Posted by: jkirkby8712 | June 30, 2011

Monday 27th June – environmental campaigns keep the news going!

Following his email of a couple of days ago regarding their cycling trip in Japan, I had a brief message overnight from Robert –  –  ‘Weather has been great for last 3 days and great riding through beautiful country side; but may change again tomorrow (weather not country side).  Those hot baths get addictive after a 100+ km ride!  Two more  days riding’.  I believe they will be back in Australia at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the ‘Earth Team’ group, which I used to be a ‘semi-part’ participant of a few years ago [think I went to 2/3 meetings] continue to be very active in trying to promote environmental practices, and ways of living. It’s not just the scientists, politicians and ‘greenies’ who are pushing issues in that respect, but many other groups and organisations. The ‘Earth Team’ is associated with the Uniting Church of Australia, and one area they have tried to promote over many years, is the use of Fair trade products by Australian consumers. Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. According to Wikipedia, the movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold. I think there is at least one coffee lounge establishment here in Sunbury which sells only ‘fair trade’ coffee, along with a number of other items which come under the above categories.  Anyway, the latest email I have received from the Earth Team group notes that   “Over $3 million has been invested in Ghanaian cocoa growing communities since Cadbury launched its Fairtrade certified Dairy Milk chocolate range. This has helped improve the lives of more than 45,000 farmers and their communities. Thanks to everyone who has contributed by buying fair trade”.  It may not be felt that the movement would achieve much success in our kind of consumer driven society, but with numbers like that, affects are possible in areas of the world where such assistance is valuable.

While not quite related to the Fair Trade issue, I like a little quotation that appeared in  the  Earth Team’s email,. Which simply said  –  “Like water, be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth, and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world. ”  [attributed apparently to someone named Brenda Peterson].

And while on the subject of the environment the GETUP campaign team are not resting on whatever successes or otherwise they might achieve – today, they had left Tasmania behind and were up in the far north west of Australia, in the Kimberleys. More correctly, at the moment, they are looking for support from the community to actually create this new campaign  –   as far as I can see, aimed at keeping the area as a kind of national heritage site, in preference to allowing mining companies and other developers to take it over. In describing the Kimberleys, they remind us that    ‘The Kimberley is almost twice the size of Victoria, and one of the rarest environments on Earth today.  This large-scale relatively undisturbed reference site will be critical for understanding how regeneration of ecosystems might occur in the face of climate change.  It is one of the last great Indigenous homelands with 47.7% of the population identifying themselves as Indigenous’.  But GET UP haven’t forgotten Tasmania, and in the same breath   ‘In the Styx Valley of the Giants in Tasmania – home to the tallest hardwood trees on earth, some of these giant trees are being quite literally blown up. The trees are so huge loggers can’t safely fell them with chainsaws, so they use dynamite to bring them down before they are woodchipped and shipped overseas to be made into paper.   In one logging coupe in the Styx – TN047A – which is due to be logged in the next 3 months, Tasmanian devils were captured on infrared film foraging at night for food. Tasmanian Devils are at real threat of becoming extinct. But the habitat of these devils could be saved by the agreement reached last week between the logging industry and environment groups. This agreement could see the immediate protection of up to 570,000 hectares of high conservation value forest if the government commits to fully fund it’.   GETUP is pushing for the government  to support the industry agreement, and  because  they  have just over a week left to influence the Federal and Tasmanian governments before they make a crucial decision about whether to act, the organisation is calling for financial support to meet the costs of an advertising campaign before that happens.

Back in my ‘real world’, today was Committee Meeting day in the office, so normal routines were all over the place, but thankfully, I wasn’t required for the meeting itself, just had to make sure there was some lunch available. While tonight, I headed off to the radio station again, for the second of my new late Monday night show. Despite finishing at midnight, I think I am going to regularly feel like continuing behold that time – the variety and different genres of music that I am trying to promote is a format that I really enjoy presenting, and while 3 hours may seem a long shift on air, I generally feel enthusiastic enough to continue. However currently, we have a three hour limit on shows performed by individual presenters, and I have to stand by that requirement. The other factor of course, is that I need to be up in the morning for another day’s work!!  I generally feel pretty good at midnight, but 6 hours later, is generally a different matter!!!

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