Sunday, March 17, 2019

The RBA has sounded the climate change alarm. Time to sit up and take notice

On Friday tens of thousands of school students around the country took to the streets to voice their anger over inaction on climate change. It came three days after the assistant governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia warned about the impact of climate change on our economy. This week really should mark the end of the line for anyone within politics or the media being able to spout climate-change denialism without being met with scorn and jeers. It also should mark the time when boldness and verve becomes the norm for any climate-change policy.
For most people with common sense, our current climate-change policy debate remains utterly frustrating. The problem is there are some in the conservative media and politics who, either due to gross stupidity or a willing desire to fake stupidity, are determined to continue that frustration.

Read the story from The Guardian by Greg Jericho - “The RBA has sounded the climate change alarm. Time to sit up and take notice.”

Saturday, March 16, 2019

150,000 students strike for climate action around Australia.

15 March 2019: An estimated 150,000 students and adult supporters across Australia joined massive, vibrant, nationwide climate strikes today, in over 60 cities and towns across the nation, demanding immediate and urgent leadership from Australian politicians to tackle climate change. Internationally, students in over 100 countries also took action. 
The Sydney School Strike at Town Hall - one of over 60 - March 15.
Next steps: Students are discussing further strikes if they don’t see the action they need from politicians. Other plans include #ClimateElection KickStart meetings at the end of March to make plans to pressure politicians to show climate leadership, and local climate change candidate forums where candidates will be challenged by school students to commit to stop Adani and act on climate change. 

Read the School Strike for Climate Action, Australia - “150,000 students strike for climate action around Australia.

‘Monster' El Nino a chance later this year, pointing to extended dry times

Relief for Australia's drought-hit regions could be a long way off, with climate influences in the Pacific and Indian oceans tilting towards drier conditions and a large El Nino event a possibility by year's end.

Climate scientists said the conditions in the Pacific were particularly concerning given an unusual build-up of equatorial heat below the surface that could provide the fuel for a significant El Nino.

Read the story from The Sydney Morning Herald by Peter Hannam - “‘Monster' El Nino a chance later this year, pointing to extended dry times.”

Friday, March 15, 2019

Students striking for climate action are showing the exact skills employers look for

On March 15 2019 thousands of students across Australia will skip school and join the global strike for climate action. This is the second time students have taken to the streets to demand more government action on climate change. Last time they did so, in November 2018, the federal resources minister, Matt Canavan, told them:
Why would striking students end up in the ‘dole’ queue’ when
they’re seeking to understand a global issue, taking action
 and clearly articulating their perspective? 
The best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue. Because that’s what your future life will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge for your life and getting a real job.

Politicians are up in arms about tomorrow’s protest too. New South Wales is just over a week away from a state election where climate change is a key issue. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has slammed as “appalling” comments made by Opposition Leader Michael Daley in support of the strike.

Read the piece from The Conversation by a Lecturer in Education from CQUniversity, Australia, by Karena Menzie-Ballantyne - “Students striking for climate action are showing the exact skills employers look for.”

The fear of climate change is transforming young identities

Rallies planned across Australia on Friday drew thousands of students who walked out of school to protest inaction on climate change.
Young people's sense of self, identity, and existence
  is being fundamentally altered by climate change.
These Australian students joined children from more than 82 countries who are striking to highlight systemic failure to address climate change.

But the strikes represent more than frustration and resistance. They are evidence of an even bigger process of transformation.

My research investigates how young people's sense of self, identity, and existence is being fundamentally altered by climate change.

Read the piece from The Conversation on ABC News by Blanche Verily - “The fear of climate change is transforming young identities.”

Support for striking students

If Australia’s politicians think they have heard the last of students calling for more action on climate change, they have got another thing coming.

‘‘We’re not going to just go away,’’ Olivia Boddington, 15, said at a climate strike in Canberra yesterday.
Striking school students in Brisbane yesterday.
The Year 11 student was one of tens of thousands of Australian students, parents and activists who took part in nationwide protests about inaction on climate change.

The students have three demands: stop the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, no new coal or gas and 100 per cent renewables by 2030.

‘‘If the politicians are just going to throw our futures away there’s nothing we can do but be out here and say — we’re not going to let you do that,’’ Olivia said.

‘‘I want to see them acknowledge us and understand that we’re not going to give up until they do something.’’

Yesterday’s protest comes months after students first skipped school over climate action, a move condemned by the prime minister.

This time students are taking part in a day of global action with more than 90 countries participating.

Students were this time supported by wider cohorts of the community, with Time for action: unions, academics, universities and several politicians joining in solidarity.

Crowds gathered across the country at 60 locations, including Sydney’s Town Hall Square, outside Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building and in Brisbane’s central business district.

School students held signs with slogans such as ‘The climate is changing, why aren’t we?’ and ‘Make earth cool again’.

The movement was inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, 16, who has been striking for climate action since August.

Greta’s activism has earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Senior cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has criticised the students for striking and said the move would damage their education.

‘‘Usually strikes are when employees withdraw their labour from an employee, so I’m not sure why the students are withdrawing themselves from school. It only damages their education,’’ he said.

Mr Pyne said the students should be in school and, if they wanted to engage in political activism, it should be on their own time.

Labor national president Wayne Swan defended student activism.

‘‘Great to see young Australians demonstrating their support for a sustainable future and repudiating the climate change denialism of so many conservatives in our community,’’ he tweeted.

An opinion piece from The Shepparton News - “Support for striking students.”

Slap Tomorrow group, planner join calls for a bike corridor to boost cyclist safety in C.B.D.

Cyclist safety needs to be boosted in Shepparton’s CBD if cycling-to-work takeup rates are to be improved, the Slap Tomorrow group believes.

Some believe a separated north-south bicycle corridor would be beneficial, creating a key safe cycling arterial along Wyndham St.

Meanwhile, Greater Shepparton City Council has new shared cycling paths planned for the first half of the year.

A ‘‘super Tuesday’’ count from March last year revealed just more than 500 people cycle to work in Greater Shepparton.

This falls short of the council’s target of getting 688 people cycling to work, according to a recent update of progress made in a council plan.

Slap Tomorrow chair John Pettigrew said cycling into and out of the Shepparton CBD was just as safe or dangerous as that of bigger cities and that more and better infrastructure was needed to properly encourage cycling. SLAP Tomorrow is a local group interested in future transport modes in the Goulburn Valley.

Mr Pettigrew believed the emphasis should be on encouraging people to cycle to work.

When the takeup rate of this was strong, he said ‘‘that’s when the big change will occur’’.

‘‘When we get into highly congested areas, the main arterials, we don’t think we have got the infrastructure there to really encourage (cycling).’’

He said: ‘‘We’re keen to make cycling more user-friendly in CBD in Shepparton. I think there’s arguments for segmented bike lanes in places, shared paths in other areas’’.

According to the council, shared paths have in recent years been created on Ford Rd, the Goulburn Valley Hwy and Impey St and on-road bicycle lanes installed on Corio St, Old Dookie Rd and Sobraon St and in Tatura and Kialla.

Council’s planning department has proposed to undertake a review to a current strategy, subject to budget approval for the next financial year. It also says by the end of June this year, shared paths will be created as a result of cycling risks identified by the council at Balaclava Rd-GV Hwy to the Gowrie St school crossing and Packham StBalaclava Rd to duplication.

Urban designer Bruce Echberg, who has helped design a number of projects in Greater Shepparton, believes Shepparton has a good network of recreational paths, including those along the river, but doesn’t have as strong a ‘‘commuting pattern’’.

For him, one of the keys is to create a safe, separated north-south cycling corridor along Wyndham St that would be ‘‘totally off-road and protected’’, connecting Emerald Bank in the south and the city’s sports precinct in the north.

‘‘I think getting a north-south route would be one of the first things to do . . . Fryers St, that could easily have a separated off-road bike path through it.’’
He agrees safety for cyclists could be improved in Greater Shepparton.

Mr Echberg said there was no reason city residents couldn’t cycle every day of year. ‘‘The key is getting people to feel safer riding bikes.’’
Mr Echberg said the only way to do that completely is with a fully separated network.

Story by Thomas Moir from The Shepparton News - "Slap Tomorrow group, planner join calls for a bike corridor to boost cyclist safety in C.B.D."