environmental

GREEN LEFT REPORT #9: Feminism's resurgence, Venezuelan eyewitness + more

This episode focuses on feminism's resurgence and Venezuela's unfolding revolution. It includes activist news on Stop CSG protests, Global Noise protests, plus Carlo Sands on the European Union's Nobel Peace prize win, and a performance by 1000 eyes at Occupy.

Britain: Greens surge on back of anti-austerity anger

A Green Surge has hit Britain. Thanks to an ongoing growth spurt, the Green Party of England and Wales has now hit 54,000 members, on top of nearly 10,000 members in the Scottish Green Party.

Opinion polls put the party on the rise, frequently beating the Liberal Democrats, who are governing in coalition with the Conservatives. The Greens now have more members than the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose growing support has generated much media attention.

United States: Climate activists should back historic oil worker strike

The largest US refinery workers strike since 1980 entered its third week, TeleSUR English said on February 18, with union and oil company representatives set to renew face-to-face talks over pay and safety after a week-long hiatus.

The article said: “The United Steelworkers Union (USW) is seeking a three-year, industry-wide pact that would protect 30,000 workers at 63 U.S. refineries, covering up to two-thirds of the country's domestic oil producing capacity.

United States: Mt Carbon oil train disaster leaves millions living in 'blast zone'

Fires were still smouldering on the morning of February 17 as emergency crews assessed the damage after a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed and exploded near the Mt Carbon area of Fayette County, West Virginia, the day before.

About 2400 people have been evacuated or displaced by the derailment, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as the fire burned power lines.

Hundreds protest at Maules Creek mine

About 250 people gathered at the Leard State Forest in northern NSW from February 13 and 18 to stop Whitehaven Coal clearing the forest to make way for its proposed Maules Creek coalmine.

The project has been plagued by protest for more than two years and more than 300 people have been arrested, including farmer Rick Laird and former Wallabies captain David Pocock.

Divestment pressure on banks grows

Pressure is mounting on Australia’s big four banks over their support for the construction of coalmines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Greenpeace launched a public email campaign targeting the executives of ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac, “to publicly rule out financing or advising Adani [Mining] on the Carmichael coal mine and associated infrastructure project in the Great Barrier Reef or Queensland”.

Picnic against WestConnex

Several hundred residents and supporters of the campaign to stop the NSW government's WestConnex tollway project gathered in Whites Creek Park, Annandale, on February 15. Cait Jones, a representative of the campaign which successfully stopped the similar East-West Link tollroad in Melbourne, said: "In Victoria, we beat the East-West Link. We're here today to stand with you in your fight against WestConnex. Mass transit is what we want and need. Tollroads are a disincentive to public transport.”

Queensland Labor government’s first week in power

With 44 seats (to the LNPs 42) and the support of Independent Peter Wellington, the ALP leader Annastacia Palaszczuk was sworn in as Premier on February 14. The full Cabinet of 14 (including 8 women) was sworn in on February 16.

The ALP minority government represents a number of firsts for Queensland: first cabinet with a majority of women ministers; first female team of Premier and Deputy Premier (Jacki Trad); and first woman indigenous cabinet minister Leeanne Enoch.

It is assumed that the axing of asset sales will be the first item on the new government’s to-do list.

Koalas face death from bulldozers

Australia has a poor record on native animal extinctions. We know that native forest is essential habitat for koalas and other wildlife. Yet, knowing how important the preservation of sufficient, suitable habitat is to sustaining endangered wildlife, we still continue to destroy vital native vegetation and old growth forest.

The dire situation for koalas around Ballina, NSW, is in the spotlight again. A critical colony of more than 200 koalas is at risk of extinction in the region if Stage 10 of the Pacific Highway upgrade goes ahead.

Climate: Australian frogs face bleak future

Biologists consider the health of frogs to be indicative of the health of the biosphere as a whole.

Frogs have permeable skin that easily absorbs toxins. They require specific aquatic and terrestrial environments to survive and breed, making them highly susceptible to environmental disturbances. Because of this they are considered accurate indicators of environmental stress.

Frogs have lived on the Earth for 250 million years, surviving ice ages and other climate changes. Yet around the world, populations of amphibians, particularly frogs, are now in drastic decline.

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