Pigs take flight: Chief coal miner becomes Gore prophet

24 09 2007

A sign of the times perhaps.  The environmental enlightenment has come so far in the last couple of years.  Unbelievably, the head of Australia’s coal mining union (CFMEU) is learning how to give Al Gore’s keynote presentation.

I’m so shocked I don’t know quite what to make of this.  Below is recent News Limited coverage.  (I suspect the heading should probably read “Miners embrace fight against climate change.”)

Miners embrace climate change

 By Tony Maher

September 19, 2007 12:00am

IN The Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore speaks of his family’s struggle to come to terms with their history as tobacco farmers.

When faced with the evidence of tobacco’s harmful affects, the family’s initial instinct is to ignore it – until Gore’s sister is herself stricken with lung cancer and the charade of business as usual is crushed forever.

The scene struck a chord with me – the national leader of Australian coal miners – who is charged with looking after both short term interests of wages and conditions – as well as long-term job security…..

See the rest of the article here.


Death by neglect

19 09 2007

The shameful loss of Indigenous culture continues in Australia’s rural and remote communities.  Of the original 250 + Australian languages, only 145 are still spoken.  Of these, only perhaps 18 languages are considered strong.  Most of the remainder are spoken by either one or just a handful of people.

Will we rise to the challenge and help protect Australia’s indigenous cultural diversity and identity?  It may soon be too late.

Australia tops list for vanishing languages

Northern Australia is the region where most Indigenous languages are under threat, the study says. (File photo) (AFP: Torsten Blackwood)

Australia has topped a list of “hot spots” for the extinction of Indigenous languages.

The list was put together by linguists from the Enduring Voices project, which seeks to document and revitalise languages slipping toward oblivion.

David Harrison of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, the project’s co-director, says there are 6,992 recognised distinct languages worldwide.

He says on average, one language vanishes every two weeks, often as its last elderly speakers perish.

The project, backed by National Geographic magazine, named a region of northern Australia including parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia as the place where local languages are most threatened.

The linguists say Aboriginal Australia harbours some of the most endangered languages, with 153 different ones spoken in this region.

Read the rest of this story at the ABC news website. Click here.

See also the results of this study into Australian Indigenous language stabilisation which has been comprehensively ignored at the political level.

A green QANTAS – oxymoron?

19 09 2007

I reproduce an email from our national airline:

Comments welcome.

Hello Verdurous,
It’s natural to fly carbon neutral
– new carbon offset program
– now you can fly carbon neutral
– today only, Qantas is flying carbon neutral

Today we are proud to launch our new carbon offset program. 
Under the program, Qantas will offset all of the emissions
generated by our staff business travel and our ground
transport operations – every day.

To get the program off to a flying start, we are funding a
‘Fly Carbon Neutral Day’ – and will offset the emissions
from every Qantas and QantasLink flight that departs today
only, from anywhere in the world.

And every time you travel with Qantas, you can now choose to
offset your share of flight emissions with a small monetary
contribution via qantas.com.  100% of your contribution
(excl GST) will go towards an Australian Government approved
‘Greenhouse Friendly'(TM) abatement program.

For more information visit qantas.com/flycarbonneutral.