Thursday, May 15, 2008

Letter from one of the "Kooragang 16"

The Newcastle Gerald has found this letter sent by Paula Morrow, one of the Kooragang 16, to a newspaper which calls itself "The Newcastle Herald". Paula is a mother and grandmother and very concerned that she is living in Australia's biggest "infrastructure bottleneck", otherwise known as the world's biggest coal export port and Australia's biggest contribution to climate change, currently undergoing a massive expansion.
The "Herald" declined to print Paula's letter despite a foreword from Paula which said she understood if the "Herald" had to cut the letter down for space reasons. The Newcastle Gerald has decided to publish Paula's letter in full.

Dear Editor,
If you want to sell more papers, can we please open up the debate on coal?
I am one of the 'Kooragang 16'. We trespassed on the construction site of the third coal loader very deliberately, to get everyone’s attention.
Newcastle is the world's biggest coal port. The state government under Iemma, Costa and Sartor is trying to greatly increase the mining and selling of coal.
We are evaporating our coal mines into our atmosphere and therefore, we believe, greatly hastening the onset of climate change.
We have been given a mix of community service directions and fines by the court, those most committed to the environment movement getting the biggest punishments. These were reasonable penalties given the laws. I know that the rule of law is extremely important.
The thing is we already give up a lot of time, of our precious lives, doing community service.
Only about fifty of us went on the original walk-in and only about an extra fifteen came to support us in a vigil outside the courthouse. This is not enough people to save the planet.
It was great to see 3 or 4 ministers and 3 or 4 quakers in a vigil outside the court, people representing god; or at least the human reach for the spiritual.
When I think of the actual activists, I think that we represent conscience, and the ability to see what's coming. Those that walked in and got arrested, are mostly young, in their twenties and thirties. There were only a couple of us older ones. Those young people are all very smart and could be focusing on career.
Our main attributes are that we can add up, that we can see humanity is destroying its nest. We don't want one more bit of our beautiful planet or its creatures destroyed.
If we put the brakes on and are proved wrong, it doesn't matter that lots of energy is saved and pollution prevented. If we don't put the brakes on and we are right about the gravity of the situation, then our children and grandchildren face a terrifying future as our eco-system is de-stabilised; climate will become more erratic, and agriculture unworkable.
Messrs Iemma, Costa and Sartor have a huge responsibility to the people of NSW to curb dramatically the use of coal and to greatly increase the use of renewable energy such as solar, wave, wind, and perhaps, geo-thermal. Or are they going to fiddle while Rome burns, as the the generals are doing in Burma? Do they have other loyalties?
We choose to spend our precious time trying to alert our fellow-citizens while there is still time, in order to try and make a big difference to what happens.
It is not enough. It needs big numbers of people to wake up and step up and make the politicians do what needs to be done, because those in charge of our state government don't, or won't, get it.

Paula Morrow, Tighes Hill

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