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Collapse, conspiracies, and three ideas for environmentalists to genuinely save the planet

On Friday the 13th of February I attended the “Great Debate: To Collapse or Not to Collapse,” hosted by the Sustainable Living Festival at the Deakin Auditorium. The following Wednesday I attended a screening on the movie Cowspiracy, hosted by Animal Liberation Victoria, which explored the impact of industrial animal agriculture on the environment and the resistance from environmental groups to address the issue in a meaningful way.

Both events painted a grim picture of the environment and society if we don’t make considerable changes, however as in most events that prescribe change, they did a good job of focusing on particular issues whilst ignoring others. I have reflected considerably over the past week, and after summarising the two events I will share three points that I feel get overlooked by the environmental and social change movements. I believe these points must be acknowledged if we are to sustain the planet for successive generations.

Plastic no longer a great future

In 1967 when the film The Graduate was released, plastic had entered our world and in fact it had been lurking around in various forms for about a century. By the 1950s, children’s toys, lunch boxes and drink bottles packed for school lunches were made of plastic. Would modern children even recognise a world without plastic?

National Dingo Conservation Organisation Welcomes Labor Win in Victoria, and Calls for Restorative Environmental Justice

The cruel changes made by the Napthine Victorian Government to wildlife laws are another reason many might not have known to be glad that its term just ended. It reestablished wild dog control zones across eastern Victoria which go well beyond the three kilometre limit into public land established under Labor. It reintroduced trap types previously banned by Labor as cruel. It introduced a bounty system whereby recreational hunters (including those using bows and arrows) can kill dingoes (‘wild dogs’) for profit across large parts of eastern Victoria and in the Big Desert National Park in western Victoria. Bounties can be taken in the Big Desert region even though there are no wild dog control zones in that part of the state. It increased the period allowed by Labor between trap visitations to 72 hours. Labor had previously reduced the trap visitation time to limit cruelty. it introduced aerial baiting in Victoria, which had not been permitted by the Brumby Labor government. And that's not all.

Australia is "going backwards" according to new report


Almost half of Australia's terrestrial ecosystems are threatened, 85 per cent of its rivers have been modified and twice as many Australians die from air pollution annually than road accidents, according to a report on the state of the country's environment.

42 environmental growth have cooperated to bring us this damning report, and hopefully will be a wake-up call that we are living beyond our means, and must change.

Baird government on verge of environmental insanity?

Moves by senior ministers in the Baird government to open up rare native bush to broadscale land clearing and cripple powers to stop illegal clearing were described as ‘insane’ today.

Global Shale Gas Development: Water Availability & Business Risks by Paul Reig, Tianyi Luo and Jonathan N. Proctor


This report analyzes water availability across all potentially commercial shale resources worldwide. It also reveals that water availability could limit shale resource development on every continent except Antarctica. It is addressed to business and because of this, seems not to contemplate backing away from fracking. However it provides a good run down on the very high risks involving water, other economic activities, and democracy. It also advocates working closely with government to 'manage' water. Candobetter would prefer that citizens manage water and that overpopulation and the accompanying intensification of development and resource use that bring about water scarcity be avoided in the first place - let alone fracking.

Abbott Government fails the environment - Australian Wildlife Protection Council

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council wrote on September 1, 2014 to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications: "We condemn the Abbott Government’s attacks on the Great Barrier Reef, other priceless environmental institutions and native wildlife across Australia. We are dismayed by their lack of environmental protection since [the Abbott Government's]coming to power."

Stop the Orbital and Rail Corridor Action Group (STORC) Protest 7 August NSW

Western Sydney residents are up in arms about having an urban rail line, a freight rail line and a mega motorway through their communities and bushland. Hundreds will be protesting 6.30 pm Thursday 7 August, 2014, at the St Marys Community Centre, St Marys, NSW, Cnr Mamre Rd & Great Western Hwy., where Transport for NSW and Tanya Davies the local Liberal MP have reluctantly agreed to hold an extraordinary community consultation drop in session. They want to know what we think of their plan so we intend to let them know loud and clear: 'We don't like it'.

GetUp and Environmental Movements stand united in denial of population growth

Quote:

“GetUp sees population stabilisation as being somewhat conflicting with GetUp’s desire to see increased refugee intakes in Australia, and therefore its messaging may become blurred.”

So GetUp chooses to omit reference to:

  • Extreme population growth driven by mass migration of relatively wealthy opportunists into Australia at the expense of refugees
  • The fact that many Key Performance Indicators of the Australian economy indicate that extreme population growth may be damaging both the economy and the environment, making Australia less able to increase both philanthropic foreign aid and refugee intake

GetUp, at its discretion, seems intent on not addressing whether extreme population growth is actually a root cause of the global humanitarian and environmental problems it wants to solve.

Minister Walsh apologises to Environment East Gippsland community group

Comments made against EEG last October have resulted in Minister Peter Walsh stepping back and making a public apology today, 19 March 2014. The apology to Environment East Gippsland was published on his parliamentary website. Peter Walsh is the Deputy Leader of the Victorian Nationals and Minister for Agriculture, Security and Water.

Former Shire President, Richard Hughes, speaks at Hanging Rock defense day

Video inside story.Richard Hughes gives a short, eloquent history of what residents achieved to safeguard the Rock with a buffer zone and to encourage native flora and fauna. He points to the 1993 report by the Loder & Bayly Consulting Group [which we make available below], who were commissioned by the Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve Committee of Management to prepare a Landscape Management Plan for the Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve. (We cite from this document and link to the original.) Also in here a description of soils and geology of Hanging Rock.

Australian Politician, Kelvin Thomson, warns Left is losing the war everywhere

The political left-of-center is losing the war; learn from Scandinavian states "We are losing the war. And by we, I mean the politically left-of-centre; I mean the Labor Party and other social democratic parties around the world, I mean the trade unions, and I mean the environmental movement. We sometimes win battles, but overall we are not winning. I repeat, we are losing the war. We sometimes win elections, but usually on the terms of our opposition. We are in office, but not in power. And at all times we are fighting defensive, rearguard actions to protect the things we have achieved and built up—the social welfare safety net; industrial relations and workplace rights and protections; environmental protections and national parks; publicly owned assets; rules against the abuse of market power. Our opponents are emboldened and enjoy unprecedented media power." From a speech by Kelvin Thomson in the Australian Federal Parliament on Monday 24 February 2014 [1]

Miranda Returns - Anne Lambert speaks up for Hanging Rock 2014

Video inside story.Anne Lambert, who played Miranda, the girl who disappeared at Hanging Rock (1975 film called Picnic at Hanging Rock) returned on 23 February 2014 to speak to concerned environmentalists, regional residents and visitors at a Respect the Rock activism day. People who live near the rock are worried about development plans announced by the local Shire which would change the natural beauty of this place and alienate it from ordinary people and encourage over-use which would threaten the many native animals and plants that enjoy this beautiful and mysterious place. Update: Changes to comments as to who is proposing the new developments. See notes at end of article.

Swiss Democracy wins referendum to apply quotas to immigration numbers

On 9 February 2014, a Yes vote of more than 50% was obtained and the referendum to have a quota limiting immigration to Switzerland has now passed. Three referendums were held in Switzerland on this day. Voters were asked whether they approved of a proposal to impose a quota on immigration, a federal decree on the financing and expansion of the rail network and a federal popular initiative on abortion. Further referendums are planned for 18 May, 28 September and 30 November, with one to include a proposal on guaranteed income. Note also inside, Malthus on Switzerland's history of population stability.

Non-Birth announcement

I am, together with a female I never met, excited to announce the non-birth of the son or daughter that was never conceived due to our proactive determination to ensure that outcome. This non-being was not born today on January 1, 2014, nor on any other day of our adult lives. Accordingly, nothing weighing 7 lbs. 14 ounces or any other weight issued from anyone's womb on that day or any other day on our account. And no grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt or sibling irrationally celebrated the arrival of a newborn simply because he or she shared their genes.

Childish about children: Parents need to engage more politically to save their children's world from destruction

This article is about how parents should not use their status as an escape route from political participation, but should step up that participation. Katie observes that there is a tendency to opt out with the arrival of children amongst the middle classes, which have important capacity for political effectiveness. The author wonders how parents can fail to be motivated as the world they came into is disappearing before their children's eyes.

If Plan Melbourne were really seeking your opinion then it would not go ahead


Jill Quirk of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Victorian and Tasmanian Branch, writes about the many problems of Plan Melbourne. Indeed there are so many problems that it is crazy to go ahead. But most of us realize that the Planners and Ministers behind Plan Melbourne intend to just go on driving bulldozers until something bigger stops them or they run out of oil. There is no plan B and so no room to listen to comment. This is a real problem for the rest of us because we live here.

Full text: Kelvin Thomson speech to Victoria First Inaugural General Meeting

Welcome. I always worried about population but I believed the demographers who said it would take care of itself. They were wrong, so I stopped listening to them. I kicked off a national debate about this issue in 2009. The points I made were about endangered species, climate change, traffic, housing, and the cost of living and the problems of Australia at 36 million. In 2010 there was movement - from the Greens, the Liberals, Kevin Rudd at Easter establishing a Population Minister, and Julia Gillard renouncing Big Australia. The election came and went, but there was no action. I don't know why Julia never delivered on this - I personally think she might still be PM today if she had.

Taking the Bite Out of Jaws: Reducing the public’s fear of sharks

SYDNEY: Just a week after another fatal shark attack in Australia, University of Sydney PhD candidate and shark policy expert Christopher Neff is leading a world-first project to help reduce the public’s fear of sharks.

Rising Energy Costs Lead to Recession; Eventually Collapse


How does the world reach limits? This is a question that few dare to examine. My analysis suggests that these limits will come in a very different way than most have expected–through financial stress that ultimately relates to rising unit energy costs, plus the need to use increasing amounts of energy for additional purposes:

Kelvin Thomson invites Victorians to "Victoria First" - new enviro-social NGO Inaugural Meeting

A new not-for-profit NGO is being established to safeguard and enhance Victoria’s way of life. Victoria First will fight to halt rapid population growth, overdevelopment, reduce traffic congestion, stop the increasing cost of council rates, rising utility bills, and seek to protect Victoria’s unique animals and plants. First inaugural meeting: Sunday 1st December 10am-12noon at Flemington Community Centre, 25 Mt Alexander Road, Flemington.

The Next Financial Bubble: Mining and Indigenous Peoples Rights

Report exposes risk to shareholders when indigenous rights are ignored. Are extractive companies operating on indigenous land overvalued? Indigenous Rights Risk Report.

Why Jellyfish are taking over the world - Lisa-ann Gershwin’s “Stung! On jellyfish blooms and the future of the ocean”

Move aside Steven King, jellyfish are worse than any of your demons, worse than any Grade-B monster that’s graced the silver screen. Unlike The Blob, which can be stopped by freezing, you can’t kill them. Not with chemical repellents or biocides or nets or electric shocks or introducing species that eat jellyfish like the striped sea slug. If you shoot, stab, slash, or chop off part of a jellyfish, it can regenerate lost body parts within two days. Not even the past 5 major extinction events which killed up to 90% of all life on earth, killed off the jellyfish.

East-West Link and the Moonee Ponds Creek - come and see what the fuss is about

Residents and businesses should be concerned about the wide impacts of the proposed East-West Link along the lower sections of Moonee Ponds Creek corridor in Flemington, Kensington, Parkville West and North Melbourne. See Video inside and check out the 'Port Connection' pdf from Linking Melbourne Authority.

“Numbers man” Shorten apparently open- ended on Australia’s population numbers.

Bill Shorten’s simplistic statement on immigration population and refugees in Tuesday night’s ALP leadership debate was also open ended and "cornucopian", ignoring the important issues directly affected by high population growth: environment , quality of life , employment, resources and future sustainability. Is Bill Shorten unaware of the sequelae of continuing rapid population growth or is he ignoring them?

Australia's Population Growth Unsustainable - SPA

Australia’s population annual growth of just under 400,000 people is absolutely unsustainable, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). Our annual population growth, of which 60% is made up of economic immigrants, amounts to building another Adelaide every three years, with all its need for infrastructure, fuel, housing ... at a cost of about $200,000 per person.

Jonathan Moylan: Anti-coal protester with public support faces huge costs at Supreme Court

Update, 24 Sep 2013 : The Sydney Morning Herald reports, "Mr Moylan was committed to the Supreme Court and will be appearing there on November 1."
See also: Hunter Valley food bowl plan faces urban development pressures of 1 Oct 2013, stopcsgsydney.org.au (last updated, 25 Aug); Stop CSG! Illawarra (last updated, 15 Sep). Paul Craig Roberts mentions the threat to underground water supplies as a result of fracking in the US in The Real Crisis Is Not The Government Shutdown of 2 Oct 2013.

In January this year, Jonathan Moylan sent a press release on ANZ letterhead to the ASX stating that the bank will withdraw financial support from Whitehaven’s Maules Creek open cut coal mine on ethical grounds. The case has now gone to the Supreme Court and Jonathan is facing up to 10 years jail and more than $700,000 in fines under s1041E of the Corporations Act. Jonathan's supporters feel that this is the exercise of might against right and point to ASIC's failure to prosecute big offenders in corporate crime. Anglophone law and industrial policy have a long history of persecuting democratic activism and have made it much harder for local people to organise against power than under the Roman Law (Napoleonic) system in continental Europe. This needs to change.

Climate and Environment initiatives in Oceania under SPREP

Anthony Lecren, the New Caledonian Minister for Sustainable Development and the Chairman of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP)[1] addressed the Oceania 21 meeting in Phnom Penh last week on 20 September 2013. He spoke of how the Oceania 21 meeting initiative was launched, under the guidance of New Caledonia, last April. This initiative, which represents the first Sustainable Development Summit in the Pacific region, was endorsed by 14 Countries and Territories from the Pacific region. With Melanesian subregion, Micronesian subregion and Polynesian subregion, the program represents an area of 25 million square kilometers. It aims at giving an audible political platform to strengthen joint efforts undertaken in the fields of Sustainable Development and Green Economy.

Tony Abbott 2010 promise to reduce population growth from 2% to 1.4%

Note that Mr Abbott's 2010 policy on population growth still amounted to wanting to have his cake and eat it, in the sense of wanting 'sustainability' but growth at the same time. He does say, however, that "Australia needs a population that our services can satisfy, our infrastructure can support, our environment can sustain, our society can embrace, and our economy can employ." Unfortunately he seems to want to leave the judgement of what this is up to the productivity commission, which seems to be entirely incompetent to assess ecological sustainability. Will Mr Abbott toe the line of his political promoter, the Murdoch Press, by keeping Australian targeted for continuing overpopulation, or will he use his big majority to carve out something more democratic? Clive Palmer, probably correctly, described Abbott as a B.A. Santamariaist" on Q & A tonight.

Population Party challenges media: "Boring election campaign needs a spark - via population"

Let’s ask why Greens, Liberals & Labor suppress the population issue: Stable Population Party - The party says it will reveal all in a front-page ad in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday. The Stable Population Party points out that, despite a ‘massive thumbs down for big Australia’, [1] with 70 per cent hoping the population does not hit the 40 million mark projected by 2050, no major party will raise population as a campaign issue.

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