Archive for the 'Environment' Category


Flannery and Geothermal technology

Today’s Centralian Advocate produced a story about Tim Flannery and his suggestion of a central facility located in the Central Australian desert based on the use of geothermal technology.  The facility would provide energy to other parts of Australia and would serve as a base for the processing of minerals.

There are several exploration companies searching for appropriate locations to use this kind of technology.  One prominent location is in South Australia, but apparently there are large quantities of land that could potentially be used for thispurpose.

Given its existing services and base, the railway line and proximity to the ports near Asia, if a location could be found close to Alice Springs then this location would be ideal. 

As a solar city, the town of Alice could be complimented in several ways if it could serve as an energy hub for the processing of minerals from across Australia and energy supply to regions where it is in demand.  


Uluru / Kata Tjuta

When I was young my father worked as a Park Ranger at Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park.  Our house was tucked behind the community of Mutitjulu, near the shades of the rock.  At the back of our house was a sand dune.  It was one of those hills that you run down when you’re young and the speed carries you.

I remember at the time seeing rain on the rock, and how the clouds hung low with water flowing down the naturally formed contours.  It was one of those occasions where a memory connects to emotion for a first time.  I remember being with my family not far away, and how mum and dad were observing the marvel and beauty.   

In relation to the rock in general I didn’t have the breadth of knowledge of the world to quantify its significance.  Last year I returned for a visit.  It is a truly unique place.  Words can’t describe.  Photographs can’t do justice. 

Given the stretch of desert that covers this earth, and how big each particle of sand is, it is amazing to consider why this monolith is so unique.  There are many majestic places on earth, but most have their equivalents or at least part-equivalents.  Uluru appears to be on its own. 


Natures signs of change

One of the joys of driving to Darwin from Alice is the opportunity to visit Nanna and Pop at Noonamah, in the rural area.  After a 1500km trip this final stop symbolises the end of a safe journey.  It is a trip where you can see the landscape change from semi-arid desert to tropical. 

Pop was telling me how they have had a cold dry season, and how a certain type of tree cannot live in the temperatures they received this year.  This species simply died.  He told me how a tree not far from his house started flowering, then stopped, then flowered some time after.

On the third day I am here the news reported 40+ temperatures in Alice Springs – the earliest 40+ since records were created, some two weeks before the previuos record.  These observations pale in comparison to some of the more impactful changes occuring around the world, but they demonstrate how every person is now affected.


A dilemma in the climate change response

Previously I posted an idea to translate the growing radical sentiment against climate change to substantive policy investment.  I am not concerned about what idea is applied, just the fact that policy in increments may fall short of the projected challenge. 

The idea I posted sparked from my own situation and dilemma, which in turn mirrors the dilemma at the international level.  That is, with a $250’000+ mortgage and the fact of interest (dead money especially if my overall amount can’t be reduced), I found it hard to modify other parts of my life in order to reduce my own emissions.  This is because there are many people around me who are significantly more wealthy and who own their own homes, and have more disposable income. 

This is not to say that I can’t aspire to reducing emissions whilst reducing costs (I can, and do!), and not to say that there are not many more people who are more worse off (there are), but the fact of my mortgage and its personal impact contrasts heavily to what I can achieve as an individual in the fight against global warming.  This is my dilemma.

The idea I posted was aimed at nationalising an equitable and substantial investment through a direct voice of the people.  If I had a choice to mandatory increase my investment to tackle climate change by reducing my disposable income I would do it if it was applied in an equitable sense at a national level, and I would do it in a significant way.  I believe these kinds of ideas can mobilise a new Nationalism.

To contextualise this dilemma, on Lateline last night Stanford University Climatologist Stephen Schneider said (over the fold):

Continue reading ‘A dilemma in the climate change response’


Terry Tamminen on Lateline

On Lateline last night Tony Jones talked to Environment consultant Terry Tamminen, who said: 

This country alone has spent almost half a trillion dollars on that misadventure [Iraq]…Of course, [Alan Greenspans] right, just nominally that if the United States takes action on climate change but these emerging economies don’t, well, of course, he’s right nominally that their emissions may outweigh our reductions.

But that doesn’t mean we should do nothing, because obviously if we do nothing and they do nothing they’ll be twice as bad and the consequences will be twice as bad. But again I think we need to look at the fact there are far more worse consequences already going on around the world today.

You know it’s interesting that a couple of years ago when President Bush started talking about hydrogen vehicles the American petroleum institute came out and said, “Well, wait a minute Mr President it would cost $140 billion to build a fuelling infrastructure in the United States that would have access to everyone for hydrogen vehicles – $140 billion is about what we spent invading Iraq in one and a half years.”


Modernising democracy and internationalism: a response to climate change

The possibilities of democracy presents an opportunity to address the greatest social, economic and environmental challenge we face: climate change.  And while rhetoric is easy and words are cheap, it is political leadership that remains the greatest driver of substantive reform. 

The idea works like this.  A referenda would be held to determine each Australian’s willingness to contribute to tackling climate change and the amount they wish to contribute.  This would be enforced at a national scale. 

An expansion over the fold. 

Continue reading ‘Modernising democracy and internationalism: a response to climate change’


Diarama park: Conservation Volunteers

Conservation volunteers recently completed the landscaping of Diarama park.  The park features in various media and is a story in the Town Council magazine (inserted in last weeks Alice Springs News).

I visited the park the other morning.  In one word, ‘magnificent’.  The landscape, design, choice of sand and materials and features is breathtaking.  The full colour red of the Sturt Desert Peas blends in with the overall concept. 

The volunteers designed the concept, submitted it to the Town Council for approval, and facilitated the project.  There are many skills involved, and it is something that all involved in the project can be proud of.  Practical achievements like this instill a sense of value in terms of the skills developed.

Diarama park

July 2018
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