Wednesday, 20 April 2011

230 million tonne coal loader for Barrier Reef

Open Cut Coal.

Caesarean section
of Ancient Earth.
Torn from its womb,
the monster within.

Tiny fingers
flick switches.
Machines reshape us
as flabby minds watch.

Equal and opposite…
Isaac’s third law.
Climate change backlash
The extinction Tsunami.

Save the children!
Save the children!
Not yet, not yet.
We can’t afford it right now.

"Coal is Nature's Hazardous Waste Dump". From the 1990 play '20-20 Vision'.
Pics courtesy and National Geographic.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great post Stafford

  3. Addditional information:
    The new Abbot Point coal loader will load 10% of world exports. Add that to existing capacity and Queensland will export 350 million tonnes PA. That produces nearly 1,000 million tonnes of CO2. Australian coal will then be the source of around 20% of global emissions.
    There is clealy no global commitmnet to cut emissions in time to save major ocean food chains and other calcium based sea fauna like corals.

    We are clearly living in a parallel universe with scientists stating facts to the converted and the public (read voters) listening to populist opportunists.
    Coal really is nature's hazardous waste dump and we are exhuming it at a terrifying rate.

    However, the argument here is that there are plenty of countries that will export coal if Australia doesn't. So it is the purchasing economies that must replace coal with renewables. Hurry up please, I have grandchildren!

  4. Here in the US, they literally destroy mountains to get to the coal.

    Stafford, in case you haven't made it back, someone commented on your response and, of course, I did too.

  5. A fervernt plea, eloquent, wise .... everyone needs to be listening.

  6. Helen, listening is good but that must be followed by everyone screaming at their governments... "Fix it or we find someone who will!"

  7. Hi Stafford I'm here via snow's blog. Your comment about our health care system in Australia puts Australia in a better light, which I as a fellow Australian appreciate. Not for the sake of nationalism, but to avoid all that Aussie bashing you sometimes hear, as if we are all hicks. I enjoy your poem here, especially the opening - the idea of a mine as a caesarian of the earth. Great stuff.

  8. Helen said: "Screaming is good!"

    Thanks a lot, Helen. I followed your advice, and all that came of it was that my neighbors called the cops on me.

  9. Good one Stafford - love the image of the caesarian (well hate the concept but you know what I mean) - we all need to act NOW!!!!!!!

  10. Sentiments spot on! Our children will inherit the mess we have created. But we can sort it out tomorrow and of course tomorrow never comes.

    Folk still insist in burying their head in the sand for it is easier to do nothing. We do need to act now - but we wont.

    Anna :o]

  11. Wonderful work, in its flawless execution; potent, unrelenting message. Keep up the spirit and the excellence, my friend. =)

  12. All these thoughtful comments beg the question: What can we do?
    There are a thousand adjustments we can make from cutting back on packaging to living closer to our workplace but the big changes will have to come from government and we know it.
    But are we willing to pay a little more for renewable electricity or generate our own?
    No matter who you believe in the climate change debate, there is no doubt about the outcome. The only point at issue is the time scale.

    Then we need to realise that issues like gay marriage, turning back the boats, pink batts and even double sided knitting will no longer matter when we are fighting over the last barrel of oil and a place to live and grow food.

    Baden-W├╝rttemberg in Germany just elected the world's first Green Party led state government.
    I wondered, where next? Queensland?

    Then I had a vision of a flock of pigs flying in formation over a multimillion dollar Plastic Fantastic cruising out of Southport Seaway with the obligatory bikini clad blonde lolling on the foredeck while up in the flybridge sits an obese white clad male twice her age.

    He pushes both throttles to full plane, vaguely hoping the wind will remove her top as the screaming diesels suck in two hundred litres an hour. He gives the pigs a desultory wave of recognition and exults in the power he wields, courtesy of an apathetic electorate.

  13. Oh, Stafford. What would I do without you and your ardent environmental heart? This post saddens me but strangely also gives me hope. I think it's because you care so much. It makes me realise that while people still care and hope there is a chance for change. Bless you, my friend!

  14. while flabby minds is so maddening and frustrating- and the real source of the problem is that there are too many people and how does one stop that?

  15. You are right Stafford we should scream to our governments to start reform and change....the old saying "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" very true....we must stand up and take action. You are a wise and passionate man Stafford....we need more people in this world with your fervur! :-)

  16. That last stanza is just brilliantly astute, Stafford. "Flabbyy minds", indeed.


(leave a message)