Tag Archives: enviroment
The Adani conglomerate should be best described as a bloated gangster, promising the earth even as it mines it. Like other corporate thugs of such disposition, it will do things within, and if necessary outside, the regulatory framework it encounters. Where necessary, it will libel detractors and bribe critics, speak of a fictional number of as yet non-existent jobs, and claim that it is green in its coaling practices. It will also hire legal firms claiming to be trained attack dogs and hector the national broadcaster to pull unflattering stories from publication and discussion.
As a marauder of the environment, the Indian mining giant has left little to chance. It has politicians friendly to its cause in Australia at both the state and federal level, but it faces an environmental movement that refuses to dissipate. It also has a problem with environmental science, particularly in the area of water management. Conditional approvals have been secured, albeit hurried in the aftermath of May’s federal election, and even here, further testing will have to be done.
Given the inconveniences posed by scientists wedded to methodology and technique, the company did not surprise in freedom of information findings by the environmental group Lock the Gate that it had asked the federal environment department for “a list of each person from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia involved in the review” of the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP) and Groundwater Monitoring and Management Plan (GMMP).
In a bullying note to the Department of Environment and Energy (DOEE) in January 25 this year, Hamish Manzi, head of the company’s environment and sustainability branch officiously gave a five day limit to the request, claiming that it “simply wants to know who is involved in the review to provide it with peace of mind that it is being treated fairly and that the review will not be hijacked by activists with a political, as opposed to scientific, agenda.” Manzi had noted “recent press coverage regarding an anti-coal and/or anti-Adani bias potentially held by experts reviewing other Adani approvals.” For Manzi, the only expert worthy of that name would have to be sympathetic to the mining cause.
The corporate instinct is rarely on all fours with that of the scientific one. The former seeks the accumulation of assets, profits and dividends; the latter tests hypotheses using a falsification system, a process that can only ever have fidelity to itself. The corporate instinct is happy to forget troubling scientific outcomes, and, where necessary, corrupt it for its ends. Where the science does not match, it is obviously the work of ill-motivated activists or those inconvenienced by conscience.
The Union of Concerned Scientists in February 2012, through its Scientific Integrity Program, supplied readers with a list of fields where science, and scientists, have been attacked or compromised. More importantly, it notes how governments become the subject of influence, their decisions ever vulnerable to wobbling. “Corporations attempt to exert influence at every step of the scientific and policy-making processes, often to shape decisions in their favour or avoid regulation and monitoring of their products and by-products at the public’s expense. In so doing, they often attempt to fundamentally alter the decision-making process.”
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Fear them for their technology; fear them for their ideology and their authoritarianism. But embrace interference and involvement in the economy if it involves coal. This is the fancy hypocrisy of Australian politics, one driven to lunacy and inconsistency by that dark and dirty love.
The contrast between a fear of Huawei, on the one hand, and an eager opening for a Chinese state-owned enterprise barging its way into the Australian market suggests that those in Canberra have finally twisted themselves into knots. The latter is particularly striking – the China Energy Engineering Cooperation (CEEC), the designated monster behind what promises to be 2000 megawatt of coal generation in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney. Two plants billed as users of efficient coal-fired technology will supposedly take root in the “failed industrial zone” and give it life. The cost would be in the order of $8 billion and generate over $17 billion worth of carbon liabilities.
Australia’s dinosaur political class is delighted at the latest foray into environmental spoliation. “This is exactly what the market needs,” chuffed Coalition backbencher Craig Kelly. Furthermore, to show that the conservative wing of politics is happy to forfeit any laissez faire credentials regarding the economy when needed, Kelly is keen for generous taxpayers’ support. “If the Government needs to underwrite it, if it needs a little help, then that’s what we should be doing.”
Gone from the conversational babble was China’s February announcement through the Dalian Port authorities restricting Australian coal imports. “The goals are to better safeguard the legal rights and interests of Chinese importers and to protect the environment,” explained Geng Shuang of the Chinese foreign ministry. The point is worth reiterating, since similar bans were not applied to the coal from other states. The indefinite ban was the bitter icing on that particular issue, confirming prolonged clearing times for Australian coal since the start of February.
The announcement of the mining venture had its predictable reaction in the environmental movement in Australia. The Greens federal member for Melbourne was aghast and, as is his wont, got into the realms of hyperbole. Protests would ensue; mass disaffection would take to the streets. These latest coal plans, according to Adam Bandt, “will make the Franklin Dam campaign look like a Sunday picnic.” What of, he said, any acknowledgment of the recent climate shocks gripping the continent? “We just had our hottest summer on record. If Labor and Liberal [parties] give this project the tick of approval then you will see civil disobedience in Australia on a scale never seen before.”
Interference by China in Australian matters is enchanting printing presses and stalking the corridors of power in Canberra. Like other obsessions, it is clear that this one is inconsistent and variable, manifesting in various forms like an inconsistent fever. James Laurenceson’s Do the Claims Stack Up, Australia Talks China, concludes that “in each case, the evidence base [on interference] is shown to be divorced from the claims found in headlines, news reports and opinion pieces, revealing just how widespread has become the discourse of the China Threat, China Angst and China Panic”. When it comes to coal, the threat transforms; China Blessing, or China Grovelling come to the fore. (The Yellow Peril becomes the Yellow Salvation.)
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The process of individualization is the current phase of human evolution. This phase began to democratize at the European Renaissance. Now it wanes. The two World Wars increased the scale of human targeting—in state terrorism, suffering and annihilation. Auschwitz was the terminus of civilization; the atomic atrocities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, warnings against omnicide. The largess of human personality vanishes. Environmental consequences of modern warfare are scarcely spoken of. We continue in systems of falsification and exploitation and a culture of excesses and violence.
What is wordless is unthinkable. When naming happens the named is open to endless communication.
The next phase of human evolution is the transformation of ego-self into eco-self. In core dynamics this shift involves turning the long journey into the interior outward to geo-biotic relationships and in dialectic alternations between reaching deeply into the past of origins and moving conditionally into an Ecosophic Future.
In the ongoing century this, which is already an affinitive calling, will democratize further. The coming on of this spreading and taking root; more and more comprehensively reshaping contours and the content of existence; opens the greater possibilities of human survival, sanity and planetary stability.
Likely this will democratize only out of increasing and intensifying tragedies, reducing global human presence to sustainable levels. Challenges are unprecedented. The process into eco-self-identity and Earth-based affirmation is terrifying and sublime.
Persons dedicated to the next phase should willingly support one another, learning and mastering living between tragedy and necessity. Each should serve as an invitation to directional dialogue. Alert senses, emotional spontaneity, intuition and critical thinking—with the goal of mature response-ability—are vital powers in the shaping of the Practical Gestalten of an Ecozoic Era.
Only in the presence, or in an immanent expectation, of a life-altering event (or in response to a traumatic, life-altering anti-event) does integrity fully manifest and define human identity. As passion of anticipation declines, or is suspended, the evil urge reintroduces: confusion and lassitude existentially proliferate. From thence partiality in decisions increases, often leading to personal and social fragmentation or even, on occasion, a hollowing out of affirmative values, being replaced instead by apocalyptic betrayals popularized and politicized as our inevitable species destiny.
It is in the ascension of the next phase for pathfinders in quest of, if not engaged in blazing, new directions to apply the Native American attitude of doing what is done with a signature of identity for seven generations, each generation working for yet seven more to follow thereafter.
Even if it dreams over the rainbow, as practicum of the next phase, The Great Work plans both now and beyond the horizon for a condition of welcoming, in health and wellbeing, for those who are yet unborn.
Aggression, cruelty, arrogance, malignance and greed are among the worst human traits. Tenacity and tenderness, kindness, humility, courage and the openness to participate with creation in reverence and respect give countenance to the best of who and what can be. The greater benevolence of human beings is yet to become.
To harden is to become a mask. The mask is moribund and belongs to death. To be familied into the next phase of human evolution is to be porous and to become an Ecosopher of the Ecozoic. Why not call this transition salvation? Why not name this pursuit heroic? Why not mandate that the embracing of life (Human and Holy) is sacred?
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THE GREEN TROUBADOUR A Source Book of Performance Ecosophy
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