From Taipei Times
A group of writers, musicians and artists yesterday protested against a controversial plan by Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co to build oil refineries on ecologically sensitive wetlands along the coast of Dacheng Township (大城) in Changhua County.
LOSING THE SEA
“Although we live on an island surrounded by the sea, we’re so far from the sea in our daily lives,” writer Li Ang (李昂), a native of Lugang (鹿港), a costal town in Changhua County, told a press conference at the legislature.
“When I was a kid, we couldn’t go to the sea because the coast was under tight control during the Martial Law period. When I grew up, the coast was still unreachable because of the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park,” Li said. “Once the Kuokuang oil refineries are built, we will completely lose the Changhua coastline.”
Wu Sheng (吳晟), another Changhua-born writer and poet, turned his anger on politicians who claimed that most of those who opposed the plan were not locals, but outsiders who did not know the needs of local residents.
“Of course the allegations are false. I should point out, however, that although Changhua residents may be the most affected by the oil refineries, the destruction of the environment would have an impact everyone in the country — even people in other countries,” he said. Writer Liu Ke-shiang (劉克襄) said that at this critical time, when governments around the world are formulating policies to cut down greenhouse gas emissions, “[President] Ma [Ying-jeou, 馬英九] is the one with the power to decide whether Taiwan should take a road that leads to sustainable development.”
“It’s not the humpback dolphins, but Ma who should take the turn,” he said, triggering laughter.
Liu was referring to a remark by Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) earlier this year that humpback dolphins would know to take a turn when running into oil refineries. Environmental groups claim that the construction of oil refineries in Dacheng would block an underwater corridor used by critically endangered humpback dolphins. In a prerecorded video, the guitarist of the band Alphasia, Luxia Wu (吳逸駿), said: “We could save all the trouble of trying to save the humpback dolphins by curing Wu first,” he said. Music critic Chang Tieh-chih (張鐵志) said efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions would be more effective if the Kuokuang oil refineries were shut down.
English Protest Agro-Fuel Subsides
Activists from the Campaign Against Climate Change came to the Whitehall office of the Department of Energy and Climate Change to present thousands of postcards to coalition Energy Secretary Chris Huhne. Later in the day they held a demonstration outside the DECC before a public meeting in the evening.
The group of demonstrators, including one ‘orangutan’ and someone holding a ”Chris Huhne’ mask, highlighted the environmental devastation caused by the felling of tropical forests to grow agrofuel crops such as palm oil – now the largest cause of deforestation in South East Asia – and deforestation is responsible for as much as 20% of global carbon emissions. In many areas palm oil growers are grabbing land from indigenous tribes and destroying their communities. Human rights are being abused on a grand scale and the growth of agrofuel production has the effect of reducing food production, leading to higher food prices, pricing food out of the reach of many poor people around the world.
PETA Billboard Raises Controversy
Anglers have been left reeling after animal rights activists put up a giant poster in Ashford questioning the size of their ‘rods’. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has deliberately targeted the town and hired a billboard outside the International Station to provoke fishermen after the recent death of Britain’s largest mirror carp, Two Tone.