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Byron Shire
June 24, 2024

Editorial: Ambitious targets to be ignored again?

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The sense of déjà vu is overwhelming. An international conference to tackle the already known causes of the ecological disaster unfolding around us. 

Two weeks of wrangling, as governments make insincere pledges to change direction; corporations spend up big merely to greenwash their crimes; environmental NGOs realise that they have been lied to again. Perhaps it will be different this time.

Certainly the aims of the current COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal are ambitious. 

Among more than 20 draft proposals are the ‘30×30 plan’ to protect 30 per cent of the planet by 2030, the elimination of plastic waste, the redirection of $500bn in corroding agricultural subsidies, and the reduction of pesticides in the environment by at least two-thirds.

Lobbying against these proposals will be intense. Nestlé, for example, steals public water and sells it back to us in plastic bottles. 

Dozens of big corporations encourage deforestation and species extinction by using palm oil from Indonesia and the Amazon. 

Monsanto makes the carcinogenic pesticides sold in Australia. 

The fossil fuel industry is the worst of all, producing most of the atmospheric pollution of the last half-century.

If you were the head of any of these companies, what would be your reaction to the Montreal conference? Let’s assume you are bright enough to know that science is not a left-wing conspiracy, and that the facts are irrefutable.

What you can learn from COP15, if you didn’t know it before, is that your pursuit of record levels of wealth is contributing to a planetary cataclysm. Failing drastic worldwide action, this will happen in a generation or two at most. Or for thousands of animal species, right now. You know your actions today are making the world uninhabitable tomorrow.

Yet all the evidence says you don’t care. You don’t care about the extinction of animals, you don’t care about the warming of the earth. You don’t care about the survival of our children and grandchildren. Perhaps you think your own offspring will be safe, coddled in the bunkers of your extravagant riches. More likely you don’t care about them either.

There is no genuine doubt about the reality of a human-induced catastrophe in the biosphere, there is only anti-scientific propaganda in the mouths of bought-and-sold politicians and in the words of news media owned by right-wing billionaires.

Nevertheless, you are behind the anti-protest laws that most countries are enacting in order to stifle dissent and maintain control. 

Your insane greed is the reason our captive economy rewards ecological destruction, and by intimidating protesters you aim to keep it that way.

You are taking away from us clean water, breathable air and a stable climate, all for the sake of an insatiable lust for wealth, to stay in power at the top of the human pyramid, to remain part of the one per cent of humankind which owns nearly everything.

In the face of such calculated evil, the least we can do is call it out. We are dealing with liars and psychopaths, and we should stop being civil.

All of you are less valuable to the world than a single honeybee.

It is hard to remain optimistic in the face of corporate corruption, government hypocrisy and the barrage of disinformation from most of the media, but let this be the lowest point of the earth’s darkness. 

The draft proposals are the minimum conditions for recovery, and there is no more time left.

Let this be midnight, with dawn not far away. COP15 will end on Monday. It cannot fail.

David Lovejoy, Echo co-founder

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  1. Well said. The tide of public opinion is turning so with any luck time will run out for these greedy corporations before time runs out for our planet.

  2. The UN’s top person, Antonio Guterres always gets it 100% right, the Antonio’s COP15 gems – “End the war against nature”, “Humanity is a weapon of mass extinction” and “Stop the orgy of destruction”.
    It takes a special kind of stupid for a species, the so called most intelligent of all species, to continue on the path of its own destruction.

  3. The economy of Byron Bay is fueled by carbon and the destruction of the plannet… Tourism is ecologically unsustainable … every person that flies in or drives hundreds of kilometres to be in Byron is the root of the problem. These people coming here also gives us the opportunity to be in their faces about what they are doing to the planet… it’s not just an opportunity, it’s an obligation… all the shiny happy people from cities around the world, that wander around our weekend markets and local streets are a golden opportunity for education and awareness about how they are the problem and how they can make changes in their lives that will make substantial positive differences to the future. Changes to who they support politically, this district is our billboard, our advertising space, our place to deliver a message of truth …. We need to use it, we need to send these shiny happy people from cities all over the world home shaken to the core, knowing that the Lamborghini driver is someone to be despised not admired, that many of their leaders deserve imprisonment not re-election.

  4. Come on Man stop it david … seriously mate
    Is your business living off grid ? Everything you do
    Everyday is attributed to hydrocarbon’s !!
    Can’t believe it ..

  5. Congratulations David !
    I have never seen such a compact , concise critique of our current situation.
    ‘ Net zero ‘ really equates to no action. We all must reverse this catastrophe immediately if we are to survive till 2050.
    Cheers, G”)

  6. Yeah go, David … crank it up, good stuff.

    I must differ with ongoing notions of ‘leadership’; those seeing themselves at the pinnacle of society, including the COP mob, exemplifying the problem.

    We climbed down from the trees a long, long time ago but still it’s the apes with the biggest clubs (nowadays money aka power) being meekly ‘elected’ as Supreme Leader, here just as much as China, Russia or USA, and just as much at local levels if we’re not very careful, ongoingly.

    Can we collectively grow up to be self-leading cooperating beings in time to get through the extremely difficult decades coming down hard now?

    Need a lot more than thoughts and prayers to imaginary ‘higher beings’ if we’re to make that great transition.

    The Echo is one voice in the wilderness, in a position to do a lot of good if it keeps its balance through the storms.

    Kudos to Cameron’s piece above.


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