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Archive for the ‘global ecology’ Category

Victorian Govt destroying Old Growth

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stump of a Brown Mt. tree logged in November 2008 and carbon dated at over 500 years old

stump of a Brown Mt. tree logged in November 2008 and carbon dated at over 500 years old

Great opinion piece in today’s copy of The Age out of Melbourne. Worthwhile reading for anybody interested in biodiversity in Australia, old growth forests, or climate politics.

In a Government report based on threatened species studies at Brown Mountain conducted earlier this year, it is stated that ”neither DSE or VicForests routinely undertake pre-logging coupe surveys”.

Most of their information on threatened species comes from reports dating back to the early ’80s. This was at a time when we only just started to learn about species such as the long-footed potoroo and when management plans for endangered species simply did not exist.

Experts in their field produced these older reports, but the research areas were so large, and resources so limited, that many forests were not even surveyed. Brown Mountain is one of the areas that fell through the cracks.

Along with other forests at Ada River, Yalmy River, the upper Bonang catchment and the Bungywarr forests, the ecological values of these old-growth forests have simply never been documented.

Environment East Gippsland are taking VicForests – the corporate arm of logging regulation in Victoria – to court to try to force protection, rather than mere ‘consideration’ for endangered species and unique forests on Brown Mountain threatened by unnecessary logging.

In a Government report based on threatened species studies at Brown Mountain conducted earlier this year, it is stated that ”neither DSE or VicForests routinely undertake pre-logging coupe surveys”.

Most of their information on threatened species comes from reports dating back to the early ’80s. This was at a time when we only just started to learn about species such as the long-footed potoroo and when management plans for endangered species simply did not exist.

Experts in their field produced these older reports, but the research areas were so large, and resources so limited, that many forests were not even surveyed. Brown Mountain is one of the areas that fell through the cracks.

Along with other forests at Ada River, Yalmy River, the upper Bonang catchment and the Bungywarr forests, the ecological values of these old-growth forests have simply never been documented.

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September 30, 2009 at 11:19 am

WORLD LEADERS SIGN PACT TO AVERT CLIMATE DISASTER

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June 18, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TOP HEADLINE: WORLD LEADERS SIGN PACT TO AVERT CLIMATE DISASTER
Newspaper Ignites Hope, Announces “Civil Disobedience Database”

* Civil-disobedience database: http://BeyondTalk.net
* PDF of printed newspaper: http://iht.greenpeace.org/todays-paper/
– Online version: http://www.iht-se.com/
* Video: http://iht.greenpeace.org/video/ (coming soon)
In a front-page ad in today’s International Herald Tribune, the leaders of the European Union thank the European public for having engaged in months of civil disobedience leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference that will be held this December.

“It was only thanks to your massive pressure over the past six months that we could so dramatically shift our climate-change policies…. To those who were arrested, we
thank you.”

There was only one catch: the paper was fake.

Looking exactly like the real thing, but dated December 19th, 2009, a million copies of the fake paper were distributed worldwide by thousands of volunteers in order to show what could be achieved at the Copenhagen climate conference that is scheduled for Dec. 7-18, 2009.

At the moment, the conference is aiming for much more modest cuts, dismissed by leading climate scientists as too little, too late to stave off runaway processes that will lead to millions or even billions of casualties.

The paper describes in detail a powerful (and entirely possible) new treaty to bring carbon levels down below 350 parts per million – the
level climate scientists say we need to achieve to avoid climate catastrophe.

One article describes how a website, http://BeyondTalk.net, mobilized thousands of people to put their bodies on the line to
confront climate change policies – ever since way back in June, 2009.

Although the newspaper is a fake (its production and launch were coordinated by Greenpeace), the website is real. Beyondtalk.net is part of a growing network of websites calling for direct action on climate change, building on statements made in recent months by noted political
figures.

For example, in September Nobel laureate Al Gore asserted that “we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to
prevent the construction of new coal plants.”

Leading American environmentalist Bill McKibben was enthusiastic about the newspaper’s message and the methods BeyondTalk.net calls for.

“We need a political solution grounded in reality – grounded in physics and chemistry. That will only come if we can muster a wide variety of political tactics, including civil disobedience.”

“Non-violent civil disobedience has been at the forefront of almost every successful campaign for change,” said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes
Men
, who helped write and edit the newspaper and are furnishing the technology for BeyondTalk.net. “Especially in America, and especially today, we need to push our leaders hard to stand up to industry lobbyists and make the sorts of changes we need.”

“Roosevelt would never have been able to push through the New Deal if people hadn’t taken to the streets, occupied factories, and demanded
it,” noted newspaper writer/editor and University of California professor Lawrence Bogad.

“Segregation, British rule in India, and apartheid wouldn’t have ended without a lot of people being creatively uncooperative – even if that meant getting arrested. Nonviolent civil
disobedience is the bread and butter of progress.”

The fake newspaper also has an ad for “Action Offsets,” whereby those who aren’t willing to risk arrest can help those who are.

A HOPEFUL NEWS PANDEMIC?

Today’s fake International Herald Tribune is part of a rash of recent publications which mimic prominent newspapers. Last November, a fake edition of the New York Times announced that the Iraq War was over. A few days earlier, a hoax USA Today featured the US presidential election result: “Capitalism Wins at the Polls: Anarchy Brewing in the Streets.”
And this April 1st, a spoof edition of Germany’s Zeit newspaper triumphantly announced the end of “casino capitalism” and the abolition
of poor-country debt.

The rash of fakes is likely to continue. “People are going to keep finding ways to get the word out about common-sense solutions those in
power say are impossible,” said Kelli Anderson, one of the designers of the fake International Herald Tribune and co-designer (with Daniel
Dunnam) of BeyondTalk.net.

“We already know what we need to do about climate change,” said Agnes de Rooij of Greenpeace International. “It’s a no-brainer. Reduce carbon emissions, or put the survival of billions of people at risk. If the political will isn’t there now, it’s our duty to inspire it.”

* CONTACT:
– The Yes Men, mailto:press@theyesmen.org
– Mark Breddy (Greenpeace), mailto:mark.breddy@greenpeace.org,
(+32) (0)2 2741 903, (+32) (0)496 15 62 29 (mob.)
– Lawrence Bogad, mailto:l.m.bogad@gmail.com,
+1-212 300 7943

Written by typingisnotactivism

June 18, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Wayne Swan spreads the green b.s. thickly

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Of course it’s not just Wayne. Kevin Rudd will have disciplined all of his ministers to sing from the same hymn sheet, and it’s a shame that Labor lacks the spine needed to produce, let alone tolerate, vocally dissenting backbenchers. They might listen to arguments made within the party, because the only other people they are listening to are utter knobs like Heather Ridout, Peter Hendy, and anybody with a mining company or aluminium smelter.

Mr Swan said the minimum 5 per cent target announced on Monday “struck the right balance”, adding that it would equate to a 34 per cent reduction in per capita emissions by 2020.

“If we were to achieve a 15 per cent reduction in that timeframe, that would be a 41 per cent reduction in per capita terms,” Mr Swan told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

So this is the T-r-e-a-s-u-r-e-r using m-a-t-h. Scarey, huh? The federal government is very happy with this particular set of numbers because it makes the absence of commitment somehow sound like firm action. But think about it – 5% equals a 34% reduction, yet 15% only equals a 41% reduction.

Somebody’s been taking lessons in logic from Julie Bishop.

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December 16, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Climate Doom is already here.

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Massive extinctions warned about by academics over the last decade seem set to start within the next. Updated science since the diplomatically framed IPCC reports of this year and last indicate that the planet has already begun processes that are almost too grand to halt, let alone reverse.

The escalating scale of human emissions could not have come at a worse time, as scientists have discovered that the Earth’s forests and oceans could be losing their ability to soak up carbon pollution. Most climate projections assume that about half of all carbon emissions are reabsorbed in these natural sinks.

Computer models predict that this effect will weaken as the world warms, and a string of recent studies suggests this is happening already.

The Southern Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide has weakened by about 15% a decade since 1981, while in the North Atlantic, scientists at the University of East Anglia also found a dramatic decline in the CO2 sink between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.

A separate study published this year showed the ability of forests to soak up anthropogenic carbon dioxide – that caused by human activity – was weakening, because the changing length of the seasons alters the time when trees switch from being a sink of carbon to a source.

Soils could also be giving up their carbon stores: evidence emerged in 2005 that a vast expanse of western Siberia was undergoing an unprecedented thaw.

The region, the largest frozen peat bog in the world, had begun to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago. Scientists believe the bog could begin to release billions of tonnes of methane locked up in the soils, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The World Meteorological Organisation recently reported the largest annual rise of methane levels in the atmosphere for a decade.

Which means you can take your 5% carbon reduction and your 2 degrees of manageable warming and stick them up your arse. We’re headed to a place that will make Children of Men look like comedy.

Written by typingisnotactivism

December 16, 2008 at 2:15 am

Michael Duffy is a moron; why does Fairfax pay him?

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It is strange that Fairfax, the publisher of Sydney Morning Herald, puts out a far better paper in Melbourne – The Age – than they do in Sydney. It could perhaps be because the Sydney editor is a nonce. But that doesn’t explain why the hell Fairfax employ a conservative editor in what continually tries to be a progressive society. Perhaps they would rather we resist that impulse.

Or they think we are idiots, which would explain why they keep on their stable of narcissistic pundits-of-no-merit. Like Miranda Devine. Like Gerard Henderson (could somebody pleeeease tell him that John Howard is gone already). Like Michael Duffy.

Duffy is like a tumour that masquerades as a boil. His bio is hilarious – he relaunched his image at the Herald lately by presenting himself as aged cool like a turd with chocolate sprinkles, making special efforts to emphasize that he has been on the dole, AND played in bands. I would bet Madonna’s left nut that they were horrible pieces of shit who largely played or ripped off other people’s songs that sucked way before they even lost all relevance.. Because this feels like the kind of guy that Duffy is, and it’s exactly the way that he manages information. He’s like some second rate Christopher Pyne trying to present as a first rate Shaun Micallef, thereby coming across quite a bit like a skid mark from Peter Costello’s underpants but without the charisma.

In the tradition of ripping off shit that need never have been exuded in the first place, skunkjunk has just run an op ed in the Herald Truly inconvenient truths about climate change being ignored. Wow! Genius! Who would have ever thought to use the title of an increasingly old movie ironically in pursuit of climate change denial? Never. Seen. That. Done. A. Million. Times. Already.

And what a piece of crap it is.

Someone else who’s looked closely at scientific journals (although not specifically those dealing with climate science) is epidemiologist John Ioannidis of the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He reached the surprising conclusion that most published research findings are proved false within five years of their publication. (Lest he be dismissed as some eccentric, I note that the Economist recently said Ioannidis has made his case “quite convincingly”.)

So, one of Duffy’s convincing sources reads magazines that aren’t anything to do with climate science, and has found inconsistencies in those non-climate findings which a non-climate magazine has apparently once agreed add up to some kind of non-climate argument, and therefore climate change is bogus? I’m so convinced, I must read further. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 8, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Climate Change – we’re f@$%ed… and we’ve killed Santa

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For the first time in recorded human history, the North Pole is an island - courtesy of climate change.

For the first time in recorded human history, the North Pole is an island - courtesy of climate change.

Quoting Auslan Cramb from article reposted here at Tassie Times

THE NORTH POLE has become an island for the first time in human history as climate change has made it possible to circumnavigate the Arctic ice cap. The historic development was revealed by satellite images taken last week showing that both the north-west and north-east passages have been opened by melting ice. Prof Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in the US said the images suggested the Arctic may have entered a “death spiral” caused by global warming.

Now, before you let some idiot journalist, politician, or economist screw this piece of understanding up for you, try this analogy  on for size: the planet is a track, the global climate is its engine, this amounts to a cracked engine block. So don’t expect the motor to explode right away, don’t feel calmed just because the world doesn’t end by Friday. But do expect some ugly noises, reductions in power, and increased bumpiness very soon. Pre-2010 soon.

Written by typingisnotactivism

September 8, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Exxon crude oil $US45.45: US Supreme Court ruling

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In a landmark ruling, the US Supreme Court today slashed the damages bill against Exxon for the 11 million gallons of oil their drunken captain poured into a pristine Alaskan ecosystem just 20 years ago. Deciding that “the people” – as in of the, by the, and for the – of the original jury were brain damaged for originally awarding $5 billion in punitive damages against the company, Justice David Souter today pissed mightily in the faces of victimized communities, environments, and species for generations to come.

He found that Exxon should only have to pay $500 million in punitive damages, seeing as the company had already paid $507 million in damages to directly compensate communities of Prince William Sound for economic losses.

$500 million totals about $15 000 for each of the 33 000 claimants, and 4 days worth of Exxon’s profits last year, Read the rest of this entry »

RSPCA chickens out over allegations against industrial donor.

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The above picture comes from an excellent animal update by Maxine Firth here in today’s SMH. Amazingly, the RSPCA endorses the conditions in which these thousands upon thousands of birds at the Pace Farm facility in Buchanan, near Newcastle, are kept. More amazingly, their spokesperson, asked about these specific conditions and the ongoing commission-for-approval arrangement between Pace and RSPCA contributed to the following exchange:

Chief executive Heather Neil said: “RSPCA standards for accredited egg production ensure that hens are given the freedom to exhibit natural behaviours.

The program involves a process of stringent and regular inspections every eight to 12 weeks to ensure standards are being met.”

Ms Neil confirmed the RSPCA endorsed beak clipping of birds at the Buchanan facility.

“The RSPCA is aware of behavioural problems with this particular flock at Buchanan, specifically feather picking,” she said.

On the allegation that the birds were too cramped, she said RSPCA standards allowed for seven birds per square metre as opposed to the national code of practice standard of 12.

Animal Liberation said the RSPCA standard gives each bird an amount of space equivalent to a piece of A3 paper.

Ms Neil said the demand for eggs in Australia was about 200 million dozen eggs a year.

“Such a demand necessitates large-scale commercial production,” she said. “The RSPCA would prefer to be in there helping to improve the welfare of birds in commercial egg production rather than not being involved at all.”

Now, I may be wrong, but if birds are forced to live in such squalid and cramped conditions that they have to have their beaks burnt off so that they don’t peck each other to death… is that really a “behavioural problem”? Or is that a “human contempt for animal life problem”? And would the RSPCA have helped improve conditions for horses at race tracks or increase the size of steel pigpens if “large-scale commercial production” as opposed to “animal welfare” or “prevention of cruelty” was meant to be their priority.

Ha!! more like “eggs have the tick because it’s one less reason for you to give a shit about how these fucking trolls cash in on animal torture”

I have been pissed off at the way eggs are packaged, bought and sold for ages. Pace, for example, has a facility with close to a million chickens about 4 hours south west of Sydney, near Wyalong, in the appropriately named Bland Shire (seriously). These bastards have the nerve to produce a line of free range eggs, and people are either so busy or so ignorant that they buy them.

Here’s a simple question: If, for example, I keep a million chickens laying eggs in conditions similar to a concentration camp from the moment of their birth until their premature over-medicated death, but have another hundred thousand that run around in a nice field, should ANY self-respecting consumer be rewarding me with their cash?

Or to put it another way: If I run Auschwitz and I butcher 5 million people, turning them into soap, gold, and ashes, but I supply half a million with false papers and make sure they get across the Channel to England, am I a saint, am I halfway toward redemption, or am I so fucking evil that I should never be allowed to sell eggs again?

Basically – do not EVER buy ANY kind of egg from ANY company that runs ANY battery/cage hen facilities. Fuck PACE FARMS. Fuck INGHAM CHICKENS. FUCK KFC. Etc. LET YOUR SUPERMARKET KNOW –> tell them that you don’t want Pace Free Range eggs, tell them you want any other kind of remotely ethical free range eggs.

Buy organic if you’re really concerned about your own health. Buy free range if you’re concerned about the chicken whose period you’re eating.

And to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, as opposed to henpecked and cemented, here are photos from this page which allegedly details a 2002 investigation-of-sorts by local activists into the Pace facility near Wyalong.

These happy lookin’ fellas down the bottom have been in chook rehab. Not yet 100%, I’m guessing.

Written by typingisnotactivism

March 2, 2008 at 3:19 am

Tassie Devils trapped in forestry Hell.

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Kind of strange that the “Save the Tassie Devil” website is posted by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water, also known as the Department of Slime and Industrial Slaughter. Funny that the website tries to make the devil out to be cuddly and pitch it to Japanese tourists, like this

when the reality, the utterly malignant and horrid reality, is that more and more Tasmanian Devils are being delivered unto an even crueler and more painful fate like this:

Some are tipping the Devil for extinction within a matter of decades. Even though the so-called Devil Tumour Facial Disease (DTFD) was first classified in 1996, fuck all has been done until now by the Tasmanian government. Why? Because it’s just the environment. It’s just an animal. It’s just a low-grade tourism attraction. Let’s not do anything until it’s at absolute crisis point because all that will be left to do by then will be to watch the last bunch die and say some nice sad words, then get back to the business of turnng Tasmania into one big toxic splintery carpark.

Which happens to be something that the DPIW is well into, when they aren’t throwing up token websites telling tourists that it’s okay to come and spend your yen in Tassie because nobody marries their sister there anymore. Of course there has been kerfuffle lately around the notion that chemicals from abandoned fridges are the main catalyst for this horrific condition that is decimating the devil population, but scientists close to the problem aren’t yet buying into that position.

My bet is that once it’s too late, someone with qualifications will work out that it was the accumulation of Tassie government-subsidised 1080, atrazine, and other hardcore chemicals used in the clearfelling processes that continue to destroy devil habitat, somehow interacting into a spiky and horrible cancer cocktail which is causing such suffering and doom for the devils. Still, an American scientist thinks that there may be an$wer$ for human cancer in treating the devils, so they may have more than a hope in hell.

If this is something you would like to know more about, there is a very proper treatment of the situation with a detailed background here and here in parts I & II of David Obendorf’s ‘Poison Island’. Thoroughly worthy reading about one more possibly irreversible tragedy in the making.

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February 18, 2008 at 2:10 am

Sea Shepherd v. Japanese whaling fleet: Valentine’s Day relaunch, the latest from Capt. Paul Watson

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ed: read this here if you like, but I would recommend this version. Celsias has grabbed a copy and done a beautiful job of the layout. It’s worth spending time there, is what I’m saying. Anyway…

Round Two for Sea Shepherd’s Operation Migaloo

By Captain Paul Watson

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is refueled, repaired, re-supplied, re-crewed and re-energized to depart from Melbourne on Valentine’s Day bound for the Southern Ocean to intervene against the on-going massacre of whales by the outlaw whaling fleet from Japan.

In January we discovered that we can stop the whalers by finding them, pursuing them, and harassing them. We initiated an international incident and we shut down the slaughter of the whales for more than three weeks. Most importantly for the first time ever this issue was dramatized in the Japanese media and it is escalating into a costly embarrassment for the Japanese government.

There is no question that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society pushes the envelope on this issue. Someone has to and we don’t mind the constant stream of abuse and name calling. If governments don’t have any respect for us, we have even less respect for governments. Read the rest of this entry »

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February 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Greenpeace is lying and stealing your money

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by Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, first posted at Counterpunch, and properly titled

How Greenpeace Cashes In on the Suffering and Death of the Great Whales

The Other Whaling Industry

By Captain PAUL WATSON

On board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

“It does not matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”

— Dr. Patrick Moore, President of Greenpeace Canada 1981

As the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society struggles to borrow and raise enough funds to return to the Southern Ocean, we feel incredibly frustrated by the fact that tens of millions of dollars have already been raised to defend the whales yet this money is not being spent for that purpose and it will not help put fuel in our tanks to resume our defense of the whales.

Enough is enough. The Greenpeace fraud about saving the whales must be exposed. For years, I have been tolerating their pretense of action and watching them turn their ocean posing photo ops into tremendous profits from whaling. And now they say they can’t return to the Southern Oceans with their ship the Esperanza because they don’t have the budget for it and because they are going to direct their energies into lobbying for change inside Japan.

Yet they still continue to collect money to save the whales. Greenpeace has booked all online advertising in the major Australian and New Zealand newspapers. Their ads are splashed across the internet from Google to MySpace. Send money, send more money. Television ads, millions of pieces of direct mail.

Greenpeace International raised 127 Million Euros last year. Greenpeace Australia has about 18 million dollars in the bank. Greenpeace USA sits on tens of millions of dollars. Yet they claim they do not have the budget to return to the Southern Oceans yet they also claim they stopped the whalers for two weeks in January, and if such a claim is true then they should go back and stop them again.

But they will not. They have surrendered the Whale Sanctuary to the whalers yet the ads keep popping up and the contributions keep flowing into the Greenpeace coffers. It is incredibly frustrating to see stories about Sea Shepherd’s successful interventions against illegal Japanese whaling usually sprinkled with criticisms by Greenpeace about our methods. And right beside these articles pops up an ad asking the public to send money to support Greenpeace. Even if Sea Shepherd wanted to invest in these ads, we cannot because Greenpeace has booked all the ad space for three months.

Greenpeace makes more money from anti-whaling than Norway and Iceland combined make from whaling. In both cases, the whales die and someone profits. We continue to receive reports from people who have received highly emotional appeals from Greenpeace for money to save the whales including appeals to help refuel their ship.

This is simply out and out fraud. Read the rest of this entry »

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February 9, 2008 at 4:25 am

Whaling: Peter Garrett’s most convenient problem looks like this…

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minke whale and her calf, less than a year old

The Australian government has just released these pictures of Japanese whaling in the waters of the Australian Whales Sanctuary off Antarctica. The federal opposition are opportunising the moment by proclaiming their intention to create a global whale utopia, through their Environmental Orifice, Greg Hunt. Of course, while in government the Liberals’ greatest contribution to whaling was to legally block all efforts to stop it, but that was weeks ago. Tossers.

Speaking of tossers, the land-loving chief of Japan’s Whale Kill Inc. has hit back by denying that the two whales in the picture aren’t related and that this is just Australian propaganda. Off course this is the same guy who claimed that Sea Shepherds‘ accusations that their crew members were tied to a pole aboard the Yushin Maru 2 were lies and Sea Shepherd propaganda… even as photos proving the accusations were fired around the world.

The Labor Party, and specifically the Attorney-General, have really moved in a (perhaps too) measured but dynamic manner on this issue. They removed legal blockages, allowing Humane Society International to test the matter of Japanese whaling in the Australian Antarctic Whale Sanctuary in Federal Court. Without this commitment from the government, HSI could not have succeeded, as they now have.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has forged ahead in discussions with Japan and under a siege of sorts from media as a result of the new paradigm, under which Australia is actively, rather than just conveniently, challenging and threatening Japan’s farcical, but vicious, ‘scientific whaling‘ program.

Of course, without the involvement of Sea Shepherd, and even Greenpeace, the government’s ‘effort’ in Antarctica would merely have meant three more weeks of photos like the one above, rather than whales actually having their endangered lives protected. Because the government’s greatest input at the moment seems to be all about getting out of everyone elses’ way. Read the rest of this entry »

Sea Shepherd – latest on hostage situation

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The following is the latest blog entry posted by Sea Shepherd on their MySpaz page.

Japanese Whaling Fleet On the Run With Two Sea Shepherd Hostages
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s ship Steve Irwin is in full pursuit of five vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet including the Japanese supply vessel Oriental Bluebird.The Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 has taken two Sea Shepherd volunteer crew members hostage. Benjamin Potts 28, an Australian citizen and Giles Lane, 35, a citizen of Great Britain are being held hostage onboard the whaling vessel. Both men were assaulted and then tied to the railings of the whaler. Read the rest of this entry »

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January 16, 2008 at 11:07 am

Senator Christine Milne’s view of the Bali Climate Change Conference

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Bali Choices – a review of the Bali Climate Change negotiations by Senator Christine Milne, as of Tuesday December 11th

There was genuine excitement and warm good will in Bali last week when the new Australian Government announced its decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol immediately and rejoin the global effort to tackle climate change.

But good will turned to suspicion when Prime Minister Rudd unceremoniously stomped on the Australia delegation for daring to align Australia with the goal of cutting rich country emissions by 25-40% by 2020, the minimum that the climate science requires. The delegation told the conference that Australia accepts that target range, and the rest of the world understood that to mean that Australia was agreeing to negotiate using those figures as a starting point. Rudd’s public rebuke, saying his Government would not commit to any 2020 targets until the Garnaut Review is completed, was worrying.

Prime Minister Rudd’s welcome in Bali will be conditional on his immediate clarification of Australia position on 2020 targets. He cannot hide behind the Garnaut report here.

Australia‘s positioning in the next 2 years’ negotiations will depend on convincing the world now that Australia is genuine. Mr Rudd has to decide whether his election represents a genuine change or whether we are continuing the spoiler role of the last decade.

Perceptions here have not been helped by the fact that the Australian delegation remains overloaded with vested interests from the coal, aluminium and logging industries, the CFMEU, and public servant negotiators still steeped in the attitude of the former PM. It is an ominous sign that the Ambassador for the Environment, Jan Adams, believes that the 25-40% target will never be agreed to here in Bali, when the fact that it is in the Chair’s Draft of the Bali Mandate indicates there is significant support for it.

But the biggest problem is Australia’s hypocrisy on logging and deforestation.

There is a big push from around the world to find a way to include the protection of forests in the post 2012 climate treaty. This ‘reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation’ (REDD) work would have a clear benefit for the countries of the Amazon, African and Pacific forests. But it would also have a significant impact on Australia, since ‘degradation’ makes it clear that logging substantially reduces the amount of carbon stored in a forest.

The definition of degradation is critical and there will be intense efforts to water down any resolution. The National Association of Forest Industries have already flown in reinforcements, attempting to undermine any agreement on REDD which would destroy their propaganda that the ‘management’ of native forests in Australia is carbon positive.

With exquisite timing, on the day that bulldozers went into the Styx Valley in Tasmania to clear-fell ancient forests holding 1400 tonnes of carbon per hectare, Peter Garrett stood in front of a banner here saying “Save Wildlife. Reduce Carbon Emissions” and talked about biodiversity benefits of saving forests. He was talking about the Indonesian orang-utan, not the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle.

It is tragically clear that there is still no political will to act on the clear and urgent climate science. Whilst every country is happy to talk the talk, the negotiations in Bali reflect the 19th century view that national sovereignty overrides global responsibility and selfish short-termism rules the day.

I welcome the Chair’s Draft including a 25-40% reduction by 2020 from rich countries and an explicit statement of urgency that global emissions must peak and begin to be reduced in 10-15 years. But the lack of political will is evident in the fact that these figures are in the preamble, and not the text of the draft decision.

Given the uncertainty about whether Bali will produce a roadmap with significant, science-based targets, Kevin Rudd’s role here is critical. He can either lead with the EU or he can stall with Canada, Japan and the USA. Rudd’s actions here will have long-lasting implications which the world will look back on as it reflects on progress in 2012.

Senator Christine Milne

Australian Greens Climate Change Spokesperson

Vice President of IUCN, the World Conservation Union

The Story of Stuff!!!!!

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You’ve got to give it to Counterpunch – when it’s good, it’s really, really good. This article by Robert Weissman just sent me headlong into a whole world of fresh juicy goodness.

Annie, who is a former colleague and good friend, casually mentions at the start of The Story of Stuff that she spent 10 years traveling the world to explore how stuff is made and discarded. This doesn’t begin to explain her first-hand experience. There aren’t many people who race from international airports to visit trash dumps. Annie does. In travels to three dozen countries, she has visited garbage dumps, infiltrated toxic factories, worked with ragpickers and received death threats for her investigative work. Her understanding of the externalized violence of the corporate consumer economy comes from direct observation and experience.

You may remember the wonderful piece of animated activism, The Meatrix. If you don’t, do check it out – highly worthy. Anyway, Free Range Studios – who produced The Meatrix – have now produced The Story of Stuff which basically maps out consumption culture from the mining of minerals to the incineration of consumables.

This bit of video is just a promo – for a download of the full piece, head to the SoS website, or drop by their blog and watch it grow.

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December 9, 2007 at 4:01 am

GDP – a Growing Destructive Problem

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 Here’s an excerpt from a piece by George Monbiot which I just read at Celsias. Celsias, by the way, is one of the best global warming-focussed websites I know of and I’d welcome suggestions for any that you think are as useful. It’s certainly an excellent resource for following Bali-related developments as efforts mount to create Kyoto+.

Point being – remember that riddle from when you were little about how a frog is in the middle of a pond. On the first jump, the frog gets halfway to the edge, and on each successive jump the frog goes half as far as the jump before. How many jumps until the frog reaches the edge of the pond?

Well guess who’s the frog now?

Underlying the immediate problem is a much greater one. In a lecture to the Royal Academy of Engineering in May, Professor Rod Smith of Imperial College explained that a growth rate of 3% means economic activity doubles in 23 years(24). At 10% it takes just 7 years. This we knew. But Smith takes it further. With a series of equations he shows that “each successive doubling period consumes as much resource as all the previous doubling periods combined.” In other words, if our economy grows at 3% between now and 2030, we will consume in that period economic resources equivalent to all those we have consumed since humans first stood on two legs. Then, between 2030 and 2053, we must double our total consumption again. Reading that paper I realised for the first time what we are up against.

 – read the article in full

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December 5, 2007 at 2:35 am

Aussie election day – media roundup… (update 2)

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Update: Great freshly posted articles in the U.K. press here and here about John Howard’s climate change and pulp mill legacy and its significance in today’s election. (thanks Mr. M!!)

 

This won’t be totally comprehensive, but going into the day (just turned noon on the east coast) these are some of the stand-out pieces of coverage and opinion so far:

If you’d rather do the sane thing and skip earnestly fact-checked media, check out the videos and transcripts at the Clarke & Dawe page, especially their excoriation of Howard over the politics of fear. This farewell to Howard is brutal and amazing – one of the funniest things they’ve ever done with their 3-minutes.

And happy to see that another of my sometime-favourites, Mike Carlton, has thrown his hat in the ring with the perfectly titled White tracksuit bottoms flutter over the bunker.

The first group left before dawn, silent figures picking their way through the smoking rubble, casting long shadows in the light of the heaped documents burning in the courtyard.

They would take the northern escape route. Most had only the few possessions they had frantically scraped together as the enormity of the disaster emerged. A bundle of lovingly polished pejoratives, perhaps: chardonnay-sipping, elitist, latte left, Howard haters.

Others clutched an old Quadrant magazine, an invitation to drinks at Kirribilli, a treasured newspaper editorial written long ago in praise of Donald Rumsfeld. These keepsakes from happier days would bring comfort in the grim years ahead.

Away from the seriously hilarious to the hilariously serious. Was I wrong about Alan Ramsey? I think so; here’s a vigorously waved middle finger to the departing Magoo of a Prime Minister.

Yet Howard’s true political “genius”, if you like, is forever talking to what he sees as his base constituency as if they are no more than sheep. In this he might well be right.

It’s a great bit of venom which also points out that 300 recycling bins have just arrived at Parliament House, as if out of nowhere… Somebody might be preparing for a shred-a-thon.

This piece, Desperate Tactics, by Shaun Carney clearly points out the obvious reason why the racism/dirty tactics scandal which burned up about 48 hours of Howard’s oxygen this week probably seemed like a good idea at the time:

In 2001, John Howard, aided by Philip Ruddock, showed that it was good business. Howard’s vital sentence, uttered for the first time during that campaign during the Liberals’ formal launch at the Sydney Recital Hall, was: “We decide who comes into this country and the circumstances in which they come.” I was there and there were two moments during that event when the roof of that beautiful space just about lifted off due to the rapturous applause from Liberal supporters: when Howard made that statement and when Ruddock, the hero of the push against boat people, was introduced to the crowd.

Tracee Hutchison sprays on a bit of drama but with a lyrical flair and 11 years of pent-up anger prays that the past week will indeed be Johnny’s epitaph:

Somehow the word comeuppance came to mind as the 11th-hour race implosion in the federal seat of Lindsay derailed Howard’s re-election momentum. And it screamed poetic justice.

Election analyst Antony Green gets his outlook in here, while Chris Uhlmann disembowels the last 6 weeks of election campaigning here.

So their slogan was “Go for Growth”, and all of a sudden people could think, “Well, that could mean that interest rates might rise, so that’s a bit of a problem.” So then we saw another banner appear which was red and said, “Don’t risk our economy with Labor.”

And in the last week really, the Prime Minister has borrowed a line from Morris Iemma, which is if we’re heading in the right direction, there’s no need to change. So, there’s been a dog’s breakfast of themes throughout this.

Peter Hartcher has written a comprehensive comparison piece, Taste The Difference, which needs a cup of coffee and some breathing space – but is well worth it. Hartcher’s been almost as outstanding reading as Michelle Grattan, and while it’s a shame that she hasn’t written anything in the last 24 hours it’s a sure bet she’ll write something dazzling within the next 24.

They do converge on a great deal – in the words of the online satirist Hugh Atkin, Rudd proceeds according to the “clever principle of similar difference”.

We could also take a visit to the News Limited stable, but nah. Half of the editors there have decided in the last week that their best marketing outcome lies in supporting the ALP for 4 days, rather than continuing their line of “Howard’s amazing, why is he so misunderstood?”

Instead, there’s the lucky-dip mix at Election Tracker, which I believe is a loose collective of journalism students taking a crack at broadly composed online coverage. My guess is that it will be bereft of jaded cynicism and bitter bias, but that is just a guess.

Written by typingisnotactivism

November 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Plain and simple, this weekend in Australia means…

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Like a forest lost for the trees, the constant stream of media, advertising, news, conversations, and emails is almost enough to blur the significance of this election as it looms large just hours from here.

Apart from everything that can be said and has been said, there is one fact of which amazingly little has been made. Three years ago, global warming was barely a blip on the political radar. This election, many voters are ranking it as one of their top four priorities.

Despite the tireless work of The Greens over many years, it is fair to say that more than any other issue in recent memory this is a dazzling example of bottom-up grassroots campaigning gaining an issue broader mainstream awareness. Tim Flannery, Clive Hamilton, Wendy Frew and Al Gore fit somewhere in there too.

And could the timing be any more dramatic? Barely a week after the election, the incredibly massive Bali climate change conference will be working out the future of the global response to the increasingly obvious.

Excuse me for sounding like a credit card ad, but we’re talking 11 days, 198 countries, 3,000 journalists, and 10,000 delegates. Being a part of that? Priceless!!

More immediate than the economy, IR reform, hospital innovations, skills training, education and the mining boom, this is as clear as the consequences of this weekend for all us Aussies can get.

On December 2nd, Australia will once again be the laughing stock of a major global meeting, probably disparaging India and China, and again being locked out of high level talks that will determine the future use and constraints of natural resources, species, industry, border security, and precious natural environments. Oh yes, and trillions of dollars in future earnings and damage abatement.

OR, our representatives will be attending to deposit a letter committing to fully ratify Kyoto and signed by the Prime Minister. For the first time in years, Australia will be embraced by the global community as it faces this massive challenge and America shall finally be without an ally in ‘but they were doing it too’.

For all Australians, what happens in 2 days time is a very big deal. Thanks in part to media bloviation, it is also becoming somewhat abstract.

It is increasingly a din that drowns the senses and numbs the mind. Exciting. Anxious. Huge. Frustrating. Hopeful. Cracker night with pencils.

But for something tangible, consider this: the U.N. reports on climate change have been conservative for the last decade to diminish accusations of exaggeration. But the latest, most thoroughly researched and comprehensively certain observation is this – the Inconvenient Truth ‘ten years to act’ scenario is gone.

We are in the end zone. The global community must initiate decisive action within the next 3 years for any chance that future generations might live as part of a world as rich in natural treasures as ours has been.

On that first weekend in December, a week after this election, the die shall be cast. We, as a nation, shall be either pariah, or prodigal.

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Politicising Australian science – Old King Coal

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There’s an excellent article in yesterday’s New Matilda. Written by Polly Simons, a journalism student at UTS, the piece considers the relationship between the CSIRO’s ability to operate effectively, and the government’s desire to use it merely as a stamp of credibility… or an extension of major donors’ corporate policies.

When The Canberra Times revealed in February that a report by CSIRO scientists questioning the cost and efficiency of clean coal technology had been suppressed because it was not in the best interests of the coal industry, it confirmed what many scientists had long suspected — that when it comes to CSIRO energy research, the coal industry is King.

‘The reality is that the research of most of the CSIRO is completely distorted,’ says Dr Mark Diesendorf, a senior lecturer at the University of NSW’s Institute of Environmental Science, and a former CSIRO scientist.

Those in the know have described the report as the ‘smoking gun’ of a debate that has seen the CSIRO accused of kowtowing to the fossil fuel industry, derailing valuable renewable energy research in favour of so-called ‘clean coal’.

Do yourself a favour and keep reading

Written by typingisnotactivism

November 16, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Truly inconvenient – climate reality v. Aussie b.s.

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About a week after the election (go John, go… please) there’s a get-together in Bali. Maybe you’ve heard about it – 198 countries sending over 10,000 delegates to an 11-day meeting accompanied by close to 3,000 media.

An international meeting of that size is a very, very big deal. It makes APEC in Sydney look like a Liberal Party fundraiser. Funny that.

It’s also funny what else Aussie politicians and media fail to mention. Although the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon, recently declared climate change an emergency. On that particular day, Aussie headlines were instead grabbed by Nicole Kidman doing…something.

Meanwhile, the latest forward-looking climate research from America brings good news for Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Garrett. Tasmania’s forests look set to be among the first in the world to be devastated by significant changes in global temperature.

Intensive logging of Tassie so eagerly supported by the ALP and the COALition may prevent this from happening.

Of course, if they weren’t so mindlessly supporting the Gunns pulp mill and its 10,000,000+ tonnes of annual carbon emissions, there’s a chance those forests would survive the Australian government and climate change.

Then again, with the current Australian and U.S. plan to increase emissions by 45% by 2050, what’s another half a billion tonnes of pollution?

So how does it all end: nuclear suicide, ecological disaster, Jesus II, or a Peter Costello presidency…

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November 13, 2007 at 11:36 pm

deadly new video – Johnny Howard 101

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time to go

time to go

praise the lord

it’s time to go.

great vid from bigbobfrombronte, belongs in the new Australian history syllabus for sure.

Guest pulp media spray from Dr. Thomas Moore, Tasmanian oceanographer.

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Barns wrong on Whish-Wilson

In his October 15th column, Greg Barns, spouts about “well-informed
opinion”, “gross misinformation”, “political agendas”, and “self
interest” in the mill debate.

Mr. Barns’ fallacious spray targets Tamar Valley vigneron, UTAS
Economics and Finance lecturer, and Surfrider Foundation Australia
(SFA) – Northern Tasmania President, Peter Whish-Wilson.

For nearly two years Peter and his team of Surfriders have engaged
all parties, scrutinized the documentation, done research into
oceanography and economics, and participated in good faith with both
the (failed) state and (limited) federal assessment processes – all
in a volunteer capacity and at a high personal cost.

Thanks to Peter’s efforts SFA has facilitated overseas meetings for
Tasmanian Parliamentarians with Chilean wine industry representatives
who claim they HAVE experienced significant negative economic impacts
due to the proximity of pulp mills (check Hansard next time Greg) and
Peter HAS travelled overseas to visit pulp mill regions.

Peter does own a small Tamar Valley vineyard, which he works with his
own two hands to create gold-medal winning wine. Amongst all the
influential protagonists in this State-rending controversy – Gunns,
Gay, Lennon Labor, the State Libs, the CFMEU, Turnbull, Garrett,
Howard, Rudd, etc. – it is absurd to accuse Peter of being biased due
to “self interest”.

As a member of SFA I will continue to proudly stand shoulder to
shoulder with Peter in our efforts to inform the public of the
potential threat to our wild coastline and the dangerous game
currently being played with our marine environment by both state and
federal politicians – hiding behind their spin and finger pointing as
they plod along towards the electoral finish-line.

Just in case Mr. Barns decides to make further simpleminded
speculation about others let me state clearly for the record – I, and
millions of Australians across this nation, have a “self interest” in
our bays, beaches, and coastal waters that support a healthy marine
environment, sustainable industries, public amenity, and our health.

Dr. Thomas Moore
Oceanographer
Lauderdale, Tasmania

Written by typingisnotactivism

October 16, 2007 at 1:07 pm

H.S.I.: Mammalian Intent – Australia-Japan whaling latest.

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Efforts by Humane Society International (H.S.I.) to legitimize the Australian Whale Sanctuary took a step forward at the Federal Court of Australia in late September.

In 2004, H.S.I. first sought an injunction – an order seeking to restrain action that would otherwise be an offence – to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet operated by Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd slaughtering whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, Antarctica.

The process was interrupted in 2005 by the determination of Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock that allowing H.S.I. to sue the whaling company would not be in Australia’s national interest.

The full bench of the Federal Court, however, determined that H.S.I. should be able to proceed with their action. Three years on, H.S.I. must now seek advice from the Attorney-General as to whether the Howard government still views enforcement of Australian law in Australian waters off Antarctica as purely discretionary.

The timing is now crucial for over a thousand whales facing explosive and electrified harpoons this summer in the name of “scientific research”.

Since the year 2000 when the relevant Australian laws were enacted, Japan has killed over 1200 whales within the sanctuary’s waters alone. Ably supported by Junior Counsel Chris McGrath and senior solicitor Jessica Wood from the Environmental Defender’s Office, Stephen Gageler Q.C. presented locations and numbers of whales killed to the court from detailed records kept by the whalers.

In Gageler’s discussions with Justice Allsop, the subject of last season’s Antarctic hunt was naturally discussed. A seriously reduced kill by the Japanese was attributed to intervention by Sea Shepherd as well as a 10-day fire and breakdown aboard the factory ship Nisshin Maru. Allsop J. did also ponder aloud why Sea Shepherd, “the other side, as it were” were not arrested on their visit to a Melbourne port following the “altercation”. The discussion turned to the possible nature of ports as places of refuge. Read the rest of this entry »

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September 23, 2007 at 2:16 pm

A Special Thought For 9-11

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meanwhile, across town…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Air Force would do better for all Americans and the remaining 6 billion UnAmericans if they were to bomb a ranch in Texas. . . after first evacuating Barney, of course.

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September 11, 2007 at 1:46 am

APEC – 7 000+ take to Sydney streets – some pics

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For APEC highlights so far, this story’s quite cute (and accurate).

Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the ambience of a non-specific something-for-everybody public demo where the overzealous police ministers and the dumbass songsheet media might have actually not got what they were expecting for once. It works better if you can imagine a soundtrack something like *rabble rabble rabble rabble*. It was the most bloody Australian that Sydney’s been all week. Good on youse. 😉

a-team.jpgchaser2.jpg

kirmy.jpg

interesting random fact: Hitler’s funky SS uniforms were designed by Hugo Boss. Truly.

ghandi1.jpg

barbara.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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September 8, 2007 at 8:08 pm