Analysis

Looking out my office window in early January, the smoke haze blanketing Melbourne CBD blocked all sight of the city. It made visibility on the roads a problem and venturing outside a dangerous activity.

“It is time to abolish billionaires ... because we cannot afford them, the planet cannot afford billionaires,” Kenyan climate activist Njoki Njoroge Njehu told 10,000 protesters in Lausanne, Switzerland on January 17. She is right. It is the billionaire class that is blocking moves to make the urgent shift to create a safe climate.

The small New South Wales town of Cobargo was devastated by bushfires around New Year's Day.

David Mcevoy, an environment and LGBTI activist, was visiting a friend in Cobargo, NSW, on New Year’s Eve when the catastrophic bushfires hit the historic town. Green Left’s Rachel Evans talked to him about his escape from the firestorm and the community’s resilience.

Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Greed at a protest outside NSW parliament.

The following open letter to Antony Albanese is being circulated by Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Greed. They are asking people to sign-on and send on to his office.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is fond of saying that Australia only produces 1.3% of global greenhouse emissions. He says this to bolster his climate denialist position that his government does not need to take a lead on cutting carbon emissions. This position is fundamentally wrong.

News that the Austrian Greens made a deal with the hard-right People’s Party to form a coalition government should be a wake-up call to progressives everywhere. It reaffirms that the climate crisis can lead to eco-fascist conclusions just as much as left-wing solutions.

A protest to demand climate action, Sydney, January 10.

The far right traditionally grows in the context of political despair when fear is channelled into scapegoating.

At the height of the fire crisis over the New Year an Aboriginal elder, who had evacuated from Lakes Entrance to Bairnsdale in Victoria, joined other evacuees in registering for emergency relief. But he was told by a St Vincent de Paul staffer that the agency had “helped enough of your people today”, given a $20 fuel voucher and told not to tell other Aboriginal people about it. The elder walked out, humiliated, and asked his niece to return the voucher.

CFMEU organiser Mark Cross. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

A strategy to promote union participation in the climate movement will draw us one step closer to finishing off PM Scott Morrison and moving to a sustainable future.

The dire lack of government leadership over the New Year bushfire crisis contrasted strongly with the incredible community solidarity and self-organising that took place on the ground. If there is a silver lining to the bush fire catastrophe, it is this community power, which prevented more death and destruction.

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