Bite-sized bulletins by ALEC SMART
Climate of peers
Thousands are expected to attend Friday’s Global Climate Strike gathering at The Domain in Sydney. On September 20, three days before world leaders meet in New York for the United Nations Emergency Climate Summit, hundreds of thousands of school students and workers across Australia will join millions worldwide to take to the streets in the world’s largest #ClimateStrike.
Concerned for out-of-control bushfires, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and polar ice caps melting, demonstrators are demanding world leaders take immediate action. Failure to respond and implement changes will see global temperatures continue to rise, causing more droughts, flash-flooding, coastlines eroding through tidal surges, the incineration of vital rainforests, and intense cyclones devastating coastal communities.
Teenagers in Victoria kick-started the school strike movement in Australia last October, inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who on Monday Sept 16 won Amnesty International’s ‘Ambassador of Conscience’ highest human rights award.
Strikers will be calling for governments to invest in renewable energy and abandon new fossil fuel projects, including the Adani coal mine in Queensland, which the two major political parties are committed to.
It will be interesting to see if One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson follows through her threat to use an electric cattle prod to “punish protestor pests” – which saw her Twitter account temporarily suspended for “violating rules against abuse and harassment.”
Lockout Laws loosening
The much-criticised Sydney Lockout Laws, which in 2014 effectively strait-jacketed entertainment and late-night revelry in the CBD, are expected to be lifted soon, although restrictions will remain in place for Kings Cross.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore welcomed the decision, telling City Hub, “I welcome the news that the lockout laws could soon be a thing of the past and look forward to seeing the detail of the report from the parliamentary inquiry into Sydney’s night time economy. I also look forward to seeing the NSW Government’s repeal legislation when it is released.
“The City of Sydney’s submission to the inquiry supported the removal of the lockout laws, which have had a devastating impact on Sydney’s night time economy and our reputation as a lively, global city.
“In 2014, we were facing serious problems with alcohol-related violence in Kings Cross and the CBD. At the time I commended the NSW Government for taking action on alcohol-fuelled violence, although it was not the action we had been calling for over a number of years, such as 24-hour transport, an end to lifetime licences, and measures to prevent the concentration of venues in areas like Kings Cross.
“At the time I warned the NSW Government these laws would have a dire impact on our city’s cultural life and called for a review of the lockout laws after one year. I’m sad to say these predictions were accurate and the lockout laws have had a devastating impact on the thriving, diverse nightlife we want for Sydney.”
City Hub was honoured to be invited to accompany a group of 12 Aboriginal children aged between 8-12 from rural Coonamble Public School on a BridgeClimb up the Sydney Harbour Bridge last week.
Reaching the summit was a significant achievement for the young participants, some of whom had to overcome a fear of heights, as they had been learning about setting and achieving goals.
Coonamble is a regional hub for wool and wheat on the dry plains north-west of Dubbo, NSW, with a population of 2750, of which 34% is Aboriginal.
The kids were all excited during the preparation, which entailed stepping into specially-designed overalls and attaching safety harnesses. Thereafter they enjoyed the ascent of the majestic coat-hanger that graces so many tourist publications, which we city folk often take for granted.
BridgeClimb Sydney is an Australian tourist attraction that guides guests on a climb to the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 134 metres above sea level. Over 4 million visitors from all over the world, including many famous celebrities, have undertaken the ascent, which encompasses the southern half of the bridge and results in spectacular 360 degree views of the harbour.
On September 17 the NSW Government announced they were going full steam ahead to build a cruise ship terminal in Botany Bay, despite strong opposition from two councils, residents and environmentalists.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres are inviting the cruise ship industry to contribute ideas and likely funding towards a terminal at one of two potential sites on the northern side of Botany Bay: Yarra Bay and Molineaux Point.
Opponents of the plan claim wildlife, including a seal colony, will be choked by toxic sludge buried beneath the silt, which will be released when the shallow bay is dredged deeper for the huge ships. What wildlife left will be driven from the area by an influx of tourists and the enormous ships, some of which are so high they may intrude upon the airspace of passenger jets landing and taking off from neighbouring Sydney Airport.
Randwick Council, which remains opposed to a cruise ship terminal at Yarra Bay, responded to the announcement saying: “We are working to heritage list the area and are conducting a study on the environmental and socio-economic impact of a terminal. We’ll continue to fight this plan.”
Magpies are nesting and, typically for this time of year, dive-bombing cyclists. An elderly man in Woonona, Wollongong, was attacked on Sunday whilst riding through Nicholson Park and ultimately died as a result. Witnesses say the 76-year-old veered off the path to avoid the swooping bird, colliding with a fence post, which caused him to be thrown to the ground and sustain serious head injuries. He died later in St George Hospital.
The incident comes a few weeks after another aggressive magpie in Bella Vista, north of Sydney, was shot dead by National Parks and Wildlife Service officers after it was deemed a “significant risk to public safety.” The “uncharacteristically territorial” magpie was euthanised after Hills Shire Council received over 40 complaints from the public. The bird was notorious from previous seasons and nicknamed the ‘Windsor Road Monster’.
Greystanes’ resident Peter Danieluk said the magpie was responsible for inducing a heart attack in 2018 when he tried to fend it off during a swooping frenzy. “It just did not stop, even as I was losing consciousness on the ground.”
A website, www.magpiealert.com, provides nationwide tracking information for cyclists, walkers and joggers to avoid or be wary of aggressive magpies. Cyclists are advised to attach cable-ties to their helmets, protruding like spikes, which anecdotal evidence suggests deters aggressive magpies from swooping.
Bottom of the Harbour scheme
Saturday, September 21, is the annual National CleanUp Day, where organisations and individuals unite to remove litter from our parks, beaches, forests and open spaces. In 2018, over two million volunteers across Australia combined forces in the big tidy, which is held in conjunction with World CleanUp Day throughout 170 countries.
Sydney Harbour is one of the most polluted waterways in NSW, clogged with plastic bags and household rubbish, much of which washes in through stormwater drains. The pollution has become so rife, that multiple organisations have come together to combat the issue and educate people on preventative measures they can take.
Global recycling company TOMRA is documenting the clean-up work of combined forces Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Ocean Protect (which design and maintain stormwater treatment equipment), Project Aware (a non-profit organization focused on connecting ocean adventure with marine conservation) and Dive Centre Manly. They’ve released a short film to raise awareness about the pollution problem, called Sydney Harbour: Above and Below, which can be found on an internet search, or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO9chz2Z2JQ