Contributed from New South Wales
Sometimes it is easy to feel that the battle to save the environment is going nowhere in the battle to reverse the looming global warming crisis. If we focus only on what the politicians are currently doing, it looks pretty bad.
But behind this, people are fighting battles on the ground and winning battles. Bigger numbers are on the move than ever before. A huge number of kids went on a school strike and marched in the streets last year. They will soon do this again.
A tide for change is building up.
Local battles are a big part of this movement.
One such case is the campaign that has just resulted in a landmark ruling by a New South Wales judge, over work on a Hunter Valley coal mine.
Local residents and their supporters have taken on the mine and the company behind it, Gloucester Resources (GRL) every step of the way. When it came to court, they packed the courtroom.
Justice Brian Preston turned down the company’s argument that the level of emissions is negligible and can be dealt with anyway and said;
“A consent authority cannot rationally approve a development that is likely to have some identified environmental impact on the theoretical possibility that the environmental impact will be mitigated or offset by some unspecified and uncertain action at some unspecified and uncertain tome in the suture.”
Justice Preston also pointed out the visual impact on the local community and the effect of noise and dust pollution.
The decision has set an important precedent that will have an impact on future cases within new South Wales, and it will have implications around Australia.
This outcome would not have come about, were it not for what people on the ground have been doing for years. This is their victory.