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Sustainability. The most Corrupted Word in the English Language

March 28, 2012 - ...once have had. It’s been appropriated by a ragbag of “green-washing” market interests, opportunists and political hacks. As a result of this is; we frequently find ourselves “sustaining the unsustainable”. Having our cake, eating it and wreaking havoc In Australia, this concept of sustainability arrived against the backdrop of three very different events. These were the 1987 World Commission on Environment, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which put Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD) on the international agenda, and in the same year the Hawke government’s program of ESD working groups. The “ecological” prefix fell away quickly by the mid 1990s, but...

Climate Change. Seal the Deal!

May 2, 2009 - ...a target she has shared in private discussions with the Government but is reluctant to reveal publicly. How do we get through to the politicians that scientists have calculated that the world has already produced about a third of the total amount of carbon dioxide that could be emitted between 2000 and 2050 and still keep within a 2 degree C rise in global average temperatures? This study in the current issue of Nature concludes that the world must agree on a cut in carbon dioxide emissions of more than 50 per cent by 2050 if the probability of exceeding...

Toward a Mercury Treaty that protects public health: A health sector platform

May 27, 2010 - ...has been shown to save health institutions considerable money. The Health Sector Leading the Way A diversity of national and international health professional organizations, such as the World Medical Association, the World Federation of Public Health Associations and the International Council of Nurses have recognized the need to reduce the use of mercury in the health care sector. The World Health Organization has issued a policy paper for the phase‐out of mercury in the health sector. Health Care Without Harm an international coalition of health professionals, health care institutions and networks has worked to substitute mercury‐based medical devices in the...

Climate Change Strategy and the Environmental Movement

August 30, 2009 - An interesting review article ‘Hijacked by Climate Change” by Richard Black on BBC News has asked “Has climate change hijacked the wider environmental agenda? If so, why? And does it matter?” These questions are highly relevant to how we present our case to the community and to government. It is unarguable that we were heading toward a world ecological crisis even without adding in the damage of climate change. Biodiversity is declining rapidly, as the habitats and ecosystems of forests, wetlands, coral reefs and rivers are plundered for resources or urbanisation. Pollutions, draining of aquifers, overfishing, desertification due to land...

Breast Cancer and DDT, implications for malaria treatment

August 9, 2007 - ...who reached puberty before 1945 could not have been exposed to the pesticide during development up to puberty. DDT continues to be used in some African countries to fight malaria. For example, DDT is effective in prevention when used to spray annually inside huts. This use was sanctioned in the UN Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as a public health exception. In a reversal of 30 years of policy, the World Health Organization endorsed DDT spraying for malaria control. see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5350068.stm for more detail and other articles. Within the International Society of Doctors for the Environment Dr. Paul Saoke,...

What DEA students have been getting up to

What DEA students have been getting up to

September 17, 2012 - It’s been a busy couple of months for DEA students. There have been Fact and Action meetings on Coal Seam Gas and The Tarkine, tree-planting on National Tree Day, an inaugural DEA Sustainability Market in Queensland, as well as lobbying of politicians in person and in writing. UQ Sustainability Market On 1 August, DEA QLD held the first Sustainability Market at UQ Ipswich. The aim of the market was to promote sustainable living, particularly since many aspects of sustainable living, such as cycling or growing your own vegetables, are not only good for the environment but also good for your...

Transitional Towns and Climate Change

June 7, 2008 - ...of English Literature at Manchester University who writes in the Guardian this week. Civilisation is run by national politics; it has come to signify material well-being and individual autonomy and has separated itself from culture which in its widest sense is a whole way of life, collective and spontaneous. References (1) The climate change challenge and the failure of democracy, Shearman and Smith, Praeger, USA (2) Climate as a crisis in world civilisation; why we must totally transform how we live, Smith, Shearman and Positano, Edwin Mellen Press, New York (3) Shearman, New Scientist, April 2008 (4) Fourth World Quarterly...

Climate change and Environmental Refugees

May 1, 2007 - ...the late 18th century and the shameful neglect of indigenous Aboriginal culture. During the Victorian Gold Rush at Ballarat in the mid-nineteenth century, co-operative working arrangements were achieved between the local Aboriginal community, white settlers and the large intake of Chinese migrant miners. After the Gold Rush, many Chinese miners moved to the Melbourne district where they established successful market gardens, and their descendants are useful contributors to the Australian economy. Between the two World Wars, there was a large influx of German and Austrian migrants to South Australia, where they developed a flourishing wine industry, while the post-war intake...

Is Environmentalism Failing?

February 23, 2011 - ...world they are committed to—the world of free-market capitalism, limited government, unlimited consumption, and the subordination of nature. Against this, much of the environment movement has no real political understanding of the world. They mistake the superficial argy-bargy dished up by the daily news media for political analysis, and do not truly comprehend the forces they are ranged against. They see environmentalism as merely wiping away the blemishes on the prevailing system, rather than challenging it. And until environmentalism fully grasps its historic mission, it will continue to be found wanting in its greatest test. So we urgently need a...

Book Review: Energy Autonomy. The economic, social and technological case for renewable energy

March 25, 2007 - ...ten international conferences on the politics of climate protection. In contrast, the share of renewable energy rose by 33 per cent, from 1.04 to 1.38 toe over the same period. Scheer maintains that this disparity is fostered by government annual subsidies, which amount to US $ 244 billion for fossil and nuclear fuels, compared to $ 9 billion for renewable energy – a mere 3.7 per cent of the total. Not captured by these statistical calculations are the subsidies in the form of tax exemptions worldwide for aircraft and ship fuels, amounting to some $ 250 billion, and development funds...

The Tarkine Forest under threat – Again

March 19, 2012 - ...here in Tasmania. That’s normal. I’m confused too! This is a “Land of Confusion” and yes, I love the song, its brilliant to run to, to get the angry hormones going! Good luck if your head is not in a spin at the end- but this is how I see things at the moment: Essentially at the moment there are shonky deals being revealed by the likes of Tasmanian Times online news (tasmaniantimes.com.au) of an ‘independant’ MLC receiving gifts from corrupt families in Borneo; Tasmanian Hydro being involved in dam building causing human rights abuses, deforestation, etc in Sarawak; the...

Coal’s Control of Government

August 11, 2011 - ...safety. In this new mode labour costs were relatively minor; between 1950 and 1966 employment in NSW coal mines decreased by 40% while output doubled. These new levels of efficiency put Australia on a trajectory of ever greater production and exports. Australia is now the fourth largest coal producer in the world behind China, the USA and India. Of the known recoverable resources, Australia has 10.6% of the world’s black coal and 8.9% of world’s brown coal and at current rates of extraction these are expected to last 111 years and 539 years respectively. With over three-quarters of electricity derived...

An Encouraging Visit to a Federal MP to discuss Australia’s Green House Emissions

June 6, 2008 - ...be taken seriously because you’re a doctor, with scientific credibility and no conflict of interest. Feel free to use my approach, or invent your own. I truly believe that we, environmentally literate and concerned doctors, have an enormous amount to contribute in the struggle to make governments wake up and act decisively. I note that the big “excuse” of politicians at the moment is that they’re waiting to see what Garnaut Review will say (draft due next month). My concern with that however is that none of world economic and climate modelling that Garnaut will be assessing includes an Emergency...

DEA writes to Minister Burke over mining threats to Reef

January 8, 2012 - ...remove Gladstone Harbour from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Gladstone Harbour was classified as a World Heritage area because it met the criteria for world heritage listing, including this clause: ”contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation” Healthy biodiversity is vital for the ecological services that human health depends upon. Biodiversity underpins a resilient ecosystem, so it can continue to provide healthy water and food and other ecological services to maintain our...

The Guardian: Australian power stations among world’s worst for toxic air pollution

August 19, 2019 - Dr Ben Ewald told the Guardian that there were places in Australia that had a serious SO2 (sulphur dioxide) problem and limits were set well above what was needed to protect human health. The comments followed a Greenpeace report using satellite data to analyse the world’s worst sources of sulphur dioxide pollution, one of the main pollutants contributing to deaths from air pollution worldwide. Dr Ewald stated the same was the case for nitrogen dioxide, another airborne pollutant.  “These pollutants can cause childhood asthma, lung disease, cancer, birth defects and reproductive issues.  “Australian governments must introduce tougher standards to protect...

A healthy world without inequality

May 3, 2013 - ...than their counterparts in the more equal countries. There are likely to be similar connections between inequality and adverse environmental impacts. Poorer people around the world can’t afford newer technologies, so depend on clearing forests for food and fuel, and using older, more polluting cars. Poorer countries tend to have higher birth rates and lax environmental regulations and safeguards. The poor often carry the blame for environmental impact, but the top end of income range has an infinitely larger environmental footprint per capita. In the US, the richest 1% are estimated to use up to 10,000 times more carbon than...