Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Saturday, October 7, 2017

GOING, GOING, GONE: In 229 years Australia has become 92 per cent deforested, argues one contributor, who believes our apathy and greed will surely result in disaster.
GOING, GOING, GONE: In 229 years Australia has become 92 per cent deforested, argues one contributor, who believes our apathy and greed will surely result in disaster.

IT’S going to keep on getting hotter and drier in this country, and drier and hotter. 

We’ve just seen a winter so dry that wheat seeds planted failed to sprout, and canola crops failed to ripen. You cannot expect rainfall to just happen on land bare of forests. Trees and forests cool our continent and provide rainfall that’s mostly reliable, but we’ve cleared our forests over 229 years to the point where Oz is 92 per cent deforested, or thereabouts, with much of our forest remnants ‘thinned for grazing’.

Trees are solar-powered evaporative air-conditioners, as when water passes out through leaves and evaporates the surrounding air is cooled, just as water evaporating off our skin is cooling. Tar, cement, paving and car exhaust do not cool us. 

For all we know, on the east coast we could be now part way into a five-year drought, as recently happened to Californians, wherein more than 100 million forest trees died of human-inflicted drought stress, and bushfires killed millions more. The less forests you have, the hotter becomes your country, so more trees die of heat and dry.

So we don’t reach a situation where “Australian cities to hit 50C by 2040” (Herald, 5/10), we need to replant possibly at least half of our lost forests. These will need to be trickle-watered forever. And we need to water-harvest and store flood-rains in evaporation-proof underground reservoirs. Halting CO2 emissions is only half the job of restoring a liveable climate to Oz.

Can we stop those who are still knocking down our remaining forests to line their own pockets, excuses always at the ready, such as ‘jobs’, or ‘affordable housing’, or for un-clever logging jobs? I doubt it.

As an imperfect prophet of the bleeding obvious, I can see Oz becoming a world laughing stock, as this land becomes a bare, dried out husk. Aussies will be clamouring for asylum to countries where thinking and sense trumped apathy and greed.

Les Hutchinson, South Maitland

‘Mistreating’ our city

WITHOUT condoning in any way the torching of three cars in National Park (‘Third torched car in as many days’, Herald, 5/10) I was struck by the irony of the comment by the council interim chief executive Jeremy Bath and I quote: "frankly it is bewildering that there are people albeit small in number who would abuse and mistreat our city in such a way".

A couple of days ago I walked around the proposed Supercars circuit in Newcastle East. All I can do is echo Jeremy’s words: "frankly it is bewildering that there are people albeit a small number who would abuse and mistreat our city in such a way".

I strongly encourage all residents from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Greater Hunter to visit the East End to view the destruction which has the backing of the Newcastle City Council.

Henry Wellsmore, Carey Bay

Praise for priest

I HURRY to support Julie Robinson (Letters, 2/10) and thank her for her courage in writing it. I have been a blessed parishioner of Cardiff Catholic church for 50 years.

Not all priests are bad priests. I have had the experience of meeting some wonderful saintly men stationed at Cardiff.

In my capacity of suffering from a severe mental illness, I received constant sacrificial, pastoral care from Fr Terry Williams for years during my worst times, that helped put me on more even footing by the time Fr Greg Arnold took charge to cement Terry's wonderful groundwork.

May I refer Julie to ARCVoice, the magazine of reforming Catholic.

Margaret McLellan, Newcastle

Thanks for a top week

I AM the coordinator of the organising committee for the Short Statured People of Australia (SSPA) 50th Anniversary Annual National Convention and a proud Novocastrian. Our convention was held at the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre, Myuna Bay, from September 24 to 30. It was an amazing week with over 200 people joining us from around the country. The week is designed to allow people of short stature and their families to connect. I would like to thank the many companies that helped make the week very memorable.

Firstly, all the staff at Myuna Bay Sport and Recreational Centre for going out of their way to make sure everybody was comfortable. Wheelaway for providing us with a wheelchair accessible bus, Comfort and Mobility who provided scooters, Port Stephens buses, Hunter Valley Zoo, Calais Wine, Harrigan’s Irish Pub, Sabor’s Dessert Bar, Club Macquarie, Creative Events Hire and a big thank you also to Moonshadow – TQC for providing us with our own boat for a wonderful cruise around Port Stephens.

Finally, October is recognised as Dwarfism Awareness Month in many countries. Dwarfism is a condition of short stature caused as a result of a medical or genetic condition. For people born with dwarfism, the challenge is to be accepted and integrated into everyday society. 

Some facts: Dwarfism affects bone growth. It does not affect cognitive, IQ or intellectual abilities. Eighty per cent of people with dwarfism have average-height parents and siblings. People with dwarfism are generally not taller than 4' 10" at adult height. Preferred terms for people born with dwarfism are: short stature or little person. The most preferred terminology is always simply the person’s name. For people without dwarfism, the correct terminology is ‘average-height’ rather than ‘normal’. The word 'midget' is highly offensive to the majority of the short statured community.

Alicia Jenkins, Warabrook

The ‘I’m entitled’ attitude

GET real Cr Gilbert (Letters, 4/10). In my world, rights go hand in hand with personal responsibility. A small business I work for took on several long-term unemployed people. The government subsidised their wages and provided them with everything they needed to be work ready. The jobs required no skills just a willingness to work hard. Some turned out to be absolute salt of the earth types thankful for the chance to make a new start. Sadly for the majority it was easier to go back to the dole. Your excuses and blaming the government simply reinforce the "not my fault" "I'm entitled" attitude of many and makes it even harder for those genuinely trying to find a job to get the respect they deserve.

Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth

Letter of the Week

The Herald pen goes to Thomas Levick for his letter about Gregson Park.