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Seeking the Post-Corona Sunshine: Time for More Momentum on Sustainable Environments and Social Justice

By Denis Bright

Nationwide support for Black Lives Matter demonstrates our capacity to over-ride cautions from political elites during the current public health crisis if the demand for protest is urgent enough.

After 70,000 years of human settlement in Australia, the spirit of the Dreamtime is just as relevant as ever in advancing human rights and ecological sustainability.

Mainstream environmental education can be a refocus of Dreamtime Interpretations and extend from environmental education itself to literature and natural sciences.

The appeal of our exotic landscapes has surely been rekindled by the isolation imposed during the COVID-19 era. Australians might largely be prevented from embarking on non-essential overseas travel for the foreseeable future beyond the proposed COVID-safe travel bubble to New Zealand and some adjacent Pacific Islands.

Neo-conservatives will be nostalgic about a rapid return to the perceived normalcy of a corporately driven society. Promoting fear of China will damage our own economic recovery from the current public health crisis.

Fair scrutiny of overseas investment and commercial franchises are always necessary. These controls should not just be directed at one country which now has frosty relationships with the Trump Administration.

It may indeed take decades before there is a return to even-handed Chinese investment in Australia. In the interim corporate investment will always be at the behest of multinational corporate leaders with their penchant for systematic tax evasion through overseas tax havens and dodgy accounting practices (Nassim Khaden in The SMH 20 May 2018):

Fast-food giant McDonald’s has defended its long-standing practice of paying hundreds of millions of dollars of royalties offshore, which reduces its local taxes, as a legitimate business practice.

The American company’s latest financial accounts for the year ending December 31, 2017, show McDonald’s paid its head entity – previously based in Singapore but now based in Britain – a “service fee” amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Payment of the fee reduced McDonald’s Australia’s tax bill because it lowered its taxable profit.

McDonald’s Australia reported paying a service fee of $388.8 million to related entity McDonald’s Asia Pacific (up from $374.6 million in 2016). The company confirmed the entire $388.8 million was a royalty fee.

Environmental education should indeed be a focus of school curricula options in the post-corona era in most subject areas in contrast to the negative outcomes generated saturation advertising of junk-foods. This not so remote landscape at Chillagoe, just 250 kms west of Cairns hardly needs the enhancement of fried chicken packs.

Focus on Protecting Species and Ecosystems: Image of the Limestone Cliffs from the Chillagoe Caving Club in N.Q.

Creative focus on environments justifies an introductory focus on just how local environments at Chillagoe fit onto the broader patterns of tropical savanna ecosystems.

As with most overseas educational resources, some fine tuning of the Distribution of the Key Global Biomes is required. The main shortcoming of the global distribution map is surely the category of Mixed and Deciduous Forests which needs more sub-classifications and some fine-tuning of inaccuracies in the colourful mix provided for students.

It is for students and their teachers to clarify the diversity of natural and built environments in each of the ecosystems covered. In this recovery phase from a major public health crisis, environmental awareness is good for morale even if it is simply a local walk or bicycle ride.

Even a quite accurate Geology Map of Metro Brisbane is far-too generalised to cover all the habitat niches in local areas where rock formations present a baffling challenge to students and educators alike. Here past heritages, present realities and future trends interact.

Advancing Earth and Space Science (30 April 2020) has provided some topical anecdotes on the easy access available to the Gold Mine Picnic Area at Mt. Coot-tha in Brisbane which I hope to visit myself for the first time. (Report by Evelyn Mervine):

One of our favourite hikes at Mount Coot-tha is along the Ghost Hole Track, which takes you past some old gold mine workings. At Mount Coot-tha, there is gold mineralization is located in small quartz-rich lenses that are located in meta-sedimentary rocks, specifically in the Bunya Phyllite and the Neranleigh-Fernvale Beds.

The gold mineralization at Mount Coot-tha is not spectacular. However, there was intermittent gold mining on the mountain from the 1890s to the 1950s. Today, no gold prospecting or mining is permitted in the forest, but you can take a walk along an easy hiking trail to see an old gold mining shaft and some remnants of mining infrastructure. You can even have a picnic at the “Gold Mine Picnic Area”.

We really enjoy our little hikes through the former gold mining area. The forest is beautiful, and the remnants of gold mining and associated informational signs are interesting. The hike is perfect if you want an easy, but interesting, hike to go on with a toddler.

Image from blogs.agu.org/

Our international perspectives might also be so different if Australians identified with the Biomes on the North-South Divide between the Arctic and the Antarctic.

This perspective takes us such a long way from the mainstream media perspectives of international affairs with an artificial focus on a Washington DC.

The deafness of the Trump Administration to the problem of climate change in the Indo Pacific Basin is indeed one of the gravest security threats of our times. No amount of militarisation of our region will address the problem in the future.

Contemporary geopolitical boundaries do exist. However, the focus on divisions and perceived strategic threats should not be opportunities for the spread of militarism as welcomed by the federal LNP during the Trump era (The Canberra Times, 24 August 2019):

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has opened the first phase of the expanded naval base at Lombrum on Manus Island, it has been reported.

Australia has been working with the US and Papua New Guinea to upgrade the strategically significant deep-water port into a key staging point into Asia.

The base will host Australian and US naval ships as part of a deal signed with Papua New Guinea and is seen as a potential counter to China’s rising influence in the contested South China Sea.

Manus Island now has a new wharf, facilities for maritime infrastructure and long-range communications, and troop barracks, News Corp reports.

The Australian Navy and Air Force have also been involved in training PNG forces and overhauling local aircraft, and four patrol boats are set to be gifted to the Pacific nation.

“It has always been a very strategic location in our region, and this is a base the Papua New Guineans have identified that they would like to further develop,” Senator Reynolds told News Corp.

“This is strategically important … in a military context it has always been important and remains so.”

Senator Reynolds said the defence deal with PNG was worth $42 million per year and included training, infrastructure and hardware.

Base commander Peter Tupma claimed the expansion was necessary.

“The world is shifting and there are power plays in our region and we are very blessed to be in partnership with Australia,” he said.

Does Australia indeed speak for a diverse region when it imposes a militaristic future on an island which served as the location of a refugee detention centre and now a high-profile defence base at the expanded Lombrum Naval Base?

Giving Peace a Better Chance in the Post-Corona Era

Australia: Still Girt by Strategic Seas (image from Jane’s Polynesia Home Page Online 2017)

It was the government of Peter O’Neil in PNG which ordered the closure of the Manus Island Detention Centre which was the scene of riots in 2014. Does the anguish of the 2014 riots justify a militaristic future for the island in a bizarre power game about perceived strategic threats from China to our region? (The Guardian 1 June 2020).

Compulsive obedience to great and powerful friends abroad within the US Global Alliance carries too many blind spots which this weekend’s rallies in both Australia and the USA have sought to expose. A renewed focus on Dreamtime values will surely assist in tempering our obedience to great and powerful friends with alternative visions of new military bases and space warfare as future distractions to the Australian Spirit.

Two leaders from the Five Eyes Intelligence network are already offside with the antics of the Trump Administration from New Zealand and Canada. Australian activism can tip the balance in favour of more dissent in the Echelon surveillance network.

Denis Bright (pictured) is a financial member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to consensus-building in these difficult times. Your feedback from readers advances the cause of citizens’ journalism. Full names are not required when making comments. However, a valid email must be submitted if you decide to hit the Replies Button.

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  1. New England Cocky

    Justin Trudeau is another impressive Western leader who,like Jacinda ASRdern in NZ, makes SCummo Sacled from Marketing look like the unChristian fraud that he knows hi remains.

  2. Phil Pryor

    Recently, M Cormann, a romanist ratbag, heartless, gutless, brainless political pervert has said that people who care, in this case Black Lives matter supporters are selfish. Nothing is more brainlessly selfish than a turd who runs away from obligations and loyalty in the nation of birth, who submits to childish superstition and fantasy which inhibits thinking and decency, who is a carrier of a filthy virus of old European Fascism, who is a known self centred, untrustworthy flea and known even to his friends as a useless dickhead. Cormann is a disgrace to our nation’s public life, a cunning self centred hypocrite, a defective thinker, a matey bumboy for pose and notice. POOP.

  3. Vikingduk

    Ah, Phil Pryor, what a lovely way with words you have. A perceptive description of this shithouse rat.

  4. Michael Taylor

    You don’t like the guy much, do you, Phil. 😀

  5. Leila

    Environmental education should definitely be a focus for sustainability social justice. Someone must have taught last weekend’s protesters to get out on our behalf. Good schooling and discussion at home do help in preserving our integrity as a Dreamtime Nation.

  6. Mia

    Let’s hope the lockdown has enabled many of us to review what is important for our country . As well as Black Lives Matter , Climate Change needs to stay as an important issue to be addressed urgently.

  7. Jack Cade

    I take issue with Phil on the matter of his description of Cormann. One of his adjectives is wrong . Cormann is not brainless.
    He is a peculiar creature, though, like doctor Frankenstein had built a Mark 2. In fact, I was for a long time convinced that Cormann was a robot: his head seems to be perfectly square, and he never blinks. His hair seems like a last-minute addition to the creature because the flat head needed to be disguised. He is very articulate in English, but speaks it in strange cadences, like the aliens in the much under-rated film Galaxy Quest.
    His (should I say ITS) politics are…erm…how shall I put this? Like…Germanic.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Go, Jack! I use or misuse “brainless” in the sense of its deliberate abuse or wilful misuse. Germanic as an S S smile…

  9. Michael Taylor

    Despite being a country of corn fields and cow paddocks, Belgium is a wonderful country. I can’t believe it produced arseholes like Cormann.

  10. RosemaryJ36

    Michael Taylor – Cormann has many like-minded companions in Australia. He is what he is. Don’t blame Belgium!

  11. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    President Trump’s inner circle has become Australia’s greatest security threat. The deafness of the mainstream media here in reporting political events in the USA is appalling. The mainstream US media gives a better coverage of events including the partial breach between the Pentagon and the Trump Administration. Reporting in the LA Times is indeed encouraging: Selective quotes would be an injustice to this reporting:


    I was so busy preparing my article that I missed the Finance Minister’s comments on Saturday’s rallies.

    Mathias knows the power of the investment multiplier as a policy tool for Australia’s recovery from its current public health and economic crises. Cutting off investment from China on spurious security grounds to please the Trump Administration is a great threat to the stability of Australia.

    Time for senior LNP Ministers to break ranks with such political folly.

  12. johno

    Well done to Trudeau for taking a knee like that. And Phil, well said on Cormann, what a complete tosser.

    On biomes, the way we are are fcking over this planet those biomes need renaming. There could the fracking biome, the mining biome, the zero habitat biome, the overfished biome, the seismic tested biome etc.

  13. Jack Cade

    We don’t realise how much information is pumped into us, to the point where we know the names of more US politicians than we do our own politicians. Most of the stuff we hear is irrelevant, but we are persuaded it is important.
    In the late 60s I worked in Adelaide, moved to Brisbane to be with my then girlfriend who I’d met on a ship coming back from Britain, and after a year or so, after we split, my employer transferred me to Sydney. The walls in Sydney were covered with the message ‘Free Zarb’. I had NEVER heard of ‘Zarb’, and I guarantee that nobody in Adelaide or Brisbane knew what it was. I genuinely thought that ‘Zarb’ was a commodity, a laundry powder, perhaps. It turned out that Zarb was a protester, against Vietnam I think, I forget which.
    My point is that we were incredibly insular. The Australian states were totally unique. Now we know about individuals in just about everywhere in the world.
    Despite the pessimism of most of us on AIMN, me included, we, the lumpen-proletariat, have been presented with the one and only, best-ever chance to force a change – in the West at least – simply because a vicious cop in a mediocre city in an insignificant US State was stupid enough to allow himself to be filmed murdering a man with unbelievable insouciance, and was callous enough to be seen enjoying his work. The victim is just one of THOUSANDS of African-Americans murdered by law officers simply for being African-Americans.
    The US police killed over 1100 people in 2019. The British police killed 3, one of whom was a terrorist.
    Officialdom’s brutality is not unique to the USA, but it is currently the very worst example of it. Donald Trump, ‘the bunker baby’, might just be remembered more for what his incompetence caused than for his incompetence of itself. We can but hope.
    Meanwhile, Australia has just conferred its highest honour on two of the most undeserving politicians in living memory ; Tony Abbott, who gave Rhodes Scholarship a bad name, and Bronwyn Bishop. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it would still be Bronwyn Bishop.
    Rant over. Sorry about that!

  14. Chris

    Travel in Australia needs to be made more affordable so that locals can enjoy our exotic environments. Perhaps more use of public transport is required.

  15. wam

    Consensus or bipartisanship is impossible when trump, smirko and the holy spirit all believe that both words mean agree with me.
    I doubt if there can be any way forward with either action. Te latter is obviously out as there is no labor outside of the house and every thing smirko needs can be done without parliament.
    As the former is also laborless it will depend on the gov, the conflict of interest employers and the women representing workers. Two groups with a well known attitude to T L and Os of the female gender.
    Once again we can thank boobby and his money seeking caravan that there heartless incompetents have the, once in a lifetime chance, to reform Australia. If anything positive trickles down it will be our miracle.
    We will drive(no adelaide flights) darwin to el dorado via adelaide and we have re-booked Kangaroo Island
    ps Jack,
    there were 48 police officers killed last yea in killing 1100? Here 4 were killed by the police (two Aboriginal deaths in custody)?
    is interesting??

  16. James Robo

    A pox on that terrible advertisement that justifies spending endless amounts on junk foods which contribute to appalling health problems.

  17. Theo

    Denis, thanks for an interesting article about Australia’s environment.

  18. Tessa_M

    All policy needs to have a social justice and environmental focus.

  19. andy56

    Tessa_m. all policy has no focus. Motherhood statements are not plans. Gross exaggeration of benefits are not helpful unless you want people to look the other way.

  20. Dreamtime Spirit

    Cannot agree andy56. Planning which does not have a strong environmental foundation offers hollow shells as a substitute for creative development. Environment gets a mention forty-three times in the Planning Act 2016 in Queensland. Without adequate public finance, some development abominations still get approval from local authorities particularly in outer metropolitan areas. The Dreamtime spirit still lives on in some of Australia’s best inner-city redevelopments like Central Park in Ultimo in Sydney. The vision does not extend out to places like flood-prone Lismore or traffic grid-lock in Byron Bay.

  21. Paul

    Beautifully written and researched article Denis!!!

    Thank you for bringing this to our awareness.

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