YESTERDAY I welcomed into the world my fourth grandchild. It should be a day of great celebration, but I am saddened by the world into which this child is being born because of our inactivity to prevent a climate catastrophe. The last 30 years have seen the hottest 20 years on record, almost certainly due to the fact that we have allowed the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to rise from 275 parts per million (PPM) to over 400 PPM in the last 200 years. We have gone beyond the point where global warming can be restricted to 1.5 degrees, and the only question is how close we are to the tipping point beyond which warming is uncontrolled. Ocean temperatures have risen faster than atmospheric temperatures and we are experiencing major ecological changes in our coastal areas, particularly the Great Barrier Reef but also Tasmania. More dangerously, we are now starting to see glacial melting in the Antarctic which holds many times the amount of ice as in the Arctic. This could raise sea levels many metres, causing massive dislocation and forced migration. Australia is clearly more exposed to global warming, with consequent extended droughts, more frequent wildfires and mosquito-borne infections, than most countries. The current government seems to be totally oblivious to this threat, recognised by 99 per cent of the world's climate scientists. I wish I could reassure my new grand-daughter that we recognise the perilous situation into which we have descended by failing to heed the warnings over the last 30 years.
John Ward, Georgetown
WORKS DRIVE DOWN PARKS
SOME people make the ridiculous assertion that there is abundant parking in Newcastle. Then again, there may be for some privileged people. Take Merewether Street in town, for instance. The road is blocked to south-bound traffic until at least mid-December. The only purpose, it seems, is to provide free and convenient parking for workers on the site of the flats being built just east of our former gorgeous little Civic railway station. Why is it always the long-suffering motorists of Newcastle who have to make way for development, while getting less and less provided for them in return?
Ray Dinneen, Newcastle
STOP ALL THE GAME-PLAYING
I MUST agree to disagree with Peter Dolan (Letters, 13/7) on the Folau issue, but on his other comment regarding footballers who don't have contracts torn up, I totally agree they should. Especially in certain cases. A case in point is Matt Lodge, who was charged and plead guilty ('Former Wests Tigers player Matthew Lodge pleads guilty in US court', Sydney Morning Herald, 23/12/15). I believe he should never have played again. I feel that some footballers think they can do whatever they want, apologise and ultimately get away with far too much. Sporting bodies must be a lot tougher on their players as they are not setting good examples for their young fans. I am a Christian, but I am a human being and I struggle with forgiveness in certain situations. Just so people know a lot of Christians will also go to hell for things they do and say, because we are not perfect either.
Jan Burt, Charlestown
GROWTH FAILS THE GROWERS
FOLLOWING NAIDOC Week and its celebration the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are or should be contemplating changes that will overcome past wrongs. Most importantly is an Indigenous treaty and a way of having a voice in parliament.
We could include the adoption of a decent national anthem and a flag that shows our identity rather than that of another nation. The former proposal has already been dismissed by some in government and probably does not have the community support it deserves. This maybe just a fatalistic attitude created by governments who have failed to listen to any organisation be it scientists, health experts or community groups that opposes their growth mantra.
This should not be the case. With the Greens swapping the environment for social issues, I believe the Indigenous community now is the largest body with a care for country philosophy. Given the same powers as the Canadian indigenous treaty, they could be the nation's guardians against the present madness of growth and environmental degradation.
Don Owers, Dudley
SEAL SPLIT WILL SAVE FEW
NEVILLE Briggs (Letters, 11/7) says Catholic confession usurps the authority of government given it by the people, and he says the Bible supports him. But the Bible says authority is God given, from above, and as Catholic kids we learned that confession derives from Jesus giving His apostles the power to bind and loose sins.
For John Ure (Letters, 12/7) Catholic confession is all about power. But how does knowing the secret failings of an anonymous person which you are not allowed to divulge give you power? I'm with Father Frank Brennan (Eureka Street 5/12/16) who said not one child will be saved by abolishing the seal of the confessional, and that with the seal intact the occasional paedophile might find a listening ear to assist with the decision to turn himself in. For Tony Troughear (Letters, 12/7) religion is also about power and controlling minds, to prevent 'deviations from the perceived norm'. But I can think of many non-religious ideologies and lobby groups opposed to deviations from their perceived norms. I say religions are entitled to compete for minds (and hearts) as much as anyone else.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
POST MADE THE MOST DRAMA
PETER Dolan (Letters, 13/7) beat me to the punch. In my opinion, Israel Folau was sacked primarily because he placed a post on social media. Others say it was because he breached his contract.
Just what were the circumstances of this breach? Was it because he failed in fitness, training or excelling in games? No, indeed not. I believe he was released from his contract simply because of what he posted, which Rugby Australia no doubt believed could jeopardise their future earnings.
It is strange that those who criticise Mr Folau wish to have their say but don't want to allow Mr Folau to have his say.
I recall Anthony Mundine making outspoken comments similar to that of Israel Folau, yet the Australian National Boxing Federation or whichever authority governs boxing neither admonished nor de-registered him.
As for any future court action and knowing just what is at stake here, knowing that Rugby Australia could itself stand to lose a substantial sum, I therefore have certain misgivings of what the final judicial outcome could be. I hope I am proven wrong.