(Cartoon by Mark David | @MDavidCartoons)
Independents may be our only shot at helping the environment
Our governments should be ashamed of decades of neglect in scaling back carbon and methane emissions. In the upcoming Federal Election, we must vote to erode monopoly politics, writes Gerry Georgatos.
Governments lie, religiously. So, it means, contextually, they don’t care that we know. What they care about is: that we cannot do anything about this.
All governments rule by tyranny.
Our mortal home – Earth – is made up effectively of three layers: the crust, the mantle and its core. It is vulnerable, even to the human eye.
The Earth is not some immutable solid rock in a celestial canvas of permanence. It is an imperfect storm of thin density rock, basalt and granite layered over hot rocks that temper above molten rocks, where at the Earth’s core, temperatures reach up to 50,000°C.
In 2018, I was invited to make a couple of presentations at the Melbourne Writers Festival. I talked about two books which nurtured my consciousness of our responsibilities and obligations to the common good.
Rachel Carson, an environmental scientist, wrote Silent Spring. It was published in the year of my birth: 1962. I read it when I was nine, after being inspired to learn more of our world following multiple reads of the Dr Seuss booklet, The Lorax.
Carson documented adverse effects to the environment and to humans from the use of synthetic pesticides. She was shellacked by fierce rebuttals from chemical companies.
Carson would not live to see the USA’s nationwide ban on DDT — the toxic chemical compound, dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, originally developed as an insecticide. It would still be decades later before DDT was effectively banned globally. Despite the USA’s nationwide ban, American chemical companies exported it to other nations.
Disinformation is a dangerous marketing tool that assists in the making of massive profits for chemical companies. I often argue the ability to discover the truth is outstripped by the capacity to manifest deceit.
Carson’s posthumous legacy was to inspire an environmental movement, leading to the crafting of the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In the 1970s, there was the brimstone shock of understanding that our planet was heating up. There was as much baseline understanding of this then as there is today but for two decades on either side of this century, disinformation shellacked humanity as it had Carson and her supporters. In the meantime, the planet’s atmospheric temperature has increased by about 1°C.
The Earth’s surface is drying, the seas are warmer and rising and what we are doing to the planet’s lithosphere below us is yet to be fully understood. But we do know what we are doing to the Earth’s filament – the surface of its crust and the residue oceans, seas and rivers – and to its atmospheric strands.
How can we trust one another? Who will lead the way?
“Godly” powers in the hands of humans have led to wars and abominations — Nagasaki and Hiroshima; the obliterative vanquishing of 200,000 human lives in seconds. What lies ahead for our unborn will indict our generations’ sins as we damn the sins of reprehensible and cowardly inactions of previous generations.
In our butterfly-brief lifetimes, we have seen more species extinction than ever before in human existence. We do not heed warnings. We do not heed rising temperatures — atmospheric and of the seas. We do not heed the impacts of the maddening deforestation of the planet. We do not heed the veils and layers of human-made pollutive permanence.
Parliaments fail us — there is no science-based leadership. There are slagging and slogans but no proposed Bills to address excess dangerous emissions, educate the nation and cut through to caveats, protections, calibrations, balances and legislation. We must protect by legislation and not walk in minefields of intentions, pledges and promises.
The Australian Senate should be ashamed of itself for decades of absence of proposed Bills to scale back carbon and methane emissions. There should have been Bill after Bill, categorical to the half score emission types heading our unborn and all life on this planet to the darkest tumults and catastrophes.
Instead, the psycho-educative isn’t happening and the firmament of science has been reduced to bylines. Meanwhile, all of us remain hostage to a brutal public spectacle of obscene slagging.
We need Independents to score their way into the Senate – and into the House of Representatives – to erode monopoly politics. The balance of power must never be under the control of the government. Catchcries by political parties – major and micro and any Independent – which beg voters for a “balance of power”, suggest a lack of understanding of what democracy means. The calling to a political life should never be about power and control but about voice and education.
The balance of power must never be under the control of the government
We need leaders who understand the premise, “first, do no harm”. If our senators – our legislators – do not understand this, then hope is lost.
Methane is anywhere up to 100 times more toxic to the environment than carbon dioxide. Most people – parliamentarians – do not know this. Horrific levels of exploitive animal agribusiness produce the equivalent of 7.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide annually – accounting for 15 per cent of greenhouse emissions – more than the aggregated emissions of all motor vehicles, planes and other types of transports.
Animal agribusiness-generated emissions, if not challenged in the decades ahead, are projected to produce half the world’s greenhouse gases. We are heading into an abyss, fast. Sixty billion of the world’s 80 billion farmed animals are factory farmed — the majority cruelled into miserable lives.
It is not where do we start but when? What are actually authentic clean energies? What are genuine renewable energies? What do we know about “all” greenhouse gases? We need to be informed rather than misinformed.
A decade ago, coal-based emissions needed to be limited by 2050 so as to stay within the prospect of a 2°C rise in temperature by the end of the century. Independent Senate candidates may be our only shot at helping the environment – if they can get elected – and if they have understood science and mathematics.
Voter disillusionment has always been sea-deep but, tragically, many drown. The current larger-than-usual number of Independents suggests there might be more genuine candidates than usual. Voters can break the cyclical duopoly. “Polypoly” is a way forward — government by the many.
We need government in the service of the people and the planet, not presidential-type tyrannies crafted by factions bent on power and control. We need to move away from all types of power and control and dump reprehensible slogans about a “balance of power”. Anyone who calls for a balance of power does not understand the meaning of democracy. No one should hold the balance of power. It ensures many as invisible and can lead to corruption.
Governments must reflect the nation they serve, not its divides. They must be bastions of humility and service, crafted into assisting the nation — not leading but, rather, in service to all, marginalising no one. Government must be a voice for education and collaboration.
Any politician or candidate who begs for your vote to ensure any form of balance of power (power and control), well… no government should ever be allowed to control both parliamentary houses. This leads to disaster.
Inexpert persons – many who are lobbyists for prejudices and divisive harmful idealogues and some who are operatives for vested excessive self-interest groups – majorly comprise the present duopoly. Voters can revolt, take the first steps to a fairer and safer political system and refuse to vote for the duopoly. They can vote to erode monopoly politics.
Our children and the unborn deserve a better inheritance than this dud deadlock of a cyclical duopoly. Power and control survive by eroding universal rights and civil liberties — they cannot co-exist. Human rights and social justice will never thrive in power and control-based manifests and ideologues.
Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention and poverty researcher with an experiential focus. He is the national coordinator of the National Suicide Prevention & Trauma Recovery Project (NSPTRP). You can follow Gerry on Twitter @GerryGeorgatos.