A post for the environmentally-conscious and chocolate-mad.


Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got Friday on my mind.  I’ve been waiting for this event all year.  For many years it has kept me going — my National Folk Festival.  It is a magnet for extremists.  I say extremists because that is the language that is now being used by some members of government to describe the environmentally and socially-conscious. In the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack, you would think that our leaders would have learned that scare-mongering can have dire repercussions.  It legitimises the warped views of those who would seek to achieve their aims through violent action.  It is the responsibility of our leaders not to characterise peaceful, concerned citizens as extremists.  Instead, let’s have a reasoned debate on solutions given the evidence.  In other words, let’s have some evidence-based policy making without the histrionics, and then we can vote on it.

We must do more to reduce our carbon emissions.  That means keeping coal in the ground.  I realise that some communities rely on coal for their livelihood, but they too can adapt.  It is a dirty industry, not only from the perspective of carbon emissions, but also because of the hazard to human health.  A few years ago, coal miners starting being diagnosed with black lung disease.  The reported incidence of black lung disease is still small, possibly because we do not have the diagnostic facilities in Australia, or perhaps because it may exist unnoticed for many years until the damage is severe.  Of course, many workers are quite prepared to sacrifice their own health for their families’ financial security.  I understand this.  Government has a role to play in protecting these workers and ensuring they can obtain work in cleaner industries (which pay taxes).  If that view is extreme, I apologise, but I won’t be bullied.

When I heard of the cases of black lung disease a couple of years ago, it brought to mind the many deaths from mesothelioma among the former residents of the (now closed) blue asbestos mining town, Wittenoom.  Inhaling one fibre of blue asbestos can be fatal.  Blue asbestos was used in a range of manufacturing applications, and people continue to die the most horrible deaths from legacy products.  The dangers of blue asbestos were well known by the mining company, but they continued to supply it anyway.  The health dangers and negative climate impacts of coal are also well known, so why are we still having this debate?

So what does this have to do with chocolate?  Well, I seemed to have lost any ability to put thoughts into words.  I have been trying, and eating a lot of stuff in the process.  But I’ve recently had an epiphany.  I haven’t eaten chocolate for a long time (maybe a month).  So I got some, et voilà!.

Vive le chocolat and bring on the lentils.  I definitely won’t be fading away.

Kind Regards



38 thoughts on “We Won’t Fade Away

  1. You write so well, what many feel. (I often wondered if you were a journalist!). It saddens me that the worst of world politics appears to be contagion. Instead of rising above, ‘success’ is aimed at replicating that elsewhere. Buckle up, the ride has just started and no doubt, ad nauseam. Eat chocolate, I say!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is all about power and winning elections.
      Scaring people wins votes. Good policy also wins votes, but that is more difficult to sell.

      Retired public servant (thankfully not resources or immigration policy related, but we do know how to analyse). Retired because writing for me requires chocolate. That is not so good when you are a Type 1 diabetic. Still, sometimes it is important enough to warrant it. Sacrifices are made for my kids’ future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been able to give up my chocolate habit. For me a book and chocolates go hand in hand. Have been so proud of myself I haven’t bought any for months now. But that may change when I go to Margaret River. Gosh! I love the chocs from there!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your comparison of Wittenoom and the coal industry is interesting and not one I had thought about, all the more unbelievable on my part because I am what is known as a “Wittenoom Child”! I had heard of black lung disease, but growing up in the shadow of mesothelioma made me smug that “my” industrial catastrophe was almost certainly the worst- how silly I am.
    The short-sightedness of our current government beggars belief, I understand the fear of coal workers at the loss of their industry, but the renewable energy industry will need workers more and more as it becomes the main energy source and people are not confined to doing one thing all their lives, the plasticity of our brains means we can learn new things all the time. It will take commitment and serious funding to really change, but if the Scandinavians can do it, why can’t we?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am sorry I spelled the name of your town wrong, Jenny. It must be very traumatic caring for someone with mesothelioma and living with the threat of it hanging over your head. I have an old family friend who I haven’t seen for years. Last I caught up with her, her daughter had cancer and she had Parkinsons. She used to work in a James Hardie factory. She said that the dust from asbestos was everywhere. I often wonder whether this contributed to the health problems of her family.

      I quite agree with you about the re-training. I heard the mining union man speak on the tele last night promoting Adani. The Labor Party has also softened its stance. It is very disappointing. One of my other readers mentioned that her father used to be a coal miner, and has had many health issues as a result. He did not want the same for future generations. As she mentioned, we do not hear these voices. I really think we should.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Never allow them to silence your voice through name-calling. We are in the midst of elections here and most politicians are the pits!! There is no Decency Party anywhere in the world but we can, at the least, raise questions and elect the cleanest out of the lot!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a big chocolate fan, but am taking my refuge in bread-baking and a little self-imposed news embargo. I come from a family of coal miners, and my father suffers the on-going effects of asbestos exposure from his job. The old men in my family never wanted their kids to do the same filthy jobs, and recognise that the world needs to move on. We never hear their voices.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Power and money often – always? – choose to ignore truth. Don’t ever be silent when you have thoughts this worthy to declare. True in Australia, true in the US, true all over the world. Put another way: power and money are nearly always corrupt and the laborers and their children suffer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Sharon. Yes, I am afraid that is true.

      We are in the middle of an election campaign here. So I may have more things to say. I object to being called an extremist for the sake of the name-callers winning a few more votes. It is a form of abuse in my opinion.

      Those resource jobs are quite high paying, so there are a few workers who are happy to be bought off. Not that there are many jobs anyway, with the estimates of the number of jobs, appearing to be inflated (at least according to some commentators). If that is true, then that is corruption. And there is the level of scrutiny of environmental management plans (pre and post approval). Adani’s groundwater plan was approved in a flurry on the eve of the Federal election being called. The perception of political interference is high. Adani recently donated $50k to each party within the governing coalition. The same parties that were a bit of short of cash for campaigning. That is not a good look either.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Canada’s Arctic is warming two times faster than other areas on Earth. The Conservative Party of Canada has no plan to fight this warming. These Conservatives choose the economy over the environment. The Liberal Party of Canada, philosophically Centre/left say that the economy and the environment must work together to create a ‘green economy’ with reduce carbon emissions. A 4.5 cent per litre gas surcharge has been imposed by the Federal Government, that the Conservative are fighting in the courts. The Conservatives want ‘’pollution to be free!’’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read that, Sid. Makes sense. All that ice has a cooling effect. Once it is gone, well then temps go up. Emissions go up too from all that methane that is released. As you know. Very circular. I can imagine a situation, when there is no hope, people who can and want to work, just vote for the Conservatives so they can get a job and a tax cut while they are waiting for the end. How’s that for gloomy.? Must be our election campaign doing my head in.

      What is the basis for the legal challenge? In Australia, fuel excise is a good source of revenue (we opted out of applying an additional carbon tax on fuel when we had a carbon tax). That surcharge might pay for a few schools or some emissions reduction projects like good EV infrastructure. Put the surcharge up further and people might even buy more EVs. Isn’t it the job of parliament to legislate? So if they don’t like it, they need to get elected.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Federal government’s plan is to return most of the Federal surcharge amounting to about $300. per family in provinces without a carbon reduction plan. The provinces without a carbon reduction plan object to the Constitutionality of this surcharge. The provinces that have opted into this carbon reduction plan can use this surcharge collected for income tax reduction, green infrastructure, more efficient cooling and heating unites and other green innovations. Recently the Federal Government contributed $12 million in a partnership with a grocery chain, and the chain contributed $36 million, a 12/36 split, to install low carbon emission commercial refrigeration/freezer units in stores, that will remove the equivalent emissions from 50,000 cars per year from our total carbon footprint. The Conservative complained loudly! But others could see the wisdom of this partnership incentive.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t find your views extreme, Tracy, just well thought out and measured. You do well to state them without pushing a political barrow, I think. I’m finding the electioneering pretty depressing and sometimes have to go and wash the dishes when the news is on to avoid seeing certain unbearable, shouty people spouting their stuff.
    I agree about the transition from coal power to renewables, and also feel that miners could, with training, transition to other jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can’t believe that people who simply care for our planet and living-beings upon it are called extremists. Pardon my French but What the f*ck?! I would call it extremism to be so stupid as NOT to care and think and act. Stop! Now I know why they do call you that – it’s because they can’t do anything if the above.
    I’m sure you’ve heard about that brave young woman, Greta Thunberg? I truly admire her for her fight and staying her ground. That students keep protesting here on Fridays led to a tiny but nonetheless important win here: the ministry of transportation is now finally attacking the problem that travel by train is still more pricey than by plane. There are many people who want to live environmentally friendly but how.can they do that if what’s bad for it, is much more affordable?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Government ideology has reached a new low here, Sarah. Thank god for that young woman, Greta Thunberg. She has achieved more than most adults. Subsidies for more sustainable options should be seen as an investment in our future, not an economic cost. I’m sick of fossil-fuel industries whinging that there has to be a level playing field. We decide the type of future we want, and the market responds. Dirty industries don’t get to tell us what we need. I’m over it.

      Liked by 1 person

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