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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Religion and violence in Australian-Indigenous history

    • Frank Brennan
    • 27 July 2016
    2 Comments

    The violence at the pastoral frontier of the British colonies here in Australia was all pervasive. 228 years after it commenced, we are still experiencing the after-effects. When I started advocating Aboriginal rights here in Australia almost 40 years ago, the prevailing wisdom was that the missions and missionaries were all bad news. It will come as no surprise that I have always doubted that Aborigines were well rid of religion and the missionaries in all circumstances.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laudato Si and the Australian election

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 22 June 2016
    23 Comments

    It is now 12 months since Pope Francis issued his environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. He opined, 'Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the 21st century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.' Where are the Australian politicians who can give hope to the coming generation by focusing our attention on this most urgent issue?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Is your super doing dirty work?

    • Thea Ormerod
    • 21 June 2016
    4 Comments

    An accelerating number of institutions and individuals are moving their money out of planet-heating fossil fuels and into climate solutions. The total assets guided by some form of divestment policy was $3.4 trillion at 2 December last year, 50 times more than what was up for divestment 12 months earlier. It sounds like a lot, but it's a small amount compared to the $100 trillion-plus invested in the usual way. That's our money, in banks and super funds, managed funds and insurance companies.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Legal grey area hinders Aboriginal repatriation

    • Kate Galloway
    • 17 June 2016
    3 Comments

    Until the 1940s, bodies of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were sent to museum, scientific, and private collections around the world. The remains of more than 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians continue to be held overseas in collections. Indigenous Australians have worked tirelessly towards repatriation, and there has been some success in recent decades. Unfortunately, the remains tend to fall into a grey area of Australian law.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Losing and finding Dad in dementia

    • Julie Guirgis
    • 16 June 2016
    13 Comments

    Today I walked past the bathroom and noticed a pale yellow puddle with an odour worse than an unflushed toilet. I cringed at the stench, with the realisation that I had to wash urine off the floor ... Dad's illness sometimes causes ambiguous loss. It is unclear, has no resolution or closure. He is like someone I don't know anymore; he is gone-but-still-there. This leads to complicated grief. I can't look at him without seeing a fading picture of who he used to be, and speak of him in the past tense.

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  • ECONOMICS

    How financial markets are stymying climate action

    • David James
    • 15 June 2016
    7 Comments

    There is little doubt that the means to dramatically reduce the amount of pollution produced by developed economies is already theoretically available. It is perfectly possible to redesign industrial systems so that they do not pollute and do not consume finite resources at a rate that is unsustainable. But it requires a radical shift - and the biggest barrier to that shift occurring, the financial markets, is barely even mentioned in discussions of the challenge.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Orlando shooting brings hate to its natural conclusion

    • Fatima Measham
    • 15 June 2016
    45 Comments

    At the epicentre of all this is a place where young, queer men and women had felt safe and free to be themselves. The dead are almost all black, brown, gay and working class. If, as Dr Cornel West has often said, justice is what love looks like in public, then injustice must be what hate looks like, and there is perhaps no greater injustice than murder. Mass murder is hatred realised in full grotesque proportion. This means is that the little things we do to validate hatred are not inconsequential.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's little sepia book of dead political tricks

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 06 June 2016
    26 Comments

    Living within the United Nations community I've witnessed Australia fall from a well-respected international citizen, to becoming the spoilt, sneaky brat of international relations. Even the most blasé glance at the geo political currents moving through the planet reveal complexities this election pretends don't exist. Australians fighting about jobs and growth in the corner comes across as deeply deluded isolationism. The Great Barrier Reef is dying. The world is watching. Hello Australia? Anybody home?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Calculated risks, incalculable rewards in India

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 27 May 2016
    3 Comments

    In 2013 I attended an event so exclusive, so unique, it wouldn't happen again for another 144 years. It was the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, where, over a six-week period, an estimated 120 million Hindu pilgrims converged on the banks of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasweti Rivers in order to perform puja, or the cleansing of their sins. If we're open to what travel seeks to teach us, we'll gain from it the most superior of educations, and the most profound lessons in humility.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    We need a grassroots revival to save the reef

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 27 May 2016
    12 Comments

    Many people have hoped that when global warming manifested itself as a concrete threat, politicians would be forced into action. Yet it's becoming horrifyingly clear that the political class is quite willing to let the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, slowly die. If we want to save the reef, we're going to have to do it ourselves. The Franklin dam blockade of 1982-1983 transformed the political climate and preserved an iconic river. We need to recapture that energy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not-so-nice guys have sexist cake and eat it too

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 26 May 2016

    As is the time-honoured tradition of Hollywood PIs, Holland has long bound the wounds of some unresolved grief in alcohol and cynicism. Notwithstanding individual tastes that are by no means aligned with gender, this is the kind of movie that can tend to appeal to puerile male interests while diminishing respect for women. In this regard Shane Black, a mainstream filmmaker who is more self-aware than most, tries to have his cake and eat it too, by both drawing and subverting the objectifying male gaze.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Rumours of thylacines and distant barbarians

    • Shane McCauley
    • 24 May 2016

    Here in this weather-beleaguered outpost there are so many rumours - thylacines, panthers, wagyls even that in the distant east are barbarians ... But separating deserts might as well be galaxies, and we are self-contained, and even like those theoretical others have our contentments - blue sky, blue sea, and even now the sun's great wintery eye. Hidden as we are however we hold our heads high, perhaps would not be ashamed one day to be discovered ...

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