It's not an easy life described within the covers of Donna Ward's semi-autobiography, She I dare not name: A spinster’s meditations on life, Allen and Unwin, NSW, 2020.
Australia's mineral resources rightly belong to this and future generations of Australians, not to foreign corporations. This was what Labor Energy Minister Rex Connor was trying to bring about with the AU$4billion loan that he tried to secure in 1974.
Civil society groups across the Pacific criticise SOPAC and its development of a regional regulatory framework on deep sea mining (DSM). They argue that it facilitates and pre-empts DSM before Pacific Island communities have had the opportunity to debate whether this is a form of development they want.
What would Dr Nugget Coombs think of our treatment of the environment and the economy today? Quark applies a retrospectoscope to the problem as she reports on a 1970 Boyer Lecture on environment and economy.
(Article by Sheila Newman and Tony Boys.) Burma, now known as Myanmar, nationalised its oil and gas industries after a long history of foreign exploitation. Now the new government seems to be making friends with globalists and, Australian-style, setting up to sell their resources for what looks like the final gasp of the growth/industrial economy.
An Australian Farm Institute study provides a comprehensive review of what is currently known about the amount and location of Australian agricultural land, the rate of land use change occurring, and how governments make decisions both in Australia and internationally.
"Minister Burke has ruled out protection for all koalas and we are concerned these northwest NSW koala populations may be left off the threatened species list, even while their populations are falling dangerously low." Zoologist David Paull: 75 per cent decline in the relative abundance of koalas in the Pilliga from 1993 to 2011. Estimates only 500 to 2000 koalas left in the area.
Tasmania's Tarkine rainforests are important for their flora which has links to the ancient continent of Gondwana, and for their lichens and fossils which help tell the story of Australia's ancient flora and its evolution.
The way The Australian writes him up, Tim Flannery, who once wrote so articulately in defense of our land and its ecology and our place in it, now seems reduced to a quasi-apologist for extreme mining technologies. The Australian writes in such an unbalanced way.
Six months ago an Indian energy corporation, Lanco Infratech, bought an Australian coalmine for $750 million dollars. Although, at the time, it agreed to lower-prices for customers, now it is telling the West Australian government that it will stop supplying electricity to West Australians by September unless Australian customers pay double.
The so-called 'skills shortage' in Australia is mere industry propaganda to avoid training costs. This is despite Australia have an advanced industralised base and a deep capacity as an education training nation and indeed exporter of education! Industry argues that it doesn't spend on training because their trained staff leave - what an excuse!
Kevin Rudd and his Federal Government ministers have lately taken to uttering the catch-cry that they "want Australia to be a place that makes things". However, this will not happen in a world of slave-labour economies, until the abandonment of protectionism, supported by both the major Australian political parties, is reversed.
Surprisingly this harmful policy began in the years of the otherwise largely economically nationalistic Whitlam Labor Government.
Generally, the oriental dragon is benevolent and powerful, bringer of good fortune. Until 1912, the dragon was the national emblem of China. Now, the god of Growth is the one that is worshipped!
Article originally published as "Resistance Growing to Ecologically Devastating Chinese Mining Invasion of Madang, Papua New Guinea" on rainforestportal.org o 1 Apr 10.
Mr Kelvin Thomson (Wills) Monday, 8 February 2010
Thousands of litres of oil, gas and condensate has been leaking into the sea from the West Atlas rig since August 21 from a wellhead near PTTEP Australasia's West Atlas oil rig, 250km from shore.
(photo Wikipedia Commons)
The spill measured 70 by 20 nautical miles, with sheen visible in 25 per cent of that area, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said.
06/06/09 PERU, At least 31 people have died in clashes in Peru between the security forces and indigenous people in the Amazon region.
Thousands of indigenous people have protested in Peru's Amazon for much of the past 40 days, hoping to pressure President Garcia to modify or strike down a series of laws he passed last year that encourage oil, mining and agricultural companies to invest billions of dollars in the mostly pristine region.
Populations have been living around Lake Titicaca for 10,000 years, dating back to the Archaic period. The first communities appeared around Titicaca in 1,200 BC and since then have increased in population and have become more dependent on its water for their livelihood for agriculture and navigation.
Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, which straddles the border between Bolivia and Peru, is a place venerated by the ancient Incas who ruled throughout South America from the 13th to the mid-16th centuries.
Living beside such a large body of water, people sometimes take for granted the effects pollution can have.
Lake Titicaca region experiences a high variability in terms of its weather patterns. There is a high level of uncertainty, and risk, living under such conditions.
The lack of sewage treatment plants around the lake causes most waste to be put directly into Titicaca and, as a result, pollution levels have been rising over the decades, thereby contaminating water.
In June 2006, a health ministry-appointed committee of experts sent to the area of Cohana, (Bolivia - a breathtaking 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level) found "the potential presence of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or parasites" in the bay, making it the most polluted sector in Titicaca.
"Biological activity is directly affected by the water's lack of oxygen: fish that generally were everywhere now are dead," one study said.
Other sources of degradation come from the cattle industry that surrounds the lake and the loss of soil due to their impact and, with regards to the fishing industry, the introduction of exotic species and the overfishing of both those and indigenous species has left the lake with smaller and smaller fish.
In the rainy seasons of 1982-3 and 1989-90, extreme droughts caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the agricultural industry, both crop and animal.
The years in between experienced a higher than average rainfall and culminated in the severe floods of 1986-7 causing, again, over a hundred million dollars of damage to not only the agricultural industry, but to infrastructure as well.
The stress under which the people live does not create an environment conducive to awareness regarding pollution and sustainability. The two nations, Bolivia and Peru, have had negative economic growth rates over the last 10 years.
More than 30 thousand informal unregistered small scale mining operations near the world’s highest navigable lake are causing terrible pollution to both it and surrounding rivers.
Lake Titicaca possesses the continent’s largest source of fresh water, and its preservation and protection are likely to be vital for the future of the region. The increases in the lake’s levels of pollution are alarming.
Among the many towns living off Lake Titicaca, Pajchiri Bay is the most polluted with contaminated water, fish and plants.
Officials in both Peru and Bolivia have agreed to work together to clean up the contamination of the bay after a recent investigation of the waters.
For the second straight week (6th April, 2009) Lake Titicaca (Puno Peru) took the No. 1 spot in Group F of the New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign, according to the latest ranking of contest organizer, the New 7 Wonders Foundation.
With this world rating, let’s hope it gives the Lake’s two custodians, Peru and Bolivia, the incentive to continue to work together and restore one of Natures natural wonders.
See also: Peru, Bolivia to clean Lake Titicaca of 22 Nov 08, 30,000 illegal mines pollute Lake Titicaca of 22 Sep 08, Case Study Transboundary Dispute Resolution: Lake Titicaca (pdf, 102K), Peru: Lake Titicaca leads new seven wonders contest of 6 Apr 09, Bolivia's Lake Titicaca strangled" of 3 Aug 07.
The following article was adapted from a #comment-679127">post made on 1 Apr 09 to the Larvatus Prodeo discussion
Currently at risk is the 7,912 hectare Bimblebox Nature Refuge in central-west Queensland which is in direct line of a massive open-cut coal mine planned by Clive Palmer’s recently acquired Waratah Coal Incorporated. The proposed mine is one of several being planned for the region and is anticipated to produce around 3.12 billion tonnes of coal over its lifetime, which translates to around 7.2 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalents. However, the contribution the mine would make to an already over-loaded atmosphere is only one of the dirty details. A brief history of Bimblebox reveals a major inconsistency in current government policy which provides inadequate protection for vital conservation areas from development interests.
The property was purchased in 2000 by a several concerned families, with the assistance of about $300,000 from the Federal Natural Reserve System program. This was prior to the enactment of the Queensland land-clearing legislation and it was acquired for the express purpose of securing it as one of the few uncleared properties in the Desert Uplands, a region classified as a National Biodiversity Hotspot but which has less than 3% of land protected in conservation reserves.
In 2003, the Bimblebox Nature Refuge Agreement was signed with the state government to “permanently protect” the property’s conservation values. The perpetual Nature Refuge Agreement (category VI Protected Area under the IUCN classification system) is a legal covenant covering the entire property.
During the last five years, Bimblebox has become host to a number of long-term research projects conducted by the CSIRO, DPI&F, Birds Australia, EPA and the Queensland Herbarium. It is also a test case for sustainable grazing, since the property is carefully managed with a small herd of beef cattle. Profits are returned for native habitat rehabilitation and conservation.
Now that coal has been found under the soil of Bimblebox, all its above-ground assets are little more than over-burden to the coal company and the state government hungry for revenue. It is evident that nature refuge agreements are practically meaningless when coal is discovered. The agreements allow some minor provisions to reduce environmental harm during the exploration phase (a number of these provisions were violated during the exploration on Bimblebox - see attachment), but in the case where a mining licence is sought, nature refuge status guarantees no protection. Not even National Parks are secure from mining interests, as the Ranger uranium mine the middle of Kakadu National Park starkly demonstrates.
Unfortunately Bimblebox is not alone. Around 100 Queensland nature refuges are covered by mineral exploration permits, and about half of these are for coal. The extensive coal beds that underlie a large portion of Australia’s east coast (see 'Coal Map' below) indicate that this issue is not going to go away. As well as the impact on mine sites many other areas are effected with large scale developments, for instance, threatened species and ecosystems exist along the length of the planned water supply, rail and port infrastructure proposed by Waratah.
Cropping farmers on some of Australia’s most fertile agricultural land are facing similar threats from coal companies, and are having to get well organised in the defence of their land and livelihoods. However, without a comprehensive regional and national assessment of land use and climate priorities, it is likely that there will be significant struggle ahead for ‘David’ land holders against the ‘Goliath’ coal industry. In the case of Bimblebox, countless hours of volunteers’ time have already been invested in writing submissions, letters to ministers, the creation of a website and a petition – trying to explain why digging up crucial conservation and productive areas will have significant and irreversible negative impact on biodiversity, soil, and ground water.
Surely there is a clear case for important conservation and agriculturally productive areas to be exempt from mining activities.
What you can do: 1. Queensland residents can sign the petition here, the text of which is to also be found here. 2. On 21 March, vote for candidates in the Queensland elections opposed to the the expansion of the Queensland Coal industry. One such candidate is James Sinnamon who is standing as an Independent for Mount Coot-tha. 3. To learn more of the devastation with which the Bimblebox Nature Refuge is threatened by the proposed open-cut coal mine, please visit www.bimblebox.org.
There is nothing innocent about Peru! People in the world imagine Peru and think of Incas and Machu Picchu and its noble past civilisations. However, this era is well and truly over! Peru is still under the thumb of Colonialism, just the names have changed! Corruption is rife, and so is crime and human rights abuses.
The following letter was printed in The Courier Mail newspaper of Saturday 18 October, at the top of the first page of its letters section under the heading "No way to handle financial downturn". The last paragraph, which is not included here, was not included in the version sent to the Courier Mail in an effort to keep the letter as brief as possible. The letter was otherwise printed in full, and except that the "these speculation industries" in the second last paragraph was changed to "credit and construction" and some improvements in style. I have incorporated the latter.
The credit collapse shines a spotlight upon some obvious, but somehow commonly invisible travesties.
One is the hypocrisy of the free market idealogues, now put beyond doubt as they scurry and bay for public funds to bail us all out of the abyss that their unabated greed and ambition has plunged everyone into.
Another is the tragic condition of our National and State economy, now reduced to a rudimentary three-card trick of house-building, hole-digging and ad-hoc tourism.
In replacement Governments at all levels have encouraged a storm of aspiration, debt and immigration to fill the sails of money lenders, land subdividers and retail conglomerators. To pay the interest on escalating urban consumption, including delivery of just a fraction of the needed infrastructure, we've handed our mineral and energy wealth to multi-national corporations for a pittance in royalties. They have then proceeded to rip it out and hawk it overseas for a fortune.
With the house of credit-cards now falling down, and global demand for our mineral wealth stalling, we are about to find out how awfully unproductive our economy has actually become.
Einstein famously said a problem cannot be solved using the same thinking that created it. Clearly there are no Einsteins in Canberra. We can only look in horror at a 'solution' that hands out elevated first-homeowner grants, thus investing public funds into further stimulation of the very debt-creation and property value pressurisation that is the nub of the problem.
Because these speculation industries do grossly dominate our economy, we can't collapse them overnight. However public monies must be used to develop genuine production, diversity and sustainable employment within our economy. Funds should not be used to artificially respirate a diseased status quo.
Why is Australia helping to plunder Peru? The indigenous people in Peru are being dispossessed of their land by a corrupt government, and the mining companies with their "free trade" agreements are being supported by President Garcia! Mining is polluting the river water at Reque and there are no hospitals or doctors.
Posted by Sheila Newman on behalf of Mark O'Connor.