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 having read back in my university days 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”, because the workers felt they were entitled to the bosses’ wealth and rallied constantly to demand laws be changed to permit them to express these viewpoints. Except at its theoretical beginnings (which predate all lithophile metallurgy), the switch from limited traditionally religious monarchy to big-government, atheist democracy has been driven at every step by the lower classes’ demands for equality of outcome. In many ways, this tendency has by no means disappeared from the Enriched World: we still see workers demanding class war when their security is threatened. Land-surfeited Australia has been largely immune to this, probably because the majority are too physically distant from the super-rich to produce envy.

It is true that vigilante politics, radical egalitarianism and envy-based cultures are – as one can see on an ecological level – incompatible with civilisation. This is seen very clearly in 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. 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. The latter of these especially excludes cooperation needed for complex societies.

In this sense, Brandis may be right – there is much self-interest rather than community interest in excluding large-scale economic development in large areas of Australia, when coal mines may benefit more people than saving numerous unique species due to reduced greenhouse emissions.

On the other hand, 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 ones most dependent for their livelihood upon Australian greenhouse emissions not being cut to zero: if they were, they would be forced to buy much more expensive vehicles to transport produce. Australian farmland is so cheap compared to scarce Enriched World land that the principle an owner will want to conserve it for future generations does not apply; rather, the incentive is to use it like a non-renewable resource (which it is). The way they produce, in effect, is to add technology and nutrients to their cheap land.

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 – at a huge comparative disadvantage against a nation with per person 100 times more flat land and probably a thousand times more undiscovered minerals than global average – will realise Australia is the keystone in all environmental treaties from endangered species to polllution to greenhouse warming.

If they did, Enriched and Tropical World governments and people would understand they have every right to demand Australia’s polluting industries pay all global costs of their pollution (which directly and indirectly may according to one 2009 Sydney Morning Herald article total 16 percent of global greenhouse emissions or fifty times the per capita average) both in terms of the direct overseas costs of Australian greenhouse pollution and completely remedying the cause through paying for the creation of an uncompromising zero-emissions Australian economy through:
  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. Mandating all vehicles on Australian roads consume no more than 3 litres per 100 km of fuel (¼ the current average and achievable with technology thirty years ago) if private motoring is to continue
  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 unchanged in character from before the Antarctic Ice Sheet formed 38,000,000 years ago
By this means, and a sense of unity that moves beyond aggressive notions of “class war”, the Enriched and Tropical Worlds could recognise who the enemy in preserving the global environment is – Australian mining companies who export their pollution scot free.

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