Category Archives: Environment

Beautifully presented, yet tragic GIFs that show what’s happening to our oceans

TED has a great page with a number of animated images. These paint a picture of what is happening to our oceans.

It’s easy to overlook such a massive tragedy from our vantage point.

image

See the rest here.

Welcome to the new (er) New Anthropocene

I’m staggered to learn that, in my absence, the traffic has remained. For months on end.

That my efforts on here for the past four years continues to be of value is the very best compliment I could ask for.

I had a spike last week (three times my running daily average), with about a third of that traffic directed towards my fluoridation work. I honestly don’t get the controversy. Capital cities in most states and territories of Australia have had fluoridated water since the 1960’s or 70’s.

Compare such places to Brisbane (not fluoridated) for signs of the supposed adverse reactions of fluoridation and be astounded in the boredom… We don’t see the drop in IQ or increases in cancers or whatever boogeymen you wish to imagine. We do, however, see a reduction in cavities in fluoridated areas.

In reality, that should be the end of it. But that’s the problem with any anti-science movements.

The ABYSS

I’ve learnt a lot in the past year. Unfortunately, I’ve become a little more cynical as well. My writing, I was informed by a potential employer (which they came across in a standard background check), is a liability. This is especially so with the political writing – the only stuff that professional outlets seem to want from me (unpaid, of course). To a lesser extent, the same is true with my rebuttals to anti-science (apparently, I show up on climate denial and anti-vax websites), which sully my name in association.

Moreover, to take a quote I’ve used before; you shouldn’t debate with idiots. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

As such, I will no longer smash my writing efforts against the wall of cognitive dissonance required to hold on to any ideology, be it religious, political or anti-science. It’s sad that many find the unknown so daunting that they need to prop up idealistic models of reality at any cost rather than to trust solid evidence.

If I’m going to writing, it may as well be useful.

Still, I am back!

I have a new job (outside of environmental science) and I am getting close to regaining enough free time to spend on NewAnthro (the past year was spent in a very insecure role where all my free time went to family or, more often, relentless job searching).

NewAnthro will finally get back on track with what it was intended to do; provide an outlet for discussion concentrated on the overwhelming fact that we are now in the Anthropocene and thus a force of nature. What we do about yielding this influence must be targeted towards prosperous outcomes over degradation.

For my kids sake, I’m not interested in a low / no impact life, because that is honestly a pipe-dream suitable for Qi fanciers. The only answer is medium to high impact; like a farmer who increasing the production of a landscape, human activity must aspire to promote biodiversity, thus biological services, thus prosperity for all.

My own efforts will be shared, as a video journal as well as writing, as I try to achieve wins within my fence line. The Sustainable Cities Collective remains one of my favourite gems on the internet.

Right now, I’m working on a home-made, off-grid, weather station which will also water my garden (you can take me out of environmental science, but can’t take the field out of me!) and plan to develop videos along the way. I might share snippets and trial segments on the NewAnthro FB page. If you would like to provide feedback to these test runs, please follow.

I hope the shift will be one that interests you!

Sunday Reads #8: All things climate, environmental and politics

Firstly, I need to plug my survey again. I had a great response on Friday, but yesterday saw little movement. If the question and the answer matters to you, please try to get at least three friends or family members to spare 60 seconds to fill it in and a couple additional minutes to get three more to follow on.

Survey: Does the Aust Gov have a mandate on Chaplains in Public Schools?

Coalition’s Green Army passes the Senate

Having worked as a retail “trainee” when I was 19-20 in what was clearly a way to get around minimum wage restrictions, I am concerned by this, but not surprised at the bi-partisan support, sadly.

Carpark run-off cheaper to drink than desal water

Thinking for the 21st century!

Changing what we eat [relating to sustainability climate change]

Great to bookmark and refer to the future.

This Is What Your Grocery Store Looks Like Without Bees (PHOTOS)

Expect this message to become a bigger issue over the coming decades.

Fiji accuses global community of abandoning the Pacific on climate change, singles out ‘selfish’ Australia

Unfortunately, our leaders are not listening.

The jobs of yesterday: Abbott’s roads rear-vision

Sorry, second plug. This is my latest article on the Climate Spectator.

Power bills to drop 8pc in Tasmania if Senate approves carbon tax abolition

When the Gillard government introduced the carbon price, Abbott said people would pay thousands more a year in energy costs. He then said he would save people on average $550 a year in energy costs. Tasmanians’ are set to save $164 a year from the latest estimates.

For me, this is a clear indicator that reality is likely to be about 20% the estimate offered by our current PM.

Coal’s share of world energy demand at highest since 1970

And this is a genuine tragedy for the coal rich country down under, regardless what the short-term economics might say.

 

Economic Wealth is Tied to Ecology

Today I stumbled upon The Future Economy Group. Very interesting stuff, especially the following infograph. The biggest problem as I see it from my experience is that those you need to convince (typically conservative politicians) think that token gestures are enough (I’m thinking Direct Action and the Green Army, for example).

Farmers are often conservative, but they know better than most that symbiosis means wealth. “You reap what you sow” isn’t just a dated cliché, it is the unbreakable mantra of our relationship with environments. It is only through investing in environments that we can continue to obtain profitable returns.

This isn’t “Tree hugging” nonsense, but good business strategy.

The jobs of yesterday: Abbott’s roads rear-vision

The following is the start of an article that Climate | Business Spectator published yesterday.

The weeks are few and far between when there isn’t news of job cuts, be it primarily manufacturing, services or research. A few hundred here, a couple thousand there, a revamp (with a subtle job loss undertone) for the rest.

And our brave Prime Minister stresses with his Canadian counterpart that job and economic growth are his primary focus. He wants to be the “Infrastructure PM” after all, and if we would all just chip in for his fuel tax, he would open the doors to a plethora of roles in road construction.

There is just one problem with this logic. Just because they’re fruit, it doesn’t mean an apple and an orange are the same. Just because he talks of jobs, it doesn’t mean an out-of-work postie, ex-Holden worker or researcher will be suitable fodder for his new roads projects.

Keep reading here.

Sunday Reads #7: All things climate, environmental and politics

Why electricity prices continue to shock people

Something a lot of us have been saying for some time; the maths simply doesn’t add up. The costs of energy in Australia are not largely the result of the carbon price. We will not be better off with the carbon price gone. We certainly won’t be better off with additional fuel taxes and GP co-payments.

Hunting for Hunt’s Direct Action costings

This government clearly failed when they told us they would be one of “no surprises”. If they had told us they would be one of “no modelling” they would have been spot on.

The Liberals’ radical turn on climate change

An interesting back story the shifting Liberal ideology.

IR debate hijacked by the right

Everything you thought you knew about the supposed “wage explosion” is nothing more than spin designed to undermine workers rights.

Unleash metrics on the climate change sceptics! Met Office chief wants scientists to turn to poetry to promote research

Julia should spend more time exploring blogs and YouTube. There are plenty that have long known this.

Tony Abbott missing signs of world’s switch to carbon trading, experts say

No-one is convinced by the claim that countries are moving away from a market based approach.

Dear Millennials, We’re Sorry

I’ve wanted to write a response article to this, if time permitted. In short, great read, but I disagree with attacking the aged so heavily. Yes, a large proportion goes to them, but we have an aging population. More importantly, have we forgotten the point of “we are the 99%”?

There are massive problems with the distribution of money. More equal societies and a combination of super and taxation ought to support individuals throughout their lives. What kills that is when you live in a society that sees no fundamental problems with some having billions in personal net wealth among their communities.

People-Oriented Cities: Three Keys to Quality Public Transport

Another one to bookmark. The “Aussie dream” for the 20th just doesn’t work in the 21 centuryst. How we manage the expected population growth in Australia over the next century will make or brake our cities.

Sunday Reads #6: All things climate, environmental and politics

Real Density Versus Experienced Density in Paris

I know I’m part of a very small group in Australia who believe discussions will need to focus on higher density on the coming decades, but all the signs are there. I am certain Australia a century from now will have it’s capital cities and many satellites with densities much the same as places like many of the biggest cities today. A massive rethink on how we envision cities and indeed the “Aussie dream” need to be on the cards sooner or later.

This is excellent fuel for thought. As is;

Transit Oriented Development Needs More than Just Location

Making Aussies pay more for fuel to invest in more roads is worthy of a face palm. We will need TOD’s for our growing population. Planning ahead while density is low and land is being chewed up from sprawl makes for excellent timing.

Five Exciting Designs Chosen for New Garden Cities

Of course, higher density can be beautiful, if planned ahead.

Saving Trees in Tropics Could Cut Emissions by One-Fifth, Study Shows

Why not? They are productive lands (assuming landholders don’t rip them up – little nutrients actually in the soil).

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank joins super funds in fossil fuel rethink

The shift is happening, regardless how much some might resist it.

Science funding cuts are generating fears for jobs and research output

Something I can relate with. Being a job searcher hearing CSIRO cutting jobs, various universities cutting non-academic roles, outsourcing, outsourcing, outsourcing. Let’s just say, it’s hard being green….

Abbott deserves to be punished relentlessly for his broken promises

And yet, a mad side show between Turnbull and a couple neo-conservative commentators are taking up the discussions. Speaking of which;

Reading the crazy illogical Turnbull-Jones-Bolt brouhaha

Another shameless plug. The Climate Spectator picked up my article and ran with it.

Richard Denniss: Hey Joe Hockey, while we’re on the subject of debt …

“Australia faces choices about climate change, not dilemmas.”