Brisbane’s Day of Climate Action was held today at Queen’s Park as one of 206 events launched simultaneously nationwide.
Well over three thousand people attended here, myself being one of them. Melbourne’s The Age reports over thirty thousand people attended that city’s rally, with the organizers, GetUp, estimating sixty thousand participants nationwide. In a country with a population of around twenty-three million, that’s not enough but it’s a fair start.
For my non-Australian readers, Tony Abbott is Australia’s new Prime Minister. His government has promised to dismantle the standing Carbon Tax as of July 2014, mostly based upon the issue of its cost for the average household and for businesses. The public has been invited to comment on the repeal of the Carbon Tax. You can read favourable and dissenting views at http://www.environment.gov.au/carbon-tax-repeal/consultation.html
“Climate change is real.”
Drew McNulty spoke to the crowd on behalf of the United Firefighters Union. He said that by 2020, an increase of 40% in the current number of working firefighters will be necessary to battle projected numbers of bushfires around Australia, and that by 2030, a whopping 96% increase in the number of firefighters will be needed.
He said, “Queensland firefighters swear an oath: to protect life, property and the environment. But we can’t do it alone. Firefighters are people with common sense. And it makes good, common sense to work together to do everything we can to stop bushfires by combating climate change. There will always be bushfires, but let’s stop as many of them as possible before they even get started by addressing how warming temperatures and drought lead to the conditions that create fires that kill and destroy on such a large scale. My colleagues and I not only deal with the loss of life both human and to the environment, the greatest tragedy, but also with the memory of all the faces of all the people who watch their homes and lifetime of belongings burn to the ground. We go to sleep with the memories of those faces every night.”
Emma Boswell of Queensland region’s Beyond Zero Emissions spoke about Concentrated Solar Power in Spain where, for the first time, 35,000 homes were powered fully from the sun for 35 days (check), and how high speed rail lines in Japan, Europe, South Korea, and proposed in other countries, including the US, should be the model for Australia.
From http://bze.org.au/ —
Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate ( http://www.lockthegate.org.au/ ) spoke about the Galilee Basin coal mining projects in western Queensland (see the recent article in The Australian at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/green-groups-slam-proposed-galilee-basin-royalty-cuts-for-miners/story-e6frg9df-1226754910630). “Nine mega mines are planned, five bigger than anything we’ve ever seen in this country. Three are approved by the government… and while some people say, well, then the other six maybe won’t be approved… There has never been a coal mine rejected on environmental grounds in Queensland.
“The emissions from the coal exported from Australia as a result of these mines will be equal to almost double the greenhouse gases currently produced by Australia today, and if taken as a whole, will rank seventh in the world, after Germany and Japan, as an emitter of greenhouse gases.
“Natural gas has as big a carbon footprint as coal. Currently, policy with regard to climate change is not a sane policy for a sane society… It comes down to power: their power and our power. Their’s is based on money and access to the political elite. Our power rests in people and communities. So, I say, ‘go back to your communities, mobilise and fight with the nonviolence of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.’
“It’s not enough to love this country… you have to stand. We are building and we have to build the biggest social movement this country has ever seen. The reason we fight is because when our leaders fail us, ordinary people have to become heroes.”
If you want to sign the petition sponsored by GetUp that calls for real policy and action to address climate change then text your email address and postal code to 0400622622.