Reviewing Environment Laws After The Fires: Resources From The Webinar
This summer, we’ve witnessed the stirrings of ecological collapse in Australia on a grand scale. The impacts of the pillaging of our land and the pollution of our atmosphere by those who care only about short term profits are becoming impossible to ignore.
In this context, the statutory review of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) provides a tremendous opportunity to shift our political conversation from prioritising profits and managing destruction towards ecological democracy, earth-centred governance, a presumption of protection.
On Wednesday March 11, the Green Institute welcomed Dr Michelle Maloney from the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and Revel Pointon from the Environmental Defenders Office, as well as many interested people from across Australia, to a webinar to discuss how we should respond to the review.Sadly, a technical stuff up means we don’t have video of the webinar. But we do have the superb slides from both Michelle and Revel.
You can see Revel’s detailed discussion of the EPBC Act, its failings, and ideas for how to fix it in her slides: The EPBC Act in review.
And Michelle’s wonderful articulation of a big picture shift towards earth-centred governance, learning from Indigenous ways of thinking, is in her slides: Challenging the top-down approach of Australian environmental law: AELA’s approach to the EPBC Act Review.
The official webpage of the review, with the terms of reference, discussion paper, and instructions for how to make a submission (by April 17), is here.
You can also download the excellent submission guide from the Places You Love Alliance here.
In discussion, the webinar participants agreed that it would be tremendously useful to have a space where we could share our submissions, both complete and in draft form. The Institute agreed to set that up as a google drive, which is currently populated with Michelle and Revel’s slides.
Anyone can access the shared document drive via this unique link.
Please forward your submissions or notes to Elissa from The Green Institute and she will upload your drafts and final documents. That email is elissa (dot) jenkins (at) greeninstitute (dot) org (dot) au.
As discussed during the webinar, we cannot expect this government to make the changes that are necessary. At best, we might hope to hold off attempts to weaken our environment laws even further, or possibly plug one or two of the most obvious gaps such as the absence of a climate trigger.
But that shouldn’t stop us from advocating for what we know is needed. Indeed, it should make us even more determined.
Politics, like the natural world it is one small part of, is a system. And systems are complex, interconnected, and subject to tipping points with the right collective impetuses. Each one of our submissions can add another small chock under the lever. Each action we take in the community to encourage ecological thinking shifts the context we are operating in, and makes it that much harder for those currently in power to insist that we humans are separate from nature.
We look forward to working with you on this journey towards ecological democracy!