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our first mailout in 2002 explaining the reasons to launch ecology action sydney

January 2003

Dear Environmentalist

Why a new Ecology Action Sydney?

Ecology Action Sydney is a new green group with 130 members, office and permaculture garden at the Turrella Centre we jointly established in 2001-2. Please find enclosed a copy of our leaflet.

Isn't there enough groups? I strongly believe after 11 years of activism and various roles - successful forest blockader, political candidate, Waverley councillor, green group organiser, legal adviser at Jabiluka (with the approval of the Jabiru court, non practising lawyer), Nature Conservation Council executive (twice) etc there are three good reasons to go ahead with EAS:

1. Financial help to poor campaigners: We have an affluent country - albeit on the environmental credit card. We should give financial support for poor campaigners saving the Earths amazing natural heritage in other countries. We have two members Mitzi Urtubia and Marisol Frugone working to protect Patagonia, supervised by national green groups CODEFF (FoE Chile) and Asyen Alliance. They maintain fragile democracy and oppose Chiles version of the Franklin Dam - called Alumysa - only 3 times bigger at US $2.75 billion being pushed by Noranda of Canada. Its fair trade - our money for South Americas rivers and great Gondwana forests that once linked our continents.

2. Broad agenda to protect native forests: Locally despite massive problems of salinity, woodchipping, clearing, river degradation etc no local green group or political party seems bold enough to openly advocate a total ban on native forest logging or vegetation clearing.

Yet in 1993-4 this was the open position of two national green groups TWS and ACF and environmentalist Milo Dunphy, director of TEC. To be sure there are campaigns for national parks and old growth but Im convinced that a more radical goal of industry reform out of native forests is an ecologically appropriate goal for the next 20-50 years. Otherwise the unpaid credit card in the Murray Darling Basin and nationally will blow our budget and our nations prospects.

The time to start is now: There is latent support: Australians poll 80% opposition to all native forest logging and woodchipping, and prefer ethical tree farms. When I suggested this bolder approach of no more logging/clearing at a population summit at the Australian Museum in 2000 there was spontaneous applause. The government and industry (fossils) hate this idea but the public love it.

3. Financial independence, independent media: The government/industry revolving door control most media channels. Since the 90s these vested interests have known how to subvert ecological campaigns with media monitoring, PR, grants and closed meetings. Good journalists are crushed by the advertising industry they serve which sells stuff we mostly dont need. Yet for the last 10 years or more green groups have met their wages bill by relying on commercial media and the vulnerable national broadcaster to package their issues for fundraising profile. This has led to opportunistic govt/industry/green platforms, unscientific compromises and unseemly jostling.

In the 1970s the public were impressed by a financially independent grassroots green movement and EAS is convinced this remains the most powerful way forward for significant environmental reform. EAS has alliances with two independent media City Hub and Third Opinion (a copy of the latter is enclosed) and is indeed lean. Third Opinion always has x number of good news stories to boost the morale. We also use www.sydney.indymedia.org.au to get information out.

In summary please read our background information here. If you have any queries please contact us using the contact details on this web page.

Tom McLoughlin, Bsc (zoology), Llb (honours), founder Ecology Action Sydney

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