Grant Howard lives in Queensland and is a coal miner currently working in the Bowen Basin
At 17, fresh out of school, I landed my first job as a coal miner and have been doing that ever since. I grew up in a coal heartland of Wollongong, south of Sydney, the location of some of the oldest mines in the country. As a teenager, I took mining for granted, just like I took the amazing beaches, beautiful escarpment and bush for granted.
I have worked in all aspects of underground coal operations, including longwall extraction, developing access roads, methane drainage and supervising coal mining crews in these processes.
For the last two decades I have been lucky to live and work in Queensland. I have worked through boom and bust cycles where mining corporations hired workers, then laid them off and shut mines when it suited. I witnessed the growth of automation which has led to a contraction of jobs, and will continue to do so in the future. I have also seen the industry talk up job prospects to get their latest mine approved, and then seen the actual numbers drop once production began.
In recent years I bought a piece of land outside of Mackay where I stay when I’m not rostered on in the Bowen Basin. I’ve grown to love this block but I worry about its survival too, having witnessed the severe impacts of extended heatwaves and changing rainfall patterns on the bush and the animals that live there.
After watching what climate change is doing to my land, and knowing that burning fossil fuels is making these extreme conditions worse, it strikes me we have a clear choice. We can protect Queensland’s unique way of life and exceptional environment by transitioning to clean energy. Or dig more coal, for limited jobs and economic benefit, at a time when the trend away from coal is accelerating.Read more
Mackay Conservation Group recently sponsored a community bushfire forum in Kuttabul so that locals could find out more about the future likelihood of fires and how to prepare.
Andrew Houley from the Rural Fire Service said that firefighters use the night time, when temperature and wind speed falls, to get on top of bushfires.
The BoM data shows that our region currently has about 15 nights per year with a minimum temperature above 25°C. In the worst-case scenario we may suffer through nearly 50 hot nights in 2030 and up to about 160 by 2090. That will make it much harder for Rural Fire Brigade volunteers to do their job.
In celebration of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, the Kerrisdale Garden Chapel invites you to bring your feathered and furry loved ones to the blessing of pets and animals!
The family-friendly service will be held on Sunday 6th October at 10am and led by ecumenical Chapel Community members on the front lawn of Kerrisdale Gardens.
St Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals and the environment and his ongoing legacy is more important than ever. We have a special responsibility to look after the animals both within our care, and who we share this world with.
You're invited to bring your (restrained) dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and even horses for the blessing.
WHERE: Kerrisdale Gardens (35 Norwood Pde, Beaconsfield)
WHEN: Sunday 6th Oct
Join us and other-like minded locals for a beautiful day in the Mackay Community Gardens for a sausage sizzle lunch! Vegetarian and vegan options will be provided - all you have to do is BYO drinks.
Organised by our West Mackay Community Leader, Brooke, the lunch will be a chance to talk about anything environmental in a casual setting.
What environmental issues concern you? What parts of nature do you love and want to conserve for the future? Or do you just want to learn more? Come along and have a chat with us!
Meat sausages proudly sponsored by the local and sustainable Freckle Farm.
WHEN: Sunday 29th Sep, 2019
TIME: 12PM - 2PM
WHERE: Mackay Community Garden (Sarah St, West Mackay)
Mackay high-school students, School Strike 4 Climate and Mackay Conservation Group have been working hard to make this the biggest and loudest school strike yet!
WHERE: Jubilee Park, Mackay (corner of Wellington St and Alfred St)
WHEN: Friday, September 20th 2019
TIME: 12pm - 1:30pm
BRING: Banners, signs, instruments and voices!
~ WATER QUALITY AND THE GREAT BARRIER REEF FORUM ~
Learn about the opportunities we have to alleviate the Reef from one of its leading pressures.
With talks from a diverse array of experts in the field, including: Jon Brodie (scientist), Katrina Dent (Reef Catchments), Simon Mattsson (cane farmer), Hon. Leeanne Enoch (QLD Environment Minister).
WHEN: 1ST OCTOBER, 2019
TIME: 7:00 - 8:30PM
WHERE: THE MACKAY ENTERTAINMENT CONVENTION CENTRE 258 Alfred St, Mackay QLD 4740
Click here to RSVP and for more information.
Turtle photo credit: The Ocean Agency / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Richard Vevers.Read more
Friday on my mind 12.09.2019
This week the effects of climate change became all too real for many people living in
southern Queensland. Unprecedented fires continue to burn through prime agricultural
areas near Stanthorpe and Applethorpe after a hell week for residents and firefighters.
Sadly, the iconic Binnaburra Lodge was burnt down as uncontrolled fires swept through
the Gold Coast hinterland. News has been slow to filter through about the fire’s impact
on some of the largest subtropical rainforests in the world that make the Gold Coast
hinterland an international biodiversity and tourist hotspot.
Reinforcing the dire and unprecedented nature of these events, the Queensland and
Fire Emergency Services predictive services inspector, Andrew Sturgess warned us
that that fire danger has never been as severe so early in spring.
2 September 2019
Mackay locals concerned about Adani’s financial situation.
New reports analysing Adani Mining’s financial situation have some Mackay locals concerned.
“Adani has shown it can’t be trusted with the environment. Now Mackay locals are also very concerned that Adani may not be able to pay their bills to contractors.” Said Sunny Hungerford , a spokesperson from Mackay Conservation Group
“The new Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reports outline Adani’s perilous financial situation and notes that Adani Mining already appears insolvent. We are worried that Adani will cause a lot of damage to our environment in the process of building a project which may collapse. The Adani Carmichael coal mine looks like it will be leaving financial and environmental chaos in its wake.”
One concerned member of the Mackay community, Stephen Bulloch, who has now retired from the coal industry, commented on the subject. “Adani’s financial situation doesn’t look good, I personally would not take the gamble of working with Adani, it’d be backing the wrong horse”Read more
Photo credit: CSIRO
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most diverse and important ecosystems on the planet, and yet it is being suffocated by chemical and sediment run-off from the terrestrial environment. This isn’t normal. This isn’t natural. It’s because of us. Humans. How can we be doing this when we are so dependent on it? And why isn’t more being done to help?
The reef provides 64 000 jobs and $6.4 billion directly to the Australian economy every year. But even more than this, the reef is critical in carbon sequestration and the health of the planet. It is nicknamed ‘the rainforest of the ocean’ for a reason and this is because it provides us with the oxygen we all breathe day in day out.
The Great Barrier Reef is a farmer – it provides millions of people with fresh food every day, and to many, this is their main source of protein. The Reef is a chemist – it is full of bioprospecting properties, many yet to be discovered, but is the source to some of our leading anti-cancer drugs. The Reef is an artist – it is one of the most beautiful and unique structures on the planet and attracts over 2 million tourists every year. This is the foundation of the tourism industry in Queensland, which produces billions of dollars for the economy. And it doesn’t stop there. The Great Barrier Reef is also a guard. It protects Queensland’s precious coastlines from extreme storms and flooding. This is especially important in a time of increasing threats from climate change and the severe consequence of rising sea levels.
We respect our human farmers, chemists, artists, and guards. So why don’t we respect our Reef when it is doing all these things and more?Read more
Mackay Conservation Group, in support of National Science Week and in collaboration with the Australian Science Channel and BBC Earth are proud to present:
SCINEMA 2019 - Putting the science in cinema!
The SCINEMA Festival will bring you 4 short films about the environment to a family-friendly event hosted at the Metropolitan Hotel here in Mackay on Saturday 31 August. Come along at 6.30pm to grab yourself a drink and dinner for a 7pm kickoff.