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16/02 2020

Invitation to Earth Laws Forum, Toowoomba -- Monday, 24 February 2020




National Bushfire Summit

Hi there,

It’s up to us. 

Today, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action announced that, due to ongoing Federal inaction, we’re going it alone and hosting our own 
National Bushfire and Emergency Summit.

Earlier this year, we issued a joint statement warning the government to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and properly fund emergency services to combat worsening extreme weather. 

Now, the catastrophic fire conditions we’re experiencing are fuelling record numbers of emergency level fires, and putting communities and wildlife all over the country under siege from flames and smoke.

The fires we are battling today started earlier, burn more intensely, have destroyed more homes and covered more ground than anything we’ve seen before.

This is not normal. This is climate change, driven by mining and burning coal, oil and gas, and it is aggravating bushfires right across the country.  

As former senior fire and emergency service chiefs, we asked PM Scott Morrison to meet with us back in April, then in May, so that we could explain to him how climate change is supercharging extreme weather and natural disaster risks. But he declined.

I would like to take him to a fire front so that he can see what firefighters and communities are up against. 

Read my open letter to the Prime Minister, and then keep the pressure on him by sharing it with your networks.

Instead of acting swiftly and decisively to develop a coordinated response to combat worsening extreme weather, and bring down emissions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been missing in action.

So, we’re stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum, and calling our own National Bushfire and Emergency Summit. It will unite all sectors to discuss the unprecedented conditions faced by our emergency services, funding and resourcing issues, and ways to address the fundamental driving factor: climate change.

Our National Bushfire and Emergency Summit will be held early next year. We will invite federal, state and local political leaders, the military, farmers, firefighters, as well as business, industry, health, science, community and Indigenous leaders. 

We’ll invite Scott Morrison again too, and this time I hope he comes - because these fires must be a wake-up call to us all.

Read my open letter to Prime Minister, and join me in asking Scott Morrison to step up and show some leadership, by sharing this article.

Every day we delay action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, lives, livelihoods and property are at greater risk. Fires are getting harder to fight, and our emergency services need better resources to cope. 

Just this week, NSW’s largest aerial water bomber was forced to fly to Western Australia to battle extreme fires there, at the same time fires were raging in the Blue Mountains. Our firefighting resources are stretched to the limit, and our firefighters are exhausted. On top of that, these bushfires have spewed an extra 250 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, a blowout of almost half our total annual emissions (1). 

We need national leadership and a coordinated response to cope with more intense and frequent extreme weather events. The Coalition Government must accept that climate change is fuelling the worsening bushfire conditions, develop a plan to urgently phase out fossil fuels and work with us to keep Australians safe.

The solutions are available, but we must all come together now to prepare for more dangerous conditions in the future.

The safety and well-being of communities, firefighters and wildlife is on the line.

I’ll keep you updated on our progress as we go. Until then, thank you for being in this with us.


Greg Mullins AO, AFSM
Climate Councillor
Former Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, former President of the Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities’ Council.

P.S. Want to hear more from the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action? Click here to watch a live-stream of today’s press conference, and click here to view our interview on the Today show this morning.

References

  1. Australia's bushfires have emitted 250m tonnes of CO2, almost half of country's annual emissions, The Guardian, 13 December 2019



Public enemy #1

Friday, 6 December 2019

(From 350.org)

An overwhelming majority of Australians support action on climate change (1). Renewable energy is cheaper than coal (2) and we have everything we need to create a better world for our kids now.

No one wants unprecedented bushfires to become the norm, so we look to our government to act. But successive Prime Ministers have tried and failed to pass climate laws, and Australia remains embarrassingly at the back of the pack globally.

Why is this the case? Look no further than the Minerals Council of Australia (the MCA). Cashed up with membership fees from some of the world’s biggest corporations, they run campaigns of infiltration (3), donations for access (4), and propaganda to prop up the ageing coal industry (5).

To end their reign of destruction, we’re calling on all members of the Minerals Council to withdraw their membership, and call for the Minerals Council to stop wrecking climate policy in Australia. Sign the petition today →

The Minerals Council are notorious climate wreckers. They’ve run campaigns against the carbon price under Gillard6, the mining tax under Rudd (7), the National Energy Guarantee under Turnbull (8) – all of these Prime Ministers were axed and with them, their attempt at action on climate change.

Companies like BHP and Rio Tinto have already distanced themselves from the MCA because of their very different approaches to coal and climate change, and pressure from shareholders. With a bit more public pressure from you, they could quit early next year.

It doesn’t stop there - the revolving door between the fossil fuel industry, parliament, lobby firms and the public service ensures that the people closest to decisions about our future are blocking action at every step of the way (9). The former CEO of the MCA is now one of Scott Morrison’s closest advisors!

The MCA was recently listed as one of the top 10 organisations blocking action on climate change (10). Their influence over our democracy must come to an end, and together we’re going to do just that. Sign the petition to start putting the pressure on member organisations and join the campaign.

We’re going to test and roll out a range of tactics over the next 3 years – targeting their social license, making it impossible to associate your business with the Minerals Council, running big scandals and exposés in the media and showing our politicians what democracy looks like.

I’m glad we’re in this together,

Lucy, for the whole 350 Australia team

We'll be back in touch in 2020 with more details of how you can take on the fossil fuel lobby in your community - so keep an eye out, and get in touch with any creative ideas you have!

References:

  1. Lowy Institute Poll shows Australians’ support for climate action at its highest level in a decade
  2. New wind and solar now as cheap as existing coal - Climate Council
  3. Revolving Doors
  4. 'We pay for access': Minerals Council's admission on political donations
  5. Coal lobby ads biggest third-party political expenditure in Australia
  6. Gillard puts future on the line with radical plan for Australian carbon tax
  7. The man who killed Rudd's mining tax
  8. Australian politicians and bureaucrats with links to fossil fuel & resource extraction industries.
  9. Miners' push for unlimited carbon offsets in Turnbull's NEG
  10. Minerals Council of Australia makes global top 10 climate policy opponents

The CAT at COP25

Monday, 2 December 2019

(From Climate Action Tracker)

The Climate Action Tracker will be updating our country analyses over the course of the first week of the COP. This year, we’ve added four new countries to the list of countries the CAT assesses: Germany, the UK, Kenya and Viet Nam. Watch out for our tweets @ClimateActionTr announcing them.

In the second week of COP, we will publish our annual CAT COP Update with our latest estimate of global temperature rise and emissions gap resulting from government pledges, targets, and implemented policies.

Events:

  • Friday, December 6, 18:30-20:00, EU Pavilion Side Event, Room Helsinki:
    Achieving net zero: Opportunities to close the gap to 1.5°C in Europe and beyond
    The need for governments to scale up climate action is clear. Current NDCs put the world far off track from pursing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Global CO2 emissions must reach net zero by 2050. This side event presents the latest research by the Climate Action Tracker, including case studies on how countries can develop Paris compatible policies, enhanced NDCs, and LTS, and a new framework to assess climate governance.
    Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion between policy makers on how PA compatible NDCs and LTS need to be developed and implemented in the political process, and what this means in practical terms.
  • Monday, December 9, 14:00-16:00, Turkish Pavilion Side Event: The CAT will present its “Scaling Up Climate Action: Turkey” Report.
  • Tuesday, December 10, 11:00, Press Conference Room Mocha. Press Conference: Launch of the CAT COP Update: Our annual assessment of government progress towards the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit since Paris.

We look forward to seeing you in Madrid. If you want to contact us, please send and email to info@climateactiontracker.org - or contact us on twitter @ClimateActionTr.


A once in a generation chance for clean air

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

(From Environmental Justice Australia)

Everyone has a right to breathe clean air.

But more than 3000 Australians die every year from exposure to air pollution. Thousands more suffer serious health issues like stroke, lung cancer and heart disease.

Right now, coal-fired power stations and motor vehicles are pumping out dangerous levels of nitrogen and sulfur dioxides – some of the most toxic air pollutants in the world.

In the next few months, federal and state environment ministers will meet to review national air pollution standards for these toxic pollutants for the first time in 21 years.

We have to make sure they hear us loud and clear and commit to stronger standards to protect our health.

We’ve put together a scorecard so you can see how your Environment Minister stacks up on pollution standards and an easy online form so you can take action to secure their vote.

Stronger health-based national standards will set a bar for all states and territories to follow.

EPAs around the country will be under pressure to meet tight limits on pollution. This means they’ll have to look at stricter regulations for the biggest sources of pollution -- coal-fired power stations and motor vehicles.

Since June, over 18,000 community members made submissions to the review of our national air pollution standards calling for stronger standards to protect our health.

Public submissions have now closed but that doesn’t mean we can’t make our voices heard. It’s time to ramp up the pressure.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance for Australia to catch up with the rest of the world on pollution control.


Center for Environmental Law's Annual Impact Report for 2019

Monday, 2 December 2019

Download the report here.

As we mark the 30th Anniversary since CIEL’s founding in 1989, this year’s report both celebrates the victories and milestones of the last twelve months and reflects on the progress we’ve made over the last three decades of defending the right to a healthy planet.

The world has changed profoundly in the last thirty years. Time and again, CIEL has helped to shape that change. We’ve helped link human rights and the environment and turn those linkages into law. We’ve worked with partners to make the World Bank and other development banks accountable to the communities affected by their projects. We’ve helped create and strengthen treaties to address a diverse array of toxic risks.

But even as we celebrate this progress, we know that we have farther, much farther, still to go. And that the speed and scale of change has to accelerate dramatically. From confronting the climate crisis, to stemming the rising tide of plastics, to protecting environmental and human rights defenders from threats and attacks, time is running out.

Around the world in courtrooms, in meeting halls, and in the streets a growing global movement is echoing the call: It's about time. Time to act. Time to litigate, and advocate, and mobilize on an unprecedented scale. Time for a massive and rapid shift toward a more just and sustainable society.

But, if the last 30 years have taught us anything, it's that together, we have the power to meet these challenges. When we combine the power of law with the power of people, we can change the system and change the world. And that’s what we’ll do, together.

I’m grateful for the ways big and small you have been a part of CIEL’s achievements. I hope you join me in celebrating the progress we’ve made these last thirty years as you read our 2019 Annual Impact Report. And I hope you’ll join me in committing to meet the urgent challenges of the critical years ahead of us as well.

Sincerely

Carroll Muffett
President & CEO – Center for Environmental Law


Historic moment: a huge step forward for environmental justice

Friday, 22 November 2019

(From Environmental Defenders Office)

Today I’m happy to bring you exciting news about the future of the Environmental Defenders Office and our unique public interest legal services.

For decades, EDO Qld has provided crucial legal expertise and support to people and organisations defending our precious environment.

And now, we’re growing even stronger.

I’m writing to share the wonderful news that the eight EDOs across Australia are merging into one single, stronger, national Environmental Defenders Office.

All EDO Qld staff are joining the new national EDO, and our office will remain open and connected with the Queenslanders who need us.

We are excited to become part of the new, national legal centre, making sure everyday Australians have access to justice, companies and governments are held accountable, and the law really works to protect the plants, animals, people and places we love.

With the support provided by a unified Environmental Defenders Office, we’ll be better able to defend Queensland’s unique environment and give local people the opportunity to make their voices heard in decisions that affect them the most.

I hope you share our excitement and trust that you will continue to stand with us as we take the next step on this exciting journey.

Please find below a message from the new EDO CEO, David Morris. And please consider making a tax-deductible donation to ensure the new national EDO has the strongest possible start.

Kind regards,

Jo
Jo Bragg
CEO and Solicitor – Environmental Defenders Office (Qld) Ltd


QCC joins new Australia Beyond Coal Campaign

Thursday, 21 November 2019

(From QCC)

QCC is proud to be one of the founding members of the new Australia Beyond Coal campaign, alongside our counterparts the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and Environment Victoria plus Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Sunrise Project, and others.

The “ABC Campaign” aims to accelerate Australia’s shift to renewable energy, away from polluting coal-fired power. The campaign will build pressure on state and federal governments to plan for a well-managed transition that empowers local communities to develop a prosperous, sustainable economic future, while supporting affected workers to move to good, secure jobs.

The ABC Campaign website is now live (see link above) and we’re encouraging supporters to share this inspiring campaign video. Early next year QCC intends to hold a workshop for state and regional groups to develop more detailed plans for the energy transition campaign in Queensland. As you’re probably aware, we’re currently recruiting a new climate and energy campaigner who will lead this work.


State of waste 2019

Monday, 18 November 2019M

(From MRA Consulting Group)

By Mike Ritchie, MRA Consulting Group

The Australian Commonwealth has achieved a first. A Minister for Waste (and Environmental Management) was announced by the Morrison Government. In the 200 years since colonial settlement we have not had a Minister with Waste in their title. I hope that ushers in a period of attention and reform.

After the China National Sword import restriction on Australian recyclables, the return of container loads of recyclables, the massive success of “War on Waste”, the 60 Minutes “expose” of waste management activities and a Four Corners documentary, waste is finally attracting attention (not all of it good). The recent collapse of SKM, one of Australia’s largest recyclers, should be focusing a lot of minds.

Read full article here.


Nobel Laureates' statement on the urgent need to prevent nuclear war

(From ICAN Australia)

Nobel Peace Laureates at their Summit in Merida, Mexico have adopted the attached powerful statement on the urgent need to prevent nuclear war.

Read their statement here.

Please be encouraged to use/share.


Health First report release: How cleaning product manufacturers rate in putting health first

Sunday, 17 November 2019

(From Women’s Voices for the Earth)

A new reportreleased by national environmental health non-profit, Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), outlines the progress and failures that leading cleaning products manufacturers are making in regards to the strength and transparency of their chemicals safety screening.

“Every company claims that their products are safe and that they have policies and processes to assure that safety. But unfortunately the majority of companies are not transparent about the specifics of those policies and processes,” said Alexandra Scranton, Director of Science and Research at WVE. “This makes it hard for people to distinguish between those companies taking it easy, and those truly working hard to ensure harmful ingredients are not ending in the products on our shelves.”

To address this issue, in 2017 WVE released their Health First Roadmap — a dynamic tool which provides specific guidance to cleaning products manufacturers on how to choose safer ingredients and ensure the chemical safety of their products. The Roadmap outlines key benchmarks and strategies from simple compliance, to the aspirational high road of a “Health First” chemical safety program.

The Roadmap clearly lays out what we expect — what the public expects — an effective screening process to look like,” said Scranton. “This is our first assessment of exactly where the cleaning product industry is moving — or stalling — in their commitment to, and actions on, safer ingredients.”

While critically important to public health, chemicals management has not yet reached the same level of corporate awareness as other critical issues such as carbon emissions or energy conservation; sustainability rankings often account for impacts on climate, deforestation, and water conservation, but almost never take into account — or publicly report — the health and environmental impacts of the toxicity of ingredients. This makes the Health First Roadmap particularly unique and a necessary tool for companies to use to assess the impacts of the chemicals they use in their products.

WVE 2019 Health First assessment ranks and reviews the following cleaning products manufacturers:

  • The Clorox Company: Clorox, Pine-Sol, S.O.S., Tilex, Liquid-Plumber, GreenWorks
  • Procter & Gamble: Tide, Cascade, Dawn, Mr. Clean, Dreft Laundry, Febreze, Gain, Cheer
  • RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser): Woolite, Lysol, Finish, AirWick, Old English
  • SC Johnson & Son, Inc.: Pledge, Shout, Windex, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Seventh Generation
  • Meliora Cleaning Products

Little regulation exists in the U.S. to limit or control the use toxic chemicals in cleaning products. Until federal and state regulations set safety and transparency standards, it’s up to companies to set their own safety standards for products.

“Unfortunately, external oversight of chemical screening processes is virtually nonexistent, and there’s an overwhelming absence of industry standards. This report makes that painfully clear,” said Scranton. “The good news there are companies that are responding to public demands and recognizing that being in compliance with current laws and regulations is not enough to ensure safety.” Since WVE launched their Safe Cleaning Products Initiative in 2007, they have taken aim at product safety, ingredient disclosure and eliminating toxic chemicals from cleaning products. This 2019 ranking shows that many manufacturers are responding to public demands and have made considerable strides towards removing certain toxic chemicals from their products and in publicly disclosing product ingredients on their websites.

“The public is not content to take marketing rhetoric at face value. They want to know, for example, how ingredients like quats linked to respiratory and reproductive harm pass Clorox’s safety screening,” said Amber Garcia, WVE’s Executive Director. “Assuring the public that products are ‘safe to use’ rings hollow if companies don’t also explain what they mean by ‘safe’. We need clear insight into how a company determines whether or not a chemical is safe to use in their products.”

The principles of the Health First Roadmap are endorsed by a number of leading health, environmental and sustainable business organizations from across the nation.

“Health First is a resource for the public, and guidance for companies to use to establish strong and transparent processes for assessing ingredient safety,” said Garcia. “How successful they are in following this framework is crucial to truly gaining the trust and loyalty of the people who buy their products.”

Women’s Voices for the Earth amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. Learn more at https://womensvoices.org


GMOs: Christmas in November

Sunday, 17 November 2019

(From GM-Free Alliance)

By Dr John Paull, BBSc, MEnvt, PhD, University of Tasmania – School of Land & Food

Christmas came early for the Monsanto’s of this world. On the 13th of November, Australian senators (Labor, Liberal, National, and Cory Bernardi) voted to dilute Australia’s GMO legislation by changing the definition of what is a GMO.

At a single swipe, new regulations now exclude some GMOs from regulation. That means that these unregulated GMOs - let’s call them ‘Dark GMOs’ - can be introduced into the Australian food chain without any oversight, without notification, and without safety testing. By excluding some GMOs from regulation, and effectively ‘undefining’ them as GMOs, there is now no requirement to declare them as GMO ingredients.

Hitherto, in Australia, the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), based in Canberra, has controlled the release of any GMOs into the food chain. Any GMO crop needed to be approved, and any GMO food product must have been labelled. Thus, consumers could make an informed decision on their purchases, and on what they chose to feed themselves and their family.

The new regulations were proposed by the OGTR. They make most incoming GMOs in the Australian foodscape invisible to consumers and invisible to regulators. The proposal is that most new genetically modified organisms will be relieved of declaring their presence, relieved of proving their safety, and relieved of government oversight. This new policy of Dark GMOs in the Australian foodscape is a wrong-headed idea.

The existing system of regulating GMOs in Australia was not broken. It has served Australia for twenty years. The dictum ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ should have applied. The new deregulation benefits multinationals. There is no public benefit, nor national benefit, in creating a class of Dark GMOs in the Australian foodscape.

The Australian Parliament defined GMOs in the Gene Technology Act 2000 (Cth) and tasked the OGTR with implementing it, stating that:

    “The definition of ‘genetically modified organism’ in the GT Act was intentionally cast very broadly to ensure that the definition did not become outdated and ineffectual in response to rapidly changing technology.”

The OGTR has most recently sought to unravel Parliament’s definition and intent, and replace it with its own very narrow and very different definition, which appears as though it was written by the GMO industry. That unravelling is what the Australian Senate has now voted to approve.

The result will be music to the ears of Bayer/Monsanto, CropLife, DuPont, Syngenta, BASF, Dow Chemical and other GMO entities with a vested interest in profiting from GMOs. Having relieved them from regulatory oversight, they are now free to secretly introduce their Dark GMOs into Australian food and farming, and your dinner plate.

Paull, J., & Hennig, B. (2019). New world map of genetically modified organism (GMO) agriculture: North and South America is 85%. Acres Australia, 101, 59-60.

The OGTR claims: “Only one technique, SDN-1, will be excluded based the scientific evidence that it has no different risk than organisms carrying naturally occurring genetic changes”. I asked them to send me “the scientific evidence”. Nothing has been forthcoming. There’s a surprise.

The OGTR also claim that: “SDN-1 organisms present no different risk than organisms carrying naturally occurring genetic changes. Organisms modified using SDN-1 cannot be distinguished from conventionally bred animals or plants, and there is no evidence that they pose safety risks that warrant regulation”.

The OGTR do not claim that these newly unregulated GMOs are ‘safe’. Of course not. How could they claim ‘safe’, when these new GMOs are yet to appear, and are being newly created, in mostly foreign laboratories, by foreign genetic engineers, for multinational companies. The ambit claim by the OGTR that these nGMOs (new GMOs) are no risk before they are even created is ludicrous. And the senators voting for deregulation have been reckless.

The ALP, Liberals and Nationals have all recently accepted money from GMO corporations. They arguably should have recused themselves from the GMO deregulation vote. The ALP accepted $40,6000 from Bayer/Monsanto, the Nationals $27,840, and the Liberals $14,700, in ‘political donations’ in 2017-18. The ALP accepted $34,271 from CropLife, and the Nationals $22,300, in 2017-18. The ALP, Nationals and Liberals have a vested interest in keeping the tap of GMO donations turned on. By not recusing themselves from the vote, Liberal, National and Labor senators have left themselves open to the accusation of having a conflict-of-interest and the perception of quid pro quo. As one person expressed it to me, “it stinks”. It is a bad look for Australia’s representative democracy. Just whose interest has been represented?

The Greens tabled a Disallowance Motion in the Senate to thwart the watering down of Australia’s GMO regulation. The Greens (n=9) were supported in the vote by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (n=2) and Centre Alliance (n=2). The Liberals, Nationals, and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) voted as a unity ticket (n=42). Tasmania’s Jacquie Lambie, along with various Coalition senators (n=21), did not show up for the vote.

The GMO deregulation vote of November 2019 is a disappointing outcome. A vote that is good for Bayer/Monsanto is unlikely to be a vote that is good for Australia or the Australian people.


Feature articles by HOPE

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Our volunteer researchers and external supporters have written a variety of interesting and topical feature articles for your consideration.

The HOPE researcher articles may be found at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/resources/sundry-hope/; and articles by external supporters may be found at http://www.hopeaustralia.org.au/resources/sundry-external/.

Please share these links with your networks.


As a bushfire survivor I wanted to write to you today

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

(From Lyn Trindall, Bushfire Survivor via GetUp)

46% of GetUp members are in areas currently affected by bushfires. The most important thing right now is that you and your families are safe. For the most up to date information on fires near you, please head to the relevant website:

And if you or your loved ones need support, Lifeline has advice and services available.


Hello there,

My name is Lyn – I'm a bushfire survivor from Winmalee in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

Six years ago, fires ravaged my community – my husband and I barely had time to pack our belongings before fleeing. This past week, with our property again under high risk, I am reminded of that devastation.

We've watched as disastrous bushfires rage across the country. Three people have tragically lost their lives, hundreds have lost their homes. Aboriginal communities have been forced to watch their country burn. Firefighters, volunteers and frontline services are bravely risking everything to keep people and properties safe.

This is what climate change looks like. And while the government tries to silence those demanding action – the bushfire season is starting earlier and getting worse with each passing year.[1]

Fire chiefs are calling on the Government to take real action.[2] The head of the Defence Force has said natural disasters caused by climate change will strain our defence forces.[3] Mayors in cities across the country are calling for immediate support, and a long term plan to tackle the causes of these disasters.[4]

Scott Morrison and other right wing conservatives are saying this isn't the time to talk about climate change. But you can't fight a problem without being honest about the causes.

The most important thing right now is that you and your family are safe. Have a plan. Listen to the fire services. Evacuate yourselves if needed. Wherever you are, I want you to know that the strength of this movement stands with you.

This past week has been tough, and the one ahead is likely to be even tougher.

My heart goes out to everyone with loved ones in harm's way, and all those who have had to leave behind their land and their homes.

No matter what happens this week, we'll get through it together.

In solidarity,
Lyn Trindall, Bushfire Survivor

PS – For those who are safe – standing in solidarity with those in harm's way this week, means demanding action from our leaders to prevent this crisis from repeating itself, and getting worse. Enough is enough. We need to take the causes of these bushfires seriously.

PPS – There are other ways you can help too. The Rural Fire Service (RFS) in NSW and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) have been working tirelessly to keep these fires at bay. Follow these links to support them and their important work with a donation at RFS and QFES.

References:
[1] NSW and Queensland fires: Berejiklian declares state of emergency amid 'catastrophic' bushfire conditions – live, The Guardian, 11 November 2019.
[2] Climate change partly to blame for early bushfire season, The Guardian, 11 October 2019.
[3] As fire seasons overlap in Australia and California, sharing firefighting resources will only get harder, ABC News, 6 November 2019.
[4] Climate change could stretch our capabilities, Defence Force chief speech warns, ABC News, 25 September 2019.
[5] Regional mayors criticise politicians for failing to link climate change and deadly bushfires, ABC News, 11 November 2019.
[6] Ask Fuzzy: Using traditional knowledge, modern techniques, Canberra Times, 29 September 2019.

Senate should disallow GM deregulation

Monday, 11 November 2019

(From Gene Ethics)

Gene Ethics calls on all Senators to disallow the Gene Technology Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Regulations 2019 when it comes to a vote in the Senate on Wednesday November 13.

All genetic manipulation (GM) processes and products - including all new CRISPR gene-editing techniques and the GM animals, plants and microbes created - must now be notified to the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) for assessment and licensing, before any release.

"But the government's deregulation would allow the release of GM organisms into our food supply and environment without testing or expert assessment," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.

"Scientists and industry know the new GM methods are flawed but ambition, short-sightedness and profit motives drive them to back deregulation despite the hazards, risks and costs to others.

"GM deregulation is reckless, unscientific, against current law, and not in the public interest.

"Sidelining the Regulator before the new GM game even begins would create a free for all where industry and science players can make up their own rules, without independent oversight.

View the full media release here.


Media Release: Environment Ministers Agree on Recycling Plan timetable - then go home

Saturday, 9 November 2019

(From Boomerang Alliance)

The Meeting of Environment Ministers (MEM) in Adelaide today recognised Australia’s recycling crisis, then went home without agreeing on any funding or effective actions to resolve the problems, environment groups said today.

“While Australia now has an agreed and staged export ban for mixed wastes, and a target of 80% average ‘recovery’ rate for all waste streams by 2030 – ministers have kicked the actual mechanisms down the road for more talking,” said Jeff Angel, Director of the Alliance of 49 environment groups.

“What is missing is the detail about how this recovery target is to be achieved. It is also very concerning that incineration is endorsed as it could gobble up most of the resources creating pollution and with no ongoing recycling in the economy.”

“Ministers appear to have put the industry Packaging Covenant on notice to achieve targets of 100% of packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable and 70% of plastic packaging to be recycled - by 2025. We would be much happier if we just got on with the job of making these targets enforceable given the repeated failure of the Covenant to achieve previous targets – 2025 is not far away.”

“Government procurement to promote the use of recycled materials is also left up to more talk - again we are left none the wiser and will have to wait to hear ‘over the coming months.”

“Boomerang Alliance does welcome the intention to legislate to ban specific single use takeaway plastics by the South Australian and Queensland Governments and urges other states and territories to act in concert, as part of the promised National Plastics Plan,” Mr Angel said.

For more information:

Jeff Angel – 02 9211 5022; or 0418 273 773


2 billion trees for Koalas

Friday, 8 November 2019

(From WWF Australia)

This month, we’re launching our vision to plant and protect two billion trees across Australia, an ambitious reintroduction project on Yorke Peninsula takes a big step forward, and we’re getting ready for the end-of-year festivities… sustainably! Will you join us?

With bushfires raging across NSW and destroying critical koala habitat, we need your urgent support to save koalas and their homes. Join us as we begin to restore what’s been lost and work towards two billion trees.

Help save koala habitat


Get involved in National Recycling Week with your workplace!

Thursday, 7 November 2019

(From Planet Ark)

How to get your workplace involved in National Recycling Week

National Recycling Week is a great opportunity to get you and your colleagues participating in new or existing recycling programs and sustainability initiatives. Here’s how you and your colleagues can get your workplace involved.

Find out more

7 things you didn’t know you could recycle at work

Australia is a country of keen recyclers with nine in ten agreeing it’s the right thing to do. But most of us are completely unaware that some of things we’re chucking in the garbage can actually be recycled. In this article we’re busting the myth that if something can’t be put in your workplace recycling bin, it can't be recycled.

Read more


An Australian innovation – Coca-Cola produces Australia’s first 100% recycled bottle for carbonated beverages

In a major step forward for sustainability, Coca-Cola Amatil has produced Australia’s first carbonated soft drink bottles made from 100 per cent recycled plastic.

Planet Ark is proud to have Coca-Cola Australia onboard as the major sponsor of this year's National Recycling Week.

Read more


GM-FREE-Alliance Australia petition

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

"Now is the time to act. If you want to know that the food you are eating is GM free, please contact your local MP and senators to demand that all genetically modified organisms are assessed for safety and labelled for consumer choice."

Sign the petition here:
https://friendsoftheearthmelbourne.good.do/gmosoonyouwontknow/take_action/

Please share with your networks


EPBC Act review announced

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

(From Environmental Defenders Office Qld)

The 10 year review of the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) has commenced as of today, see the relevant website here for all available information.

The Discussion Paper will be released in November, which will commence the opportunity for formal submissions to the review.There may also be other opportunities to provide formal submissions as key reports are published, such as their draft report on the review.

Currently the Terms of Reference are available here.

The Panel who will be overseeing the process is here.

You are able to put in a ‘comment’ here at any time but this won’t be included as a formal submission.

EDO will be providing an overview of suggestions for submissions to the review once the Discussion Paper is released – stay tuned!


"Eminent Persons Group" Chair's Final Report

Sunday, 27 October 2019

(From ICAN Japan)

On October 21, Chair's final report of the Group of Eminent Persons for the Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament was submitted to the Japanese government.
Below is the link to the full text:
https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/files/000530834.pdf

It advocates for a "positive engagement to bridge disarmament divide" and lists key questions to be addressed, including ones related to the relationship between disarmament and security. It also presents a set of actions, including risk reduction, NWS' reporting on their nuclear policies as well as the consistency with IHL, and exploring a liability mechanism for nuclear weapons accidents and use, in addition to the traditional agenda such as START extension, CTBT, FMCT, and disarmament verification.

But nothing in there is of direct use for the promotion of the TPNW.

This would become a basis for the Japanese government to prepare for the 2020 NPT RevCon.

Best,
Akira Kawasaki


The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)

Sunday, 27 October 2019

The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) is a professional not-for-profit organisation that works to promote peace and disarmament. MAPW aims to reduce the physical and psychological impact, as well as environmental effect of wars throughout the world. MAPW has branches in every State and Territory in Australia.

In 2007, MAPW launched ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which was the key civil society organisation working with governments to achieve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 7 July, 2017.

ICAN was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its key role in the adoption of the treaty.

Learn about MAPW's campaigns here, including the Universities & Unacceptable Weapons – Sign the Statement.


Forest-friendly beef [QCC members]

Friday, 25 October 2019

(From Dr Anita Cosgrove)

Just letting you know that TWS just launched the public aspect of our beef markets campaign. Most clearing in Qld (and thus Australia) is done for beef production. So, we're asking retailers of beef products (supermarkets and fast food chains) to source deforestation-free beef, or "forest friendly beef".

The Project ran a great story on it here. Yesterday, we launched our petition to the CEOs of the supermarkets and fast food chains asking them to eliminate deforestation from the products they sell.

We'd love to see the Project story travel far and wide because they've told us if there's enough interest they might take this up as one of their campaigns like they did with plastic bags. So, if you could do one of the following, it would be a huge help:

Thanks all!

Dr Anita Cosgrove
Deforestation Campaigner

3/67 Boundary Street
South Brisbane QLD 4101
(07) 3846 1420


Quit Nukes- new campaign for nuclear weapon free finance

Thursday, 24 October 2019

(From ICAN Australia)

Today we officially launched Quit Nukes - nuclear weapon free finance, a new joint campaign with the Medical Association for Prevention of War. We are advocating for Australian super funds to cut ties with nuclear weapon producers.

Polling shows that 69% of Australians want nuclear weapon free superannuation. With around $15 billion of Australian superannuation members’ funds invested in nuclear weapon producers, we have a powerful opportunity to withdraw financial support from the industry. Who is your super fund? Write back to this email to let us know.

This global movement is already well underway, with 77 financial institutions commended for their policies on nuclear weapons by Don't Bank on the Bomb.

The nuclear weapon ban treaty prohibits anyone from assisting with the production of these weapons, including by financing them. As it moves closer to entering into legal force, it provides a clear motivation to divest from destruction and fund a future without nukes.

To kick off Quit Nukes on the first day of UN Disarmament Week, we addressed the board and staff of Australian Ethical Super, commending their policy to exclude investments in nuclear weapons. Steve Gibbs, Acting CEO (pictured here with Margaret Peril and myself), said “here at Australian Ethical we know it’s possible to deliver on value and values, and we are proud to offer nuclear weapon free investments and support this important campaign”.

What can you do?

  • Write back to this email letting us know who your super fund is. We may need to mobilise.
  • Help us spread the word about this new campaign!
  • Write to your super fund to ask about whether they have investments in nuclear weapon producers. You'll find plenty of background info here.

Best,

Gem Romuld,
ICAN Australia


Plastic futures

Thursday, 24 October 2019

(From Prof Andy Lowe)

Our love affair with plastic seems to know no bounds and isn't stopping.

The first plastic, bakelite, was produced in 1907 and since then the global plastics industry has exploded, now producing 300 million tons a year. This astonishing growth has outpaced almost all other manufactured materials, but it has also overtaken our ability to deal with it. In other words, the plastic garbage problem is bad and getting worse, with the World Bank forecasting that plastic waste will grow by 70 percent in the next 30 years.

Cumulative plastic waste generation and disposal (Science mag - http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782)

The type of plastic we produce is also problematic. 50% of plastics are single-use and 42% are for packaging.

One of the key problems with plastics is that they take a long time to break down naturally. Plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfill.

With so much plastic hanging around for long periods it's only inevitable that some makes its way into our water courses and oceans to reek environmental havoc.

Read full article here.


Fossil Free News: a season of change

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From Fossil Free News)

An estimated 500,000 people came out in Montreal. Photo: bamjamin, Instagram

At it again: On Friday, 27 September, a second wave of strikes swept the globe. In New Zealand, 3.5% of the population – a significant figure – were out in the streets. And in some cities and towns, and in island nations like Tokelau, the participation rate was much higher. By day’s end, millions had mobilised in India, South Korea, Italy, Portugal, Ghana, Spain, Canada, Argentina, and elsewhere. Read more.

The 23 September blockade in Washington, D.C. Photo: Climate Justice Alliance.
The strike in Chad in on 27 September. Photo: Mahamadou Amadou

Afrika Vuka: After thousands came out across Africa on 20 September, beautiful actions (including a trade union-led protest) took place again the following week in Chad, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, and more countries to demand a just and renewable future. Watch the highlights

Extinction Rebellion (XR) at the Washington, D.C. blockade on 23 September. Photo: Zhivko Illeieff

Season of change: Our week-long strike might be over – but climate action groups are gearing up for the months to come. Fridays for Future continues to call strikes every Friday in cities worldwide to pressure local leaders, and another global strike is in the works. Expect escalated actions around the world as Extinction Rebellion gears up for their two-week International Rebellion starting 7 October.


New research: regional nuclear war will cause catastrophic global consequences

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From ICAN)

Two scientific studies modelling the effects of nuclear war released in the past few weeks have revealed some terrifying figures:

  • 91.5 million deaths in a matter of hours, if nuclear conflict breaks out between the United States and Russia,
  • 125 million deaths in case of a week-long conflict between India and Pakistan using 100 kilotonne nuclear warheads,
  • A 30% reduction in surface sunlight due to the 36 teragrams of black carbon released into the atmosphere after the India-Pakistan conflict,
  • Two billion people at risk of famine.

The two studies, Princeton's Science and Global Security programme "Plan A" [1] and Science Advances' “Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe” [2], show that there is no such thing as a ‘contained’ nuclear conflict.

These are not farfetched scenarios. This new research comes out as tensions are increasing between India and Pakistan, and four of the nine nuclear-armed states have tested nuclear missiles in just the past two weeks. [3, 4] You can read more about this new research here.

The science is clear: we need to eliminate nuclear weapons, before they are used again.

And ICAN is creating the pathway to a world free of nuclear weapons. Thanks to campaigners in more than 100 countries, we are on our way.

  • 79 countries have signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to date.
  • 32 states - representing over 660 million people - have also ratified the treaty. This means we’ve nearly reached two-thirds of the way to the 50 ratifications needed for the treaty to enter into force. [5]
  • Cities like Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris, Manchester, Berlin, Oslo, Washington DC, Edinburgh, Zurich, Tokyo, Toronto and many more are supporting the Treaty and urges their governments to join it.
  • Over 1,300 parliamentarians around the world have pledged to supporting the Treaty and work for their government to join it.

At this critical moment, we need your help to strengthen our campaign to get the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to enter into force, and to delegitimise nuclear weapons.

Make a donation today

Thank you.

Beatrice Fihn,
Executive Director
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

[1] Plan A: read more about the Princeton study modeling the conflict between the United States and Russia.
[2] Learn about the global impact that a regional conflict between India and Pakistan would have on our global climate and food supply, in the study published by Toon et al. in Science Advances
[3] Four Countries Display Missiles, Demonstrate Risks of Renewed Nuclear Arms Race | icanw.org
[4] Imran Kahn warns the UN of potential nuclear war in Kashmir | The Guardian 26 September, 2019
[5] Learn which 12 States joined the TPNW on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

How well is your state performing at plastics recycling?

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From WWF Australia)

The results of Australia’s first-ever plastics scorecard

Can you guess which Australian state or territory is leading the way when it comes to tackling our plastic problem?

Last week, the team at WWF-Australia released the country’s first-ever plastics scorecard.

We measured each state and territory on what they’re doing to tackle some of the worst single-use plastics.

While some state governments have taken action, the scorecard reveals that many are falling severely behind.

How does your state or territory rank?

Congratulations to South Australia for topping the plastics scorecard!

We’re hoping this scorecard encourages other states and territories to follow South Australia’s lead to take the action needed to ban single-use plastics.

Together, we can ensure that Australia’s breathtaking nature doesn’t go to waste.


New Insights in Climate Science summary, unprecedented and enduring changes in the planet’s oceans and frozen components, Sustainability Research and Innovation 2020

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From Future Earth's September Newsletter)

New Insights in Climate Science: A 2017-2019 Summary is available

Future Earth and The Earth League collated the most up-to-date science since 2017, on the drivers and impacts of climate change, to make the case that achieving the Paris Agreement is not only necessary, but possible. This summary was produced for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, September 2019, to inform national leaders and policymakers participating in the Summit.

Read more


IPCC Special Report Calls for Urgent, Ambitious, and Coordinated Action

A new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights the need for urgent, ambitious, and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the planet’s oceans and frozen components. The knowledge synthesized in the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) also aims to facilitate the ability to adapt to ongoing, irreversible changes for over one billion people living in high mountain regions, low-lying coastal zones, small island developing states, and the Arctic region. Members of Future Earth’s global research projects, knowledge-action networks, and partners contributed to the report in the role of coordinating lead authors, lead authors, and reviewers.

Read more


Call for Session Proposals: Sustainability Research and Innovation 2020

The Belmont Forum and Future Earth are launching an innovative global event series focused on Sustainability Research and Innovation (SRI), which will bring together a global community of changemakers, driven by a common goal to accelerate transition to sustainability. The first SRI will be held in Brisbane, Australia from 14-17 June 2020 and it welcomes practitioners, researchers, funders, innovators, thought leaders, policy-makers, and industry partners across the broad spectrum of communities working to solve local to global sustainability challenges. The call for session proposals is open as of today until November 15, 2019. Find out more on the SRI website and submit your proposal through the SRI2020 submission portal.


Healthy Seeds Project, endangered plant found, impact of land clearing on native bird habitat

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From Australian Network for Plant Conservation)

Healthy Seeds project has commenced!

We are very excited to announce that the ANPC has embarked on the 18 month 'Healthy Seeds' project funded by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust, to deliver an evidence-based Roadmap to secure a reliable, genetically-appropriate, native seed supply in NSW for restoration, and to update the Florabank Guidelines for best practice native seed collection and use. An audit and investigation into past and present Seed Production Areas (SPAs) will also be undertaken. A consortium of partners will be established across the native seed and ecological restoration sectors to oversee the project. SPAs are seen as central to overcoming shortfalls in high quality native seed for ecological restoration, and for improving seed supply reliability, reducing pressure on wild populations, and for improving genetic provenance and diversity to ensure the long-term health and resilience of restored ecosystems. The Florabank Guidelines, first developed in 1999 in partnership between Greening Australia, CSIRO, and Bushcare, will be revised and updated with the latest science. These guidelines remain the benchmark for best practice native seed collection and use in restoration and are widely used by practitioners - the closest thing to an industry standard that is currently available.

Read more


Endangered plant found in the ranges

Ecologists have made a significant discovery in the state's far north, uncovering large populations of a regionally critically endangered plant. The Freckled Duck is critically endangered in the Flinders Ranges but has been a target species for SA Arid Lands' Bounceback and Beyond program. The finding comprises a population of about 1500 plants at 10 different sites, stretching over a kilometre at a site east of the town of Copley. SA Arid Lands Community Ecologist Ben McCallum and DEW Principal Rangelands Ecologist Rob Brandle have been credited with the discovery. "We don't know a lot about this plant, but it is believed they grow in colonies in a specific soil type," Mr McCallum said.

Read more


Research reveals impact of land clearing on native bird habitat

Scientists have revealed that the practice of land clearing has robbed half of Australia's native bird species of almost two-thirds of their natural habitat in some parts of the country, with the most dramatic changes in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales. The research also found that it's not just threatened species that are losing their homes, but also common birds, that play a crucial role in many of our ecosystems.

Listen here


CSIRO: ECOS e-news

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From CSIRO's September ECOS e-news)

IPCC flags risks and response options for polar and ocean environments in latest report

A new report into polar regions, mountains, oceans and coasts shows the impacts of climate change on these sensitive areas are worse than previously thought, with implications for Australia.

Find out more


When disasters collide: helping Australia adapt to new risks under climate change

A collision of severe weather events can destroy lives and infrastructure, destabilising economies and ecosystems.

Read more


Saving baby turtles one nest at a time

We're working with Indigenous rangers in Cape York to give baby turtles the best chance of making it from nest to ocean.

Read more


#GoForZeroWaste, #ReuseRevolution, Branded v2.0, Global Week of Action and more...

Wednesdsay, 23 October 2019

(From Break Free from Plastic Movement)

The Global Zero Waste Cities Movement is Growing!

The solution to plastic pollution? Zero Waste Cities! Through zero waste communities around the world, every day citizens are building healthier, more resilient places to live and work. Find out more from #breakfreefromplastic member, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives and learn how YOUR city can go for zero waste!
Check it out!

Asia is home of Zero Waste solutions!

Local government leaders and grassroots groups gathered in this year’s International Zero Waste Cities Conference held in Penang, Malaysia. Organized by #breakfreefromplastic changemakers from GAIA Asia Pacific and Consumers Association of Penang, the two-day event demonstrated that Zero Waste solutions are happening in the region and it is the way to go!
Watch the highlights!

People all over the world are already finding real and innovative solutions focused on reusing sustainable materials instead of throwaway plastics. Greenpeace International is calling the world’s biggest plastic polluters to invest in sustainable, reusable ways to deliver their products - #ReuseRevolution!
Read more

You've identified the top plastic polluters in #BrandAudit2019. Now it's time to call them out!

Watch out for our global brand audit report - Branded v2.0 - set to be launched next week! #breakfreefromplastic members from all over the world are coming together to tell corporations we've had enough. Join us for a Global Week of Action from Nov 6-15!
Learn more

As the Shale Insight Conference convenes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the shale gas industry plans its future including MORE plastic production, we are coming together to protest the industry and protect our water. Speakers include Cheryl Angel — indigenous leader, wise (Sioux) Lakota elder woman, mother of five children, and lifelong devoted water protector who helped initiate and maintain the Standing Rock camp since April 2016.
Join us

Out now: New reusable solutions report from Break Free From Plastic Europe and the Rethink Plastic alliance! Check out the report to see how governments and businesses are slashing the consumption of single-use plastic across Europe.


CIEL is celebrating 30 years

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL))

Thirty years ago, two environmental advocacy attorneys shared a pint with two international law attorneys in a bustling DC pub. Airing their frustrations over the limits of domestic environmental law, they came to a pivotal realization: they needed to join forces.

And thus, in 1989, the Center for International Environmental Law was born, with the hope of addressing the environmental concerns that transcend national boundaries, from climate change to toxic exposure to deforestation.

In the ensuing 30 years, we've made significant progress, like supporting the first case to connect climate change and human rights, exposing massive illegal logging in Peru, and helping create the first global treaty to reduce mercury pollution. For the past three decades, we've been at the forefront of using international law in innovative ways to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.

In celebration of our thirty year anniversary, we'll be sharing some of CIEL's stories with you over the next few weeks that demonstrate our impact over the course of that time. From equipping the movement for climate accountability, to addressing the global plastic pollution crisis, to holding international development banks accountable when the harm people and ecosystems, this work would not have been possible without your support spreading the word and donating your time and resources to defend the right to a healthy planet.

Despite our victories, there still remains much to be done. In celebration of CIEL's birthday, would you consider making a meaningful gift of $30 for 30 years of progress?

We are humbled by the privilege of defending the right to a healthy planet for thirty years. Here's to the next thirty, and many more years to come.

Sincerely,
The CIEL Team
Center for International Environmental Law

P.S. We understand that support comes in many different, valuable forms — from donating to volunteering, sharing on social media to contacting a decision-maker. If a financial gift is not a way you are able to support CIEL, or if you prefer not to receive our year-end communications for whatever reason, please click here. We'll temporarily pause our emails to you through the end of the year, and we'll be in touch again in January!


Briefing - The rise of carbon pricing

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From Eco-Business Partnerships)

There’s growing momentum to put a price on CO2 emissions. In the US, businesses are pushing for a price on carbon as an alternative to regulation amid growing public awareness of climate change. Will this resurgence put a high enough price on carbon to drive decisive climate action?

Ethical Corporation have just published a 40-page management report on the rise of carbon pricing, with expert analysis and insights on a variety of related issues.

Click here to download the complimentary 40-page carbon pricing briefing

Insights include:

  • The resurgence of the EU carbon market
  • US business pushing for a price on carbon
  • Viewpoints from US banks and insurance companies
  • Lessons learnt from British Columbia’s carbon tax
  • China’s moves to put a national price on carbon

Critical Connectivity: Isolated Protected Areas Could Become Epicenters of Extinction

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From ALERT)

Famed biologist Daniel Janzen once proclaimed, “No park is an island.” What Janzen meant is that the isolation of a park is corrosive for its ecology and deadly for its biodiversity.

The natural movements of species across landscapes are as essential to life as the flows of wind and water. But such movements are being stymied as parks and protected areas become increasingly isolated from their surrounding natural habitats—thanks to the ever-expanding footprint of agriculture, infrastructure, and other human activities.

Isolated protected areas lack the gene flow and demographic stability that arise from wildlife movement. As a result, they can become “extinction vortices” for vulnerable species—areas where small population sizes, inbreeding, losses to poachers and encroachers, and high mortality in surrounding modified habitats collectively conspire to drive species to local extinction.


MUST WATCH! What if a nuclear weapon was exploded over a major city today?

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From ICAN)

There is a powerful new video about the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear attack, and it is trending on Youtube. Will you help us keep it that way, so that millions of new people can see why it is so important to get rid of these inhumane weapons for good?

This in-depth video breaks down the consequences of a nuclear attack on a modern city, from the very first second of the blast to the health effects felt decades later. The video is the result of a collaboration between popular Youtube video creators Kurzgesagt and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). As you may know, we also work closely with the ICRC to spread the message that the only way to prevent the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons is to ban them altogether.

Right now, this video is doing so well on Youtube that it’s #Trending. This means that millions of people -- who may not know much about the impact of nuclear weapons yet -- will see this video and learn why it’s time to end nuclear weapons for good. Will you help us make sure it stays Trending? Invite your friends and family to watch it too.

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons


GAIA: Zero Waste Movement, interactive incineration map, health impacts related to waste incineration technologies

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

(From GAIA's October Newsletter)

NEW MICROSITE!

From Buenos Aires to Boston, Sardinia to San Fernando, GAIA members around the world are leading their cities towards Zero Waste. To celebrate this revolutionary work, this month GAIA is excited to release a new website showcasing solutions from across the globe with stories, case studies, and tools to inspire and resource zero waste advocates. Click here to explore, and be sure to share on social media!


Zero Waste Australia releases interactive incineration map

This new interactive map shows the current 17 waste incinerator projects planned for Australia some of which are already operating. These facilities combined will burn 3,909,500 million tonnes of waste every year. This will contribute more than 4 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year, a major climate pollution threat for Australia.

Check the map and learn more about Zero Waste Australia


In more news from Australia, the Australian Public Health Association has published a report about the health impacts related to waste incineration technologies. The report confirms that "contamination of food and ingestion of pollutants is a significant risk pathway for both nearby and distant residents."

Download the full report.
Read National Toxics Network's media release here.


What exactly is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

(From Prof Andy Lowe's latest blog post)

It's basically a big patch of floating rubbish in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but what is it made of and how did it get there?

One of the key problems with plastics is that they take a long time to break down and decompose naturally. Plastic items can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills, including plastic bags which take 10-1000 years, and plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.

With so much plastic hanging around for long periods of time it is only inevitable that some makes its way into our water ways and oceans, causing big problems. It is estimated that 8 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers. By the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

More than half of this plastic is less dense than the water, meaning that it will not sink once it enters the sea. The stronger, more buoyant plastics can transported 1000s of kilometres. They persist floating in the oceans, transported by sea currents and finally accumulate in what are known as offshore ‘plastic accumulation zones’.

Read the full article here.


Places You Love Alliance Member Update - EPBC Review

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

(From Places You Love)

Dear Places You Love Alliance members and friends,

It has been a little while since the last Places You Love Alliance update, but we have been very busy behind the scenes.

Since May, the Places You Love Management Committee and Campaign Team have been working together to develop a new Strategic Plan that enables us to deliver our vision - That nature is valued, protected and thrives.

The Campaign Team has also been working to operationalise this Strategic Plan, with the most urgent work focused on the upcoming Review of the EPBC Act which is expected to commence in late October.

As an Alliance we want to be prepared to respond as quickly and effectively to the Review when it kicks off.

Our current understanding is that the Review will be headed by an Independent Reviewer and advised by an expert panel. We anticipate there will be a relatively short period in which to prepare formal submissions.

The Alliance leadership groups are preparing for a range of scenarios and opportunities for engagement for Alliance organisations, experts and the general community.

We will provide Alliance members with a submission writing guide and outline key messages around the review for you to share with your members.

We will also be seeking your involvement in a series of webinars that we are aiming to hold in November and December. The purpose of these webinars will be to discuss our shared approach, share information on strategy and tactics and identify other shared opportunities.

We will circulate another update as soon as possible after the EPBC Review is announced. In the meantime please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have questions.

The Alliance Campaign Team meets regularly to progress the campaign for a new generation of national environment laws. Ideas, suggestions and requests are always welcome. You can send us an email at info@placesyoulove.org.

Stay tuned!

Places You Love Alliance Campaign Team


Fossil free wins in Sweden & Brazil!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

(From Fossil Free News)

Targeted campaigns have achieved big wins in the last two weeks, from a fossil gas terminal blocked in Sweden, to oil and gas exploration held off near one of Brazil’s sensitive coral reefs.

The Swedish government decided last week to deny the EU-backed Gothenburg gas terminal its final permit on climate grounds. Read this inspiring letter from Fossilgasfällan, the local group that made it happen with years of resistance and a hundreds-strong blockade in September.

Do you want to start your own local group to fight the fossil fuel age? There are plenty of resources to help you get started.


These are the 36 financial institutions that won’t invest in nuclear weapons

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

(From ICAN)

We often hear about the bad news, while the good news gets quietly buried, so today we want to make sure you don’t miss the list of champions that are cutting ties with nuclear weapons producing companies. Every year, our partners at PAX release the Don’t Bank on the Bomb Hall of Fame to celebrate the growing group of banks, pension funds, insurers and other financial institutions that won’t bank on the bomb. And in this 2019 edition, another 14 new institutions have made the Hall of Fame by comprehensively excluding any financial connections to nuclear weapons producers, bringing the total up to 36!

Don't Bank on the Bomb Hall of Fame

The financial institutions in the Hall of Fame​ didn't get there by themselves, their clients, people like you, nudged them over the line in this race to the top. Now, they are leading the way to the end of nuclear weapons. Together, these institutions keep at least EUR 1.6 trillion out of the nuclear weapons industry, inspire the 41 Runners-up institutions to do even better, and challenge those that don’t have any such policy in place or actively invest in nuclear weapons to get on the right side of history.

So today, we want to put these institutions in the spotlight, and celebrate their commitments. Will you help us?

Congratulate them on Twitter >>

or spread the word: forward this email to a friend >>


ICAN Australia: a few bits of good news

Sunday, 20 October 2019

(From ICAN Australia)

Dominica has ratified the nuclear weapon ban treaty, bringing the number of states parties to 33. The treaty is now two-thirds of the way to entry-into-force. Congrats to the entry-into-force team working hard at the UN.

The City of Port Phillip endorsed the Cities Appeal last week, becoming the 23rd Australian council to do so. Congrats to local ICAN advocates Margie Beavis, Peter Karamoskos and Fred Mendelsohn.

NT Labor passed a resolution at their conference yesterday declaring their support for the treaty and calling on Australia to sign and ratify it as soon as possible. The motion was moved by Judy Buckley and passed unanimously. Thanks to our partner organisation the Alice Springs Peace Action Think Tank for their role in making this happen. Resolutions supporting the treaty have now been passed by the NT, WA, SA, TAS and ACT Labor branches.

Lastly, we had this opinion piece published in the Canberra Times on Friday: Nuclear hypocrisy can't continue.

Let's celebrate all the wins and keep at it!

ICAN Australia


FYI: Universal Basic Income (UBI)

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

(From Rowland Benjamin - Informaction)

The Universal Basic Income is a proposed regular cash payment given to all adult citizens regardless of need with the goal of reducing or eliminating poverty and its effects. The income is automatically paid into a bank account weekly or monthly, and the amount pain is unaffected by occupation, gender, family status, housing costs, whether additional money is earned or the person contributes in any way to society.

Existing social security systems have conditions attached and recipients have to search for work, pass a means test, participate in training programs, submit to drug tests, vaccinate their children and send them to school. A UBI is unconditional, there is no requirement for the person to work and it is not means tested. With a UBI the recipient would be free to live their life any way they choose.

The income is paid to people with paid jobs and people without jobs, people with assets and people without assets, single and partnered people, people who live with people with assets and people who live with people who don’t, and people with disabilities and people without.

The income would be sufficient to meet a person's basic needs, in other words it would be above the poverty line. Keeping all members of society above this threshold would enable them to live in dignity and fully participate in public life and eliminate the scourge of poverty from the whole of society.

Capitalism moves through repeating boom and bust cycles and levels of employment can vary greatly within these cycles. High levels of unemployment often occur during periods of economic depression and under-employment can occur during periods of relatively high economic activity, resulting in large numbers of people living in poverty. Currently there is also a trend towards greater levels of automation and artificial intelligence, driving down wages and the number of paid jobs and intensifying levels of poverty even further.

Several different UBI models have been proposed, ranging from modest schemes designed to simplify the existing social security system to more progressive plans to transform society. The UBI could remain constant throughout adult life or it could vary with age. A small payment could be given to children. Young adults from 18 to 24 could start with a relatively high payment to support them with their education and training. With greater levels of expected employment after about 24, the payment could gradually decrease and then after 65 the payment increase again when the person is no longer working.

Unwarranted concerns have been raised about the cost of introducing a UBI. The UBI is really just a more streamline form of social welfare system, which already exist in most developed countries. Other concerns are that it leads to idleness. For the UBI to work it needs to be coupled with programs to engage people in voluntary constructive activities. When the UBI has freed people from poverty and despair they will be able to use their free time more productively. They will have the time to invent things, develop new ideas, and use art, music, and literature, to advance culture. With their new skills they will be able to re-enter the market and contribute to society either as an employee or as business start-up. They will want to re-enter the market to earn a better income and to put their new skills and ideas into practice. People are not lazy. They just want to do interesting, satisfying and productive work - not mindless jobs that they hate and should be replaced by robots.

There are concerns that a UBI will have a negative impact on the economy, but the economy improve because more skilled people enter the market. And there are concerns that a UBI will force people to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to authority in exchange for protection and financial security. This is true but society is already a highly interdependent system and if the UBI is introduced it will simply replace it with another highly interdependent system.

The UBI is a safety net and stop gap solution for addressing poverty. It does not however address the cause of the problem, which is the structure of capitalism, nor does it address other problems caused by capitalism such as environmental degradation.

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September Law Alert | EDO Qld

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

(From EDO Qld)

What a whirlwind September was!

It was heartening to see the huge numbers of Australians in so many cities and towns supporting climate action, and your EDO solicitors across Australia have been instrumental in some incredible litigation and law reform wins!

We can feel it - the tide is turning, the legal landscape on climate is changing, and we are more determined than ever to keep this momentum going.

There are many actions we can take together in the fight for justice:

  • Our Government promised Queenslanders a strong, clear climate change and renewable energy plan by July 2019. Now Queensland is on fire, over 65% of our state is in serious drought, our Reef is dying and still we have seen no plan. Ask the Government for our Green Papers now.
  • Following the alarming decision on Acland, join us in asking Queensland Mining Minister Lynham to deliver a legislative amendment to reinstate what we all understood - that groundwater is the lifeblood of both Queensland and Australia and must remain a crucial part of environmental assessment for all coal mines. Stand with farmers and save our groundwater.

Thank you for your continued support, you truly make our work possible. We hope you enjoy this month's Law Alert below, packed with great environmental law news and EDO legal action about Reef, Sharks and Climate wins from across Australia.

Warm regards,

Jo-Anne Bragg
CEO & Solicitor, EDO Qld