The 400 trees that are set to be removed in Randwick could add 8 tonnes of carbon dioxide and other poisonous greenhouse gases into our environment per year, exacerbating the consequences of climate change. But this wasn’t considered in the ‘greenhouse gas emissions’ section of this Light Rail project’s EIS (Environmental Impact Statement).
We could go on and on about what else was missed and what continues to be wrong with the whole process, e.g. no access to the latest information unless you can make it along to very rare ‘community forums’, the lack of meaningful public consultation at those forums, etc… But we would be wasting our breath.
Because more and more information does not make someone care about something.
And unless we are in a court-room with lawyers, catching someone out on technicalities doesn’t either (even in courts it doesn’t always work. Just look at how federal environment minister Greg Hunt re-approved the Carmichael coal-mine once Adani said it would ‘mitigate’ for its impacts on the vulnerable species it had initially neglected. Now the Australian Conservation Foundation are taking the government to court again, but this time the argument appeals to morality).
The truth is it is just wrong for our NSW state government to allow for the removal of so many beautiful and ever more important trees.
We don’t need to appeal to anything other than morality. And that way, there can be no excuses either. These tree removal plans are evidence of the lack of value that is placed on trees (and a healthy environment in general) by the ‘people in power’ who should know better. And there are a few reasons for that. But that’s why we’re building ‘people power’.
If you love life with our trees, show you care by simply being there.
You can expect tea, smiles, trees & all good things.
Because the only way we can help people who are so disconnected from the environment is to lead by example and hope to inspire them. There is power in positivity and people like to feel good about decisions they make. Guilt and other negative emotions on the other hand have a funny way of working against what it is we really want to achieve.
Over two years we have been continually brushed aside, belittled, patronised and ridiculed by the supposed ‘people in power’. But it’s easy to dwell on that and to forget what else we’ve experienced. We have been thanked, congratulated & encouraged by people who have more power than they had realised. In many ways, we are already succeeding.
We will continue to demand a Light Rail that will build around our trees, not through them. Because it is more than possible.
All speakers emphasised the fact that climate action starts here, at home.
The Climate Institute spoke about how we need to be in the 'carbon removal game' too. Well, trees are great at doing that. It’s like we get almost distracted by their beauty. But they’re not just a pretty face…
Kate from Doctors for the Environment Australia spoke about how it is mental ill health that is of greatest concern for doctors when they consider the impacts climate change is already having on our environment. She emphasised the importance of tree cover in our cities for keeping us cool, enhancing walking & cycling options, for improving air quality (a great article came out about that in the Sydney Morning Herald recently too), and for improving mental health and a feeling of connection to nature.
Unless we feel connected to the environment around us, we will not feel obligated to care for it.