Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The death penalty.

At thirteen, my son was introduced to Heroin by trusted adults. That one act was enough to ruin his young life and thus began almost half a century of grief for his family and his friends and a sadness we will carry to our graves.

This week we saw the execution of two people who had organised others to smuggle enough Heroin into this country to ruin many more young lives.
But both of those men changed while in prison to become leaders in constructive ways that offered other prisoners a role model. That loss was only one of many Indonesia will suffer.

We all saw the grief and disbelief on faces of innocent mothers, fathers and siblings as the executions were carried to their grisly end. But that pain was not matched in Australian media by depictions of pain suffered by thousands of Heroin users, as they slowly destroy their lives and degrade the lives of people who care about them.

The plight of Heroin users was the excuse for the executions, but if we demand an 'eye for an eye', as Gandhi said, that just means we will have a lot of blind people. There is no value in a contest to see who suffers the most. This is not about difference, this is about inclusion. If we widen our scope to include the loved ones of all people in jails and detention around the world we see a compelling oneness. All their loved ones grieve for them, the perpetrators just as much as the victims.

But the death penalty adds a dimension that is more cruel to the survivors than it is to those executed. The death penalty destroys that one emotion that keeps us going against all odds, and that is hope.

Pic: courtesy Daily News.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Not nice.

I feel like a real lucky feller
With her, but I really must tell ‘er:
It’s really insane
To walk in the rain
With me, and not share the umbrella!

Four Greens in the lower house! It isn't enough, but it is a start. For those who are not Australian, we had a state election with the winner having a mandate to lease our electricity delivery infrastructure to Private Interests for 99 years.
OK, but if that must be, lets not force people who choose to generate their own electricity and are off the grid to pay as if they were. Ie, if you cut the wires to your house, you are totally responsible for your own electricity supply and do not pay anything to an electricity supplier. If we do not preclude that now, we pay for 99 years for something we do not receive nor want- about 90 years longer than Big Coal can survive.

Thank you Tess and to RAD for his evocative photo prompt.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Do they think we are completely stupid?

This is the Great Artesian Basin that provides good quality water to farms that are lucky enough to lie over it. This aquifer is replenished from rainfall as far away as Papua New Guinea, and more locally in the Pilliga Scrub.
Coal seams exist within the aquifer, with porous rock above and below the coal.
So, why would anyone be willing to jeopardise this crucial and forever source of water by drilling and fraccing coal seams that are integral to it?.
Gas seeping through the aquifer itself will infiltrate, as gas does, the whole strata.
Toxic chemicals used in fraccing can also move through the aquifer, with the potential of rendering it useless as a water source forever. Forever is a long time.

Now I quote Martin Ferguson, ex Labor politician, now working for the coal and gas industries says: "By threatening to kill the Santos Pilliga project, Luke Foley (Opposition Leader) is sending  a very clear message that he doesn't care about jobs or energy security for NSW."

So, he is saying; for immediate mining jobs, we should be willing to sacrifice this priceless water source. He does not say anything about alternatives in less sensitive areas, or stranded assets, not to mention jobs in green energy. Our governments at all levels seem hell bent on denying climate change and pursuing dirty energy!

Meanwhile, take a look at this from Naomi Klein. (you might need to copy and paste)