Young people fight pollution


By Sam Wainwright

In the next few weeks Environmental Youth Alliance activists in cities around Australia will be protesting against the increasing pollution of the environment under the banner "People Against Pollution".

The greenhouse effect will be taken up by a lot of the protests. Emma Webb from Adelaide EYA said, "At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro last year, it was acknowledged that the industrialised countries would have to cut their gas emissions by 40% just to stabilise the greenhouse effect.

"The Australian government only committed itself to cuts of about half this amount, and even then its own reports have admitted that it won't make this. This is just hopeless. We need real action, now."

EYA actions will be demanding that governments massively increase funding to public transport. Ben Courtice from Hobart EYA said, "Anything short of this just won't be good enough. But the irony is that state and federal governments are cutting back public transport and encouraging people to turn to cars."

Public transport is not only an environmental issue but a social justice one as well. For young people, the elderly, people with disabilities and those who cannot afford a car, public transport is a necessity. Courtice went on to say, "In cutting back public transport, governments are making the deliberate decision to stop whole sectors of the community from being equal members of our society".

Some protests will take up the issue of deforestation. In Brisbane, EYA will speak out against the logging of tropical rainforest in the Third World by the Mitsubishi corporation. Nikki Ulasowski says, "The governments of the industrialised countries are encouraging the motor car industry on the one hand and sanctioning the destruction of the world's last remaining rainforests on the other, and Mitsubishi is benefiting on both counts!"

All the EYA activists stress the importance of young people getting out on the street and demanding serious action to combat the pollution threat. Anne Pavey from Perth EYA said, "The West Australian Greens senators have won a lot of respect for their stand against the anti-environment anti-people nature of the federal budget. This should give us the confidence to get out there and help build the movement to save the environment."

The "People Against Pollution" activities are:

Adelaide: Oct 30, 12 noon at King William St end of Rundle Mall for rally, then march to East End markets.

Brisbane: Oct 23, 12 noon, Queen St Mall for environmental speakout.

Canberra: Oct 23. Ring 247 2424 for details.

Daylesford: Oct 23. Ring 481 362 for details.

Hobart: Oct 23, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Salamanca Markets.

Melbourne: Oct 23, gather 12:30 p.m. at Melbourne Town Hall, then march to Parliament House for rally.

Newcastle: Oct 16, 10 a.m. David Jones end Hunter St Mall for public transport speakout.

Perth: Oct 16, 12 noon, Murray St Mall for march and rally against logging in the south-west forests.

Sydney: Oct 23, 12:30 p.m. at Town Hall for rally and speakout.

Toowoomba: Oct 23. Ring 326636 for details.

Wollongong: Oct 23. Ring 288 920 for details.

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