Tasmanian Times

Article

Barry Jones: Saving Planet Earth

“Eighteen years ago, humanity entered the 21st century, facing unprecedented challenges. Global population expands, life expectancy – both in rich and poor nations – and consumption levels rise unsustainably.

Earth’s raw materials are finite. Water, forests, arable land are under increasing pressure, compounded by “a massive experiment with the system of the planet itself” causing climate change and extreme weather events. Rich, powerful nations exploit weak, paralysed states.

Now we are engaged in a great global conflict of values. Gaps between inconceivable wealth and desperate dispossession create political instability, encouraging terrorism and fundamentalism.

Although science and technology annihilate boundaries, nations turn inward, reinforcing tribal values; political leaders retreat from global goals of compassion, reconciliation and mutual understanding. There is widespread racism, nationalism, militarism, religious hatred, democratic populism, suppression of dissent; we’re using propaganda, resolving problems by violence, promoting fear of difference, attacking organised labour, weakening the rule of law, using state violence, torture, execution. Evidence-based policies are displaced by appeals to fear and anger.

The great tasks before us are to dedicate ourselves to recognise that environment and economy are inextricably linked, and act accordingly. The human condition is fragile, and we must abandon rigid thinking, confusing prejudice with principle.

We must consecrate ourselves to saving Planet Earth, our home, where our species, Homo sapiens, lives and depends for survival. All nations, and all people, must dedicate themselves to protecting our global home rather than the short-term national, regional or tribal interest. We must highly resolve to save the air, save the soil, save the oceans to guarantee that our species, and the noblest aspects of its culture, shall not perish from the Earth …”

Read more here

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]
18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mjf

    November 29, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    … and now to add insult to injury, Adani has announced self funding for a scaled back operation .. just to get things moving.

    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/adanis-carmichael-coal-mine-to-go-ahead-with-plans-to-self-fund-entire-operation/ar-BBQehce?ocid=spa

    Look out polar ice caps. The CC Express is leaving the station. I might have to buy more solar modules now while Australia is looking to import LNG to cover impending shortages. Such a clever country.

  2. MjF

    November 27, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Meanwhile, out in the real world, MacMines Austasia has received Qld CG approval for their $6.7bn China Stone coal greenfields project just 30km from the Charmichael site in the Galilee Basin. Combined opencut and underground ops are expected to produce up to 38 millions tonnes annually of thermal coal for Asian markets with a mine life of 50 years.

    Billions of $’s into government coffers by way of royalties, GST, payroll tax, payg and company tax. Not to be mention more millions spent on regional development and businesses.

    A) Will they get finance ?
    B) can someone tell China, S Korea & Japan we have no coal pls ?

    That should fix this embarrassment.of riches.

    • Keith Antonysen

      November 27, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      MjF …

      Your real world pushes for new coal mines and extensions of existing coal mines.

      The IPCC have just delivered a Report, based on objective data (real world stuff) displaying the world we are creating. A further Report has just been released which is written about the costs accruing to the USA through climate change.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/23/health/climate-change-report-bn/index.html“Coming from the US Global Change Research Program, a team of 13 federal agencies, the Fourth National Climate Assessment was put together with the help of 1,000 people, including 300 leading scientists, roughly half from outside the government.”

      The IPCC Report was put together by 91 scientists reviewing 6,000 research articles, whereas the US Report was a much larger enterprise.

      Quotations of the first sentence of the major US Report from Summary findings:

      1. Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth.

      2. Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.

      3. Climate change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the Nation’s borders.

      4. Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.

      5.The quality and quantity of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by climate change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment.

      6. Impacts from climate change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable.

      7. Climate change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems.

      8. Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being altered by climate change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes.

      9. Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability.

      10. Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, climate change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being.

      11. Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.

      12. Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of climate change in many ways.

      https://nca2018.globalchange.gov

      • MjF

        November 28, 2018 at 6:54 am

        Yes Keith, all very interesting and very well documented thanks to your fave mob, the IPCC. Sadly as a love child of the UN, nobody takes any notice of this “scientific body’s” recommendations where it counts. Any utterances simply fall on deaf ears here and internationally.
        You’ll have to stop coal sales to make any serious inroads. It’s pretty clear. But keep up the enthusiasm.

        I forgot to add previously MacMines still need to gain Federal approvals under an EPBC Act assessment. This should be a doddle, given the potential income stream beckoning.

        • Keith Antonysen

          November 28, 2018 at 8:29 pm

          Actually, MjF, if you have read the comments I have made in the past you would realise that generally I have not commented on the IPCC much. Just lately, the IPCC has published a very salient Report, though a number of eminent science such as Hansen, Trenberth, Mann et al have commented on the IPCC being rather conservative.

          The US Report, referred to previously, was put together by a range of scientists. So, you know better than thousands of scientists represented by the two major Reports … by the IPCC and Us Report.

          Also, if you have read my comments in the past you would also realise that I have referred other mega Reports representing many other scientists. The UN IPCC Report uses the science of many scientists with no association with the UN.

          If you wish to kill people then the promotion of new coal mines or extensions to old coal mines is the way to go. It is not only the extreme weather events, but the destruction to crops and the lack of water resources that creates major problems.

          So, if the plan is to create a dystopian world, create more coal mining.

          • MjF

            November 29, 2018 at 6:42 am

            Keith … All your diligent copy and pasting of whatever climate change indoctrination you can lay your hands on makes no difference, and is of no consequence.

            The question is: what can you do about arresting fossil fuel consumption ?

            Stop being an alarmist, and actually do something.

            I have personally invested in rooftop solar panels and I’m now trying to justify battery purchase. I ride my bike more and bought a more fuel efficient vehicle. I do not invest ethically as a downside, but I love mowing trees down then regrowing them as this increases CO2 conversion. We are also diligent recyclers .. amongst other small contributions.

            What are you doing that’s worthwhile .. besides being the doomsday messenger ?

      • Peter Bright

        November 29, 2018 at 4:59 am

        Keith, here’s the simplest explanation of Climate Change that I’ve come across:

        https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/108928681/Climate-change-101-The-most-important-things-to-understand-about-this-urgent-problem?cid=edm:stuff:dailyheadlines&bid=849813130

        The Liberals deny it because their prime focus is on money. For them, reports of Climate Change are “an inconvenient truth”.

        I suspect that Climate Change denialists are, like Liberal voters generally, short on intellect.

    • Russell

      November 28, 2018 at 7:26 am

      You can’t eat coal and you can’t drink oil.

      Don’t come begging or crying when you have neither.

    • Russell

      November 28, 2018 at 7:27 am

      Food or the water to grow it or drink, that is.

  3. Rob Halton

    November 26, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    If it was not for Howard and Morrison stopping the boats then as Hanson often repeats “we would be overrun by Asians”.

    From my context way Post WWII it not the Nips,the Japanese are our friends, a very fortunate transition appreciated by our allies.

    The new peril potentially comes mainly from China followed by others from Western Asia and the Middle East for many who will never form worthy alliances with Australia because of political or religious indifference.

    I am responsible enough to exclude India from having indifference with western culture and its ideals.

    • Peter Black

      November 26, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Rob, it is obvious your comment is misplaced in this article, but having searched the articles I cannot see where you meant to post your comment.

  4. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    November 25, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Ted, I think your attitude to Jones is grossly unfair. During the Hawke prime ministership, quite a lot of progress was made on environmental issues, as I am sure you are aware. That was when Jones had the outer cabinet science portfolio, but he was edged out in a factional deal in April 1990, well before Keating came to power, who was the one who started to take down a lot of the environment progress made by his predecessor, as you aver.

    Jones could hardly have done much to influence Keating from the backbench, especially since Keating himself was heavily influenced by treasury economic rationalists, at a time when the extractive industry bodies in Australia were starting to organize and systematically attack environmental intervention in the economy.

    I think in the circumstances, to accuse the man of ‘hypocrisy’ at a time when he was only able to offer back bench advocacy in a milieu dealing with one of Australia’s most powerfully dominant prime ministerial egos ever, over whom he had no particular influence other than his reputation as a well known MP boffin, is a bit bloody rich!

    The man was never, even in his political prime, a heavy hitter with a lot of leverage in high places. His fame, and what we remember him for was being a particularly articulate and brilliant public intellectual.

    His enormous contributions to public thought, rational debate, evidence based thinking, combined with his prodigious applied intellectual insight, is all too precious now, in an age when real debate and genuinely constructive controversy over big ideas is all but dead, and replaced by banalities, posturing, stereotyping and PR/marketspeak…

    To dismiss him so casually and with so little real thought or research denies him the credit that is his due, and does you very little credit at all, Ted Mead.

    I doubt very much whether we will ever see his like again in public office. He was a one off and he deserves every bit of respect we can give him for being the national treasure that he is.

  5. Keith Antonysen

    November 25, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    The first sentence from reference … “It takes less than two weeks for half of the planet’s annual precipitation to fall.”

    https://www.livescience.com/64129-earth-rain-12-days.html?utm_source=notification

    The Arctic is in a mess, the thickness of ice, and the amount of multi year ice is disappearing. We only need a melting season such as experienced in 2012 to see some very dramatic results.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2817/with-thick-ice-gone-arctic-sea-ice-changes-more-slowly/

    The USA is having a torrid time.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/us-climate-report-1.4797373?fbclid=IwAR3NH1BY51_8ib2KRAYafCZJABQY1OntZO99EUCa3bciwQetDutsaX7Lq_4

    You need to be a supporter of the Monash forum to not believe anthropogenic climate. The problem is that the Monash forum rules the LNP on many policies, including climate change. We should be commenting on options regarding mitigation and adaptation.

    The IPCC has provided a very sobering Report based on science, and we ignore such a Report to the detriment of our children, and young people generally.

  6. Ted Mead

    November 24, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Unfortunately Barry, whilst you were one of the brightest sparks amidst Labor late last century you didn’t convince too many of your fellow Neanderthals to do something about protecting the environment.

    That entire Keating era saw nothing progressive on environmental issues. All it produced was ongoing national forest destruction through the RFA process, with essentially free reign given to the likes of Gunns and Harris Diashowa to plunder our native forest which has contributed to the current climate change mess we are facing.

    So it seems pointless and hypocritical now to stand on the podium and state what needs to happen when you could have made an impact whilst you were in your influential position.

    Ineffective post posturing is all that can be claimed now!

  7. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    November 24, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Ah Realist … for ‘a realist’ you seem to have a very blithe attitude that doesn’t seem to be informed by much research, and you obviously haven’t been following the warnings put out by marine (the water climate) scientists. It isn’t just atmospheric climate science ‘hoaxers’ who are giving us the bad news that obviously you are not interested in hearing.

    And in case you hadn’t noticed, globally, the post WW II consensus and the geo-political settlements that came out of it seem to be falling to bits, something which is auguring some very likely exceedingly unpleasant changes …

    There were plenty of people around just like you, towards the end of the 1930s, who believed the lies they were being told about the Germans in what was then the British news masthead of public record, ‘The Times’, that the Nazis weren’t as bad as all that, that the tanks in their military parades were really just cardboard replicas, that Hitler was ‘a reasonable’ man when treated reasonably, that business-as-usual was moving right along and that really, we didn’t have too much to worry about.

    La la la la la la … eh, ‘Realist’?

  8. Realist

    November 24, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    “Earth’s raw materials are finite. Water, forests, arable land are under increasing pressure, compounded by “a massive experiment with the system of the planet itself” causing climate change and extreme weather events. Rich, powerful nations exploit weak, paralysed states.”

    Barry needs a chill pill. Last I looked the earth has 75% water coverage, forests are renewable, our paddocks are just fine and the massive experiment that has created Man’s living standards to be the best of all time.
    Nothing like a good dose of pessimism eh, Barry?

    • Russell

      November 25, 2018 at 5:33 am

      Most of that water is either salty or polluted, ‘realist’ denier.

      It takes hundreds of years to replace trees which are hundreds of years old. This doesn’t happen as they are cut down within a decade and burned, putting even more CO2 into the atmosphere. It also takes 10 hectares of seedlings to replace just one mature growth tree.

      Our paddocks are stuffed, otherwise they wouldn’t need so many artificial fertilisers and chemicals and extra feed just to break even. Most of Eastern Australia is in drought, and has almost reverted to desert because the land has been flogged to death and irrigation has made the soil saline.

      Nothing like a good dose of truth, eh?

      All the science has been done.

  9. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    November 24, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    I have a lot of time for Barry Jones. He represents someone whose like we are unlikely to see again. His Lincolnesque lament has all the hallmarks of a requiem.

    Despite his sombre eloquence and undoubted incisive and refined intellect, his peroration on the passing of an age is missing something, which is .. why on earth it has come to this?

    He plots the scenario, but he hasn’t joined the dots as to why ‘the system’ is succumbing to pathology. There is no sense of some historical process that might explain what is driving us towards a collective cliff .. other than the rise and rise of ‘dark and irrational forces’.

    If one probes these forces, they are proximate effects, not underlying causes.

    Nor does he have an explanation as to why the tradition, that he himself has so nobly upheld, has lost its historical traction and is succumbing to bankruptcy, like all the rest. There is no hint of self-reflective consciousness here that might suggest to him that the liberal tradition has been co-opted, corrupted and progressively corroded away by its complicity in a regime that consumes everything it touches .. including ultimately itself, in a terrible cannibalistic end game.

    The Indulgence Capitalism that rolled out in the 1960s, that intensely embedded itself in itself into an ever more deregulated and privatised economic, social, cultural and ideological infrastructure, was essentially a Faustian pact, and now after 50 plus years, as they say, The Devil wants his due.

    Across the board indulgence, deregulation and privatisation have been initially able to make themselves look benignly progressive, profitable, asset enriching, enlightened and humanitarian, no matter which side of the regime one was on. It certainly seemed that way at the time.

    Cutting slack and corners, cribbing virtue out of the second rate, making excuses for and fudging poor behaviour, and tolerating excesses across the board, gradually starts to compound interest white ant the foundations of our environmental, economic, social and existential infrastructure, and its capacity to reproduce itself into following generations.

    Institutionalising indulgence is a slow moving but relentless catastrophe-in-the-making. It is not benign on any front.

    500 years ago, Martin Luther attacked institutionalised indulgence because it corrupts even the very best in us. He argued that it renders our good works and best intentions as worthless, which is why not being able to tell the difference between compassion and empathy, and indulgence, is so devastating.

    For him, the only escape from its effects was blind faith in the grace of his god, that despite everything, he would deign to save humanity from its egregious and wilful sins, because we are still his children.

    We seculars have no such escape. The only salvation that we can possibly hope for is that we can somehow unpick the generations of lapsed judgement, destroy its carriers, get back to the basics, start again and resolutely refuse to tolerate indulgence of any sort in ourselves or others. And it is going to be tough. It will almost certainly mean war and a post-modern transition, as indeed it did as Luther’s Reformation laid itself out alongside the rise and rise of that modern world.

    Sorry, Barry. In my time I have loved you well as a public figure. You embodied the best of us and it grieves me to see what has happened to the things you believed in. But it is altogether too late to save them now. Go in whatever peace is left to you. We must move on.

    https://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/2064958-The-Secular-Fundamentalist

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Receive our newsletter

Copyright © Tasmanian Times. Site by Pixel Key

To Top