Hello Environmentality listeners,
Dr. Tim Read, Greens candidate for the seat of Wills, manage to find time between finalising his PhD and campaigning to speak to us. Tim is a physician, specialising in infections with a focus on sexually transmitted diseases. Health related issues initially drew Tim’s attention towards the Greens party.
|Courtesy of greens.org.au|
Tim’s advocacy for climate change action was first sparked 8 years ago when he saw Al Gore’s movie an inconvenient truth. The melting of the permafrost has further driven the need for action, evidenced that the changes to climate predicted in an inconvenient truth are occurring. The impacts of climate change can not only be observed environmentally, but also for our health. Tim highlights that the rare hot days are getting hotter; we don’t need to look too far back to remember the heat wave of 2009 where more people died from the heat wave than the bush fires. People with heart and kidney failure are particularly vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. Due to the lack of parkways and vegetation in Wills, the high temperatures are evident in cities due to the heat island effect, heat is retained overnight hence the higher temperatures remain overnight.
What are the Green’s climate policy, stop fossil fuel subsidies and spend the money saved on job creation. The Greens would like to raise revenue for the renewable energy fund, the Greens want a $30 billion fund compared to Labor’s $10 billion. Renewable energy projects employs more people than gas power station hence we need to be investing in renewable technologies. The Greens would prefer for the carbon price to remain and for the carbon tax not be changed to the European Trading Scheme in order to maintain the fall in carbon emissions. It is important to keep the carbon price to not only reduce our own emissions, but also demonstrate global leadership in climate change as the world’s highest carbon emission polluter per capita.
Why hasn’t environmental issues featured in the election? Tim cheekily suggest that perhaps it’s because the election occurs in late winter, early spring instead of February or March when the temperatures would be higher. Despite the lack of political coverage of environmental issues, the environment is still a concern for many people. A few years ago people were going to the Great Barrier Reef to see its natural beauty, people are now going to see it before it disappears. Tim highlights that the Greens are sneaking it into the agenda with their assessment of high speed rail.
The Greens are opposed to the east-west tunnel because will divert too much money from public transport to roads, furthermore encouraging the subsiding of cars and fossil fuel use. Rather than using the $9 billion to build the tunnel, it can be used instead for the Doncaster rail and Melbourne airport rail with change for extra trains. The pro-car lobby economically doesn’t stack up, rather than reducing the bottle neck going into the city by linking the to the city link, Smokey highlights that we will be just creating more bottlenecks in the tunnel. The bottom line: improving public transport improves congestion, improving roads moves congestion.
In our urban lifestyles, we are no longer connecting with the environment, we are no longer spending time exploring the bush or our forest and ecosystems. The bush and farms are evermore dependent on the climate and we need to develop love for the biodiversity that we have in order to connect with it and understand this dependency on climate; childhood experiences are critical for this development.
So if there’s one thing to take away from the show, no matter who you decide to vote for on Saturday the 7th, is that the balance of power in the senate is critical to the not only the environmental actions, but future policies.
To hear more from Tim, listen to the show.
You can also follow us on twitter @enviro_pod
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