of new skilled adult migrants to jobs growth was “pretty much one to one”, despite community concerns over migration fuelled by “barbecue logic”.
“People think, ‘well if migrants arrive, surely they’re taking jobs and if other things are equal, that means less jobs for everyone else’,” he said.
“If somebody puts up a hand to take a job — a migrant, a married woman, a Martian — they get the job, they earn the income, spend the income, then create the next job.”
Professor McDonald said if the Government restricted permanent migration, the employees needed by Australian businesses would not come from the ranks of the local unemployed.
“If labour demand is strong, and permanent migration is not filling the demand, then it will come from temporary migration or New Zealanders,” he said.
A reduction in immigration, he argues, would not necessarily lead to more jobs for Australians.
Inside is an English translation of the French Yellow Vests' manifesto https://www.sott.net/article/402396-What-do-the-protesters-in-France-want-Check-out-the-official-Yellow-Vest-manifesto
A constitutional cap on taxes - at 25%
Increase of 40% in the basic pension and social welfare
Increase hiring in public sector to re-establish public services
Massive construction projects to house 5 million homeless, and severe penalties for mayors/prefectures that leave people on the streets
Break up the 'too-big-to-fail' banks, re-separate regular banking from investment banking
Cancel debts accrued through usurious rates of interest
Constitutional amendments to protect the people's interests, including binding referenda
The barring of lobby groups and vested interests from political decision-making
Frexit: Leave the EU to regain our economic, monetary and political sovereignty (In other words, respect the 2005 referendum result, when France voted against the EU Constitution Treaty, which was then renamed the Lisbon Treaty, and the French people ignored)
Clampdown on tax evasion by the ultra-rich
The immediate cessation of privatization, and the re-nationalization of public goods like motorways, airports, rail, etc
Remove all ideology from the ministry of education, ending all destructive education techniques
Quadruple the budget for law and order and put time-limits on judicial procedures. Make access to the justice system available for all
Break up media monopolies and end their interference in politics. Make media accessible to citizens and guarantee a plurality of opinions. End editorial propaganda
Guarantee citizens' liberty by including in the constitution a complete prohibition on state interference in their decisions concerning education, health and family matters
No more 'planned obsolescence' - Mandate guarantee from producers that their products will last 10 years, and that spare parts will be available during that period
Ban plastic bottles and other polluting packaging
Weaken the influence of big pharma on health in general and hospitals in particular
Ban on GMO crops, carcinogenic pesticides, endocrine disruptors and monocrops
Reindustrialize France (thereby reducing imports and thus pollution)
End France's participation in foreign wars of aggression, and exit from NATO
Cease pillaging and interfering - politically and militarily - in 'Francafrique', which keeps Africa poor. Immediately repatriate all French soldiers. Establish relations with African states on an equal peer-to-peer basis
Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing
Scrupulously respect international law and the treaties we have signed
"Media resistance has always been one of the big problems," says Sandra Kanck, who came from a family where there were seven children and she learned early that one wage did not go as far for seven as it might for fewer. From 1994-2009 Sandra served as an Australian Democrats’ Member of the upper house of the South Australian Parliament. Her ‘maiden’ speech in parliament was – predictably for those who know her – about population. For more than nine years Sandra Kanck has been either President or Vice-President of SPA, mostly the former, including reluctantly juggling the role of Acting Treasurer for three months during one of her stints as President.
I recommend this article by Mark Allen, as a very useful and well-written guide to enjoying activism more. I think that he has identified a major problem and that his solutions can definitely help us. I found that as I read his article, I was applying them in my head and thinking, "Yes." (Candobetter.net editor.)
The cartoon by Doug Savage is copyright and comes from www.savagechickens.com.
Some ideas about how we can reduce conflict among activists, create campaigns that are long lasting, reach out and connect with people who have different values to that of our own and work towards a meaningful shift in paradigm.
"The embrace of unconditional forgiveness is essential to the success of all the major activist adventures in the world. There may be truth in the savage denunciation of corrupt corporations, politicians, and a media in bed with what Robert Kennedy called 'systems of cold evil' that want to keep exploiting the earth. But this response has two main disadvantages in practical affairs: the excitement of projecting your own unacknowledged darkness onto others keeps you from seeing just how implicated you are. Advocating for any cause in this spirit virtually ensures your efforts will increase resistance rather than heal. Human beings will never be convinced to change their ways by other human beings who try to humiliate them. In nearly every case, such condemnation only reinforces the behaviour it is trying to end. When people are accused of acts they know they are guilty of by others who have contempt for them, they almost always retreat even further into their self-destructive behaviour. If they do change, it is from fear, or perhaps hypocrisy, but not from their own truth." (Andrew Harvey)
The version of the article that you are reading is very much a draft; something that I have put together for the 2018 Students of Sustainability Conference in Melbourne. While this is a work in progress (in fact it will always be a work in progress) the aim is to try, at the earliest possible opportunity, to encourage people to connect to the issues that are discussed here. If these words inspire only one person, then they have served their purpose.
Encouraging people other than myself to become involved at the onset is important because I am not exactly sure how this project will develop, only that it seems right for me to be doing this. In face of the overwhelming issues that the world is facing, it feels to me that we really have to evolve or accept a future that I don't want to think about. Of course many less privileged people than myself are already experiencing much of this dystopia right now. But I digress.....
At this stage I can say that the plan is to develop this movement by holding regular workshops and sometimes weekend retreats. Hopefully these workshops will inspire others to run workshops of their own with the movement spreading from there. This is the model that Climate for Change use and this seems to me to be the most effective way of developing a movement at this time.
So why have I found myself involved in Holistic Activism? As someone who has been an activist on and off since the 90's I have seen many activists burn out and much of that burnout is through dashed expectations, differences between activists and disappointment at seeing little positive change for the many hours of time that they have invested.
Of course I have witnessed some major successes and I am not in any way trying to denigrate the achievements that activists have made, only that, for every success, there seems to be a thousand more battles that need to be fought. We are mostly putting out spot fires and not putting enough emphasis into approaching the mindset that is creating these spot fires. This is why I have arrived at holistic activism.
It is an acknowledgment that most of the problems that plague humanity (and therefore the rest of the natural world) are rooted in our disconnection with all that is. If you feel this is too airy fairy, I urge you to read on. This movement utilises Deep Ecology, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Social Permaculture and some aspects of Post Structuralism; all movements that have strong grounding in their own right. There is nothing much here that is new; just a repackaging of modern and ancient discourses in a way that is hopefully approachable to the modern day activist.
I am not trying to replace other forms of activism. This is about looking at how the activism that we are involved in can tap into deeper, more proactive, change. It could also provide another approach to effecting change for those who need to take a break from frontline activism.
What is an activist?
So considering that 'activism' is the second part of the title, the first question, I suppose, might be, what is an activist? I believe that every person is an activist (or potential activist) to a greater or lesser degree, even those who might not appear to fit the picture of what an activist is perceived to be. Everyone has a point whereby they would choose to go out and campaign, even if it is something as fundamental as ensuring that clean water is running out of their tap and that they have clean air to breathe. By seeing everyone as a potential activist, we start to pave a way towards looking for points of connection with others rather than getting bogged down in points of difference.
So this article is aimed at everyone because it assumes that everyone is a potential activist and it assumes that activism is something that is and should be ongoing. One thing that history has taught us is the need for constant vigilance or else we risk succumbing to the ideological posturing of those people who, over time, develop sufficient power and influence to favour a narrow view of the way the world should be.
While language is a valuable tool, it also reduces and compartmentalises our complex relationship with the world and all that is. Therefore, to find a place of connection outside of language is as important as embracing critical thinking.
Indigenous tribes across the world have rituals in place to do just that. It is a means of ensuring that the impact of language is visualised from a deeper perspective. But those rituals have to be regular and ongoing in the same way that language is regular and ongoing. We have much to learn from such knowledges to ensure that the systemic change that we are working towards does not mutate into some kind of alternative dogma.
So as well as finding ways of reconnecting to the wonderment of the world, we could benefit immensely from learning to be the observers of our minds; to step back and realise that 'thoughts, images memories and other cognitions are nothing more than bits of language, words and picture.'
Holistic Activism Steps
Climate change and many of the other problems that are plaguing humanity and have plagued humanity are the symptoms of a much deeper problem, one that is rooted in ego and cognitive dissonance *.
Holistic Activism is about taking us outside of that because unless we do, we will never achieve long-term peace and sustainability. We have to stop re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and embrace our interconnectedness and not our separateness. This movement is about taking an approach that deals with the causes as well as the underlying symptoms. Here is how:
The first step is acceptance. Our approach to activism and living must come from a perspective of acceptance of the way the world is in this moment; that for one reason or another, for better or worse, the world has unfolded to this point. Acceptance does not mean that we have to like it or not want to change it. Instead, acceptance is the starting point of that change. Otherwise we run the risk of becoming attached to discourses centred around what could have or what should have been. This leads to the politics of resentment and the emotional impact that comes with it. This of course does not mean that we should condone past actions or activities. On the contrary, it is about maintaining a critical eye so that we do not repeat those mistakes. The notion of acceptance is about breaking the endless cycle of recrimination and moving towards an activism that is centred on compassion.
This brings me to the second step which is about de-escalation. Every person brings with them the many layers of their life experience into conversation; they are that way as a result of many factors and influences that stretch back to long before they were born. By not basing our assumptions on there being a healthy normality, we can look towards those issues that connect us as opposed to focussing on the ones that divide us. In doing so we can build up the trust that is required to have open and constructive conversation on those issues where we do have differences. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be assertive and show boundaries. In fact it is important that we do, only that this assertiveness is underlined by compassion.
Maintaining critical thinking capacity
The third step is to maintain our own capacity to think critically, coupled with a willingness to change our perspective. No one person can have a clear view of the way the world should be. We can have ideas but we must feel that we are part of an ongoing conversation and that the outcome of that conversation will never be exactly what we envision. It will be much more complex and multi layered. Knowing this gives us the freedom to be open to new ideas and to be willing to change our perspective, thus creating a more conducive atmosphere for everyone to create meaningful change.
Empathy and open-mindedness
The fourth step is to realise that creating social inclusion and ecological sustainability is not about everyone adhering to the same set of values. Instead we need to look for areas of connection. We achieve this by trying to see things from the perspective of someone else and looking for areas where that connection can be made. This starts to take the relationship out of ego and begins the process of developing a relationship that is considerably more open minded.
The fifth step is being comfortable with paradoxes. This is a key aspect of not getting caught-up in cognitive dissonance. The world is a complex place and there are many truths that seem conflicting but have their place. We try to draw lines around our perspective of the world and make a box out of it and then defend what lies in that box. We also run the risk of breaking the world into dichotomies which ignores the complexities that can make a real difference.
The sixth step is to take a permaculture approach to the way we communicate. Observe a situation before choosing your role within it. Work out where we can work together and determine the most effective role that you can play.
The seventh step is to utilise assertive communication techniques as well as reflecting listening in order to most effectively engage with the previous six steps.
Thank you again reading this very brief introduction. If you connect with even some of what is written here, it would be great to hear from you and it would be great to hear your thoughts and opinions.
A more in-depth version of this article will, in time, be published as a booklet and this in turn, will accompany workshops and regular meet-ups. I have no idea what impact this movement will have, but this is where I have arrived at and where I feel that I can now make the best contribution.
* cognitive dissonance is when people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalise, ignore even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.
The House Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy will hold a public hearing tomorrow for its inquiry into the management and use of Commonwealth environmental water.
The Committee will hear from the National Farmers’ Federation and the National Irrigators’ Council.
The inquiry is focused on the role of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, including how environmental water is being used, the outcomes achieved and options for improving community engagement.
Further information about the inquiry can be found on the inquiry website at www.aph.gov.au/environmentalwater.
Public hearing details:
Time: 9.50am – 11.10am
Date: Wednesday 23 May 2018
Location: Committee Room 1R1, Parliament House, Canberra
Interested members of the public may wish to track the committee via the website, www.aph.gov.au/environment. Click on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner and use the forms to login to My Parliament or to register for a My Parliament account.
I note that the ABC is planning to air Four Corners and Q&A programs on the issue of population and a ‘Big Australia’. The topic of a ‘Big Australia’ is a contentious issue in public debate. Several opinion polls show more than 50 percent of Australians believe Australia has enough people or should not grow any larger than 30 million people. On the other hand, the major political parties (including the Greens) are in lockstep marching to the tune of a Big Australia. Thus there is a major gap between elite opinion and the general public. In view of this the ABC has a special responsibility to ensure that its Editorial Policy number 4 — Impartiality and Diversity of Perspectives — is fully achieved in this case.
The question of Australia’s population size and a ‘Big Australia’ will be the subject of ABC Television Four Corners and Q&A programs on Monday 12 March 2018. For details see this post at the Q&A Facebook page.
Due to a virtual consensus among the major political parties (including the Greens) that a Big Australia is a Good Thing which must not be questioned, it is all that much harder to get any balance on this topic in the mainstream media, who tend to take their cues from the agendas of established political parties. It then becomes easy to portray concern about population and associated migrant intake issues as only that of a fringe group with racially motivated agendas, epitomized in parties such as Pauline Hanson One Nation. This deflection of serious debate on the topic suits very well the special interests such as real estate and construction which benefit from unending increase in our numbers — despite the fact that on a per capita basis, we are no better off — and in many ways we are worse off.
These upcoming ABC shows will be an important opportunity to ensure that there is some serious reporting and debate on this topic. I sent the following email to the ABC just in case they needed some reminding:
I note that the ABC is planning to air Four Corners and Q&A programs on the issue of population and a ‘Big Australia’. The topic of a ‘Big Australia’ is a contentious issue in public debate. Several opinion polls show more than 50 percent of Australians believe Australia has enough people or should not grow any larger than 30 million people. On the other hand, the major political parties (including the Greens) are in lockstep marching to the tune of a Big Australia. Thus there is a major gap between elite opinion and the general public. In view of this the ABC has a special responsibility to ensure that its Editorial Policy number 4 — Impartiality and Diversity of Perspectives — is fully achieved in this case.
The Q&A discussion ought to include discussion of the desirability of a Big Australia — as well as how (or whether) such growth could be actually be ‘managed’. There must be balance and representativeness in the range of views and expertise invited to be on the panel. Opponents of our current high rate of mass immigration (which fuels population growth) should not be stereotyped as racists and xenophobes — as is commonly done on the ABC.
It is also imperative that ABC journalists and interviewers have a clear understanding of the differences between the following four issues/questions:
1. the question of Australia’s desired population size (eg the desirability of a Big Australia)
2. the question of how or whether rapid population growth can be managed
3. the question of the success or failure of multiculturalism
4. the question of the treatment of ‘arrivals by boat’ (refugee claimants) — which incidentally have negligible impact on questions 1 and 2 above
The ABC can make a useful contribution to public understanding and debate by ensuring these issues are not conflated together and that each issue is clearly distinguished and considered on its merits.
There are any number of centrist, highly respected experts and commentators who oppose a Big Australia — for example Prof. Ian Lowe, William Bourke, Dr Jane O’Sullivan, Leith van Onselen, Mark O’Connor, Crispin Hull — just to name a few. It is to be hoped — given this view is held by a large section of the Australian community – that at least one representative of this general position will be included in both the Four Corners reportage and Q&A panel.
The question for the producers of Four Corners and Q&A is: given that this is such an important and contentious debate, will you select the panel in an impartial, balanced and fair way?
Peter G Cook, PhD
We, the residents of Melbourne demand that the
Government stop its plan to damage St Kilda Road and that
they make alternative plans such as an alternative route via
Kings Way and linking it into South Yarra Station, or deep
tunnelling the entire length or stop work , re-focus and re-
plan, in meaningful consultation with the people of
Voted on and approved unanimously by the attendees at the
Public Protest at The Domain Interchange on the 21 st
Yesterday between 1 and 1.30pm a rally was held to save the trees in St. Kilda Road destined for removal to make way for the new underground metro. It was organised by the combined forces of Planning Backlash, Protectors of Public Lands and Walk in St. Kilda Road and environs Approximately 80 people attended including the 9 speakers listed below. The M.C of the event was Mary Drost , Convenor of Planning backlash.Prof. Michael Buxton was unable to attend and Dr. Ernest Healy , Vice President of Protectors of Public Lands Victoria deputised by reading Prof. Buxton's speech. Feelings for the impending loss of ancient trees and for those already lost ran high. The general consensus from the speakers was that the damage envisaged for avenue of trees in Melbourne's beautiful boulevard, St. Kilda Road was not necessary to accommodate the project and that a better way must be found. A statement to this effect will be sent to Shadow Minister for Planning, to be read out in both houses of Parliament.
Rally for St. Kilda Road trees February 21st 2018
Speakers at the event
1. Kristin Stegley OAM, Chairman, National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
2. Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning, RMIT University (in Prof. Buxton's absence speech read by Dr. Ernest Healy)
3. The Hon. Barry Jones: a statement by himself and Tom Harley, nominators of St Kilda Road and Environs for emergency National Heritage listing
4. Dr Greg Moore, OAM, president of the International Society of Arboriculture, Australian Chapter; member of the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees from1988, Chair since 1996
5. Bea McNicholas, Director, Walk in St Kilda Road and Environs, Planet Ark National Tree Day
6. Senator Derryn Hinch
7. Dr Judith Buckrich, historian; author of “Melbourne’s Grand Boulevard: The Story of St Kilda Road”, 1996.
8. Jill Quirk, Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria
9. David Davis, MP, Shadow Planning Minister
The following speech was made by Hon. David Davis, Shadow Minister for Planning in the Victorian Parliament yesterday afternoon.
"Today I was pleased to join a very large crowd, a significant gathering, on the corner of Albert Road and St Kilda Road. Many people there were very concerned about the state government's approach to the construction of the Metro Tunnel. This is an important project, a project that is needed to deliver the additional capacity, but it should not be beyond the wit of government and community in Victoria to deliver projects without trashing our heritage. We see that large European cities are able to deliver major projects without the loss of their important heritage, and in this case the state government has, in my view, adopted an appalling process of trying to crunch through the legitimate concerns of local community and not listen at all.
The attendance there was significant and included not just myself but my colleagues Ms Fitzherbert and Ms Crozier. Also Barry Jones was there speaking as a former state MP and former federal Labor MP. He was highly critical of Jacinta Allan and her approach to a number of these major projects, particularly the tunnel. Barry Jones made some very clear points. A former Governor, Alex Chernov, was there as well, and he joined the group who were prepared to stand up and say, 'Enough is enough. This should've been constructed in a different way, a way that did not destroy the very important avenue of trees that is part of St Kilda Road'. Derryn Hinch was there as well, so we actually had a federal MP attend to make some very clear points about his disgust and concern as he sees trees being torn down in a way that is not necessary.
When I addressed the group I made the point very clearly that in fact there were alternate locations and alternate ways of doing the construction. I am aware of at least two worked-up alternatives, including one which the previous government looked at, which was further to the west. A group of local and experienced engineers also put together a proposal which would have seen a different alignment and different approach to the loss of trees. This proposal was a very thoughtful one, but instead of independently assessing it I was concerned that Jacinta Allan immediately gave this proposal to the Metro Tunnel authority, effectively asking it to check its own homework.
It is hardly surprising that the authority said, 'Oh, no. We're doing it the right way'. Unfortunately the state government would not, in an independent way, consider alternative approaches that could have delivered less destruction, less loss of trees and a more mature approach to this sort of construction.
I was proud to join that group today. I pay tribute to all the activists who are determined to protect our important heritage along that corridor. St Kilda Road has recently, as we know, been permanently listed, along with the Domain and Government House — that whole precinct through there — on the National Heritage List. This is an important step that I congratulate Josh Frydenberg for taking.
But you have to ask real questions about what was going on with Heritage Victoria. On the Monday, when the national heritage listing was gazetted formally, it became clear that in fact late on the Friday night the head of Heritage Victoria, Steven Avery, who has popped up from somewhere — I do not quite know where he has come from, but he is a recent appointment to the position — made the decision, seemingly in the knowledge that on the Monday there would be a national heritage listing. He gave the go-ahead. He said, 'Start your engines. Start your chainsaws. Start your crushers. Away you go and you try and beat the national heritage listing'. What a shameful and disgraceful approach. Daniel Andrews is a bully. He is bullying communities, and he is leaving a legacy that is not what Victorians expect."
The loss of the trees in st. Kilda Road causes deep distress to many people. I spoke to one local resident who was suffering very visibly from dust irritation form the earthworks in progress. She also reported to me that since work has started and trees have been removed, mice have entered her house and the sound of distressed displaced birds was deafening.
St Kilda Road, Melbourne's Champs Elysees, is being vandalised for population growth that we don't need, but big business is imposing. Join a public protest Wednesday 21 Feb 2018, 1pm-1.30pm. The meeting is now in the reserve which is outside 1 Albert Road. It’s a triangle of land in the fork of Albert Road. Some more details and yellow arrow on map inside.
Come and see for yourself the disaster of our beautiful boulevard.
1 Albert Road, in front of ‘the Domain’ building
(in St Kilda Rd, opposite Melbourne Grammar, next to Albert Reserve.)
Tram: Get off at Domain Interchange.
Bring posters, write slogans
Photo and media opportunity
A shameful destruction
It is hard to believe our state government is allowing the world's most beautiful boulevard to be destroyed. (The Age 15/2). How dare it destroy St. Kilda Road in this shameful way? Why can't it learn from London, which is 'deep tunnelling' for 42 kilometres for the new line, Crossrail. This work is being done without damagin anything on top. In contrat, we vandals are bulding the relatively small Metro Tunnel and wrecking this wonderful area by cutting and filling (because it is cheaper than deep tunnelling) and bulldozing those beautiful trees. People will have to cope with years of a mess-up city. Vote out the government.
Mary Drost, letter published in The Age, Feb 16, 2018.
The history of Australia as a nation has been brutal to the humans who lived here first, to the animals and birds, and brutal to the landscape. Australia needs a day to stop and reflect on what has been done, where we are now and where we are going. We cannot fix the problem by continuing to do the same thing that caused it. Current discussion about Australia Day focuses on the way colonisation affected and continues to affect the aboriginal population. In addition to the injustices and atrocities, Australian Aborigines have been, and continue to be, overwhelmed by sheer numbers from elsewhere. The non-Aboriginal population born here is now being overwhelmed in the same way. The fast growing population as a whole has ongoing devastating environmental impacts on this land. It has social impacts too, as it enriches a very few members of the growth lobby, while the rest pay for population growth.
In the run-up to Jan 26th, the anniversary of the arrival of the "First Fleet" into Port Jackson from Botany Bay under the command of Commodore Arthur Phillip (who had brought them from Portsmouth some 8 months earlier ) there has been much discussion regarding the appropriateness of this date as Australia's national day of celebration. It is not the day that Australia became a nation, it's not the day that the British first landed on the continent. It was the day the British flag was raised at Sydney Cove, a day that marks the beginning of massive colonisation from Britain to the Pacific Island of Australia.
The colonisation begun then is a fait accompli. It is irreversible. The hapless convicts who were brought to Australia have made themselves part of the place.Their descendants cannot go back and live in Britain as their forbears are too far removed to give them any rights of abode.
The sequelae of the Port Jackson landing amounts to an ongoing, unceasing chain of migration from not only Britain but other parts of the world, unceremoniously taking over the land of the previous human custodians
Importations of exotic animals on the scale of multi giant cruise ships have also followed - horses, deer, foxes, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs camels, dogs , cats all loaded onto the finely balanced and well adapted fauna of the continent. They now live here in their millions.These animals are by no means ideally suited to Australian soils and climate . Foxes were released so that the English gentry could resume one of their bloody pleasures,- fox hunting. Goats and deer have escaped into the wild making tracks throughout the fragile landscape with their hard hooves. Camels and horses were brought in as workers and as transport as there was no equivalent native animal. -indigenous (or exotic ) birds were brought in despite a resident cornucopia of marvellous native and migratory birds.
The vegetation of the continent took and still takes a tremendous beating. The state of Victoria has lost most of its forest cover. Grasslands are being swamped with housing to the west of Melbourne. Exotic plants have been introduced and have taken over as weeds. The biosphere of the continent of Australia- the most diverse on Earth at the time of European arrival is only a shadow of its former glory. Now we are watching the remainder of it disappear.
The humans who inhabited the continent of Australia for the previous 60,000 years in varying degrees of density from coast to coast and across the desert had learned to exist within the constraints of the land. On arrival, the first explorers and settlers found people leading their lives in what appeared to harmony with nature. The land was abundant with wildlife. The people were self sufficient. They were not waiting with baited breath for some sort of salvation through invasion. Following "our" arrival their lives would never be the same again. They were rounded up and killed or displaced at the convenience of the invaders. Until 1967 they were considered under the constitution as part of the Australian fauna. They now have status, land rights and even their own TV stations but I can see their relatively newly found voices being drowned out by the noise of the competing multicultural groups within Australia. It seems that these groups are not so much interested in hearing one another but in being heard. What space in their agendas will the be afforded the First People of Australia?
The groups of audience comprised families and groups of friends, the usual multi -cultural mix of English-speaking Australians and other ethnic groups. The Chinese-speaking group in front of us paid little attention to the singer's music and even less to his introductory narratives. What relevance would it have to them? Indeed, what relevance could it have for the Manchester-accented couple to our right who were commenting on real-estate-ads on their phones? I could just hear Archie over the barking dogs, the clatter of camp furniture prematurely packed up, and the loud good-byes as people parted company, while Archie continued to sing on the stage. I struggled to see Archie as our neighbours in front stood up for a long chat before leaving, obstructing even our view of the singer.
Where does this leave us with respect to Australia Day? The history of Australia as a nation has been brutal to the humans who lived here first, to the animals and birds, and brutal to the landscape. Australia needs a day to stop and reflect on what has been done, where we are now and where we are going. We cannot fix the problem by continuing to do the same thing that caused it. Current discussion about Australia Day focuses on the way colonisation affected and continues to affect the aboriginal population. In addition to the injustices and atrocities, Australian Aborigines have been, and continue to be, overwhelmed by sheer numbers from elsewhere. The non-Aboriginal population born here is now being overwhelmed in the same way. The fast growing population as a whole has ongoing devastating environmental impacts on this land. It has social impacts too, as it enriches a very few members of the growth lobby, while the rest pay for population growth.
We cannot alter our course without reflection. Yet we must change our course and soon. I suggest we keep the date, January 26th, as a marker of the beginning of immense, irreversible change. But let's be grown-up about it! Rather than seeing it as a day of celebration and beer, let's see it as a day of reflection and re-assessment of our situation and our direction.
If we could look at things more objectively, historically, critically and realistically, then all parts of our society could participate in trying to set the right course, one which will be the best possible for all on board. Make it a day to reflect on where we are going, because if there is a brick wall in the way,and we do not change direction, we will certainly crash into it. A lot of damage has been done and we need to salvage what we can. Changing the date of Australia Day achieves little in this respect. Let's take the old Australia Day to a new level and try to get the public thinking about the next 230 years as well as the 230 years since that landing at Port Jackson!
"While Melbourne’s green wedges are generally considered to be a legacy of the 1972 – 1981 Rupert (Dick) Hamer State Government, they were established as part of the 1968 – 1971 Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works planning process. They were protected by what was then called the Landscape Interest A zone, with a minimum lot size of twenty acres (eight hectares). For some thirty years, this zoning worked admirably. Then Melbourne started to experience growth pressure and the speculators moved in with their propensity to buy influence. The visionary Melbourne 2030 blue print for Melbourne and its rural fringe came under siege and has been slowly but relentlessly eroded by both sides of Government ever since." [...] "It is the role of councils and State Governments to provide sound, thoroughly researched, enforceable planning policies that support the big picture for the long-term future. It is absolutely critical to halt this tsunami of South Eastern suburban sprawl with its lack of supporting infrastructure, and to provide certainty to all stakeholders. Without such resolve, speculation will run rampant and uncontrolled ad hoc development will be the order of the day. Traffic to and from the area is already appalling well beyond the normally accepted peak hours. What are you thinking, putting exponentially more cars on these road networks that are not designed to take them? Casey is heading down a vortex of engineered chaos."
Letter to Manager of Planning, City of Casey
Manager of Planning
City of Casey
P.O. Box 1000
Narre Warren VIC 3805
Response to City of Casey Draft Western Port Green Wedge Management Plan (GWMP)
I am writing in my capacity as the Southern Ranges delegate on the Green Wedges Coalition.
This draft plan is a disappointing betrayal and another nail in the coffin of all that has been achieved over the past forty or more years to accommodate the wider community’s repeatedly
expressed vision for the future of Melbourne’s peri-urban areas to retain, protect and enhance the countryside now defined as the green wedges.
These are undisputedly precious and irreplaceable resources, and the City of Casey has responsibility for significant sections of not one, but two of the most valuable and valued – the
Southern Ranges and the Westernport green wedges.
With this plan, Council seems to be on the cusp of abrogating its responsibility to our current and future generations. While paying lip service to the importance of the agricultural, environmental
and amenity values of its southern sector, the recommendations make a mockery of these, reflecting rather the successful lobbying of powerful vested interests.
Like the foothills to the Dandenong Ranges, the Western Port rural region is shared between the City of Casey and the Shire of Cardinia. A joint GWMP with a unified approach was only
common sense. Why then did our councillors:
require Casey’s strategic planning department to amend the 2015 Casey-Cardinia draft plan,
causing Cardinia Shire which opposed these pro-development changes to split and go it alone,
leaving this important area with fragmented, contradictory policies and a degraded vision for the future?
Casey has already lost huge swathes of productive farmland to urban development. In this era of climate change and food miles relevance, it makes no sense to compromise what is left by splitting it into Precincts 1 (intensive horticulture and food production) & 3 (Rural Living and agriculture).
The narrow shaft of genuine agricultural land making up Precinct 1 seems now to be jammed between the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, lower density
residential and the environmentally sensitive coastal strip. This does not bode well for its future sustainability.
Moreover, the 4-hectare lot size proposed for Precinct 3 because of historic precedent flies in the face of the research carried out by the Port Phillip & Western Port Catchment Management
Authority. This established that areas with properties of around 10 acres (4 hectares) resulted in the worst environmental outcomes. They are “neither fish nor fowl” – too small for effective land
management using agricultural equipment and cross-grazing, and too big to control weeds and pests with domestic scale measures.
Other undesirable outcomes of switching from 8 to 4 hectares include:
It increases human development and intrusion by a factor of at least two;
It potentially doubles the amount of infrastructure – houses, driveways, sheds, tennis courts, swimming pools etc.;
To make space for these, vegetation will inevitably be removed;
It doubles the potential number of pets and thus predation on local fauna;
It more than doubles the number of vehicles, given that most people who move into the area
will be car dependent;
It increases pressure on smaller roads that were designed for lower traffic volumes and that
currently have a more tranquil, rural feel;
It will lead to a flow on effect, with all properties moving towards the minimum lot size.
Properties between 12 and potentially be split into not two, but three lots.
The trend will be reinforced by rising land values with the “price per hectare increasing sharply below 6 – 8 hectares as a result of demand based on factors independent of agricultural
merit”. (“Impacts of Urban Growth & Related Development on Agriculture in the Western Port region Phillips Agribusiness May 1993)
One of the major benefits of the longstanding 8-hectare minimum lot size in the peri-urban areas is the visual and physical relief it provides. People living in ever-increasingly condensed suburbia
need ready access to these open areas. Deprive them of this outlet and you deprive them of the all important health-giving amenity of contact with the natural world.
During the process of fine-tuning the parameters for green wedge zoning, state planners established that anything under 8 hectares should be deemed residential, regardless of zone titles
such as Rural Living or Rural Lifestyle. Hence creating a Precinct 2 that allows one-hectare lot sizes under a Green Wedge A zone is a smoke screen. It is in fact a proposal to rezone from rural to residential.
This is inconsistent with the GWMP vision for a permanent green and rural area within the precinct. Given the bi-partisan support for a fixed UGB, the proposal is unconscionable.
While Melbourne’s green wedges are generally considered to be a legacy of the 1972 – 1981 Rupert (Dick) Hamer State Government, they were established as part of the 1968 – 1971
Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works planning process. They were protected by what was then called the Landscape Interest A zone, with a minimum lot size of twenty acres (eight hectares).
For some thirty years, this zoning worked admirably. Then Melbourne started to experience growth pressure and the speculators moved in with their propensity to buy influence. The visionary
Melbourne 2030 blue print for Melbourne and its rural fringe came under siege and has been slowly but relentlessly eroded by both sides of Government ever since. [Emphasis added by candobetter.net editor.]
The dismay of the community is given voice in the following letter to The Age from the late Lady April Hamer from October 2013.
Keep wedge faith
COULD I add a few words to the current controversy over Melbourne's green wedges.
My arguments are not about money, so perhaps they have little weight today, and of course I am
attached to the ideas of my late husband, Dick Hamer.
I believe that his ideas were firmly based on a system of city planning that emphasises restraint,
for the purpose of allowing families a better choice for themselves and for the environment - which
is now all the more important.
We should also bear in mind that any encroachment into our green spaces is irreversible.
Speculators, of course, will disagree, but remaining faithful to the original intention of the green
wedges would give us all a more disciplined, sustainable and welcoming city for future
Lady April Hamer, Alphington”
I also draw your attention to the last paragraph an old article from the business journal “Rydges” entitled “Profits and losses from re-zoning”. It is enlightening:
“Trying to achieve a re-zoning, or prevent a use down-grading can be a profitable exercise and
one in which you should be prepared to put substantial time and effort because the pay-off is there.”
Of course urban fringe property owners are going to push for zoning changes that bring them unearned windfall profits. And of course, some councillors are going to take up their cause,
whether due to naivety or to personal vested interest. They should, however, be cognisant of the need to stand firm for the sake of the greater good. They have been elected to represent the silent majority, not to pander to a vocal self-interested minority.
As the population in and around them increases, the retention of these open areas becomes ever more important. There is little enough non-urban land left in the City of Casey. What remains
should be treated as sacrosanct. It should be protected and enhanced at all costs. Moreover, the longer firm protective policies are in place and adhered to, the easier it is to safeguard them in the future.
It is the role of councils and State Governments to provide sound, thoroughly researched, enforceable planning policies that support the big picture for the long-term future. It is absolutely
critical to halt this tsunami of South Eastern suburban sprawl with its lack of supporting infrastructure, and to provide certainty to all stakeholders. Without such resolve, speculation will
run rampant and uncontrolled ad hoc development will be the order of the day.
Traffic to and from the area is already appalling well beyond the normally accepted peak hours. What are you thinking, putting exponentially more cars on these road networks that are not
designed to take them? Casey is heading down a vortex of engineered chaos.
The more you eat into open space amenity, the less useful it becomes and the less willing people are to work to protect and/or enhance it. There is no excuse for allowing our precious green wedge open spaces to gradually disappear. There is no shortage of alternative sites for residential development and there is no shortage of contra-indications.
If you don’t revisit this draft scheme and remove those parts that compromise and/or weaken the aims and protective policies of the green wedge zones, you might as well rename it the Casey
Western Port Redevelopment Management Plan, and be honest about it.
Southern Ranges Green Wedge Delegate, Green Wedges Coalition
[Address edited out by candobetter.net editor]
Phone: 9796 8568 Mobile: 0429 955 421
Email: [email protected]
The Technological Tempest: Charting a New Course
Chapter 2: What was promised?
Broderick, like many others, looks at recent developments of technology and projects them into the future. Such projections of technological progress are usually seen as offering a pathway to a Utopian or Dystopian future (or anywhere on the spectrum in-between). Utopian projections are typically the domain of optimistic science fiction writers and futurists. Such people tend to emphasise the perceived benefits of technology and predict a future based on these, largely ignoring or glossing over the drawbacks and negatives. Many ‘utopians’
tend to assume that the problems caused by technological progress will be solved by technological progress. Dystopian projections are likely to come from social critics and those who are already somewhat discontented with what they see in their society. These predictions take the opposite tack, projecting the negative effects of technological development whilst discounting the perceived benefits, or perhaps paint such ‘benefits’ in a negative light. Science fiction writers may also select some aspects of technology and use these to create ‘monster’ scenarios, like out-of-control computers or organisms created by technology.
These are typically variations on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein monster story - of science escaping the control of its creators. In fact, some people, like Derek Jensen, suggest that science and technology have already escaped human control (Jensen and Draffan, 2004).
Picketty in his 2014 book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ suggests that there is empirical evidence to support Rousseau’s bleak general analysis of civilised society by making the following claim in relation to 19th century France:
‘As I will soon show, the structure of the income and wealth hierarchies in nineteenth- century France was such that the standard of living the wealthiest French people could attain greatly exceeded that to which one could aspire on the basis of income from labor alone. Under such conditions, why work? And why behave morally at all? Since social in equality was in itself immoral and unjustified, why not be thoroughly immoral and appropriate capital by whatever means are available?’ (p. 240)
Henry David Thoreau was another who was suspicious not only of modern civilisation but also its governments, stating in the introduction to his book ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ the following:
‘Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.’
‘Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.’ (Thoreau, 1854, para. 19).
Greg (1936) makes the following argument in relation to simplicity:
‘It is often said that possessions are important because they enable the possessors thereby to enrich and enhance their personalities and characters. The claim is that by means of ownership the powers of self-direction and self-control inherent in personality become real. Property, they say, gives stability, security, independence, a real place in the larger life of the community, a feeling of responsibility, all of which are elements of vigorous personality.#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1" title="" id="_ftnref1"> style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
Nevertheless, the greatest characters, those who have influenced the largest numbers of people for the longest time, have been people with extremely few possessions. For example, Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Kagawa, Socrates, St. Francis, Confucius, Sun Yat Sen, Lenin, Gandhi, many scientists, inventors and artists. "The higher ranges of life where personality has fullest play and is most nearly free from the tyranny of circumstance, are precisely those where it depends least on possessions. . . . The higher we ascend among human types and the more intense personalities become, the more the importance of possessions dwindles.’ href="#_ftn2" name="_ftnref2" title=""> (section IX)
Finally on this point are more recent advocates of simple living Alexander, Trainer, & Ussher (2012):
‘Once our basic material needs are met, the limitless pursuit of money and stuff merely distracts us from more meaningful and inspiring things. As the ancient philosophers told us long ago, those who know they have enough are rich, and those who have enough but do not know it, are poor. Consumerism, it is clear, represents a mistaken idea of wealth, and it is based on a mistaken idea of freedom.’ (p. iii)
So we have seen one type of utopia – a simpler world living closer to nature. Is it possible that we can exist in a closer state to nature and still be happy? (technology after all, is largely about separating us from a state of nature.) It may well be so, and this is a topic we return to in Chapter 7.
Two variations on dystopian themes of futuristic societies are presented in the books ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984’.
Aldous Huxley’s 1932 book “Brave New World” is a tale of a futuristic society in which everyone seems to be free, but desires are manipulated by the state (through behaviour conditioning) and various
state-favoured forms of amusement are promoted. In particular amusements based on casual sexual relations, a variation on cinema movies (called ‘feelies’) and a legalised drug called soma. Consumerism is encouraged and slogans like “ending is better than mending” contribute to a “throw-away” mentality in the population.
In Chapter 17 of ‘Brave New World’ Huxley presents the following conversation between two of his characters: John the Savage, who was raised in uncivilised reservation, and Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe:
‘Mustapha Mond shut the [philosophy] book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. “You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.” Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.” But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?”
“Then you think there is no God?”
“No, I think there quite probably is one.”
“Then why? …”
Mustapha Mond checked him. "But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In pre-modern times he manifested himself as the being that's described in these books. Now …"
"How does he manifest himself now?" asked the Savage.
"Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren't there at all."
"That's your fault."
"Call it the fault of civilization. God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That's why I have to keep
these books locked up in the safe. They're smut. People would be shocked if
George Orwell’s book ‘1984’ (published in 1949) presents a more overtly controlled society in contrast to the more subtle and sophisticated methods of ‘Brave New World’. A society in which government engages in mass surveillance so as to detect and eliminate any possible resistance or threats to the government or the dis-information it disseminates.
Aldous Huxley argued in a letter to George Orwell that the covert means of control used in Brave New World was more realistic than 1984’s overt methods:
‘the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.’ (Huxley, 1949)
Note that the driver of this process is believed by Huxley to be ‘a need for efficiency’, the type of motivation one might expect in a technocratic society, a society in which efficiency is defined or conceived in such a way so as to exclude many negative side effects (i.e negative externalities) - a topic which we will return to in a later chapter.
One pattern that appears to emerge from our brief analysis of visions of utopia and dystopia, is that utopian societies can be ones with relatively little technology (or at least with relatively simple technologies) or ones with very sophisticated technology, like Broderick’s book ‘The Last Mortal Generation’. Dystopian ideas, however, tend be almost exclusively associated with societies that have attained a level of ‘high technology’. It is as though highly developed technology is itself somewhat ominous, somewhat less controllable by everyday people, and somewhat more empowering for dehumanised abstractions, like state power or ideologies. This may in part be explained by the fact that societies without technology are seen as more imaginable, perhaps the underlying, and unsaid, understanding is that one need only study historical societies to know what less technologically sophisticated societies would be like. This implies that any future society that does not use highly sophisticated technology would be very much like one or more societies of the past. But is this true? Could we not have a society that is in many ways different from past societies, even if we were to revert back to a much simpler way of living? Does this assumption of future-being-like-the-past place too much emphasis on the role of technology in society? Perhaps this perspective itself, of seeing and judging societies based on their levels and use of technology is a product of our own ‘technologically biased’ mindset? Someone visiting from a past time period brought to our modern world may overlook our technology entirely. Rather than being in awe of our technological achievements they may be well be horrified at the high cost and slowness of our justice systems, the levels of ill health and obesity, the fact that vast numbers of people sit all day in offices, the enormous amounts of time (and energy) spent travelling, the inequality of wealth, the waste and epicureanism all around. They may well regard our opinion of ourselves as an ‘advanced human culture’ as altogether conceited, and in many ways inaccurate.
There are however, some who conceive the possibility of a life closer to nature, with simpler technologies, and see this not as a return to the past, but as an entirely new culture. David Holmgren and Bill
Mollison proposed permaculture as a system for redesigning society for a ‘low energy future’. Such a pattern of reaching a peak of resource use, followed by a sudden collapse is one of the scenarios predicted by modelling in the 1972 report, sponsored by the Club of Rome, called the ‘Limits to Growth’. The Limits to Growth report also tackled technological determinism as depicted by statements like:
‘There are no substantial limits in sight either in raw materials or in energy that alterations in the price structure, product substitution, anticipated gains in technology and pollution control cannot be expected to solve’ (pg 130)
In response, based on their modelling, the report’s authors conclude:
‘The basic behavior mode of the world system is exponential growth of population and capital, followed by collapse. As we have shown in the model runs presented here, this behavior mode occurs if we assume no change in the present system or if we assume any number of technological changes in the system.’ (p. 142)
An alternative vision of society is provided by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, both of whom have written extensively about the system they call ‘permaculture’. Bill Mollison describes permaculture as
follows (Mollison 1991):
‘The word itself is a contraction not only of permanent agriculture but also of
permanent culture, as cultures cannot survive for long without a sustainable agricultural base and landuse ethic.’ (p. 1)
Mollison (1988) also states that a principle of permaculture is ‘Cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of existing life systems and of future survival’ (p 2)
For his part, Holmgren (2002) states:
‘I am suggesting that we need to get over our naïve and simplistic notions of sustainability as a
likely reality for ourselves or even our grandchildren and instead accept our task is to use our familiarity with continuous change to adapt to energy descent’ (p. xxx)
By energy descent Holmgren is referring to notions of a global peak of energy use followed by a rapid decline, with its associated chaos.
Holmgren’s and Mollison’s vision is a variation on, and perhaps a direct descendent of, the vision of Professor J. Russell Smith who in 1929 published a book called “Tree Crops” (Smith, 1929). Smith argues for a system of agriculture that relies more on trees and less on annual grains. Smith claims this will protect soils from erosion, and require less work than pure grain crops whilst providing farmers with a diversity of crops to protect them against the failures that may affect single crop systems. Smith proposes that nut and fruit trees should be used largely to provide animal feed, not just human food. Like permaculture Smith also suggests that this will provide a system of ‘permanent agriculture’.
The visions of the Smith, Holmgren and Mollison stand in stark contrast to the ‘predictions of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and other macho sci-fi novelists whose future worlds were always filled with space traders, superslick salesmen, genius scientists, pirate captains and other rugged individualists’ (
The idea of the power of the individual seems to be embedded in American culture. John Ralston Saul (1992) has suggested that most cultures are based on a kind of mythology or ideology. In America, this mythology seems to be based around the idea of the ‘self-made man’. In other words, the ability of any American to become rich if they just apply themselves. If you are rich, it is because you deserve to be rich. In America, unlike Old Europe where wealth is inherited, people become rich by applying themselves to hard work either in industry, their own education or both. Based on this concept of meritocracy, America has promoted itself in the past as the ‘land of opportunity’.
This myth based around the merits of the individual has always been questionable. Let us consider the merit of the bankers who take home enormous sums; are the people whose ingenious inventiveness in derivatives led to global financial collapse in 2008 really worth those large sums? Presumably, merit in a meritocracy, such as America claims to provide, should lead to benefits for all? Otherwise, it is not really a system that rewards merit at all – or least not what most people would consider merit, but rather a system that rewards pure selfishness and greed. And that at the expense of everyone else.
In fact, it is likely that it is selfishness and greed that is taking away many of the opportunities that Americans have enjoyed in recent decades. For example, many American opportunities for gaining work and experience in a range of fields are either disappearing overseas (to China, India and other low-wage countries) or being automated away (Ford, 2007). The opportunities that are not automated away probably mostly remain with vulnerable small to medium enterprises (with
varying degrees of profitability) or with large bureaucratic organisations in which work is (and thus workers are) standardised and controlled as never before. Recent evidence suggests that active efforts are underway by large players to eliminate smaller ones as quickly and ruthlessly as possible. This is especially the case with respect to agriculture and food production, which appears to have a revolving door between corporate positions and government regulatory roles, much like the American financial industry.
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
‘Those skills eventually made him or her highly marketable, whether in developing applications-software or implementing networks. The hacker became a technician, an inventor and, in case after case, a creator of new wealth in the form of the baby businesses that have given America the lead in cyberspatial exploration and settlement.’
to right wing conservatism and suggests the influence of Ayn Rand. Rand’s philosophy suggests that one’s abilities and talents are entirely one's own. Thus those fortunate enough to be gifted by nature with intelligence and ability owe nothing to their fellow man.
In fact, these unfortunates are to be despised, as most likely (according to Rand – see her book ‘The Fountainhead’) their ignorance and incompetence will just hold back those who are more talented. Is this the meritocracy of America? Where the strong exploit, rather than help, the weak? Sadly, that seems to be evident in both banking and corporate behaviour more generally in America.
It seems that such one-sided arguments as Rand’s which argue for freedom but not for responsibility can lead to reckless, unjust and inhumane behaviour. And it is not just Rand who promotes such views. The following extract from the article by Morozov (2015) discusses the influential theories of free-market economist Friedrich Hayek and links those theories to an example of the very sorts of problems that such unbalanced free-market thinking seems to lead to:
‘In the free-market utopia of thinkers such as Friedrich Hayek – the true patron saint of the sharing economy – your reputation would also reflect what other market participants know about you.
Thus, if you are a nasty customer or an ill-mannered driver, everybody else will soon discover this, and specific laws to police your behaviour are
The good news, according to Hayek, is that once our norms change – what was considered nasty 50 years ago might be perfectly acceptable today – our reputations would reflect these changes immediately.
Laws, on the other hand, would take quite some time to be altered.
In reality, though, such a perfectly liquid and dynamic reputation
marketplace is nowhere to be seen. A recent lawsuit in the US highlights its
absence. Uber drivers have been accused of discriminating against disabled people by refusing to put their wheelchairs in the boot of their car. One would think that anti-discrimination laws that apply to taxis would also apply to Uber. Uber says it has anti-discrimination policies – and that it’s not a taxi company, it’s a technology company, a platform. Here, there is clearly no easy feedback mechanism to assist disabled travellers: this is what consumer protection laws are for.
#10;margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height:normal;text-autospace:<br /> none">There is still a chance to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions that would keep the world broadly on track to limit global warming to around 2 degrees Celsius (2°C) above pre-industrial levels. This study outlines how it could be done’.
#10;margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height:normal;text-autospace:<br /> none">
#10;margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height:normal;text-autospace:<br /> none">‘The study specifies the technologies that would be employed in this energy system in a reference scenario (the “low mitigation scenario”, LMS) in which no concerted action on climate change is undertaken, and in a range of low-carbon scenarios (LCS) in which emissions reductions would be broadly in line with a
2oC global warming target. In this way the study sets out the major
technologies needed for this energy system transformation, with associated costs.’
#10;margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height:normal;text-autospace:<br /> none">
#10;margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height:normal;text-autospace:<br /> none">‘Importantly, this study assumes that future GDP growth is the same in the LMS and the LCS,
which implies that investments in low-carbon technologies do not affect other investments outside of the energy sector, such that the overall effect of investment patterns on growth is the same in both scenarios’
So the Grantham Institute for Climate Change’s 2013 report seems to provide evidence of how our society desperately seeks technological solutions to resolve the problems caused by technology, seeking at the same time to preserve our technological system and the ideologies associated with it.
So what has gone wrong with our technological society? Why are we faced with such momentous calamities? Why have our utopian dreams around the possibilities of progress been unable to deliver happiness and security? Perhaps the answer is alluded to in the writings of Friedrich Georg Juenger in his 1920 book titled ‘The Failure of Technology’. In this book Juenger writes about the authors of utopian visions as follows:
‘No one will look for prophetic gifts in a Jules
Verne or a Bellamy, for they lack almost everything that makes a prophet. Most of all, they lack the vocation, the call, and with it also the necessary wisdom, and the language in which this wisdom speaks. At best, they make a lucky guess that something will happen. They play with the imaginary, they play with the future, but it can never have for them the certainty it has for him who thinks and lives in religious terms. What they project into the future is merely a possibility emerging in the present, expanded by them in a logical and rational manner.’ (pg 2)
Is it true that utopian authors and peddlers lack wisdom? Perhaps at leastit is true that they lack the calling, as frequently they are seeking to tell a story, seeking perhaps to titillate the intellectual senses, rather than address real problems of the world in a holistic and wise manner? Who do we turn to then we want to consider what sort of society we want and how we might achieve it? Perhaps the first question to answer here is: What sort of society do we want? Hopefully the following chapters will help shed some light on what aspects might be desirable, and also what might be undesirable, as well as offering some lessons in regard to the question of how to achieve what we might want.
#_ftnref1" name="_ftn1" title="" id="_ftn1">
"Property: A Study in Social Psychology," by Ernest Beaglehole, Alien
& Unwin, London, 1931.
#_ftnref2" name="_ftn2" title="" id="_ftn2">
"The Christian Attitude Toward Private Property." by Vida D. Scudder
(a pamphlet), Morehouse Pub. Co., Milwaukee, Wis.; cf. also Chapter VI of
"Our Economic Morality," by Harry F. Ward, Macmillan
This book arrives in a society completely lost in a sea of technological gadgetry. Furthermore that society is unceasingly buffeted by powerful winds of change that continually destroy and reshape both the social and physical landscape. The book attempts to explain how we arrived at this situation, what forces and visions drove us here. It recalls the warnings of the prudent which were ignored as we discarded the anchor of past moralities and left the safety of the shores for a new adventure that promised wealth and opportunity for all. To some extent it is a story of pirates and brave heroes, but it reads as much like tragedy as it does epic. The book reveals what we left behind and by drawing on small islands of knowledge it attempts to chart a course to take us through calmer, safer waters.
Stated in the most dramatic terms, the accusation can be made that the uncontrolled growth of technology destroys the vital sources of our humanity. It creates a culture without moral foundation. It undermines certain mental processes and
social relations that make human life worth living.
Neil Postman, Technopoly (1993)
This hit a peak early in the 1800's as many elites evicted villagers and
appropriated the land for their own purposes. A mass of people were thus left homeless and destitute. Not just the villagers, but the craftspeople who depended on them. This mass converged on the cities and the emerging factories seeking work. There was insufficient work for all of them, so many literally starved. There were riots, which were brutally suppressed by army troops who were deployed, as necessary, around England. In fact this is the recurring pattern of our culture and industrial development. Similar techniques were applied to Indigenous nations from the Americas to Australia. The pattern has been repeated continuously now for around 500 years; no signs of change are apparent. It reflects a failure to learn. For the last few decades there has
been talk about the importance of 'Learning Organisations', but we do not have a 'Learning Society'. On the contrary, the evidence is that in some important respects our culture cannot adapt, it cannot change. Thus our culture and society continue to be based on coercion and violence which is more apparent at some times and places than others. By right of might (economic and military) our culture claims ownership of the entire planet. History shows that any alternative culture that western culture encounters is eventually destroyed (Saul, 1992). First by violence, followed by a loss of sovereignty, autonomy and community. The pattern of lawlessness in this regard is clear: from the theft of land from English peasants to the theft of land from American Indians (and
Australian and other Aborigines), despite numerous legal contracts assuring indigenous ownership (Hedges & Sacco 2012). General Custer's famous last stand was a process of stealing land, legally owned by Indians, because they refused to sell it and they stood in the way of resource extraction (Hedges & Sacco 2012). Sitting Bull acidly suggested that the whites should “start selling dirt by the pound”. Faced with the violent destruction of his tribe and the theft of everything they owned, Sitting Bull also posed the question “Do we submit or resist?” (Hedges & Sacco 2012). The disregard of western culture for other cultures and contrary views is apparent. The Occupy movement is a
case in point here. Groups of peaceful people using relatively small patches of public land to present an alternative narrative about our society were met with violent resistance and removal. In nearly all cities, despite often having vast public parks, show grounds, sports arenas, no alternative space could be found and offered to the Occupiers. It is clear that they, or rather their message, could not be tolerated. In relation to this consider a quote from D. H Lawrence who wrote:
Hedges & Sacco (2012) are convinced that as our culture and the planet's systems collapse the cultural violence that has been mostly applied to others will now be turned on its own citizens. The enclosure movement provides past evidence of this as does state violence in response to protests in 1960's and 1970's USA (e.g. see the BBC series ‘The Century of Self’). State responses to the Occupy movement in general suggest that this is just as much a possibility today along with recent violent government responses to protests in Spain and China, and highly militarised police responses to protests in places like Ferguson, Missouri, U.S.A.
On 30 October 2017, Port Phillip Bay Keeper, Mr Neil Blake and Mr Jay Gleeson, AGL Community Relations Manager, Strategic Projects, will be speakers at the Annual General Meeting of Port Phillip Conservation Council, Inc. Mr Neil Blake’s talk 'From the back blocks to the Bay' discusses likely threats to the Bay from population growth, urban consolidation and climate change. He will also give an update on his Bay Keeper citizen science initiatives promoting community stewardship of our waterways – including his project recording recent changes to beach profiles and erosion around the Bay. Mr Jay Gleeson's talk will involve a presentation on AGL’s assessment of options for shipping Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from interstate and overseas, receiving it at an import jetty and injecting it into the pipeline transportation system for supply to south-eastern Australia. After assessing sites around Australia, Crib Point in Westernport Bay has been identified as AGL’s preferred option. Mr. Gleeson will give an outline of AGL’S Import Jetty Project and implications for Westernport Bay and Crib Point, and will take questions from the audience. For background to the LNG project see: www.engageagl.com.au. Time: 7pm 30 October 2017 Venue: Longbeach Place - Chelsea Community Centre, 15 Chelsea Rd., Chelsea.
Dear Members and friends of PPCC Inc,
You are cordially invited to
The Annual General Meeting of Port Phillip Conservation Council Inc.
7 PM MONDAY, 30TH OCTOBER 2017
LONGBEACH PLACE - CHELSEA COMMUNITY CENTRE
15 CHELSEA ROAD CHELSEA
(Near Chelsea Library - ample parking between library and our venue -MELWAY MAP 97 B1)
OUR TWO GUEST SPEAKERS ARE SURE TO BE OF INTEREST:
PORT PHILLIP BAY KEEPER MR. NEIL BLAKE: Neil’s talk 'From the back blocks to the Bay' discusses likely threats to the Bay from population growth, urban consolidation and climate change. He will also give an update on his Bay Keeper citizen science initiatives promoting community stewardship of our waterways – including his project recording recent changes to beach profiles and erosion around the Bay.
MR. JAY GLEESON AGL COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER, STRATEGIC PROJECTS: Mr. Gleeson will give a presentation on AGL’s assessment of options for shipping Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from interstate and overseas, receiving it at an import jetty and injecting it into the pipeline transportation system for supply to south-eastern Australia. After assessing sites around Australia, Crib Point in Westernport Bay has been identified as AGL’s preferred option. Mr. Gleeson will give an outline of AGL’S Import Jetty Project and implications for Westernport Bay and Crib Point, and will take questions from the audience. For background to the LNG project see: www.engageagl.com.au
We look forward to seeing you on 30th October. Please feel free to promote the meeting with friends and colleagues who might like to hear our guest speakers.
The video inside is composed of utterly breathtaking views of Everest and surrounding mountains and snow in high definition, totally dwarfing climbers. Why have we published it on candobetter.net? Because it highlights man's place in the scheme of things and the beauty of our natural environment. Enjoy.
Events on 26 & 27th August and a report on the 19th of Augst planting at Bayles Street Grasslands.
Dear Members and Friends,
1. Planting 19th August Report
The sun came out and blue skies prevailed as the planting at Bayles Street grasslands began
We had 8 in total including 3 new planters.
Unfortunately before we finished the rain returned.
However all plants were planted by some very hardy people.
The sun returned for cuppa time.
A big thank you to those who came. We will await the Spring to see how the plants progress.
2. Next Week – Planting Again!
Date: Next Saturday August 26th there will be a small planting at the remnant site in Royal Park West in conjunction with Friends of Royal Park.
Time: 10am – 12 noon if not finished earlier
Where: Remnant Native Vegetation Site Royal Park West
Access via steps behind Ross Straw Pavilion (off Manningham St, Parkville West), walk up through Skink Site, take informal track on right just before Capital City Trail and through the gate.
BYO gardening gloves
Planting equipment provided; also morning tea.
3. Bird Survey
Friends of Royal Park are also conducting a Bird survey on Sunday August 27th
Meet at the carpark for Trin Warren Tam-boore Wetlands Oak Street Parkville West.
Meet at 8.45am
Survey will run 9am to 11am
Chris Nicholson will be the leader.
Binoculars and guides provided.
There have been lots of interesting birds in the park in past weeks.
Convenor – Royal Park Protection Group Inc.
Tel 0401 99 2000
Email : [email protected]
Web : http://royalparkprotect.com.au