Thorne and his colleague Glenn West are sitting in white Outside, a typical Australian car with a large pallet, eats a sandwich along the highway. Both have been working in mining their whole lives. “It’s an important part of my life, and I hope my children work in the mines as well,” West says.
They don’t care much about climate change. “At some point we might have to get rid of coal, but not right now,” West says. “The price has been going up in recent months.” The two support state government plans to allow more new mines in the area. “The future of Australia, and the future of the world, is still coal,” West says.
Local manager Peter Shelley agrees. He runs a post office in Rylston and knows nearly all of the village’s 650 residents. “A lot of people depend directly or indirectly on the coal industry,” he says. According to Shelley, more mines, more work and more prosperity for society. “If you think the end of fossil fuels is in sight, you’re kidding yourself,” he says.
The villagers are at odds with each other
But because of these new plans, some villagers are totally against it. A few miles away, 63-year-old Janet Walk is battling a potential new mining operation. “When I heard they wanted to build more mines here, I couldn’t believe it. We live on the same planet? Why would you do that?”
Walk owns a farm on the outskirts of Rylestone where she has kept horses for 25 years. A devastating bushfire a year and a half ago approached her home. “The fire was all around us,” she says. “The fire brigade was working constantly, but we were also busy day and night to keep the fire at a distance.”
You find it incomprehensible that the state government supports new mining. But it is in line with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s vision. “Australia is doing its part. I will not sign a blank check on behalf of Australians for goals without a plan,” he said in response to the IPCC’s conclusions.
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