Letters to the editor August 22 2018

SPARE CHANGE: Reader Zonon Helinski says we require more specificity in terms of how to attack climate change and measuring the impacts of proposed action.
SPARE CHANGE: Reader Zonon Helinski says we require more specificity in terms of how to attack climate change and measuring the impacts of proposed action.

ANOTHER day and another series of letters bleating about the impending doom of the planet due to climate change, because we “are doing nothing”, that future generations “will curse this current generation” (Letters 21/8) and ask when leaders will attack climate change “forcefully, realistically and genuinely?” (Short Takes 21/8).  

Australia already has amongst the highest electricity prices in the world.

I recently read that if all signatories to the Paris agreement met their obligations, that 60 billion tonnes of CO2 would be removed from the environment, however it would take 60,000 billion tonnes to limit the temperature increase by ½ of a degree.

Consequently, if that is correct, it would take actions equivalent to 1,000 Paris agreements to reduce the temperature by that ½ of a degree and I note that the objective is to limit the increase by 1.5 to 2 degrees.

Without going into the debate as to whether the climate is changing, or if it is due to events beyond our control , or due to man-made actions, can I ask those doing the pleading to specify what needs to be done and exactly what the measurable impacts of those actions will be?

Zenon Helinski, Newcastle


FURTHER to my piece advocating for an Australia Card for a more equal sharing of the wealth of this nation between its citizens (‘Closing the gap with an Australia card’, Opinion 8/8) there was no space to set out how it would be implemented. Employers would continue to pay the salaries of their workers but part would be put into the debit Australia Card. The government would have to find the money for those adults who were not in employment.

The gross domestic product (GDP) of Australia is about $1.4 trillion, and on a population basis this equals $56 million per person. For comparison, in the US it is $58 million per person. This is much higher than some other countries, such as China and Russia, where it is roughly $10 million per person. If we take $35,000 per annum as a reasonable value for the Australia Card ($1346 a fortnight) for 18 million adult citizens, the cost to the nation would be $630 billion per annum, or $0.63 trillion.

Salaries already paid well exceed this amount. The fear that people will opt out to live on the card would be minimal; the sort of argument a government would use to influence people’s attitude to the idea. Australians are not like that. We can afford the change to protect our women folk.

John McLennan, Charlestown


PEOPLE who use the banning of bags to affect where they shop are probably the same people who complain about plastic rubbish clogging our waterways and seashores and excess rubbish around the country. How hard is it to smoke one less packet of cigarettes on one day, and to use the money saved to buy a half dozen material bags that will serve to carry groceries?

It is possible to re-use these bags time and again, without inconvenience to shoppers or the environment.

If cleanliness is used as an excuse against reusing these bags , then rinse out the bags by hand and dry them in the sun. Why are sales affected? Wake up and look around you at the real world. The farmers and graziers are teetering on ruination from possibly the worst drought in our recorded history, the waterways have been shown to be swelling with rubbish, especially throw-away plastic shopping bags, and still the public can be moaning about making a small change of being responsible as to what they put their groceries in. Grow up, Australians. Make an effort, accept change and be responsible enough to take a few bags with you to the supermarket. The banning of bags should have been implemented years ago, as we all should be aware. If we must complain, seek an argument worth grumbling about. Stop complaining and bag up.

Elizabeth Montgomery, Swansea


I RECENTLY had occasion to drive through Sydney twice.  Because of my interest in politics, I tuned in to the Ray Hadley program and what I heard made me sick to my stomach.

I found Mr Hadley's constant vitriolic attack on Malcolm Turnbull astounding. It left me at a loss for words to describe it in full.  Regardless of any bodies feelings toward our Prime Minister; I believe no broadcaster should have the right to attempt to change who our Prime Minister is.

If you ask me, it is not only Mr Turnbull who has lost credibility by kowtowing to his conservative few. I would opine that if you believe that Tony Abbott is truly only interested in providing lower energy costs, you are dreaming. I believe Mr Abbott is interested in just two things, getting revenge on Turnbull and feathering his own nest.

Labor will undoubtedly win at the next general election, barring a miracle, but if the Shortens need help measuring curtains for the Lodge, I think Mr Hadley is the man.

Mike Sargent, Raymond Terrace


DAIRY farmers are taking to social media, telling people that the supermarkets are making them work for a pittance. But who are the real victims here?

I grew up on a dairy farm and discovered while very young that cows, like humans, gestate for nine months, but their calves are ripped from the distraught mothers a few hours after they are born. Anyone who has witnessed a cow returning again and again to the place her missing baby was born, and often refusing to eat, will never again doubt that these animals feel grief as we do.

Male calves are usually sent for slaughter at five days old, terrified, cold and hungry, and can legally be transported for up to 30 hours, without food, to a terrifying slaughter. The heifers enter a cycle of constant pregnancy and milking. When their bodies wear out and their milk production wanes, they are slaughtered at the age of 5-7 years old, less than a quarter of their potential age. On top of the dairy industry being a living hell for animals, consuming cow’s milk is terrible for our health. Cow’s milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of kilos in a matter of months. For humans, milk is high in fat, a common trigger for allergies, and linked to many illnesses.

I believe asking people to buy more milk, and pay more for it, to keep dairy farmers in business is like saying we should all smoke cigarettes to support struggling tobacco farmers. Humans don’t need to drink cows’ milk, and I think we’re healthier if we don’t. Let the invisible hand of the market do its work, and then the farmers can move (like tobacco farmers did) into more ethical products that cause less suffering, less human disease, and less pollution.

Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia


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