CategoryEnvironmental Ethics

Creating Mordor When We Could Be Building Rivendell. Our Dismal Performance on Renewables


The first time Sandy and I drove across Kooragang Island we were confronted by a large swamp devoid of any vegetation other than string of dead trees poking up out of the water. We turned to each other and simultaneously exclaimed “Mordor!”. Kooragang Island is home to Newcastle’s coal loader and such destruction had been unleashed that it truly resembled a barren wasteland from...

“Scientists are not agreed that humans are causing climate change”. What a load of bollocks.


We human beings have an amazing ability to believe what is patently false. One of the more stubborn falsehoods is the idea that scientists don’t agree on climate change. It’s often argued that either the very fact of climate change is disputed by scientists and/or that scientists agree climate change is happening but are divided as to whether it is being caused by human action. The...

Backward Steps on Climate


Hot on the heels of the appointment of a businessman who doesn’t think climate change is induced by humans to head up a review of the Renewable Energy Targets (Gee, I wonder where that might go?), comes the Abbott Government’s redefining of Australia’s objectives for international climate negotiations. This is what the 2013-4 budget portfolio statement said when the previous...

No Tony, economic growth is not the answer to everything


In his speech to the World Economic Forum  last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot made this incredible statement: As always, stronger economic growth is the key to addressing almost every global problem. It summed up the direction of the speech, which was a plea for small government and freer markets. But if the two greatest global problems of our time are extreme poverty and...

Why We Should Respectfully Ignore the Climate Sceptics


Climate sceptics are entitled to their opinions but they are not entitled to pretend there is a scientific debate going on. They should be given the same accord in public debate and policy making that we give to those who argue children should not be vaccinated. I respect their right to their opinion but at the end of the day it is misinformed and dangerous nonsense that should be ignored by...

Watching the Reef Die


The Great Barrier Reef is dying. It’s hard to believe but we are witnessing the decline of one of the great natural wonders of the world. Yesterday, the Queensland Government released a report that shows the health of the reef is now “poor”. A panel of independent scientists appointed to survey the evidence said: Globally, reefs and other coastal marine ecosystems are exposed to...

Like Lemmings to the Sea…On Our Sheer Climate Stupidity


Somewhat unfairly, the small Arctic rodent, the lemming, has been thought prone to bouts of mass suicide. The same can now be said of humankind, although in our case the charge seems more accurate. Last month the World Bank released a report, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided. In the formal tones of a bank report it shows the world is on track to be four degrees warmer by...

Creation Care. A Call to Action by the Lausanne Movement


The Lausanne movement is a movement of evangelical Christians focussed on global mission. At a consultation earlier this month the movement issued a call to action on the environment. The full text is reproduced below. What do you think? Introduction The Lausanne Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospelmet from 29 Oct – 2 Nov 2012 in St. Ann, Jamaica to build on the creation care...

Why debating science won’t convince many climate sceptics


It seems that scientific literacy has little to do with attitudes to climate change. Given all the major  scientific academies, most esteemed science journals, and major scientific bodies affirm the high probability that human actions are changing the climate, one might expect that the more scientifically literate a person is the more likely they will be to accept the scientific consensus. This...

There’s a Whole Lot More to Our Environmental Challenges Than Climate Change


Listening to the public environmental discourse at the moment I hear a lot about climate change and little else. The reality is that climate change is but one of many serious environmental challenges confronting the world today. My attention was drawn to this by a 2009 paper “A Safe Operating Space for Humanity”. A collaborative effort by a group of leading earth scientists, the paper...


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