Write on



To start the year I would like to give some congratulations. First of all, to the Green Left Weekly people to get it together every week. What really strikes me is the empty punditry of the "commentators" in the big papers, and what activists write. Chalk and cheese.

Secondly, the people who put together the Just Transition tour of Central NSW at the end of last year deserve a big "well done". This is one of the real untold stories: the 28 open-cut coalmines in the Hunter Valley.

We were shown Mount Arthur mine from a road BHP Biliton had tried to close, by a miner who would have changed jobs to one with renewable energy, not rape and pillage, given half a chance.

This was something I had to see with my own eyes. So thank you to Simon and Laura and the others. This continuing disaster, the mining of NSW farmland for coal, and the power of the mining corporations to do this by buying everyone in the way, is an almost untold story.

Lastly, there is a great article in the December 2009 New Internationalist: "In our hands" by Jess Worth. It predicts the Copenhagen anti-climax and gives the solution, which is direct action to stop coal mining, burning and export.

Stephen Langford,
Paddington, NSW [Abridged.]

Wind power

It is interesting and ironic that much of the wind power we currently have in South Australia owes its existence to the coal-fired power station at Port Augusta.

Australian governments like to talk about all that they are doing to reduce Australia's reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, yet they have never built a major power transmission line to allow development of a sustainable energy resource, whether it be wind, solar or geothermal.

They have built major lines for mining (Olympic Dam) and for coal-fired power stations (Port Augusta).

If it had not happened that the high-capacity Port Augusta-Adelaide power lines pass through the Mid-North, with its high quality wind resources, we would not have the Hallett, Clements Gap, Snowtown and (under construction) Waterloo wind farms.

No further wind farm development can take place on Eyre or Yorke Peninsulas, where there is a very high quality wind resource, because of the lack of suitable power transmission lines.

David Clarke
Clare, South Australia

Graffiti vs tagging

I would like to reply to the correspondence challenging or, rather, misunderstanding my letter "Graffiti is art?" (Write On GLW #820).

It is a pity that some readers miss the point (Write On GLW #821). I was concentrating my concern upon that scourge called "tagging", where anything and everything is fair game (even trees) to be assaulted with scribble or, as I put it, the equivalent of a "dog turd".

If scribble adds to the political debate or visual aesthetic then I need to check what planet this is. [Surely we are more evolved than that!]

Graffiti, as opposed to tagging can and does have legitimacy as art and political message in designated walls and even non-designated walls — though I would question the aesthetic value/political message of most.

In any event, the point was not about curtailing "freedom" as one of the writers suggests.

Perhaps by exposing young people to more creative mechanisms and community involvement, not to mention the importance of pride and positive change, these understandable but pointless, random acts of visual pollution may decrease.

Peter Bosma
Baulkham Hills, NSW [Abridged.]