As horrifying as it is to watch the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico unfold, it would be a mistake to think it is 'over there' somehow and won't have effects on us in Canberra. I'm not wise enough to predict their precise details, but I can see that patterns are emerging in relation to oil and its availability that will surely impact on our way of life in the very near future.
It also seems that our governments are not planning for this adequately, which is why we need to push very hard to make them sit up and take notice.
This oil spill, which may be the biggest environmental catastrophe so far for the US, is just one of the pieces that relate to oil. Taken together, they paint a picture that can help inform our decisions about our future.
To begin with, impacts on fishing industries in the Gulf of Mexico will probably further drive up the cost of fish globally, and further speed up the demise of fisheries. the book The End of the Line, by Charles Clover, is an eyeopener on overfishing. We've passed 'peak fish' long ago.
Check out this excellent website produced by Australian physics graduate, John Cook in Queensland
Well, that is a bit hyperbolic, but in principle, she would fully approve of what SC is doing. This article was brought to my attention through the climate action Canberra mailing list, which is just one of many useful communication vehicles dealing with this issue in the ACT. YOu can read it yourself, and it isn't technical:
A Multi-Scale Approach to Coping with Climate Change and Other Collective Action Problems, by Elinor Ostrom.
She goes through a clear analysis of why waiting for collective action, like waiting for Godot, is unlikely to provide the best outcomes. Her approach is grounded in complex adaptive systems analysis, which provides mathematical underpinnings for a lot of common sense. Everyday phrases like 'the straw that broke the camel's back' and 'a stitch in time saves nine', are metaphors for real physical processes.
It is now clear that human actions in the next decade will determine the future suitability of planet earth for human habitation. Our world leaders did not get their act together at Copenhagen and there is now a very strong likelihood that unless communities around the world demand very urgent action by our governments, our children will be locked into a very unpleasant future.
This is an initial record of the current list of printed resources held at the Downer Office of SEE-Change
Perhaps there are books you could give SEE-Change, or would be willing to lend on a long term basis, for further lending out, or for browsing at the Office?
Just let us know...
It’s change over time in our garden. We have fondly bid farewell to the tomatoes a couple of weeks ago and, last weekend, it was the turn of the pumpkins. Our yield happily filled a wheelbarrow load and I felt like an extra from Oklahoma! <!--break-->
The roll call of winter vege is, I have to admit, a lot less exciting than the summer ones but adjusting to the rhythm of the season garden is one of the lessons of what we do – so bring on the brassica, keep the kale coming and welcome the winter but……..oh no we have a pest problem.
Gardening can be a rewarding and peaceful activity. It offers an endless and pleasurable learning curve (unlike cleaning, for a different domestic comparison).
Even mundane activities like weeding and fertilising contribute to the whole, and are therefore part of the meditation of gardening.
But what happens when the time needed to get it even partly right outweighs the time available to tend to those fruit trees and veggies?
A few months ago, visiting an almost unbelievably productive garden in O'Connor, it struck me that harvesting and cooking or preserving all that wonderful vegetation would be nearly a full time task.
The photo I have attached illustrates my dilemma, which is probably echoed by each devoted gardener at some point or another. (you will have to click on it to see.)
I can grow decent carrots. The crop would have been better if I'd thinned them as seedlings, but that step got missed. Now I am harvesting them, and last week made a fine Indian carrot soup from my successful effort.
I’ve learnt to fear the words “honey, can you bring me the colander please?” Usually it is from my husband out in the garden and inevitably presages an avalanche of just picked garden produce about to land in my cooking pot. Welcome to the world of the home gardener. Sweet darling little zucchini one day, huge ‘what the bugger do we do with them now’ marrow the next (answer: they actually barbeque up quite nicely).
Really, this whole gardening thing started as a birthday present for my husband who has an urge to nurture things. But on Sunday afternoons I have the urge only for a cuppa tea and a good book, so it seemed that taking the plunge – even hiring a gardener to get the big stuff done – and growing a few veges would satisfy us both.
But the thing is, we are now both hooked. And I now find myself regularly out in the garden marvelling at the tomatoes or greedily coveting the freshly picked raspberries….this is now not a hobby, but a (particularly yummy) part of our lives. (mmmmm, although maybe I DO need to get out more).
But of course, it could be a woman, too. The point is that my yard generates green waste, and that taking it to the tip where it can be left for free still requires a car, a trailer, time and petrol.
If Canberra is to become a greener city, with new clean green activities displacing our wasteful practices, wouldn't a Mobile Mulcher be a good new service niche?
A smidgeon of research on this issue (that means I called one tree service that offers mulching services) revealed that even at economy rates, getting someone to our house to mulch existing green waste would cost a minimum of $200 for an hour's work. That is a lot of mulching, I guess, but far more than the value/cost of me of a trip to the tip, since I already own a car and trailer.
But what about people who do not have such accoutrements, and isn't one good goal to have fewer unncecssary cars, trailers and car trips?
Are our human systems resilient or will they adapt, transform or collapse when the perfect storm hits us?Submitted by Bob Douglas on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 1:28pm
Humanity has always lived on the edge of trouble, but this time the future is looking pretty unpleasant. It is not just the combination of overpopulation and climate change, peak oil, global inequity, terrorism and the threat of nuclear war. It is also the progressive world-wide collapse of the ecosystems on which we all depend for our sustenance.
The planet is dying and we are pretending it is not happening because we haven’t yet got our collective act together to deal with these realities. The polls tell us that action on climate change is falling down the political priority list and that climate change deniers are doing quite well in the struggle for the hearts and minds of people across the developed world. Eat drink and be merry………
Three weeks ago Australia 21 held a conference in Canberra to consider the application of resilience thinking to all this stuff. For this purpose, we brought some of the leading resilience scientists in the world together with a group of Australia’s policy makers.