I’M looking forward with guarded optimism to next year, 2020: hopefully the Year of Vision (20:20).
Last year leaders, Australian and American, drenched us in shame. They delivered scandal, deceit, backstabbing, political lunacy, eroding further the trust deficit in the political process. They have failed to understand the fragility of our country, ignored the abundant evidence presented by scientists worldwide and seemingly allowed huge corporations to ignore their social responsibility.
What would a year of vision look like?
Integrity. Compassion. Civility. Competence. Vision. Equality. Courtesy. Reconciliation and fairness are but a few that come to mind. Where are the leaders who will restore these priceless values to our beautiful country? We each have a personal responsibility to not only choose people with such traits, but exhibit them ourselves. When was the last time you committed a random act of kindness? We need to measure our nation’s wellbeing as well as our GDP. If policies subtract from our innate joy of existence then GDP will suffer. Please strive to hand over to the next generation a planet that is alive, vibrant and safe. It is the only one we have. It is where we keep our stuff. There is no Planet 'B'. Clean air, abundant fresh water, and respect for all forms of living things are vital. Maybe, just maybe these things may come to be this year, 2019.
Paul Sutcliffe, Fern Bay
Traffic isn’t Scenic
DRIVING into Newcastle on Tuesday afternoon I couldn't help but notice the new road works happening around the City Road/Alice Street intersection.
Of a morning during peak times, coming up past Brunker Road towards Scenic Drive can be a nightmare. Some drivers have no idea how to merge with the traffic going from two lanes into one and it can be congestion at its worst. Then in one lane meandering down until finally it goes back to two lanes and relief is obtained.
I don't know what rocket scientist thought it up but let's have a dedicated right hand turn lane into Alice Street whereby keeping peak hour traffic in single file for an extra 200 metres.
How hard would it be to get some council workers to put some reflective posts in the two lanes going up City Road so that it makes two lanes going into the city all the way from Scenic Drive? No merging. Move these posts back over in the afternoon for peak hour traffic exiting the city. Put a ‘no right turn’ sign on Alice Street; problem solved. Obviously it's in the too hard box.
David Roocke, Charlestown
AT present, churches have the right to send religious instructors into public schools to preach their message to students. They also want the right to refuse entry to some of those same students into their own religious schools because of the students’ sexual orientation. Apparently you can preach to the LGBTQI community in public schools and not have your beliefs impacted, but not in church schools. Is there an inference that the longer you are exposed to the LGBTQI community the more likely you are to be converted?
Mal Sinclair, Cameron Park
Folly good time
A GOOD name for the next new section of Bathers Way, in my view, could be “Bath's Folly”. I believe a better use for the proposed skate bowl might be a jacuzzi. The Newcastle City CEO could invite the lord mayor, all the consultants and engineers, plus those that costed the restoration of Shepherds Hill Cottage and, together, they may come up with a plan to rival the state government's light rail – destination to nowhere. Perhaps a huge glass dome to cover the nouveau East Enders to protect them from any invasion from the 'burbs. After that, maybe Jeremy Bath could get Nuatali Nelmes to sprinkle fairy dust with a huge load of common sense over all those in the new council headquarters.
Sue Perkins, Adamstown Heights
Hard to swallow
A RECENT report by the Independent Expert Panel for Mining in the Catchment has concluded that two coalmines in the Greater Sydney catchment area are likely to be diverting three million litres a day from the Avon and Cordeaux dams, thus significantly reducing the water available to Sydney residents. The water loss water loss is caused by subsidence after the coal is extracted as subsidence causes fissures reaching the surface to provide drainage paths and could continue for decades. It is a process that Water NSW had described as an unacceptable risk but which had been ignored by government’s hell bent on the revenue mining generates. So while this is a huge problem for Sydney we should also be asking what damage has been done to the Hunter Valley by similar actions from the extensive but largely open cut mining. These deep fissures cut through underground water streams and blasting cracks rock for great distances while salt and other contaminants cause pollution from runoff water from the mine. If our experts were unaware of these hazards then we cannot trust any assurance that mining is safe. If they were aware, then there is a criminal case to answer.
Don Owers, Dudley
Global warming warning
NINE of the 10 hottest years globally have occurred this century. The world’s highest annual global ocean temperatures occurred in 2017, well above the previous highest record in 2015. NASA data shows two of the world’s largest ice masses, Antarctica and Greenland, have collectively lost almost 6000 billion (giga) tonnes of ice mass since 2002, with the rate of loss accelerating since 2009. Forget climate scientist conspiracy theories, anyone with knowledge of statistics who analyses the climate data now available will confirm these changes are not normal variation. And worrying.
Rising global average atmospheric temperature might only be two degrees over a century but local extremes can be many times that. These local extremes will lead to increasingly severe droughts, and record low soil and vegetation moisture levels which contribute to uncontrollable wildfires.
Rising global atmospheric temperatures increase ocean temperatures. Both then drive increasing ice mass loss and, consequently, rising ocean levels. Rising ocean temperatures also force increased moisture evaporation into the atmosphere, and the increase in this stored moisture inevitably leads to periods of more intense rainfall and increased flash flooding. Ocean temperatures are also the main source of energy for tornadoes and hurricanes so it is inevitable they will be capable of increased ferocity as ocean temperatures rise. We need to act to address global warming, and quickly.