I know I’m no news source, but today I feel the need to report on Australia’s protests on the Adani mine. A national ‘day of action’ occurred on the 7th of October, 2017, to protest what would potentially become Australia’s largest coal mine in the delicate region of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. It would not only accelerate the impacts of global warming, but it would destroy the natural resources in the area, and further violate the trust of our First Nations people.
Now, that’s a lot to cover, so I’ll go over each point in turn.
The last point will be my first; our First Nations people are currently fighting to receive a treaty, and recognised sovereignty over their native lands. This is an important point, because currently the Australian government does not ‘recognise’ First Nations’ claims to their heritage and natural homelands. Deeply rooted in racist and imperialist viewpoints, the current stance by the Australian legal system continues to leave our First Nations people at a systemic disadvantage from their health, livelihoods, and right to claim the use of their land.
Such claims include, but are not limited to, mining activity. Our First Nations people are deeply connected to nature in Australia, and beyond financial compensation for their past traumas and harsh treatment, mining without their consent destroys the natural ecosystem that their ancestors spent thousands of years preserving. With increasing awareness of these struggles, and the long-term impacts of global warming, the Australian public is beginning to rally behind our First Nations people and the proper care of our natural resources. One instance of this activity were the protests that occurred on October 7th.
The destruction that a large coal mine would bring to the Australian environment would be devastating. Current coal mines already are. Disrupting the water table that keeps our country hydrated, contributing to carbon emissions that warm our planet and kill our flora and fauna during the increasingly hot summers, increased bushfires and floods as a result of the changing global climate, bleaching our coral reefs, poisoning our river water, and leaking toxic chemicals into our soil and air. Simply having the mine would be catastrophic to the country it’s in; imagine how bad that a large one would have on the planet.
Coal is one of the clearest contributors to carbon emissions that cause global warming. Ideally, if we want to avoid a catastrophic change to our planet. There are large-scale repercussions; the end to food security, increasing numbers of refugees escaping countries destroyed by flood, cyclone and fire, and increased strain on our health systems as we struggle to cope with more frequent instances of heat stroke.
And when it comes to health, a warming planet isn’t good for humanity.
Microbiologists have found that bacteria and viruses grow stronger the hotter the planet gets. The flu virus in 2017 is already among the worst we’ve faced, and I’m not optimistic that it’s about to get any easier. This means illnesses that are harder to treat, infections that won’t be fixed by antibiotics, and more people dying from the flu. Add these complications to extreme weather illnesses like exposure and heat stroke and you’ve got a killer combination. I could write a whole blog post about how bad it could get, but what we need to focus on is how to stop this from happening.
Steps 1 and 2 are essentially, reduce our carbon emissions, and stop global warming. This is not possible with new coal mines; it’s possible with renewable sources of energy. Eco-friendly lifestyles and homes. A change.
I am immensely proud of the thousands of Australians who have spoken up and challenged their politicians to do the right thing by the planet instead of allowing corruption and corporate greed to guide their decision.
Keep fighting, keep protesting, and maybe we can get our planet back on the right track.