Australia is leading a mining boom to provide resources for the ‘green energy transition’ - a transformation in energy and infrastructure which the Paris Agreement (2015) stipulates must occur to avoid perilous levels of global heating. Within Australia and globally, this mining expansion is affecting already stressed environments and communities, with impacts likely to dramatically increase as mining projects are pushed through to meet industry demands.
Forests can help us mitigate climate impacts - yet Victoria's native forests are being logged and burned, writes Alana Mountain writes for Chain Reaction #142.
Friends of the Earth Australia welcomes the release of the national State of the Environment report. Although required to produce them every five years, the previous Coalition government held up the release of the report, delaying Australia’s ability to respond to the biodiversity crisis outlined in the document. Australia has produced a national state of environment report every five years since 1995. They assess every aspect of Australia’s environment and heritage, covering rivers, oceans, air, land and urban areas. They show that our natural environment is in continuous decline. This report is the first to consider how our declining natural environment is impacting on the health and well-being of Australians. It is also the first to include Indigenous co-authors.
We know that Australia is facing ever worse climate change driven disasters (‘UnNatural’ disasters). These include worsening fire seasons, longer heatwaves, increased flooding and longer droughts. The following are some suggestions on how Australia should be responding to longer and more intense fire seasons. Having a new national government offers huge opportunities to fine tune how we fight fires. The first thing, of course, is to stop contributing to climate change. This means increasing our ambition on climate change (for instance committing to a 75% emission reduction target by 2030) and ending the development of all new fossil fuel projects. Reducing emissions will reduce future climate impacts. We also need to increase our ability to fight fires as seasons get longer and more intense.
Aerial firefighting capacity – planes and helicopters - are an essential component of Australia’s ability to respond to bushfires. This was demonstrated in the 2019-2020 bushfire season, when an unprecedented use of aircraft occurred. This summer was mild in the east but Western Australia saw months of terrible fires.
In compiling this edition, Chain Reaction asked activists to share their experiences of gender (in)justice and dismantling the patriarchy within the broader environment and social justice movement. Chris Schuringa shares their experiences in this Chain Reaction #140 article.