environment

December 2015

TROTSKY

Success for revolution

So far Trotsky is convincing me all the more of what he kept reiterating in The History of the Russian Revolution and in The Transitional Program. A militant, action-oriented party deeply grounded in Marxist principles is essential for the success of a revolution.

It all makes me grateful to the FSP staff. You are steeped in a lineage of knowledge from Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Cannon, and Fraser and are passing that on to the rest of us, giving us a compass to steer through confusing times.

December 2015

The 21st U.N. meeting on climate change is set to convene in Paris on Nov. 30, 2015. While politicians speechify and demonstrators demand the first binding international treaty, neoliberal pundits cook up alibis. A case in point is a Nov. 4 New York Times opinion piece by former BP chief scientist Steven Koonin.

October 2015
California is in the midst of its worst drought in recorded history. Nearly half of the state is classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being in “exceptional drought,” the most severe category. All three main water sources — snow pack, groundwater, and reservoirs — have suffered unprecedented declines. Entire lakes have dried up, and a half-million acres of agricultural fields throughout this normally abundant land have been forced out of production.

One river system is throttled, another is drowned.
Bitter Harvest: The Legacy of the Snowy Mountains Scheme
Peter Murray
issue 22
Summer/Autumn 2000

Politics and water are intimately related in Australia, the driest inhabited continent. For example, after a close election, Victoria now has a minority ALP government, supported by rural independents. One of these, Craig Ingram, gained his seat on the basis of a single issue — restoring some of the flow of the Snowy River. Steve Bracks, the new Premier, has committed his administration to gaining an annual release of 28% of the pre-1967 flow from the headwaters of the river, up from the pitiful 1% currently released from Jindabyne Dam.

August 2015

In the summer of 2014, Shell began quiet negotiations with the Port of Seattle to establish a winter home for its fleet of oil platforms and ships. Shell’s aim is to explore and drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea, in a geologic formation known as the Burger Prospect, where up to 1 million barrels of oil per day await exploitation.

April 2015

Oil and oil prices — they are on the minds of everyone.

When the price of oil plummets, it’s a relief for beleaguered workers around the world. With wages falling or jobs gone, and services and education cut, paying 30 or 40 percent less for gas and heating fuel is huge. But the decrease is temporary, due to a supply glut.

Meanwhile, countries who provide oil and countries who need it clash in a global brawl whose risks include war, occupation, and economic ruin. This apparent free-for-all can seem mystifying, but there are basic facts and truths that can be understood.

RADICAL WOMEN SUPPLEMENT
Water is a feminist issue
issue 36
Summer/Autumn 2007

Victoria burning, Melburnians choking from the smoke, parched land everywhere. This is life in the southeast corner of the earth’s driest continent. Across the Pacific, on the U.S.-Canadian border, pre-Christmas storms flooded homes, cut power and blocked main roads. On Christmas day, post-tsunami Aceh and North Sumatra were once again under water and mud. These are just a few climatic flashpoints striking the planet in more places and with increasing frequency.

Red Earth: A socialist perspective on climate change
Peter Murray
issue 36
Summer/Autumn 2007

No one in charge. When I was a teenager, I stayed in the Victorian goldfields town of Castlemaine. Even then, it was obvious to me that something was wrong in the way people dealt with the natural world. The ecosystem was so stressed that you could see the box forest disappearing. In that case, unregulated and unplanned mining had lowered the water table in the local area. All but the most robust box gums were unable to send roots deep enough to find groundwater. There was also a drought. There’s always a drought, it seems, but droughts can be managed. No one was managing in 1973.

Red Earth
A question of power
Peter Murray
issue 39
Winter/Spring 2008

At the very sharp end of the climate change crisis is the energy question. Most of the planet’s electricity generation is derived from coal, and all motorised transport requires the consumption of fossil fuel or other organically derived material. Coal, oil, gas and so-called “biofuels” are all based on carbon. When carbon is burnt, it oxidises, forming carbon monoxide, a deadly poison, and carbon dioxide (CO2), the main contributor to global warming. There’s no escaping the basic chemistry. Burn one tonne of carbon and you get 1.9 tonnes of CO2.

Bankrupting Dissent
issue 39
Winter/Spring 2008

The federal minister for destroying the environment, Peter Garrett, has made a series of outrageous pro-business decisions, including approval of the Gunns pulp mill near Launceston, the dredging of Port Phillip Bay and a desalination plant near Wonthaggi. All three projects pose considerable risks to the environment and have led to the formation of local protest groups dedicated to protecting their local ecosystems. The Gunns project is in doubt after a leading bank pulled its support, citing environmental concerns.

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