Students of Sustainability conference 2014

Originally posted on Peace Convergence:

What is SOS?​

Students of Sustsos14poster1ainability (SOS) is an annual, volunteer-organised five day conference and festival bringing together hundreds of students, activists, artists, writers and researchers interested in dealing holistically with questions of environmental and social justice. Through plenaries, workshops, skillshares, performances, presentations, artworks and actions, SOS explores everything from deep theoretical issues to questions of everyday political praxis.

SOS aims to articulate the challenges posed by the present ecological crisis not merely to our energy supplies or regulatory regimes, but to the foundations of our economic and social system; to the stories we tell, how we think, what we create and who we are. It is a unique event with a defining role in the Australian environment movement and in all movements working towards a society that is sustainable because it is just, and just, because it is sustainable.​


​What does your ticket include?​

The days will be…

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2014 Budget signals more weapons spending, less defence workers

Originally posted on Peace Convergence:

ImageThe 2014 budget has drawn criticism for cuts to health, education and welfare, with more than 2200 defence civilians and contractors to be sacked, while the Liberal government’s budget pushes for billions in military ‘hardware’ spending. 

Total defence outlays for the coming year will be $29.2 billion (up $500 million) and the government will spend $122.7 billion on military hardware to 2017-18.

In the face of cuts to welfare for young people under 30 and increases in the cost of uni fees, the government is instead encouraging young people to join the military with the ADF gap year program – with a price tag of $191.8 million over four years.

Defence budget expert with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) Mark Thompson told news.com that the budget is, “as good as it gets for defence”.  Not so for veterans who see cuts to pensions, superannunation and medical assistance in this budget.

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Environmental and racial injustice. The saga of Northern Territory radioactive trash dump plan continues

Originally posted on Antinuclear:

handsoffEnvironmental Injustice in Australia – Nuclear Waste, The Stringer,  by Kate O’Callaghan,  May 8th, 2014 Muckaty Station is a small township in the remote Northern Territory, 110km north of Tennant Creek and roughly 800km south of Darwin.  Also known as Marlwanpa, the land is held under Native Title having formally been returned in 2001 to thetraditional owners – the Milwayi, Ngapa, Ngarrka, Wirntiku, Kurrakurraja, Walanypirri and Yapayapa peoples.  Muckaty is also the proposed site of Australia’s first national nuclear waste dump or, as it’s officially called, radioactive waste repository.

Australian governments have been trying to settle on a nuclear waste site since the mid eighties, but have met fierce community opposition at every turn.  Muckaty is the sixth proposed site since the search began.  In 2007, the location of the site was nominated by the Northern Land Council (NLC) on behalf of several members of the Ngapa clan. …

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Uranex company faces reality: getting out of uranium industry, changing its name

Originally posted on Antinuclear:

bad-smell-nukeUranex dumps uranium for graphite  Brisbane Times, May 13, 2014 – Greg Roberts  The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster killed the dreams of many an Australian uranium explorer.

One of those, Uranex, has survived by changing commodities.

It went back and kicked the dirt again on its tenements in Tanzania and discovered another resource there: graphite.

In 2012 a stubbornly weak uranium price and a 200 per cent rent hike by the Tanzanian government spurred it into action……..

Graphite is in demand because it is a necessary component in rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

An eventual predicted take-up of electric cars would spur even more demand – nearly 40kg of graphite is used in each of those batteries.

Graphite has been used in batteries for decades because it is an electrical conductor, but the technological explosion in smart phones and other portable devices has sent demand soaring.

Uranex would be in production by…

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Fraser calls for closure of Pine Gap US spy base

Originally posted on Peace Convergence:

pinegapMalcolm Fraser has called for the closure of the Joint Defence Facility Australia at Pine Gap, writes the ABCs Matt O’Neil. The former prime minister says that Australians could be charged with crimes against humanity in the future over US drone strikes which are reportedly co-ordinated from the facility.

Listen here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/malcolm-fraser/5414694

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FoE: Military pollution an additional insult to human rights in the “Pacific Solution”

manusThe leaking of an environmental report into the Manus Island detention centre (The Guardian 4 Feb, 2014) reveals additional risk to the health and well being of people seeking asylum. Military bases leave a legacy of water and land pollution that can poison inhabitants for decades.

Manus Island has a long history of military occupation and use as base, including the Australian, United states, Japanese and British Military. Unexploded ordnance, fuel storage and the use of military chemicals are known pollutants affecting human health worldwide. It is likely that, without any kind of remediation, pollutants have leaked into the soil and air of Manus Island putting detainees, military and Manus Island inhabitants at risk.

In a 2013 report US bases: the social and environmental risks, FoE researcher and military spokesperson Kim Stewart lists the contaminants commonly left behind by military occupation. They include:

· Perchlorate, the primary ingredient in rocket fuel, known to be contaminating groundwater in 42 US states and numerous bases worldwide. Linked to birth defects and thyroid problems;

· White phosphorus, a particularly cruel form of weapon that not only burns the skin of people it touches (like napalm), it also poisons them;

· TNT, RDX and other explosives, linked to cancer and CNS problems;

· Mercury and lead, bio-accumulating heavy metals known to cause neurological problems,
heart problems, even death;

· Depleted uranium and plutonium, leading to cancers and deaths;

Careless storage and disposal of military materials has lead to hundreds of leaking drums, pipelines, underground storage tanks, landfills and contaminated buildings worldwide, including Australia. Manus Island will be no exception.

The Abbott government has a responsibility under the international human rights agreements not to add further injury to the health of people fleeing war, nor to add to the ongoing infringement of the human rights of the local people by continued occupation of Manus Island.

Further information:
Stewart, K (2013) US bases: the social and environmental risks
http://www.academia.edu/4200497/US_bases_in_Australia_the_social_and_env…

Media contact:
Kim Stewart, BSc hons, MSW Friends of the Earth – Military Pollution Spokesperson, PACE – Peace, Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy – Collective
0413397839

Friends of the Earth: “Resist, Mobilise, Transform”
FoEB www.brisbane.foe.org.au
FoEA www.foe.org.au
Qld Nuclear Free Alliance http://qnfa.org/
Friends of the Earth Brisbane

For indigenous people, Australia Day 26 Jan – day of mourning

qnfa:

scene33Indigenous traditional lands the world over have been stolen and polluted for the nuclear industries benefit. This week is a good time to reflect on what dispossession means to Australia’s traditional owners.

Originally posted on Antinuclear:

Australia Day: Indigenous people are told to ‘get over it’. It’s impossible,  AmyMcGuireGuardian, 27 Jan 14 When Aboriginal people boycott celebrations, we are told to move on. It’s like the breathtaking legacy of disadvantage we have to endure did not exist,

, Every year, Australia tries to wash away its hidden history with displays of overt nationalism. On 26 January, Australians plant their union jacks in parks and beaches across the country, or on the faces of small children who are taught nothing about what the symbol means to those people this nation believed it conquered. For the majority of them, there has only been one name for the date: Australia day.

But for the First Peoples, there have been several. Survival day, invasion day, sovereignty day – each word loaded with the pain of 200 years of dispossession that has left Aboriginal people impoverished but, against the odds…

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Dr Helen Caldicott responds to claims of Robert Stone and “Pandora’s Promise”

Originally posted on Antinuclear:

Caldicott-2013Nuclear power no answer to climate change The Age, October 7, 2013  Helen Caldicott Advocating nuclear power as an answer to global warming is analogous to prescribing smoking for weight loss.

Nuclear reactors do not stand alone but rely on a massive industrial infrastructure using fossil fuel and other global warming gases.

Renewable energy that is readily available, cheaper than nuclear and coal, and can rapidly avert global warming must be immediately implemented by global governments.

Robert Stone is rightly concerned about global warming (The Age, October 4) so I refer him to an excellent study, Carbon Free Nuclear Free http://www.ieer.org/carbonfree/ demonstrating that the US could achieve this by about 2030.

Let’s examine the Fukushima disaster – Australia’s uranium fuelled the reactors.

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Australian Council of trade Unions warns government against Muckaty nuclear waste dump plan

Originally posted on Antinuclear:

AustantinukeACTU against nuke tip  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/actu-against-nuke-tip/story-fn59noo3-1226734351992#sthash.sbragkQn.dpuf JOE KELLY OCTOBER 08, 2013   THE ACTU has warned the Coalition against proceeding with a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory. The move comes as green groups expressed concern the development of a new business case for the facility could see Australia become a radioactive tip for the rest of the world.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said yesterday the Coalition supported the establishment of a nuclear waste storage facility in a “geologically stable location in the Northern Territory”, enabling low and medium-level nuclear waste, including waste from NSW, to be stored securely.
Mr Macfarlane told The Australian no new decisions had been made regarding the Muckaty Station site, which is the subject of a Federal Court case after some indigenous people complained they were not consulted and took legal action. Hearings are scheduled for June.
However, as reported by The Australian, the…

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57 Years since Maralinga: Australia’s uranium fuelling disaster since the 1950s

MaralingaDespite claims to the contrary, Aboriginal people did wander through radiated lands. They camped in fresh craters, to keep warm and to trap rabbits blinded by cobalt pellets. When discovered, they were compulsorily showered, their finger nails scrubbed with soap. The women suffered miscarriages. They were herded in trucks or pushed onto trains, expelled from a sacred site at Ooldea, a day’s walk from Maralinga airport. Alice Cox — at 87, the oldest survivor of the tests — remembers it well. “Soldiers everywhere. Guns. We all cry, cry, cryin’. Men, women and children, all afraid.” 
John Keane, “Maralinga’s afterlife” The Age May 11, 2003i

57 years ago today, uranium from the Northern Territory was used in the One Tree nuclear test at Maralinga in South Australia. The 12.9 kiloton bomb dropped on Maralinga-Tjaratja land was similar in size to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.Fallout from Maralinga nuclear tests dispersed over most of Australia, reaching Townsville in the north and Lismore in the east. The people of the land and those exposed have never been compensated.

2 years ago, uranium from the Australia fuelled the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima. As the crisis continues to unfold, evacuees face a life of displacement and uncertainty, while environmental impacts remain incalculable.

Despite the misery caused by our uranium, one year ago, Premier Newman reneging on a pre-election commitment, announced that he would allow uranium mining to go ahead in Queensland. 

Today, Maralinga serves as a reminder of the real risks posed by a uranium industry in this state. 

Uranium is a radioactive heavy metal, the mining of which exposes those involved and the environment to radiological hazards and contamination. Water used in mining is rendered radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years making it unusable for human consumption and toxic to plant and animal life. Uranium mines in Queensland could threaten significant waterways such as Settlement Creek and the Great Artesian Basin.

Australia’s uranium legacy already includes: nuclear weapons, nuclear meltdowns, water way contamination and radiation exposure of workers.

It is time to learn the lessons from the past. Leave Queensland uranium in the ground.

For more information:

Read the report “High Risk, Low Return” the case against uranium mining in Queensland” http://www.brisbane.foe.org.au/uploads/1/4/1/7/14174316/highcost-lowreturn-uinqld.pdf

Contact: Robin Taubenfeld Friends of the Earth Brisbane 0411 118 737

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