environment

The Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) is continuing its fight to protect farmland and water resources in the Darling Downs in Queensland from the $900 million Stage 3 expansion of New Hope Coal’s New Acland Coalmine (NAC).

It has filed an objection to the Queensland Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the historic Land Court recommendation that Stage 3 be rejected. The Supreme Court has ruled the matter will be referred to a different Member of the Land Court for further consideration.

Australian Electoral Office documents clearly show the extent of the cosy relationship between mining corporations and the Coalition and Labor parties.

A group of about 80 activists from across the state climbed the steep mountain slopes in the Rubicon State Forest in Victoria’s Central Highlands on June 9 to highlight one of Victoria’s largest logged areas.

The group held a 25 metre-long banner saying “Save the Rubicon — Stop the Logging” and a second 13 metre-long banner saying “Forests for Life Not Logging” as they stood in the devastated landscape.

Our toxic habit of overharvesting what nature has provided has both environmental and personal implications if resources fail to be proportionally replenished.

The most commonly examined effects of deforestation are loss of habitat, climate change and global warming. However, the presence (or absence) vegetation can also have an impact on the mental health of society.

Participants at the 2018 Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree

The burgeoning movements against coal and gas projects, to defend the Great Barrier Reef and to conserve precious water resources were boosted by the Beyond Coal and Gas Jamboree held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland over May 31 to June 3.

More than 350 activists from around Australia joined international guests from the Pacific, the US and India at the fourth Beyond Coal and Gas gathering.

The Wollar Three outside the Mudgee Court

Charges brought against the so-called “Wollar Three” under New South Wales’ controversial anti-protest laws were dismissed by a Mudgee magistrate on June 5. However, the laws remain a threat to the right to protest.

The Wollar Three — Bev Smiles, Bruce Hughes and Stephanie Luke — were arrested on April 12 last year for protesting against the expansion of the Wilpinjong coalmine, which would expand the mine to just 1.5 kilometres from the village.

The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) has accused the NSW government of trying to keep the public in the dark about its proposals for logging on public land. The proposals include opening state forests to increased logging, zoning 140,000 hectares for clearfelling, removing the need to look for and protect most threatened species before logging, reducing stream buffers and allowing logging in old growth forest.

Activists opposed to the opening up of coalmining in Queensland’s Galilee Basin have taken to the streets in local actions calling on Coalition and Labor MPs to stop the Adani coalmine from going ahead.

On May 18, activists in Ballarat protested outside the local MPs office and on May 19 more than 200 gathered outside the Camberwell office of environment minister Josh Frydenberg. Rallies were also held in Brisbane and Adelaide.

The likelihood of Australia meeting its obligations under the 2015 Paris Climate agreement to cut emissions by 26–28% by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels) is becoming a vain hope if budget provisions are any indication.

It is bad enough that Australia is not on track to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28% on 2005 levels by 2030, as it is notionally committed to doing, but according to the government's own figures, it is only set to reduce them by 5%. What makes it worse is that even the 26–28% target is very conservative and unlikely to be sufficient.

In truth, wealthy industrialised countries like ours should be seeking to become net zero emission economies and societies, both because we can and because it is simply not worth gambling with the continued existence of life as we know it.

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