Tuesday, 10 May 2022

ANJALI SHARMA ON VOTING FOR THE CLIMATE

Anjali Sharma was one of eight young people who took the federal Environment Minister (Sussan Ley) to court last year over whether the minister had a duty of care to young people in the decisions she made approving new fossil fuel projects which could exacerbate the effects of climate change in the future.  While the court originally found in favour of the young litigants, the decision was overturned on appeal.

Ms Sharma is still campaigning for effective climate action.  She recently asked all candidates at a candidates’ debate in the inner Melbourne federal seat of Macnamara if they believed that the federal environment minister owed a duty of care to young people to protect them from climate change.

One of the candidates, instead of simply answering “Yes” or “No”, expanded her response by saying that teaching children there is a climate emergency is almost abuse because it’s stressing them about the environment.  This candidate added later that we should be teaching our children hope, not fear.  Many of the children she was referring to are adolescents who are interested in understanding the world and its problems and do not want to be kept in ignorance – blissful or otherwise.  In other words they are certainly not the “quiet Australians” so beloved of our current Prime Minister.

Ms Sharma  stated that she and other young activists are informed people who have read the news and have listened to the climate scientists and know that time is running out for securing a livable future.

She is very concerned about the major parties’ failure to take climate change seriously with their talk of the economic importance of backing fossil fuels and ignoring the humanitarian cost as well as the many well-documented benefits of shifting to a clean economy.  

In a recent article in the Guardian Australia she pointed out that currently there are 114 new fossil fuel projects in the pipeline.

As a first time voter, she said that she will be voting for the climate as will be hundreds of thousands of young people like herself.

            -Leonie Blain

 

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

RALLY IN COFFS HARBOUR TO PROTECT PUBLIC FORESTS ON FRIDAY APRIL 29

The North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is holding a rally in Coffs Harbour to highlight important issues around the NSW Legislative Council inquiry into the long term sustainability and future of the timber and forest products industry.

NEFA's media on the rally is posted below.

 

NEFA will be holding a rally from 10.30 - 11.30am on Friday 29 April , outside the Coffs Harbour Council Chambers, before the Coffs Harbour hearing of NSW Upper House, Portfolio Committee 4, 'Inquiry into the long term sustainability and future of the timber and forest products industry'.

NEFA want to emphasise to the Committee that there is no social licence for the continued logging of public native forests and that in the midst of the developing climate and extinction crises we need to take urgent action, with the most effective action we can take immediately to begin to address the problems is to stop logging public native forests, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

“Through logging we have halved the carbon stored in our forests, by stopping logging the recovering forests will be able to regain the lost carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks and soils, taking up a significant amount of what NSW releases every year.

“While we need to reduce our emissions, if we are ever to reach net zero we need to increase carbon capture and storage, and trees are the only proven way to make a significant difference.

“As the forests recover so too will the resources needed by our threatened fauna, giving them a better chance of withstanding the increasing intensity and frequency of droughts, heatwaves and wildfires.

“The Committee needs to recognise that the public have had enough of seeing our public forests progressively degraded and turned into pseudo-plantations. They provide a higher return to the community from tourism, carbon storage, water and habitat.

“A 2016 survey for Forestry and Wood Products Australia of 12,000 people throughout Australia found that native forest logging was considered unacceptable by 65% of rural residents and acceptable by only 17%.

“The Committee needs to focus on identifying a just and equitable transition strategy for the 500 workers across north-east NSW that will be affected by protecting public native forests, Mr. Pugh said.

 

28th April 2022

More information on Inquiry into the long term sustainability and future of the timber and forest products  industry is available on the Committee's inquiry page

Saturday, 2 April 2022

CLIMATE CHANGE, FORESTS AND RIVER CATCHMENTS

On last week’s International Day of Forests  Dailan Pugh, President of NEFA (the North East Forests Alliance), called on the NSW and Federal Governments to act immediately to better protect our forests because they are so vital to the well-being of humanity as well as to other life forms.

He said, “Forests improve our health, generate rainfall, cool the land, regulate streamflows, sequester and store carbon, reduce flood risk by storing water and slowing flows, reduce landslips by reinforcing soils, and support most of our biodiversity.”

He pointed to the recent warning by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that many forests have been severely affected by climate heating, with many forest ecosystems likely to collapse if heating exceeds 1.5°C for too long.

While reducing climate heating requires urgent and effective action to limit carbon emissions, our forests also have a vital role as they remove existing carbon from the earth’s atmosphere.

Along with many other conservationists Mr Pugh and NEFA have been campaigning for the cessation of public native forests logging in NSW as a way of turning around both the accelerating climate and biodiversity crises we are facing.

Following Mr Pugh’s pleas for urgent forest action, the North Coast Environment Council’s (NCEC) Susie Russell commented on the independent inquiry into the floods. While welcoming it, she stated that its findings, like those of the earlier bushfire inquiry, might not all be acted on.

Furthermore she added, “It shouldn’t need much investigation to reveal that the catastrophic north coast floods resulted from the compounding influences of: decades of logging and clearing in the upper catchment and along the gullies, creeks and rivers; rising greenhouse emissions leading to rising global temperatures, particularly ocean temperatures and thus massive evaporation leading to the ‘rain bomb’ event; and the failure of engineering solutions.”

“Without a widespread well-funded Total Catchment Management plan that stops the ongoing destruction and begins a serious program of catchment repair, this disaster will be repeated all too soon,” Ms Russell predicted.

            - Leonie Blain

Published in the "Voices for the Earth" column in The Clarence Valley Independent , March 30, 2022.