AT Maitland Library, the Look Who’s Talking session was held with Professor Tim Flannery on Friday, with a beaut audience of some hundreds. Tim, unsurprisingly, showed huge understanding of the climate threat we face as a result of CO2 emissions.
Afterwards I said to Tim that CO2 emissions are just the back half of the ‘dog’ of climate ruin. What has wrecked our Oz climate is we’ve lost 90 per cent of our forests over 229 years. Forests cool our continent, produce rain clouds, soak up flood-rains, absorb CO2, produce oxygen, slow winds and provide wildlife habitat.
Bhutan, for example, has resolved to retain at minimum 70 per cent forest cover, has massive tree-planting campaigns, and are emissions negative, their forests soaking up all the emissions they produce, and more. California has just come out of a five-year drought which saw more than 100 million trees die of drought stress, so less rain clouds will be produced in the future, stressing remaining forests in a downward ‘climate death spiral’, presumably.
I asked Tim why on Earth climate scientists like himself never seem to talk about deforestation, only CO2 emissions. The problem is, geniuses are still clearing forests in this country for un-clever jobs and to line pockets. Tim agreed they should talk more about forests, but I am not hopeful. I see clods cutting trees down every day, because they drop leaves, or feed bats whose poop is messy or other mean, stupidly greedy or just bonehead excuses. Start digging your bunker to escape the heat, and maybe practice drinking your own urine – Big Hot Dry coming soon enough to ClodlandOz.
Les Hutchinson, South Maitland
Who’s really out of touch
THE escalation of the "pictures on the wall" saga at Lake Macquarie City Council continues to snowball, but the hype is not the fault of Lake Macquarie councillors (‘Picture shame’, Herald, 11/5).
The photographs of Milton Orkopoulos and Douglas Carley that remain in the committee meeting room and are only visible to a limited number of people are alleged to be causing grief to many.
The small but active group who are so dismayed by the photographs seem intent on publishing numerous photos of Orkopoulos and Carley all over social media. Isn't that creating the an amplification of the very issue of which they complain?
The hypocrisy grows as Gabrielle Upton (Liberal NSW) has stated the councillors are "out of touch" for not immediately removing the photos. Maybe the real measure of "out of touch" could be applied to state politicians who, I believe, condone pictures of Orkopoulos currently being displayed at Parliament House in Sydney.
I trust this information will help Ms Upton stay in touch.
John Gilbert, Lake Macquarie councillor, Belmont
A matter of trust
THE foundations of all the Australian government houses of representatives is to represent the people. In my opinion the NSW Liberal/National Coalition politicians are in breach of their legal obligations to represent the people when they shut down business for Newcastle train builders and force workers onto the bread line.
The government is in favour of a Korean company and its workforce to build NSW trains and is happy to give them $2 billion of taxpayer money. The government thinks Australian industries and the Australian workers aren't worth a brass razoo.
I think Gladys Berejiklian and her government have more interest for the lobbyists. The proof is in the pudding, the government has broken all trust towards the people.
Maureen O'Sullivan Davidson, Swansea
Profitable rail project
NO politician, state or federal, is willing to recognise the impact on the inland rail line of a privately-funded and operated rail freight bypass of Sydney, between Glenfield in south western Sydney and the Port of Newcastle.
This line will be paid for by railing containers for the Sydney market in competition with Port Botany. A container terminal at Newcastle will attract import/export freight from both northern and southern NSW, as well as Melbourne-Sydney and Brisbane-Sydney truck freight. It enables freight to be removed from the Sydney rail network and this capacity being used for passenger services. It will remove container trucks from Sydney's roads. To prevent a container terminal at Newcastle, the NSW government charges a fee that doubles the cost compared with Port Botany.
Once this fee is removed, the rail freight bypass becomes the most profitable rail line project in Australia.
Greg Cameron, Florey
Caring for the vulnerable
THE aged care industry needs to be vastly improved. The recent reports of patient neglect are alarming. The defeat of the bill requiring nursing homes to have a registered nurse available 24/7 in the NSW Parliament on Thursday was disappointing.
People in nursing homes deserve care from a registered nurse, people with cancer and other medical problems live in nursing homes and have a range of important treatment needs. Registered nurses deliver complex drugs, observe side effects, provide pain relief and assess condition.
This is really about how we as a society treat our most vulnerable when they are in need. The MPs who voted against the bill are very uncaring in my view.
Gary Rosevear, Georgetown
Rough road in
DUNGOG’S plight regarding the lack of finance to improve or simply repair their town, is nothing new. For as long as l can remember the main road in and out of town resembles a patchwork quilt.
Any hope of attracting residents and business is slower than the speed needed to pass through town without shaking the car apart. l once asked a shop keeper why the condition of the main road into town, whether due to frustration or embarrassment the reply was to keep the town to themselves, and keep interfering outsiders away.
This may have been right long ago, but these days fresh population growth with fresh ideas and new employment opportunities is a must, not only in Dungog, but many other dying townships. Maybe mergers are the way to go, where you throw out the old, and bring in the new.
Maybe we need government resettlement programs to country towns with subsidised housing and workplace opportunities.