Global warming 'the greatest atrocity'

From: AAP
By Xavier La Canna
June 04, 2006

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,19359468-1243,00.html

AUSTRALIAN actor Jack Thompson has said destruction of the environment is a worse atrocity than the September 11 terror attacks and the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined.

Thompson, who will today address a Melbourne rally on the eve of World Environment Day, said measurably more people were affected by global warming than by the three catastrophic events.

"That is not to diminish what happened on 9/11. That is probably the most awful and spectacular incident in my life since Nagasaki and Hiroshima," he said.

"But Hiroshima, Nagasaki and 9/11 all together, when you look at the meltdown of the Greenland ice-cap and the flow-on of that alone, the numbers of people affected, it is measurably more."

The death toll from Nagasaki and Hiroshima was probably more than 100,000, possibly exceeding 200,000 within five years of the World War II bombings. An estimated 3,000 people died as a result of the attacks on September 11,
2001.

Thompson, who starred in films including Breaker Morant, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The Sum of Us and My Brother Jack, said he was passionate about encouraging sustainable development.

Thousands of people are set to join today's rally to push to protect Victoria's old growth forests.

An organiser for the demonstration, Gavan McFadzean, said at least 5,000 people were expected to take part in the march from the State Library to Federation Square.

Mr McFadzean said with enough pressure he thought the Victorian government would move to protect old growth forests before the November state election.

"State governments in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have protected their old growth forests, and moved their logging industries into plantations. Victoria's forests are just as precious," he said.

He said an area equivalent to 27 football grounds was logged each day in Victoria and moving to protect the forests would help the environment.

"Protecting old growth forests is good for climate change," Mr McFadzean said.

A state government spokesman said much had been done to create national parks in Victoria.

The Bracks government has announced a plan to phase out logging of old growth forests in the Otway ranges by 2008.

Thompson most recently co-starred with Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

Japanese Australians and the RSL today gave qualified support to Thompson's comments.

Committee member of the Australia-Japan society, Hiroko Fischer, said while Thompson may be exaggerating, it was possible that over the next 100 years global warming will have a bigger impact than the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

"It is hard to compare the two. The bombings were quite devastating ... the environment is slowly getting affected," Ms Fischer said.

RSL national president Major-General Bill Crews said global warming may eventually prove more catastrophic than the bombings, and the terror attacks.

"Global warming is a global situation, as far as it has been proved, and is far more extensive than more isolated incidents such as the bombings in Japan or the attacks on September 11," Maj-Gen Crews said.

He said in terms of the total impact to humanity, global warming may ultimately have more impact.

An estimated 15,000 people joined today's rally to protect Victoria's old growth forests.


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