Old 15th July 2007, 07:52   #1
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Man turns down $5 billion

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JEFFREY LEE is not interested in the soaring price of uranium, which could make him one of the world's richest men.

"This is my country. Look, it's beautiful and I fear somebody will disturb it," he says, waving his arm across a view of rocky land surrounded by Kakadu National Park, where the French energy giant Areva wants to extract 14,000 tonnes of uranium worth more than $5 billion.

Mr Lee, the shy 36-year-old sole member of the Djok clan and the senior custodian of the Koongarra uranium deposit, has decided never to allow the ecologically sensitive land to be mined.

"There are sacred sites, there are burial sites and there are other special places out there which are my responsibility to look after," Mr Lee told the Herald.

"I'm not interested in white people offering me this or that … it doesn't mean a thing.

"I'm not interested in money. I've got a job; I can buy tucker; I can go fishing and hunting. That's all that matters to me."

Mr Lee said he thought long and hard about speaking publicly for the first time about why he wants to see the land incorporated into the World Heritage-listed national park, where, he said, "it will be protected and safe forever".

The Koongarra deposit is only three kilometres from Nourlangie Rock, one of the most visited attractions in Kakadu.

"There's been a lot of pressure on me, and for a very long time I didn't want to talk or think about Koongarra," Mr Lee said.

"But now I want to talk about what I have decided to do because I fear for my country.

"I was taken all through here on the shoulder of my grandmother … I heard all the stories and learnt everything about this land, and I want to pass it all on to my kids."



This week Mr Lee took the Herald to a rocky outcrop overlooking the Koongarra deposit, a sacred place where, according to his clan's beliefs, a giant blue-tongue lizard still lurks and should not be disturbed.

Here it is, painted on a rock hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years ago, its jaw apparently bitten off in a mystical fight.

This is what Mr Lee calls a djang, or place of spiritual essence, which he has closed to the 230,000 tourists who visit Kakadu each year.

"My father and grandfather said they would agree to opening the land to mining, but I have learnt as I have grown up that there's poison in the ground," he said.

"My father and grandfather were offered cars, houses and many other things, but nobody told them about uranium and what it can do.

"It's my belief that if you disturb that land bad things will happen … there will be a big flood, there will be an earthquake and people will have a big accident."

Mr Lee said there were places on his land where the rainbow serpent had entered the ground that were so sacred, "I can't even go to them or talk about them.

"I can't allow people to go around disturbing everything."

Areva wants to extract the uranium on its 12.5 square kilometre mineral lease at Koongarra, as the price of the ore has soared as world demand has grown.

Mr Lee's declaration that he will never allow the mine to go ahead will put pressure on the Federal Government to formally incorporate the land into Kakadu National Park.

In August 2005 the Federal Government took control of uranium mining from the Northern Territory, declaring the territory open for new mines.

Ranger, a mine with a history of environmental leaks owned by Energy Resources of Australia, has been extracting uranium in Kakadu since 1981.

The Howard Government has always maintained that no new mine would be approved in the territory without the approval of the traditional owners.

The Government has told the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the body under which Kakadu is listed as a heritage site, that it would agree "in principle" for Koongarra to be incorporated into the park if the traditional owners requested it.

Mr Lee, who works as a ranger in Kakadu, said incorporating Koongarra into the park would allow him to see that the land was protected.

"Being part of the park will ensure that the traditional laws, customs, sites, bush tucker, trees, plants and water stay the same as when they were passed on to me by my father and great-grandfather," he said.

As the sole surviving member of the Djok clan Mr Lee does not have any children to pass the land on to.

"I'll have to see what I can do about that," he said.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/...10.html?page=2
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Old 15th July 2007, 17:21   #2
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Old 16th July 2007, 00:44   #3
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Finally! Someone who cares about other things, like the environment, more than themselves.
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Old 16th July 2007, 01:34   #4
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Not to chip away at the story or the man, but I think I could do much more for the environment with five billion dollars than save that plot of land.
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Old 16th July 2007, 01:40   #5
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Damn it, your right!
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Old 16th July 2007, 18:56   #6
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As the article says, Areva has created ecological problems and environmental leakage with their uranium mines. I'd be a little concerned too. I'm sure the 200,000 tourists that visit the national park every year would rather not come home radioactive.

Tourism, in the long run, has to be worth more than 5 billion.

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Old 17th July 2007, 15:58   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by J.Melo
Finally! Someone who cares about other things, like the environment, more than themselves.
word! you could do a helluva lot of good with $5 billion.

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 17th July 2007, 17:49   #8
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Money does fuck all to help the planet or get us out of the hole we've dug ourselves into. We're way past the point where we have the resources to support ourselves anymore.

The only thing that stands any chance is a shift in attitude and lifestyle.
Money just provides a means of avoidance for those unprepared to change.

UJ
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Old 17th July 2007, 18:15   #9
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Well, with $5 billion, you could invest it in research for alternative fuels, alternative power sources, electric cars, more efficient appliances, etc... That's the only way you can do it because many people are too damn lazy and uncarring to change. Lots of people care about the environment when they talk about it, but later they forget, then they don't do anything about it.

Rockouthippie is also right, though. There are other ways of making $5 billion. Besides, extracting the uranium is only half the damage. More harm will be done when they use it in things like nuclear power plants, which aren't very efficient.
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Old 17th July 2007, 18:22   #10
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with $5 billion you could pay for educating a helluva lot of young folks who can't afford to pay for higher education. that alone would be considered helping the planet.

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 18th July 2007, 09:32   #11
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The tailings from uranium mining leeches arsenic and mercury into the ground. That's permanent contamination.

Hell, it's just not possible to make power without hurting things. In Oregon, our new wind plants kill millions of birds, just like our hydro dams have killed most of the salmon. Our nuke plant was a screwed up piece of junk that had to be torn down at enormous expense. It didn't contaminate anything, but it didn't generate much power either.

Maybe we could just leave Aborigine dude's back yard alone. Leaving his kids the legacy of home that isn't a mercury contaminated wasteland might beat college.

Maybe the US should open back up our uranium mining and take the French money. But see.... we're smart enough not to mine uranium in this country... we mostly leave that to our leading supplier of most toxic heavy metal products... the Canadians

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Old 18th July 2007, 11:50   #12
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Re: Man turns down $5 billion

Quote:
Originally posted by Triton4
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/...10.html?page=2
This is the look when you just ate 20 pieces of exlacs, chocolate flavor lol

BAD CONSTIPATION! )

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Old 18th July 2007, 22:09   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by rockouthippie
Hell, it's just not possible to make power without hurting things.
What about solar power?
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Old 18th July 2007, 23:25   #14
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billion and billions of birds will be killed by solar power. The poor bastards will burn their feet landing on panels than while they're hopping about with burnt toes the cats will get them. It's the damned Canadian cats!

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 19th July 2007, 04:24   #15
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There are plenty of equally dark things outside that will get hot in the summer and burn birds' feet. 40% of houses have dark shingles and many people enjoy black cars.
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Old 19th July 2007, 14:12   #16
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it was a joke, dude.

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 19th July 2007, 14:27   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phyltre
Not to chip away at the story or the man, but I think I could do much more for the environment with five billion dollars than save that plot of land.
Consequential ethics = fail

There should be absolutely no doubt that this guy did the right thing.


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Old 19th July 2007, 15:46   #18
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There should be absolutely no doubt that this guy did the right thing.<<<

why absolutely no doubt? He is holding onto a piece of land that his religion says is sacred. BFD. While I agree that the world doesn't need more uranium mined and that would most likely fuck up the landscape, why is this guy's decisions about ownership/stewardhsip, based on mythological beliefs in invisible beings somethng to be labled, "absolutely no doubt that this guy did the right thing?"

your friendly neighborhood atheist.

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 19th July 2007, 16:09   #19
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Almost all myths and belief systems(religions if you want) are based on knowledge held in our unconscious minds, the problems occur when we try to manifest them in our conscious mind.

This doesn't make them any less true because we can't agree how to make them a reality(what we generally call politics).

For an atheist viewpoint of the problem you could do worse than read up on the works of Jung and Lao Tzu.

UJ
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Old 19th July 2007, 17:53   #20
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I've read them both. I was speaking to one religion claiming ownership and stewardship over a particular region of real estate because its myths are gathered around it. and of course the folly of claiming any pov, especially one based on invisible beings is absolutely certainly true.

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 19th July 2007, 18:45   #21
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What would you have then, eminent domain and the man with the biggest stick. Very short sighted, but ever the way we proceed. Invisible beings are just as valid a pov as any other, the point I was trying to make is that we need to take a higher view, however we express it.
In the long run Earth abides, whether that includes a future for us humans depends on the choices we make. At the moment I see our behaviour leading to catastrophic change, when, with the right choices we could at least evolve to a more sustainable future.

Doris Lessing, has some pertinent comments on where we are heading in the Canopus in Argos series. Can't remember the book that deals with this in detail offhand, might be 'The Making of The Representative For Planet 8'

In the end, I guess, it comes down to whether you believe mankind has a purpose or not. Otherwise none of it matters, do as you please.

UJ
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Old 19th July 2007, 19:48   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by watadoo
There should be absolutely no doubt that this guy did the right thing.<<<

why absolutely no doubt? He is holding onto a piece of land that his religion says is sacred. BFD. While I agree that the world doesn't need more uranium mined and that would most likely fuck up the landscape, why is this guy's decisions about ownership/stewardhsip, based on mythological beliefs in invisible beings somethng to be labled, "absolutely no doubt that this guy did the right thing?"

your friendly neighborhood atheist.
I don't see how religion has anything to do with this situation. This is about a guy who can't be bought, because he believes that the preservation of something very dear to him is more important than money.

You as an "atheist" sure seem to have read a lot more "religion" into this situation than I do. Is maybe "anti-theist" a more appropriate label for you?


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Old 20th July 2007, 04:05   #23
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Consequential ethics are the only kind of ethics you can logically justify outside of a religious context. Otherwise you're just doing what feels good to you and won't make you feel guilty, basically.
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Old 20th July 2007, 04:17   #24
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lol
There's this entire culture of people named "the Ancient Greeks" who would generally completely disagree with the above statement. You might try reading some of their better known thinkers.

But yeah, inside modern western culture, I doubt many non-theists consider deontology or Virtue.


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Old 20th July 2007, 05:45   #25
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I have, and I dismissed it out of hand. Luckily an atheism article on about.com has delineated how I feel about deontological ethics:

Quote:
A common criticism of deontological moral systems is that they provide no clear way to resolve conflicts between moral duties. a deontological moral system should include both a moral duty not to lie and one to keep others from harm, for example, but in the above situation how is a person to choose between those two moral duties? A popular response to this is to simply choose the "lesser of two evils," but that means relying on which of the two has the least evil consequences and, therefore, the moral choice is being made on a consequentialist rather than a deontological basis.

Some critics argue that deontological moral systems are, in fact, consequentialist moral systems in disguise. According to this argument, duties and obligations which set forth in deontological systems are actually those actions which have been demonstrated over long periods of time to have the best consequences. Eventually, they become enshrined in custom and law and people stop giving them or their consequences much thought — they are simply assumed to be correct. Deontological ethics are thus ethics where the reasons for particular duties have been forgotten, even if things have completely changed.

A second criticism is that deontological moral systems do not readily allow for grey areas where the morality of an action is questionable. They are, rather, systems which are based upon absolutes — absolute principles and absolute conclusions. In real life, however, moral questions more often involve grey areas than absolute black & white choices. We typically have conflicting duties, interests, and issues that make things difficult.

Another common criticism of deontological ethical theories is the question of just which duties qualify as those which we should all follow, regardless of the consequences. Duties which might have been valid in the 18th century are not necessarily valid now, but who is to say which ones should be abandoned and which are still valid? And if any are to be abandoned, how can we say that they really were moral duties back in the 18th century?
Unless you have a God telling you what is absolutely right and absolutely wrong, your judgements on right/wrong will either be consequential (as I advocate) or biological imperative feedback (AKA Save the children!!!111, the sort of thing Senators use to push unpopular bills through the Senate...something you said this wasn't.)

As for Virtue...well, it's very similar to Absolute and Elemental ideology. Science has progressed far enough for us to assume that there is no essence of cold or hot being expressed in varying degrees. Virtue just tells you to do things for the right reasons--but you still have to justify the "right." Somebody has to write the rulebook.
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Old 20th July 2007, 06:13   #26
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So, by the article's notion, deontology is Consequentialism in disguise.
And by your notion, Virtue is deontology in disguise.

well, gee, kind of makes a guy wonder how we came to the distinctions in the first place, doesn't it?


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Old 20th July 2007, 10:28   #27
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I think he should have taken the cash, and spent it on his people.

develop more relations to the aboriginal people in the area, provide them with better food and water, schools etc. teach them how to live as aboriginals in a predominantly white society(sad but true in those places)

the government is barely doing anything for some of the people living in northern territory.(because its such a minority of people)

just because you got money doesn't mean you have to live like a king.

giving away a section of the land is a small price to pay for the lively hoods of a whole race.
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Old 20th July 2007, 17:46   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by shakey_snake
So, by the article's notion, deontology is Consequentialism in disguise.
And by your notion, Virtue is deontology in disguise.

well, gee, kind of makes a guy wonder how we came to the distinctions in the first place, doesn't it?
Yes, and that's my point. Either you are drawing from religious truths God gave you, or you are looking at things consequentially. Otherwise, you're just listening to the self-centered social chemical biofeedback system responsible for all the world's interpersonal ills--ego, malice, petulance, etc.
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Old 20th July 2007, 19:30   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phyltre
Either you are drawing from religious truths God gave you, or you are looking at things consequentially.
The truth is the truth, no matter how you come to that conclusion.

You can get the truth from God, or you can try to find it yourself. The right answers are always the same answers.

We don't have to believe that the bible was inspired by a deity. What we do have to recognise is that most of what it says is just plain common sense.

Whether you believe in God or not, if you didn't do just about what the bible says.... life will kick your ass...even more than it does anyway.

You didn't need to wait for devine retribution when you were making yourself miserable.

Last edited by rockouthippie; 20th July 2007 at 19:48.
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Old 21st July 2007, 16:49   #30
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What would you have then, eminent domain and the man with the biggest stick. Very short sighted, but ever the way we proceed. Invisible beings are just as valid a pov as any other, the point I was trying to make is that we need to take a higher view, however we express it.<<<<

Humans and Governments get the man with the biggest stick with or without beliefs in invisible beings.

Belief in invisible sky-fairies is NOT a valid pov as any other. It's generally thought to be an indication of psychosis when you start hearing voices and believing in flying authoritarian figures. Thinking it's silly to the point of insanity to believe in mystical invisible sock-puppets in the sky and making the decision to live a moral and honorable life through logical thought by coming to the conclusion that doing right is well, the right thing to do rather than because some officious type in long robes tells me a 2000 year old book says an omnipotent being is going to fry me for eternity unless I comply -- makes the atheist morally superior since he does right by choice rather than because of fear or coercion. As you may well guess, I reject the talking points from Christian types that no belief in god = immorality.

"Which is worse, ignorance or indifference?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."
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Old 22nd July 2007, 05:32   #31
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So Mr. Atheist. Morality is what you think it is today. You didn't follow any discipline or study to try to find some relationship with your own spirituality. You didn't examine morality in the context of human history and tradition. More... you criticized people that did. 5000 years of human tradition are all wrong. You know better.

All that might be forgivable, but this isn't even an attempt to examine those issues.

It's just an example of the usual atheistic rhetoric of expressing bigotry against Christians and recruitment to atheistic apathy. Life isn't sacred. Nor is marriage. Religion is the root of all evil. Nothing matters and conventional morality is too inconvenient to our own self interest. How do we know this? Not from study of philosophy.... we just made the shit up.... like our new enlightened morality.... that'll be different tomorrow... Nothing is sacred. Nothing matters..... except Christians are bad.

Did I miss something?

I don't think "no belief in God = immorality", I just think it's a lot more likely. I'm not saying God fearing people are always moral..... I just know from experience that I got a hell of a lot better odds....

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Old 22nd July 2007, 13:40   #32
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/locks thread due to "holy war"
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