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Miscellaneous comments from 14 April 2014

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 14 Feb 2014 can be found here.

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I don't like to preach to the converted, but I found this article quite interesting.

http://www.monbiot.com/2014/05/27/the-impossibility-of-growth/


By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 28th May 2014

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham(1).

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems(2). It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Whitehaven is spending $767 million developing Maules Creek mine in Leard State Forest and is progressively demolishing around 1660 hectares of native woodland to extract coal by early 2015.

Whitehaven's plans include using machinery to shake inhabited trees to "encourage" creatures to leave before "gently" bulldozing and leaving them overnight to allow remaining animals to escape. Species include critically endangered regent honeyeater bird, which the NSW government says faces an "extremely high risk of extinction in NSW in the immediate future" as well as the endangered swift parrot and vulnerable greater long-eared bat.

The EBPC Act, and other policies and laws that protect wildlife, are easily negotiated away to be immune from the power of mining corporations, and easily moveable "Environment" Departments. In the face of economic benefits, and votes, moving the goal-posts of environmental protection and conservation is as easy as manipulating language, and using the correct vocabulary!

Threatened species mine plan delusional

Jonathan Moylan, 26, who was responsible for sending out the fake release which purported to be from ANZ that claimed the bank had withdrawn a$1.2 billion loan to help develop the Maules Creek project, has pleaded guilty! This lesser offence pales into insignificance compared the the broad-acre destruction of significant environmental forest assets. More than 160 activists have been arrested in 2014. Big corporations, and their mega environmental crimes, are protected by our government who can't see the value of forests because of $$$$

Earlier this morning, a 24-year-old woman was reported to be suspended from a platform that attached by cable to some of the threatened trees, preventing bulldozers for Whitehaven Coal from clearing part of the forest for an open-cut coal pit.

A Whitehaven Coal spokesman reiterated: ‘‘Whitehaven offers great value for investors, but we accept that ­investors will buy and sell shares as they see fit.’’

In a nation famous for extinctions, the destruction of species continues with impunity, and our land is incrementally being emptied of wildlife.

New Immigration Department statistics reveal just one in three of the work visas granted last year was subject to "labour market testing" to prove no Australian could do the job.

How did they actually prove that "no Australian could do the job"? Yet again, Australians are being discriminated against in our own workforce, in preference to foreigners.

The figures also show half of Australia's migrant workers are recruited onshore, with one in every 20 backpackers last year are receiving a 457 visa to stay working here for four more years.

Under the Abbott government's changes to Newstart many poor unemployed people under 25 will have the choice of starving, begging, crime, or prostitution while they wait six months to be eligible for benefits. At the same time, there are plans to deregulate Universities to charge the fees they want, of up to $120,000 per degree. The odds are increasingly stacked against domestic students gaining skills, and competing with some third world nations that give their young people more access to tertiary education than in Australia.

Monash University demographer Bob Birrell, of the Centre for Population and Urban Research, said the 457 program was increasingly a "back door" for foreign workers desperate to get into Australia's labour market, rather than as a program allowing employers to meet skills vacancies.

The success of Europe's anti-immigration parties must end the rorts happening in our own country and the blatant discriminatory policies against our work force.

Ballina Council recently commissioned a Koala Habitat Study which has found that the proposed Pacific Highway Upgrade route would bisect the Koala colony and has been identified as a 'key threatening process', if it was to go ahead.

The route of the Pacific Highway upgrade needs to be reassessed in the light of the recent Ballina Koala Habitat study. We must urge the decision makers to have the Blackwall Range protected by ensuring that the highway upgrade avoids this known biodiversity hotspot.
Please sign this petition to make an alternative route through the Pacific Highway.

The planners of these schemes, for the convenience of traffic, seem to think that barging through and destroying habitat and killing threatened koalas is OK for their convenience. Just put a line on a map and forget the existing wildlife and environmental values!

Save Ballina's Koalas

The World Cup starts in the middle of June but officials in S?o Paulo, Brazil -- where the games are to be held -- say the city is already facing a critical water shortage. Residents in poor communities report that their water is shut off every night and that they sometimes have no water for days.
Similarly, while Sao Paulo’s population explosion and demented urbanization ran amok, investment in mass transportation actually decreased.
The city is not only the capital of the most populous state in Brazil, but is also the most populous city in all of Brazil and the largest city proper in the entire southern hemisphere.
Sao Paulo received less than half of its average rainfall during January, February and March—a time when the city usually receives almost 80 percent of its average annual precipitation.
The worst drought in more than 80 years is hitting the country's largest city just as it prepares for the tens of thousands of foreigners expected at the tournament opener.
Sao Paulo's water shortage, compounded by population overshoot, is the result of insufficient rain this year, with levels at Sao Paulo's main reservoir supplying freshwater to 9 million people dipping lower than ever before.
Forests are very important for healthy fresh water supplies. Unfortunately, the Cantareira system alone has lost 70% of its original forest cover, aggravating the sedimentation of rivers and dams, and decreasing their ability to supply water. The degradation of native vegetation also worsens the effects of erosion and drought.
Research carried out by the German-based Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has found significantly more people throughout the world will struggle to find the water needed for the basics of life as the planet warms.
Prior to the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s there had been ample freshwater availability, but the consequent population boom, urbanisation, and economic growth, has driven per capita availability to dangerous lows.

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