Tag Archives: harm

Great Barrier Reef in Trouble


The Business Insider reported back in January of this year that the Great Barrier Reef has been opened to dumping of dredge waste inside protected national park areas of the Reef as well as a coal port expansion.

The Reef is already in poor health and faces many challenges. The additional stress of waste being added to the waters and then a coal port expansion on top of that risks major destruction for the animals and plants that depend on the Reef and its unique environment. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has tried to say that the waste dump and port expansion will not harm the Reef in any way:

According to GBRMPA, the dumping will not significantly affect the Reef.

“It’s important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds,” Dr Russell Reichelt, Authority Chairman, said in a news release. (Source: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5847/20140201/australian-government-approves-dumping-dredged-waste-great-barrier-reef-marine.htm)

However, this is a very short-term view, and disregards the fact that the Reef is in poor condition as it is. How anyone thinks dumping additional soil and silt into an already fragile environment will not have an impact is beyond logic. The expansion of the coal port also means an increase in shipping traffic along the Reef. The Reef is supposed to be protected, as it is listed as a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has made public statements that condemn the decision and has submitted a report to the World Heritage Committee stating the Reef could potentially be downgraded to a status of “In Danger”. UNESCO has also urged the government of Australia to reconsider. However, as of the time of this post, I have not been able to find any news articles that have the government’s response or any news of a change in the decision.

As if this weren’t enough to cause alarm, there is another project planned to take place in the same rough location. Australia also plans to build a huge natural gas export terminal at Abbot Point, which is in the same region as the coal port expansion project. The dredging for the natural gas terminal would amount to about 800,000 tonnes of dredging–an enormous amount that is certain to have an impact on the Reef and the ecosystem. They plan to dump all of that soil and silt onto land, which is better than dumping it elsewhere in the Reef, but also brings the risk of potential harm to areas on land, depending on where this dredged material is being dumped.

I urge everyone who believes in protecting the environment to take action. Speak out, either in person or online. Sign petitions if you’re able. Work spells, if that is what you do. Write to influential people and demand their action to protect valuable ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef.

To sign petitions or contribute money to legal funds organized to fight these decisions, check out the following links: Save the Reef, Reef Fighting Fund through GetUp!, Fight for the Reef legal fund, Sounds for the Reef,

Additional news sources about the decision:
Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-31/australia-permits-coal-port-dredge-dumping-near-barrier-reef.html

RT News: http://rt.com/news/156100-unesco-barrier-reef-dumping/

 

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Loving and Respecting Nature as Pagans


I came across someone else’s blog post today in which they were reviewing some book about loving nature.  This post (which I didn’t read, but skimmed) sparked an idea in my mind and I decided to run with it.  Loving and respecting nature, something most, if not all, pagans will say they do or believe in.  But in the modern world, we live every day with harmful practices to the earth.  Just turning on a light can be the cause of harm and pollution.  Lights require energy, which require a source from somewhere, whether it’s coal, oil, hydro, etc.  A simple act that we all participate in every day is potentially compounding a harmful reduction in resources, which creates a chain of effects on the earth.  Perhaps the only non-harmful energy source thus far is solar energy, yet even so, solar panels require production costs and materials, which in their turn use energy to produce.How do we, as modern pagans, reconcile the modern world with the desire to love and belief in respecting the natural world around us?

Not all of us believe that the earth is a living spirit or a deity.  That’s fine–that’s not what I’m talking about at all.  What I mean when I say ‘love and respect nature’ is more of an environmentalist stance.  Love the earth means to be its caretaker, as if it were our child and we the parent.  Cause the earth no harm, nourish and cherish the earth, and love the earth as the source of our lives and the being upon which we depend utterly for life to even be possible.  Respecting the earth also means causing no harm, but respecting the power of nature as well.  Part of the reason (but, I realize, by no means the sole reason) there are so many more coastal deaths from floods and hurricanes is because more people are choosing to live in coastal areas, and the hurricanes, floods, etc. then have more of an impact on human life.  Respecting nature means realizing and respecting the power of natural phenomena as well as the nurturing aspect.

Under the generalization that is ‘paganism’, nature is considered an entity in its own right.  Nature is something to be respected and revered.  Yet every day we use cars, buses, subway, planes, electricity, computers, television, and more.  Everyday we eat products usually packaged in plastic, metal, paper, or cardboard, all of which came from somewhere and has an environmental impact.  And most of us do not even think twice about using these devices or consuming these products, despite our religious or environmental beliefs, because these behaviors are ingrained for many of us.

I know I don’t think twice about driving.  It’s a necessary part of my life.  I know that the emissions from my car combined with the emissions of other cars and trucks creates dirty air.  There are no easily accessible buses or subway where I live.  It’s either drive or don’t go anywhere.  Yet I still feel a twinge of guilt when I realize that 1) my beliefs should make activities such as driving a less desirable venture, and 2) I really don’t think twice about driving anywhere unless I’m low on gas–gasoline which has another harmful effect on the environment and the earth.

Does anyone else feel this quandary?  Myself, I can’t see how there is a way to cut out the activities that have a negative impact, especially those that are necessary for me, such as driving or using a computer.  Unless there’s some kind of end-of-the-world scenario, or I become a hermit, but neither of those options is desirable or healthy.  I can’t see any other way to honor and respect the earth aside from what I already do: recycle, attempt to minimize my impact, and appreciate and commune with nature.

This strikes me as sad, that it feels as if there is nothing to be done.  And it makes me wonder what the earth feels about all of these things (I’m one of those who believes the earth to be a living, feeling entity, just not in a way that we humans can easily understand).

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