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Opinion

Opinion pieces by the team.

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Appeal 2013 Leadbeater's Possum

In 2011, after the worst fires since European settlement razed more than a million hectares of forests and farms, MyEnvironment Inc., with the support of local communities and conservation groups, applied for an injunction to stop logging of three sites spared the fires in the Toolangi state forest - and were successful. The three areas buffered a small reserve in Toolangi for the states faunal emblem - the Leadbeater’s Possum. The total area applied for amounted to 100 hectares, equal to around 0.06% of the 158,000 hectares of Ash forest open to logging by VicForests.

The case for conservation verses exploitation in Victoria’s spectacular Central Highlands Forests

Scientists from many countries are recognizing the importance of native forests in their multiple roles of storing carbon, regulating climate and weather systems, providing clean water run-off to streams and supporting biodiversity. Mountain Ash Eucalyptus regnans dominated forests of the Central Highlands of Victoria, are exemplars of the above characteristics. It has now been clearly demonstrated that simplified forest structures such as plantations cannot achieve the same environmental benefits. It is the complex ecosystem structure of a natural forest that provides all of these outcomes, which are further enhanced as the forest ages, and are maximised in a mature (or old growth) forest. Consequently, native forests should be left standing to deliver benefits to environment and society as they grow old naturally and gracefully.

Feminism Can Wait

Wendy Harmer, The Hoopla, June 2, 2013

Is Tony Abbott a misogynist, garden-variety sexist or just a macho bloke with a clunky turn of phrase?

Is Julia Gillard a true feminist warrior or cynically playing the gender card? Is she a closet Queen Bee?

To me the bigger question is, are our leaders greenies?

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The Next War Won’t Have Guns

Steve Biddulph - Tasmanian Times - 25th May 2013

World War One, we are told, began with the shooting of an Archduke.  Within four years, eight million men were dead.  It was a clash of empires, fought over coalfields and colonies, there was no good side, despite what the chaplains on both sides said. The men and boys from a hundred thousand villages were poured into the grinder because they were available, the surplus harvest of empire.

The Second World War arose from the injustice of the first.  Poverty and shame drove people to Fascism.  This time the whole planet was a battlefield.  40 million died.  The Cold War that followed hung in the balance through thirty years of nuclear threat, which we carefully and gradually stepped back from.  We are learning.

The Third World War will not be fought with guns.  It’s the battle for the earth, not its ownership this time, but its existence.  Who would have thought that of all the shortages our profligate living would lead to, it would be the very coolness and calmness of our planet’s skies. 

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Minister Ryan Smith snubs communities

Ryansmithmp

In a harsh blow to regional communities, state Environment Minister Ryan Smith has rejected a meeting to discuss the future survival of wildlife in forests affected by the fires and logging.

Annus Horribilis

December 31, 2012

2012 was the worst year for the environment in living memory.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 1st January 2013

It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half century.

Three weeks before the minimum occurred, the melting of the Arctic’s sea ice broke the previous record(1). Iconic remnants of the global megafauna – such as rhinos and bluefin tuna – were shoved violently towards extinction(2). Novel tree diseases raged across continents(3). Bird and insect numbers continued to plummet, coral reefs retreated, marine life dwindled. And those charged with protecting us and the world in which we live pretended that none of it was happening.

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The Ethics of Extinction

ethicsofextinction

An essay explaining the plight of Victoria's Leadbeater's Possum and why the business case to continue it's extinction does not meet goals to manage the forests for the best public good.

Sending Leadbeater’s Possum Down the Road to Extinction

The Conversation - 14th December 2012

David Lindenmayer

Professor, The Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University

We have studied the effects of current widespread clear-felling in Victoria’s Mountain ash forests for almost three decades. Clear-felling now loses large amounts of money for the state of Victoria, degrades the forest, erodes water catchment yields, increases fire risks, and is driving Leadbeater’s Possum – the state’s faunal emblem – to extinction.

An alternative pathway is to reform (and significantly reduce) the loss-making pulpwood and timber industries, capitalise on the massive financial carbon values of these forests, maintain and then improve the water catchment values for Melbourne, and, in doing so, protect the globally endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.

It’s our choice.

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CHANGES TO COMMONWEALTH POWERS TO PROTECT AUSTRALIA’S ENVIRONMENT

COAG’s April 2012 agreement to hand over Commonwealth environmental approval powers to state governments puts at risk decades of environmental reform, and risks the health of nationally and internationally significant environmental assets which the Commonwealth has an obligation to protect.

There is no justification for handing the Commonwealth’s approval powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to the states. Instead, this statement proposes an alternative suite of reforms to help deliver COAG’s dual goals to “reduce regulatory burden and duplication for business” and at the same time “deliver better environmental outcomes” for Australia.

Mr Peter Cosier, Dr Richard Davis, Prof Tim Flannery, Dr Ronnie Harding, Prof Lesley Hughes, Prof David Karoly,
Prof Hugh Possingham FAA, Mr Robert Purves AM, Dr Denis Saunders AM, Prof Bruce Thom AM, Dr John Williams FTSE

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The waste in Tasmania’s forests: most timber left to rot

Crikey

Andrew Macintosh and Richard Denniss | Dec 14, 2012 10:19AM

In debates about native forestry, it’s common for the industry to claim its activities are sawlog-driven and carbon neutral. But as this infographic shows, a hard look at the data shows that most of the biomass affected by harvest operations is left to rot (or burn) on the forest floor, or ends up as woodchips and processing waste …

infographic wood waste crikey

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