Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Vigilantes – or a world not knowing its enemy?

According to those in power in Australia, laws to prevent rape of Australia’s fragile environment constitute “vigilante litigation”:
Attorney General George Brandis has branded the case against Carmichael “vigilante litigation”. So the government is proposing to water down community groups’ rights to challenge these projects under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA).
If one judges by experience of the Enriched World and reading as a student journals like Socialist Worker, Socialist Alternative and Green Left Weekly, it’s easy to understand Brandis’ stance. There is no doubt that modern Enriched World politics and culture has its roots in class war that could be described as “vigilante”: workers came to believe they produced bosses’ wealth and should own it themselves, producing continual demands for increased redistribution and absolute equality of condition. Except at its theoretical beginnings the switch from limited traditionally religious monarchy to big-government, atheist democracy has been continuously driven by lower classes’ demands for equality of outcome. This tendency has by no means disappeared from the Enriched World: we still see workers demand redistribution and regulation when their security is threatened. Land-surfeited Australia has been substantially immune to this, probably because the majority are too physically distant from the super-rich to produce envy. Vigilante politics, radical egalitarianism and envy-based cultures are – as one can see on an ecological level – incompatible with civilisation. The failure of the most fertile regions of the Western Hemisphere – the North American prairies and the whole Southern Cone of South America – to develop any sort of indigenous civilisation is a dramatic expression thereof. Their “ecology” does not allow for any sort of cooperation because phosphate and chalcophile nutrients are exceptionally abundant, favouring those species that can reproduce most rapidly and/or simply evade predators best. Both traits – especially the latter – exclude the cooperation essential for complex societies.

According to one 2009 Sydney Morning Herald article Australia may directly and indirectly total 16 percent of global greenhouse emissions – or fifty times the per capita average. Self-interest rather than local community interest dictates protest, just as it does in the Enriched World. The crucial difference is that, unlike the Enriched World, more jobs in Australia are produced from coal production that preservation of unique, localised and rare species.

At the same time, the costs to Australia’s economy from global warming are unpaid by the present political powers in the mining industry. The most terrifying problem is how those who suffer most from Australian greenhouse gas emissions – West Australian farmers losing their former winter rainfall – are the people most dependent for current livelihoods upon Australian greenhouse emissions not being cut to zero, as doing so would multiply energy costs of transportation. Australian farmland is sufficiently cheap that private owners’ incentive is not to maintain its limited value but to extract it as a non-renewable resource. Because little soil formation has occurred in Australia since the Carbo-Permian glaciation around three hundred million years ago, lost soil stands irreplaceable and Australian soils are strictly non-renewable, unlike the Enriched World where active volcanoes or glaciers continuously supply new soil

The question is whether the problem of Australian greenhouse emissions and species extinctions will become so severe in the long term that the rest of the world – uncompetitive against a nation with per person incomparably more flat land and undiscovered minerals than the global average – will recognise Australia as the keystone in all environmental treaties from endangered species to pollution to greenhouse warming. Should this occur, Enriched and Tropical World governments and people would understand they possess every right to demand Australia’s polluting industries pay all global costs, both of direct overseas losses from Australian greenhouse pollution and by wholly remedying the cause. This complete remedy would require an uncompromising zero-emissions Australian economy be created via:
  1. Complete demolition of Australia’s trunk road system
  2. Ensuring all transport investment is constitutionally mandated to be on rail – both the most energy-efficient land transport system and ideally suited to Australia’s flat terrain
  3. If private motoring does continue, mandating all vehicles on Australian roads consume no more than 3 litres per 100 km of fuel (minimum fuel economy of 80 miles per US gallon)
    • this is ¼ the current average, but technologically achievable as early as the middle 1980s
  4. Complete demolition of coal-fired power stations in favour of renewable energy and shifting energy-intensive production to nations with reliable hydropower
  5. Complete bans on land clearing and large-scale revegetation programs on farms likely to be or already being rendered unviable by Australia’s own greenhouse gas emissions
  6. Large-scale investment in a national park system to protect Australia’s numerous paleoendemic species and ecosystems essentially unchanged from before the Antarctic Ice Sheet formed 38,000,000 years ago
Making these demands without compromise is recognising who the global environment’s enemy is – Australian mining companies who export their pollution scot free.

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