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Our planet, our future, and our fight to defend them!

Written by: Nick G. on 23 April 2020


Several weeks ago, scientists revealed that the Great Barrier Reef was experiencing a widespread coral bleaching event.

It is the third such event in five years, has struck all three regions of the world’s largest coral reef system and is more widespread than ever, according to scientists from James Cook University in Queensland.

The damage to the reef is a direct consequence of both global warming and the run-off from land of pollutants. 

Ocean temperatures across most of the reef were 0.5 to 1.5 degrees above the March average, but in southern sections that had escaped previous bleaching events ocean temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius above average.  
Water quality has deteriorated because of sediments, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and pesticides coming from the land and associated particularly with intensive farming practices.

The destruction of the Reef is a direct result of the failure of capitalism to acknowledge and deal with global warming.

Under pressure from the people to take action to save the Reef, the Turnbull government in 2018 donated $444 million to a fossil fuel front organisation, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which had not even asked for it!  The Foundation diverts concerns about global warming into false hope of the Reef’s “resilience” and “recovery” as we pointed out at the time here .

The primary legislative basis for government action on the environment is the Environmental Protection and Biodivesity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). It is full of loopholes and has been no safeguard against the Reef’s bleaching, against major natural disasters like the 2019-20 bushfires, or any one of a number of threats to wildlife.
The Act has been the subject of a public review that ended this month. Fossil fuel lobbyists and property developers amongst other capitalist interests have seen the review as an opportunity to “get rid of green tape”.  They want to water down the already ineffectual protections under the Act.

Tied in with this is the fear from the renewable energy sector that “governments and powerful business lobby groups may use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to water down environmental controls, with the fossil fuel industry most likely to take advantage.” 

This is precisely the scenario outlined by US author Naomi Klein in her 2007 post-Hurricane Katrina study “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”. In a recent interview, she said:

The “shock doctrine” is the political strategy of using large-scale crises to push through policies that systematically deepen inequality, enrich elites, and undercut everyone else. In moments of crisis, people tend to focus on the daily emergencies of surviving that crisis, whatever it is, and tend to put too much trust in those in power. We take our eyes off the ball a little bit in moments of crisis.  
We can see the beginnings of an all-round attack, not just on environmental protections, but on every aspect of our way of life in Prime Minister Morrison’s statement last week that the economic crisis engendered by the virus lockdown meant “the policy frameworks that we had prior to the election will need to be reconsidered”, and that meant “policy measures that are going to have to be very pro-growth, that are going to enable businesses to employ people, that will enable businesses to invest and businesses to move forward”.

This means that the receptiveness of the government to pre-pandemic calls to water down “green tape” will become an open slather assault on anything that stands in the way of “growth” and “investment”.

Our Party program has a strong position on environmental crisis and climate change, including the statement that “Biodiversity matters to the working class”.  

Consistent with our Program, we have made our own submission to the Review of the EPBC Act.  It can be downloaded here

It is our planet, our future, and it will be our actions that count.

Let no-one stand in the way of our right to act.


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