Newsletter #44 - December 2009 for the
Crisis Coalition at

What is a Footprint?

Comparison of US and Australian ecological footprints with African. Every Australian puts 26.5 tons of CO2-e into the atmosphere every year, every American puts 23.6 tons and most Africans a lot less than 1 ton each.

For earlier Footprints visit our archive.

The Crisis Coalition aims to raise awareness and to galvanise action.
For the latest information read this fully referenced report.

Dear Friends

Now that Copenhagen is about to start, read James Hansen’s forceful statement. He argues, as we have been doing in FOOTPRINTS since we sent out our first issues two years ago, that nothing less than total restructuring will change our fate.

This means agreeing at Copenhagen to ending all fossil fuel use before 2020. A percentage is not sufficient. You all know the situation on sea-level rise, chaotic weather, seas without fish, drought etc and (most concerning) the release of methane. Add to that population growth and the scramble to corner the world’s food production, and we know that immediate action is needed if we are to stop at 3 degrees or more.

Particularly when we suspect that tipping points can happen suddenly, and not slowly enough to give us warning. The ice caps melted in less than a decade according to one study, and the Gulf Stream collapsed in a few months just 12,800 years ago, sending Europe into an instantaneous deep freeze.

Remember the snap-frozen mammoths with summer food still in their stomachs?

Agreeing to end fossil fuels wont work if we leave it until 2020. We need to cut all use by 10 percent every year until then. The men of money have sown doubts among us, with an exceptional attack on the integrity of the scientific community.

Why do we listen to them? George Monbiot suggests that denial is our habitual way of dealing with fear of death. This is like saying “We all know we are doomed if we do nothing. Yet we are too comfortable as we are. Lets roll over and go back to sleep, maybe it will just pass away!” Fat chance!

So, back to the present: Copenhagen. The summit is political. This means compromise between opposing forces. As in vector analysis, the resultant will be in between, which means significantly less than is needed.

There is no point in targeting politicians without also targeting the decision-making individuals who are hiding behind their corporate facades. To expect politicians to make decisions is pointless. We need to project ourselves directly onto the other force in the vector, on a personal basis.

Two million Australians will become sea-level refugees. How many of them run the companies causing the problem? This is where action should be directed.

John James

Please forward this newsletter to your friends and encourage them to join the mailing list at

You can subscribe or unsubscribe at