Saturday, 18 August 2012

Wild Weather on Green Action Day: July 2011

Some good news for a change!

On July 10th 2011, a huge swell rolled in from the Antarctic. Waves were washing over London Bridge  and the gale threatened to blow onlookers off their ledges. As I struggled against the wind, pulling cords and doing up zips with numb, icy fingers, I thought of those who had been shipwrecked in such weather along our coast.

On that day, when I felt vulnerable and powerless in the face of wild weather and a ferocious sea, our country finally took its first steps to reduce its impact on climate change through the introduction of a price on greenhouse gases or as it has come to be incorrectly called, the ‘carbon tax’.

Since then, according to the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Centre, September 2012 has been the warmest month in recorded history and the Earth has experienced 330 consecutive months of above average temperatures. Polar ice is shrinking, forests fires are increasing, species are disappearing and the ocean is heating up and acidifying.

But the news isn’t all bad. Today the Australian Energy Market Operator announced that the price on carbon is working. Since its introduction, there has been a decline in emissions with the greatest reduction in South Australia (which has a strong solar/wind energy sector) of 16.1% and in Vic it was reduced by 8.7%.
As coal and gas fired power continues to decline and renewable energy increases, our future will look ever brighter and July 10th 2011 will go down in the history of Australia as a great day indeed.

Wild weather & a 'Great Green Action Day'

by Lisa Owen on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 10:22pm

David, Skye and I drove down the coast yesterday to see the huge swell which rolled in from the Antarctic. Waves were gushing over London Bridge and  the Bay of Matyrs and the gale nearly blew us off the ledge. As I stood in the gale and struggled against the wind to weather proof my raincoat by pulling cords and doing up zips with numb, icy fingers, I thought of the plight of those who were shipwrecked in such weather along our coast, in a time when sailing ships and horses were the only forms of transport in this huge country.
The weather was awesome in the truest sense of that word and I experienced first hand its beautiful and frightening power.
And so, this is how I will remember the day when Australia's price on carbon was announced. On the day I felt vulnerable and powerless in the face of wild weather and a ferocious sea, our country finally took the steps to do something about climate change. Hopefully most Australians have accepted that humans have become a shaping force on this planet's climate and they have also accepted that it is our responsibility to do what we can to make it right again.
Thank you to our Green parliamentarians for making these measures possible. I extend my love and gratitude to them all. The Greens are absolutely a force for good in Australian politics.
Now we have to make sure that the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott do not become Govt at the next election. To prevent such a catastrophe you, the grass roots people, must spread the word and talk to everyone you know about the price on carbon.
Tell them how positive it will be for you, your children and your grandchildren. Tell them that it will foster the development of clean renewable energy, create new business opportunities and over a million new jobs and finally it will encourage the closure of dirty coal fired power stations with assistance to coal workers to gain other forms of employment. Governments at all levels will work together to make this possible.
Talk to everyone you know and spread the word. You are more powerful and influential than you realise. If you dare to raise the topic with fellow workers, neighbours, friends, extended family and community group members, you will have a big impact. Your efforts will help save us from catastrophic climate change.
Happy Green Action Day

Friday, 17 August 2012

Irene Sendler was a 'people smuggler' in Poland.

Meet Irene Sendler 'people smuggler'.  She was born in Poland in 1910 and was a Catholic Social worker who worked in the Polish underground, the 'Zegota Resistence' organisation, in Warsaw during World War 2. She helped to smuggle 2,500 Jewish children out of Poland during this time.

Not all people smugglers are bad. Many of those who actually run the boats are poor, simple fishermen, often teenagers, whose fisheries have been fished out by foreign owned supertrawlers such as the Dutch supertrawler waiting to overfish Bass Strait at this very moment!

In many countries, ocean fisheries are being destroyed in an attempt to feed huge populations of people all around the world who demand seafood at the ready. They are also being destroyed by pollution, plastic, oil and gas drilling and climate change. The Fukishima nuclear reactor melt down in Japan has successfully wiped out whole fishing industries for many years to come...possibly forever.

Fisherman in small fishing villages throughout our region have lost their traditional food source and income, so now they must look elsehwere to use their 'leaky' boats. The real criminals are the 'mafia' style opportunists who pay the fishermen a pittance for their leaky boats and for their services.

But my point is this: without such people smugglers and leaky boats the probability is that many more people would have died because they would not have been able to escape death or incarceration in their country of origin.

Why is this so clear to some and not to others?

About death and other life experiences.

Tragic day for Australians. Tragic day for asylum seekers.

Today is a sad day in the history of Australia! Despite the fact that theGreens were prepared to work with the Government on a new regional approach, Labor and Liberal, or rather 'Laberal', voted together to reinstate a harsher version of John Howard’s Pacific Solution.

The Greens want to save the lives of refugees right now, not by punishing them but rather by providing safe alternatives to boarding leaky boats. Condemning refugees to indefinite detention on the island prisons and mental illness factories of Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island is inhumane, immoral and illegal.

This regression back to the draconian policies used by Howard is against theadvice of experts such as former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Julian BurnsideQC, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Australian of the year Patrick McGorry, refugee law academicsand the Refugee Council of Australia, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre,Amnesty International, Get Up!, Christian and human rights groups and others.

‘Laberal’s’ assumption that Howard’s off shore processing worked, is very wrong! The only thing that altered the number of people seeking asylum in Australia was a change in the situation affecting the country from which they were escaping.
Caring for refugees requires a regional humanitarian response based on legal protections for refugees, not a quick political fix.

The ALP should work with the Greens toward taking the pressure off refugees to board boats in the first place, rather than punishing them once they have. Refugee advocates approve the Green’s New Regional Plan of Action to provide safer pathways for people seeking asylum in Australia and if the government had any sense on this matter, it would too.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Dutch super fishing trawler is threatening fish stock in Australian seas!

Congratulations to Warrnambool Councillors Peter Hulin and John Harris on their stand against the Dutch super fishing trawler.

This, the second largest commercial fishing vessel in the world and the largest trawler ever to fish in Australian waters, has been given permission to trawl for 17,500 tonnes of baitfish per year, which is the favourite food of bluefin tuna, albatross and many other sea creatures.  Bluefin tuna is an endangered species and is at present hunted by both commercial and recreational fishers. The invasion of this Dutch monster will push tuna even closer to extinction.

According to Greenpeace the industrial super trawler is part of the European Association of pelagic freezer trawlers (PFA) responsible for the greatest depletion of fish resources on the planet. In waters off the Chilean coast they have driven jack mackerel numbers down by 90%. That huge drop in numbers brings to mind the famous study by Dr. Boris Worm, who announced in 2006 that if overfishing and sea pollution continues unchecked, by 2048 the only creatures left in the ocean will be jellyfish.

Why has the government allowed such unsustainable fishing in the waters of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean?

Now is the time to voice our protest because once the fish have gone they will never return.  The Warrnambool Environmental Action Group supports the councillors and all environment groups in their protests against this menace and encourages every Australian to do the same.