Posting paralysis

This is what my life needs at present:

I used the image six years ago in a post Distractions… when posting had fallen away. At present there are several factors keeping me from posting.

Firstly, you may recall me repeatedly telling Geoff Meill (come back Geoffrey!) that my thing was to write stuff; it was for other people to use the information if they chose.

Foolishly, feeling desperate after the election of the current goon squad, I joined LEAN (Labor Environment Action Network). LEAN has not sought a high public profile, but is very active internally within the party, whether Labor is in government or in opposition.

I’m told that Queensland’s push into renewables started with LEAN.

Happens that LEAN is having a national meeting in Sydney on the last weekend of this month. They’ve put out an Issues Paper, which has inspired me to look at things like what a climate emergency response would really look like, beyond empty words, how climate change is properly conceptualised within the environment generally, or ‘ecological sustainability’ if you like, which happens to be one of The Greens four pillars.

Not that we would copy their song sheet, we need to make our own music.

The post has involved a lot of reading and writing. Half way through I threw it out and restructured the whole thing to get it briefer.

That failed, so now I have to put in headings and an executive summary, which perchance, someone might read. That is after I actually finish.

I’ve learnt a bit, so that is satisfaction enough.

Then, while I am quite fit and well for my age, my eyes have been giving me trouble, computer screens especially.

My medical support has been excellent, but yesterday we threw up our hands and I booked to see a specialist who removes cataracts, or more partticularly cataract removal. Of course that won’t happen soon, maybe not before Christmas.

As it happens, to getting to the place I would have the op is a favourite bridge that Extinction Rebellion lock down from time to time without notice. I won’t be pleased if they block my way on the day.

Be assured, this is not the end, but perhaps the end of promising deadlines.

Meanwhile I do still work about 16-20 hours a week, although things are slow. SEQ had a burst of rain, but there was a hole in the middle if you looked at the radar. Seems we have not being saying our prayers. At our place we got 19.5mm, which was just not enough to trigger growth in couch grass.

I heard the BOM man say ENSO is neutral, and the Indian Di-pole remains crook, so nothing is expected to change before the end of the year.

We will persevere.

BTW I only remembered that old post because someone unknown accessed it yesterday. That happens quite often.

90 thoughts on “Posting paralysis”

  1. Me mum had a cataract removed at the age of 96.
    Piece of cake, Brian, these days.

    Good luck.

  2. Thanks, Ambi. I know many people are lining up for it whether they need it or not.

    My main problem is that the left eye is worse than the right. When my eyes get a bit tired, which seems happens easily, the images go out of wack, so I get blurred short vision. Closing one eye helps a bit sometimes, so it’s only blurred but still legible.

    I do all the looking away and blinking stuff, but it doesn’t help much. Washing my eyes with a warm washer is best, and allows a tolerable reset.

    Just annoying, because the problem was low level and there for years, but about 6 weeks ago, just after I’d had the all-clear from my 6-monthly opthalmologist visit started to flare 4 or 5 tests, around $270 after Medi (don’t) care.

  3. Brian: FYI Mark Butler emailed today saying that Labor would move for the declaration of a climate emergency when parliament comes together again. One would hope that this means that they have thought through what they mean by a climate emergency and what action is appropriate in response to a successful calling of a Climate Emergency.
    My experience is that once you get into political policy development it is very easy to waste an enormous amount of effort writing things that have no chance of flying, particularly before you establish a reputation as a source of good stuff that understands the politics as well as the technology.
    It may help if you have done some talking around to see what is of interest and what may get some support before starting writing. Best of luck.
    More and more I find that I start writing things that i never finish. Promise to try and get a few things out to help the blog while you need a bit of a slow down.

  4. John, thanks for the kind words, support and advice.

    I think the party is actually waiting for LEAN, the branches, and the Emerson/Weatherill review. I think Albo is basically signalling that he wants to make an internationally acceptable effort, which should allow us to be a bit brave.

    I’m not keen on extinction Rebellion’s idea that a people’s council should run climate change policy, because leadership is needed.

    I was encouraged by Albo’s and Emerson’s statements, and LEAN here have encouraged me to talk to Mark Butler’s office.

    Apart from not having time I’d like to do a bit more listening first.

  5. Brian:

    I’m not keen on extinction Rebellion’s idea that a people’s council should run climate change policy, because leadership is needed.

    Bit scary. Serious technical and organizational competence is required to deal with the complexity of the changes required. Not emotional stuff.

  6. It seems strange indeed for some folks to say, “The Government climate-change-sceptics are ignoring the science” and then advocate for a ‘people’s council’ to run a national climate policy.

    I prefer experts.
    And it seems that there are many: climatologists, meteorologists, agronomists, transport engineers, renewables engineers and installers, economists, financiers, social-change-shepherds, town planners, electricity grid engineers, battery designers, pumped hydro designers, enough said????

    “The People” would be well-advised to listen to factual information supplied by knowledgeable and experienced practitioners. Of course, many of these professionals may have axes to grind, prejudices they carry. Of course they may. Then sift, argue, debate, sift again.

  7. Ambi: In your ignorance you failed to mention process engineers (like me). They tend to have more of an overview than the other engineering disciplines and their view of the world can be applied to producing innovative solutions to problems like transport. Adding to their broad overview is the fact that the proportion of women doing process engineering is much higher than that for the more traditional engineers.
    A groveling apology would be acceptable.

  8. Ambi also seems to have forgotten historians and public health researchers, though he made a gesture towards social scientists (I think). We ‘experts’ will all be lining up to complain!

    However from what I hear about Citizens’ Juries, they actually work well. Of course they have to listen to experts, but they can combine that with drawing on their lived experience, and apparently this can be a good process.

  9. In fact, there is a theory that one thing that has not been helpful in getting climate action, is that climate science is perceived as a distant, expert, top-down process. As one who regularly reads IPCC reports, I have to say they’re not super accessible, even the summaries for policy makers.

    Finding ways to make climate science more accessible is important, even though the citizens’ jury or assembly process seems to be widely misunderstood as a ‘dumbing down’ or “emotional” process, as it has been here. That misunderstanding seems a pity.

    I’ve actually just finished revising the final Module for my students in Climate Change and Public Health, in which I used some real life scenarios of the impacts of climate change, and asked them whether they thought using such scenarios would be useful in educating the public about the health impacts of climate change. If anyone here is interested, I’m happy to summarise them (I probably should not reproduce them directly) to see what you think.

    Put together, the scenarios (which tend to involve ‘vulnerable groups’ such as elderly people, children, people living in poverty) do make quite an impact I think – they do evoke emotion, at least to me. But there is nothing ‘unscientific’ about them – they are all based on pretty solid scientific evidence about the impacts on health that climate change is already having.

    (If anyone clicks on that link and sees an apparently blank page, just scroll down till you see the info. I have no idea why that happens and don’t have time to contact the relevant people at Monash to find out why)

  10. Uurggh I just tried clicking on the link myself and it’s not even working – oh well if anyone is interested, you can just google ‘Monash University MPH5042 Climate Change and Public Health’ and who knows, it might work 🙂

  11. Technical complexity in IPCC reports?
    Yes, but most likely unavoidable given the inherent complexity of the climate system, and the entangled factors of economics, engineering and politics. (As usual, I sin by omission.)

    Any particular scientific paper, as a raw source for study, is likely to be highly technical too. Personally, I rely on other sources for checking or explication. Brian points to good websites.

    If the daily press invested more in employing science/engineering journalists that might assist us non-specialists. The ABC science bloke on RN is good, but his remit is huge: astronomy, medicine, etc.

  12. Val, I got this site, but don’t know where to go from there.

    Ambi, The Guardian under Lenore Taylor, ensures that all their journalists are up to speed on climate change. They have consciously sharpened their language. Here are some links:

    Lenore Taylor- Australia wasted decades in climate denial – and must break free of the mire of misinformation

    ‘It’s a crisis, not a change’: the six Guardian language changes on climate matters

    The last one points out that politicians are the least trusted source of information on CC.

    Why declaring a national climate emergency would neither be realistic or effective

  13. John,

    I grovel, sir.
    I grovel low and slow and in pain.

    It’s only a Victorian grovel, of course; most likely not up to the standards expected; but being Victorian that’s all I can find in my ambit.

    Ambi of the Ambit

    And I apologise for noticing Val’s admonishment and not seeing yours, Sir, until now. Most remiss of me. I remain ashamed and forever in yr debt.

  14. Lord John,

    me, I got lots ter be ‘umble about; grovelling is as second nature; they calls me ‘tugger’ cos I’m always tugging away at forelock.

    unlike Mr J, Sir, who laughs off every error of his own; if I may say so, Sir, ought you be teachin’ ‘im some of this ‘ere humble??

    not that it’s my place to be makin’ suggestions, like.


    {tugging sound}

  15. Mr A, Sir,

    unlike Mr J, Sir, who laughs off every error of his own;

    Care to give an example ?

    And BTW, you forgot to include Tradesmen, that actually make stuff, in your impossibly long list of consultative experts ( no need to beta yourself for that ).
    How about all individuals expertise ultimately combined according to individual values.
    You know, democracy/free markets, that sort of thing.

  16. Most unhumble Mr J: Yeah, I know, free markets are the answer to everything in Jumpy world. In other worlds they are responsible for a fair bit of stuffing up.
    Perhaps the most humble Rev Ambi might be willing to give you some coaching. He certainly did a most excellent demonstration of humble grovelling above.

  17. This article may help explain the inability of some to accept the reality of climate change. It has an optimistic final statement.

    Public surveys emphasise that, throughout the world, deniers are in the minority. The worried majority doesn’t need to win over everyone in order to win on climate change.

  18. Speaking of democratic assemblies of citizens making decisions on long term policies and implementation, I had thought that was what Parliaments were supposed to do?

    Are they not fit for purpose?
    Why not?

    I will pray for them.

    Rev Ambi of ‘umble ‘ouse
    ‘ome under Bridge,
    Lower Flood Plain,
    Plain Commonsense,

    PS Mr J
    I was referring to your humorous dismissal of my discovery of a typo (or indeed typos) on your part; we of the Anti-Typo Pedants League take a rather stricter view of the matter, Sir!

    Your membership is hereby suspended.
    Your suspenders will be despatched to your home address post haste.

  19. Mr A,

    Your membership is hereby suspended.

    I’m not surprised, I was a terrible pedant and my heart wasn’t in it.

    But I wish you well in you pedantic journey.
    Pedagogy is more akin to “ look over there “ anyway as far as I can see.

  20. Brian, I presume you scrolled down and read the unit description on that link? I can’t make anything more than that public because, as I guess everyone knows by now, universities try to make money from their teaching. It’s all a bit sad but I don’t want to get into that debate.

    Anyway I’ll probably have to spread this over a few posts, otherwise it’ll be TLDR. But point is I included five scenarios in the last Module of the unit showing how climate change is affecting health. I’ll try to summarise them (over following posts) but the cumulative effect was quite strong I thought. (Potentially depressing also, but that’s a hazard of teaching in this area, which I’m familiar with and always try to give my students some leads to counter that).

    I asked them as their final online task whether they thought making this kind of information to the public would lead to greater action on climate change. I’m really interested to hear what you all think too. I’m a bit sceptical in a way because there is loads of information – if you want to look for it – about how our inhumane treatment of asylum seekers is driving them to despair, but it doesn’t seem to be making any difference. So I don’t know whether people just turn off when confronted with awful information.

    Anyway I’ll think about how I can present these scenarios here without breaching Monash IP (since Monash owns the IP in what I wrote) and then have a try.

  21. Val

    I think it should be relatively easy.
    May I comment?

    Monash holds publisher’s copyright over printed or online materials (for their own interest, including to be able to continue presenting the unit as you designed it and wrote the student materials, even if you leave the university).

    There is nothing to prevent you
    summarising or showing us a precis of the work you did. Or telling us about published sources you drew on.

    And as for plagiarism, that occurs only if you use slabs unamended without acknowledging the source.

    [By the way, Monash had a wonderful instance of Disastrous Plagiarism some dozen or so years ago, when its Vice Chancellor was found to have plagiarised others’ published work, in several books published commercially!! He was required to resign his position.

    Soon after, a Monash academic, P. Farago, commented in The Age that he would henceforth not need to explain the very concept of “plagiarism” to his students.
    His letter was a masterpiece of sardonic understatement.]

    (We find entertainment where we can…)

  22. Ah, Mr J!

    You confess to being a low quality pedant.
    We have you on the run now, I wager!

    As far as I know, pedagogy is teaching, whereas pedantry is that noble and ancient art exercised by pedants.

    But you surely knew that.
    I suspect you are now introducing deliberate typos, to torment me.

    Rev Ambi
    of ‘umble origins and ‘umbler prospects
    Much Pedantry in the Marshes
    Sneakery nr Snuffleblough.

  23. Mr A
    I’m not an expert in Latin but I believe both sprout from the same root.

    I’ve rarely been impressed by either in any functional way.
    Struth, even Val can be payed to be one apparently !

  24. I’ve rarely been impressed by either in any functional way.

    I can’t speak regarding pedantry, but you’ve obviously been extremely successful in dodging any pedagogy aimed in your general direction.

  25. Thanks Ambi. Problem is I summarised the cases, and made most of them quite short, but still capturing the essential pathos, or ’emotional’ aspect, of them. Now I feel I can’t summarise further without losing that.

    Anyway I thought maybe if I present one, that might be ok. So the first case was an elderly lady, with dementia and heart problems, who managed to exit from a room in the Nursing Home where she lived on Saturday 7 February 2009. Victorians may remember that as ‘Black Saturday’, when the temperature hit over 46 in Melbourne.

    Unfortunately the door she went out of had a lock that let people exit but not re-enter, and the courtyard she exited to had a hard surface and was unshaded. She wasn’t found for several hours, by which time she was dead.

    Warnings had been issued on that day, and the Vic government had actually provided a Heat Health Resource for Nursing Homes prior to that event. However, the Nursing Home had decided to trial reduced staffing levels on that very weekend.

    It’s all in the coroners reports. (I can send link later)

    So – climate change means we will get more very hot days, and privatisation and the profit imperative of capitalism I suppose means we will get more ‘reduced staffing levels’, and we are as a society living longer, so hopefully you get the point on this one.

    If we want to prevent things like that, I’m suggesting both the capitalist profit motive, and climate change inaction, will have to change.

    I can’t think even Jumpy would defend this case.

    The implications of this case are basically about adapting to climate change, and preventing such cases in future. But we can’t just rely on adapting if it gets hotter and hotter. To keep global warming to ‘only’ 1.5C is going to take major social change.

    Will leave it at that for now, but do you all think publicising such vivid and shocking cases will make people more inclined to realise that we have to act on climate change, or will they just block it out because they can’t cope with it?

  26. jumpy, you are right according to my dictionary. ‘Pedant’ derives from ‘pedagogue’.

    That came via French, Italian and Latin from Greek.

    Means ‘boy’ + ‘guide’ apparently.

  27. Val, you no doubt know that more people died from heat in Melbourne that day than from the fires directly.

    Just over 70% of the earth’s surface is ocean, so warming on land is going to be considerably higher than the global average.

    Val, we have to do better than 1.5°C. The only way is beyond zero net by taking CO2 out of the air by diverse means. We need to emphasise the positives, as they do in the Green New Deal.

  28. Hi Brian, the heatwave was at the end of January, a bit before Black Saturday on 7 Feb. However you’re right of course, there were about 374 deaths from the heatwave and 173 from the fires on 7 Feb.

    There was enough heatwave in 2014, not quite so hot but more extended (I moved in with my daughter who had AC) but not so many deaths. The Dept of Health thinks that measures taken in 2014 reduced the number of deaths. So it is possible to prepare but for how long can we adapt?

    My point wasn’t so much about the numbers though as the details – the human story and whether that will spur people to action?

    Yes ultimately we have to get below 1.5 global warming, but there’s pretty well no way we can prevent that now. The IPCC report in 2018 said if we achieved net zero then global heating would probably stay below 1.5, but we haven’t (as you would know).

    1.5 is the best case scenario and I’m pessimistic, although I don’t usually say that to my students. It’s depressing and infuriating, because we could achieve that – global heating peaking at 1.5 by mid century and declining thereafter – without the technological measures you speak of. If only we could make people – voters and governments – aware of the urgent need for action.

  29. Sorry about mistakes and lack of clarity:

    there was ‘another’ heatwave in 2014,


    ‘the IPCC said if we [had] achieved net zero [emissions] then [ie in 2018], global heating would probably [have] stayed below 1.5’

  30. Also some research I’ve recently seen suggests emphasising the positives doesn’t necessarily work, whereas emphasising the health impacts of climate change potentially does. That’s partly why I’m interested in the case study approach.

  31. Mr J

    The words mentioned have different meanings, despite sharing a root. If you are going to argue that root sharing implies equivalence, then, regrettably, this correspondence must be closed.

    I could offer an example, with fifteen distinct words all sharing one (ancestor) root. But if I omitted “process engineer” then John would most likely pounce upon my list from a great height; one grovel is enough for this week.


    Rev. Ambi
    Pounceworthy Upon Sea

  32. Thanks Val

    You are right that more attention is now paid to heat stress and its fatal ( or other very serious) results.

    Black Saturday was a shocker. As I recall, the warnings of likely catastrophic fire weather from the Premier, police, BOM began on the Thursday.

    By Friday, most Victorians had heeded the warning: “if you don’t need to be on the roads on Saturday, please stay at home.”

    Since then, as far as I know, Victoria
    * encouraged those living in bushland to have a fire shelter (built to revised standards)
    * had local councils amending building regs to make new houses more fire resistant
    * changed the fire warning system (“codes”)
    * extended the capacity and coverage of online and text message information

    And most importantly, where before the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires the CFA routinely advised many people to “stay and defend” their homes if adequately prepared (fire fighting hoses, water supply, protective clothing), now the emphasis is on early evacuation to a safe location.

    I have noticed more public health warnings – aimed to reduce heat stress effects – during recent Victoria summers.

    Might I also add that the public has heard about many other causes of heat stroke and death: baby or toddler left in a car on a sunny day; tourists or locals stranded in the outback without water, or wandering from their vehicle; aged person in their own home without air conditioning on a hot day, etc.

    BTW, staffing levels in aged care homes are again being highlighted by the Royal Commission.

  33. Val, I think the takeaway is that we have to look to communications experts, and I’d be surprised if there was a settled consensus among them.

    However, people can at times make major changes in long-held beliefs and value positions as a result of a major life experience sometimes with trauma.

    It seems logical that case studies, if people have a modicum of empathy, could have an effect.

  34. Val:

    Will leave it at that for now, but do you all think publicising such vivid and shocking cases will make people more inclined to realise that we have to act on climate change, or will they just block it out because they can’t cope with it?

    I think the example of the patient being locked out in +46 deg C heat will complicate the message because it is much more about poor aged care than the actual temperature of the day.
    I lived in central WA for years and would not been the only one to have worked or bush walked outside in +46 shade temperatures. Right clothing, adequate water supply, pacing of work and knowledge all help make working at these temperatures possible.
    However, this doesn’t meant that it isn’t more pleasant working at lower temperatures

  35. Val:

    Also some research I’ve recently seen suggests emphasising the positives doesn’t necessarily work, whereas emphasising the health impacts of climate change potentially does.

    Depends on the person. Me I tend to be more affected by sound technical arguments while others will be more effected by something more personal. We need alternatives that will match different people.

  36. The point is John that it’s an intersection of extreme heat, vulnerability, lack of care, profit motive, even urban heat island effect (hard surfaces and lack of shade). All the other cases I included captured intersections too eg
    – water and food borne infections in children in Tuvalu, those most affected were families who had low water reserves in tanks – they’d had recent education on handwashing, but presumably didn’t have enough water to spare;
    – Dengue increasing in the W pacific, again children being affected, lack of access to primary care and families not recognising severe symptoms;
    – Smoke from fires in Indonesia, combined w existing high levels of pollution, causing breathing difficulties, again children being most affected, plus accusations that govt turns blind eye to palm oil companies burning illegally;
    – Farmers suiciding in India, increase in suicides associated with quite ‘small’ temperature increases in growing season, and some similar patterns in Australia;

    It was partly the cumulative effect of all these different things happening in our region (and that is just a few, I could find many more) that I thought was powerful – all of them are linked with climate change and environmental degradation and all will get much worse unless we act strongly to reduce emissions now.

    I’m not necessarily presenting them well here, but it was just when I had found them all and written them all up, I thought ‘that’s quite a powerful collection of different cases’ – all based on science but also illustrating the social factors involved. Anyway thanks for your thoughts all and best wishes Brian with the cataract op. My late father had that and it was pretty uncomplicated as I remember, that’s a while ago now so they’re probably even better at it now.

  37. Val

    Not sure how long it’s been going on but I saw thick “haze” in Singapore around 1994, from forest fires. Certainly due to environmental degradation. Not sure that climate change was implicated 25 years ago?

    I agree that many of these risks and dangers are multicausal. And causal factors can combine in unusual ways.

  38. Mr A

    I agree that many of these risks and dangers are multicausal. And causal factors can combine in unusual ways.

    Spot on.
    Those that blame everything bad thing that happens, from diarrhoea to earthquakes, on climate change get dismissed by regular folk as loons.

    Any trusted, competent source of environmental and climate related death statistics ( I’ve seen ) shows a dramatically downward trend in the last 100 years.

  39. To narrow it down, are there risks and dangers that are particular to the expected outcomes of climate change?

    For example, inundation of harbours and coastal cities?
    Sharp reduction in river flows where the ultimate source is glacier melt or alpine snowfall?
    Ruin of coastal agriculture by influx of (saline) seawater?

    Heat stress can be caused by
    * exceptionally hot weather
    * bushfire
    * house fire
    * sitting in a sealed vehicle
    * exposure to hot sun
    * breakdown of a/c

    It might be useful to start with a survey of fatalities from other causes: earthquake, flood, tsunami, road crashes, work accidents, terrorist atrocities, preventable fatal diseases, malnutrition, lightning strikes,….

    (Personally, I would regret being in a collapsing building.
    If it were to collapse because a nuclear weapon had just detonated a few km away, there would be mass regret.)

    not to mention Brian’s “dirty big arriving meteorite” scenario.

  40. Val: It is desirable that arguments based on emotion cannot be undone by simple logic.
    In the case of the person dying on a 46 deg day the simple anti climate change killer question would be: “Would it have been any different if the temp had been 1.5 deg cooler?”

  41. John – The ‘average’ change may be 1.5 (or 1 at that time) but the extremes (the tail of the normal curve) are greater. As Ambi has mentioned above, that was not a ‘normal’ hot day in Melbourne, it was unprecedented.

    Besides that, however, every degree makes a difference, though as I’m not an expert clinician I can’t tell you how much longer an elderly woman with heart problems would survive outside on a 45 degree day as compared to a 46 degree one.

  42. Also John, the arguments are not ‘based on’ emotion, that is a misunderstanding on your part. They are based on evidence. These are all things that have actually happened or are happening now, and are all related to climate change. Telling the stories can evoke legitimate emotions, which hopefully predisposes people to act.

    One of the problems with climate science is that it has been seen as remote and expert. Talking about health impacts allows people to understand the real consequences.

  43. One of the problems with climate science is that it has been seen as remote and expert. Talking about health impacts allows people to understand the real consequences.

    Spot on, Val. There are still people who say the effects are “distant”. Can’t see for looking.

  44. Btw Ambi (and Jumpy) – one of the questions for students was ‘what is the effect of climate change on these events?’ So they had to tease out the global warming/climate change impacts, such as: increasing the impact of El Niño (related to Tuvalu example), increasing the range of Dengue, causing temperature increase in growing season, exacerbating pollution and forest fires.

    No-one is saying global warming/ climate change alone ‘causes’ these events, but it is making them worse (though I think you could say it is ‘causing’ the increasing range of Dengue).

    However the intention in publicising such cases would not be to convince hardened climate change deniers (like Jumpy perhaps?). Most Australians believe CC is happening. It’s to convince people that we need to act to reduce climate change, because at present people may believe in it, but not much is happening about it, in Australia.

  45. Thanks Brian! The research says that people working in health are well placed to educate people about climate change, because health impacts make it real to people, and because health workers are trusted.

    Doctors, nurses and emergency workers are probably trusted more than non-clinical public health academics like me, I know! But at least I’m trying to teach those people so they can spread the word.

  46. Val: Even slightly slowing climate change requires massive effort on behalf of others. It is easy to convince yourself that what you as an individual does will have no effect and you may as well go out and enjoy your petrol guzzling V8 muscle car.
    However, it is relatively easy to do things to help people survive heat waves. “How to survive a heat wave” publicity will save lives and may point to the need for climate change action. For example, a pamphlet might start: “As a result of climate change we will have more heat waves. This pamphlet gives you information that may help you and people you know survive these climate change caused heat waves…..”
    I think your strategies are along these lines and will encourage people to be more concerned about climate change.

  47. I’ve had my head down, literally have about two paragraphs to write, then a final read through. Have to work today, but new magnum opus will be up tonight. I’m currently writing a summary, which will make the already big even bigger.

    Last night wasn’t fun when the eye blurriness made me keep losing the cursor, had to go over to the black side bit, if there was one, to find it again.

    Eyes better today. I think it pollens and stuff and tiredness.

  48. If I may, I’d like to vent another bugbear i have with this “ Aboriginal recognition in Our Constitution “

    The Australian Constitution clearly states in the first four words of the preamble “ Whereas the People of … “.
    And being a Queenslander I give you the first sentence of our Constitution.

    The People of Queensland, free and equal citizens of Australia

    Unless one feels that Aboriginals are not People, then Aboriginals are recognised under my Constitutions.

  49. Yes, I’m back, and glad to be back out of the big ants’ nest to a vastly more negotiable city.

    I’ve been reading emails, mostly, because I refuse to link my main email account to my phone.

    And Ambi, the Victorians were tops.

    All the other people were too!

  50. Good to hear the Victorians were tops.
    Lucky you didn’t meet my cousin Dextrous, who (as the Magistrate said) “can be light fingered”.

    Rev A.

  51. Jumpy:

    The People of Queensland, free and equal citizens of Australia

    At the time of writing the constitution Aboriginal people of Queensland were definitely not treated as free or equals. Their movements were controlled and their wages were controlled and disappeared. This inequality continued long into the Joh era.
    This year the premier cancelled native title so that Adani could proceed. No wonder Aborigines want constitutional recognition and some rights.

  52. At the time of writing the constitution Aboriginal people of Queensland were definitely not treated as free or equals.

    Were they even considered to be people? In WA they were part of the flora and fauna.

  53. Zoot:

    Were they even considered to be people? In WA they were part of the flora and fauna.

    Those were also the bad old days when there were no restrictions on killing the fauna.

  54. John

    At the time of writing the constitution Aboriginal people of Queensland were definitely not treated as free or equals. Their movements were controlled and their wages were controlled and disappeared. This inequality continued long into the Joh era.
    This year the premier cancelled native title so that Adani could proceed. No wonder Aborigines want constitutional recognition and some rights.

    Yeah, Government is shit at upholding Constitutional rights across the board and many many individuals like you and I act in a fair, equitable and Constitutional way.
    Yet for some unknown reason a few want Government to run roughshod over we Individuals every time with more and more power over us.

    None of what you wrote proves Aboriginal individuals aren’t recognised in any Constitution I live under, only politicians have and continue to breach the highest Laws we have.

  55. Zoot

    Were they even considered to be people?

    Maybe not by an admitted racist like you and Governments.
    Don’t try to induct or include me into that group.

  56. Very indicative the way you constructed that sentence,

    Were they even considered to be people?

  57. Indicative that zoot uses “they” to refer to sentient beings whom he regards as people, in my reading.

    Pedagogical note: In English, ‘they’ can refer to people, to horses, to pets, to Queenslanders, to Maori, to koalas, to sub-contractors, and to galahs.

  58. And to houses, banknotes, wine bottles and avocados.

    They were built….
    They were the new issue twenties….
    They were all empty….
    They were smashed….

  59. Very indicative the way you constructed that sentence,
    Were they even considered to be people?

    Indicative of what?
    And how should I have constructed it?

  60. Recognition is what indigenous peoples want, according to Stan Grant.

    When the Brits came to settle in 1788 they regarded the land as empty. So the indigenous peoples were regarded how? As vagrant or vermin?

    I think you’ll find that back in Britain people who were not in the professions or were not regarded as fully human either. Women had no status unless they belonged to a man, who would get into more trouble by mistreating animals than mistreating ‘their’ women.

    Peasants were the next rung up from slaves, coloured folk and then domestic animals, but perhaps had a purpose. They had no use at all for people who apparently did not make productive use of land.

    I could go on.

  61. John:

    This year the premier cancelled native title so that Adani could proceed.

    I have to admit I didn’t make a thorough study of that aspect, but my understanding is that the Aboriginal group that took legal proceedings lost the case. I had the impression there was disputation between at least two groups of indigenous people, and maybe Adani picked the ones that would cooperate.

    I really would not like to say.

  62. Two articles:

    Adani land-use agreement: court dismisses Indigenous group’s appeal

    So the Qld government extinguishment was not capricious or arbitrary. At the end, the suggestion is that the legal native title system is flawed as it pushes traditional owners to come to a financial settlement with miners or developers, or to fight proposals and risk getting nothing.


    Indigenous people no longer have the legal right to say no to the Adani mine – here’s what it means for equality

    I think Dominic O’Sullivan is saying that extinguishment goes too far because then

    the land in the Galilee Basin is no longer Indigenous land.

    And while extinguishment of native title remains possible and has happened, the “aspiration” for Indigenous people to enjoy political authority over their own affairs, as the declaration promises, is severely restricted.

    This means Indigenous citizenship cannot be equal. For example, insecure land rights mean the internationally-recognised human right to culture cannot be upheld.

    I’m not sure that is the final word, but at one time I thought the native title claim, the finch and the uncertainty over the impact on the aquifers would be enough.

    What happened is disturbing.

  63. Jumpy: Building houses, riding motor bikes, mining coal and, and, and kill animals. Ditto increasing atmospheric CO2. Are you going to stop all these things or is it just producing renewable power?

  64. Don’t forget how motor vehicles inadvertently carry weed seeds (and seeds of indigenous species) all over the countryside, John.

    (The newspapers are always going on about human diseases brought in by travellers, or crop and animal diseases brought in on freight. What about the weeds??)

    + + + + +

    Every evening at our place we have a short but moving remembrance service for the thousands of ants and bacteria we have unwittingly squashed that day. Have to hold it indoors, orherwise one of the humans might swat a mozzie.

  65. Driving cars kills people at scandalous levels.

    I believe in Australia nearly one a week is killed in the building industry, though much worse, I’m told in places like South Africa.

    Then there is air pollution especially in parts of China and India.

    The list goes on.

  66. As for solar thermal, I don’t understand how an environmentalist can ignore the bird kills.

    I don’t recall Mr J expressing any disquiet over the Adani mine’s impact on the southern black-throated finch.
    My memory must be faulty.

  67. Zoot:

    I don’t recall Mr J expressing any disquiet over the Adani mine’s impact on the southern black-throated finch.

    Don’t be ridiculous. The black-throated finch deserves extinction because it was blocking the coal mine that that nice Mr Adani wants to open to help make the world a nice warmer place to try and survive in.

  68. That’s just exactly the point zoot.
    The environmental impact on a fairly common bird was used to condemn a mine. Does the environmental impact on birds receive the same consideration with regard to solar thermal ?
    We know conclusively that solar thermal kills thousands of birds but Adanis impact on finches is, at best, speculative.

    The imagined negative effect on a turtle was enough for a major dam to be built.

    My problem, as I’ve said, is that the same standards of wildlife protections aren’t being used by greenies.

    Also, I don’t think your memory is actually faulty, you just intentionally ignore it for troll purposes from time to time.
    It’s ok, it’s factored in, we can all see through it.

  69. John, where exactly do you think ( your pet fav ) solar thermal will not kill thousands of resident protected natives or migratory birds ?
    And won’t be on an Aboriginally sensitive place ?
    And where hail, flooding or cyclones don’t happen ?
    And doesn’t piss off the NIMBYs like Bob Brown with that wind farm ?

  70. Jumpy: Wikapedia said that:

    Bird conservation is a field in the science of conservation biology related to threatened birds. Humans have had a profound effect on many bird species. Over one hundred species have gone extinct in historical times, although the most dramatic human-caused extinctions occurred in the Pacific Ocean as humans colonized the islands of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, during which an estimated 750-1800 species of bird became extinct.[1] According to Worldwatch Institute, many bird populations are currently declining worldwide, with 1,200 species facing extinction in the next century.[2] The biggest cited reason surrounds habitat loss.[3] Other threats include overhunting, accidental mortality due to structural collisions, long-line fishing bycatch, pollution, competition and predation by pet cats,[4] oil spills and pesticide use and climate change. Governments, along with numerous conservation charities, work to protect birds in various ways, including legislation, preserving and restoring bird habitat, and establishing captive populations for reintroductions.

    Given your expressed concern for saving the birds what do you plan to do about saving key habitat like the key habitat for black throated finches that will disappear if Adani goes ahead?

  71. John
    You, out of anyone would probably know donga life out west and probably bush camping.
    Dawn and dusk when the birds feed and sing is either relaxing coffee or beer time looking out into nature.
    I’m willing to concede that the many hundreds of little finch sized grass birds with black throats like the ones pictured maybe not the specific species in question.
    Also I concede to not knowing of one other example of a project being stopped because of them.

    Given the articles you linked to, how many sites in Australia could a solar thermal plant be built that wouldn’t kill protected native birds and requires acres of land clearing where rare endangered species don’t dwell.

    All I’m on about is if the same fauna standards are applied then your idea of solar thermal plants scattered all over the place for base load energy can’t happen.

  72. Jumpy: Bird deaths at one solar thermal plant were eliminated by changing where the mirrors pointed during standby. so that there was no hot but not visible ring above the tower on standby that was killing the birds. (No birds died when the mirrors were focusing on the tower. I suspect that birds went nowhere near the obviously glowing hot tower. They are used to dealing with fires.)
    Some deaths are claimed to have occurred with solar PV because birds think the panels are water. The fix may be making panels look less like pools of water.

  73. Ah

    So the wicked engineers have been thinking of ways to reduce the hazards for birds. They probably consulted with persons knowledgeable about bird behaviour also.


    (Where we lived on the edge of bushland with two large windows near each other and at right angles facing north and west, the occasional bird would fly at the west-facing window and fall stunned. Very few deaths. We thought they had assumed a clear flight path was ahead.

    Keep curtains drawn? Lower an external blind to cover one window? Make sure one window was dusty and murky so no “clear flight path ” seemed to exist??)


  74. Jumpy:

    Given the articles you linked to, how many sites in Australia could a solar thermal plant be built that wouldn’t kill protected native birds and requires acres of land clearing where rare endangered species don’t dwell.

    I think there would be lots of places in the Central Qld where I worked where solar power generation could be set up without confronting an environmental challenge.
    I cannot recall any environmental challenges to any of the coal mines that have been set up there. Part of the reason is that mining companies like BHP that set up there wanted to protect their reputation so that they would be welcomed in other places and countries. Part of the problem with Adani is that he has a very poor environmental reputation.
    Very familiar with the finch population of central WA. The area is barely disturbed so there was no talk about threats to the finches.
    Because they live on dry seeds finches need access to a lot of water to survive. Losing some critical springs to Adani may may make things a lot harder for finches in the Adani area.
    The range of the black throated finch is apparently contracting because habitat disturbance in NSW.

  75. I’ve found a National Recovery Plan for the southern sub-species of the black finch, dated 2004.

    The map on p10 is quite telling.

    I was trying to find an article I once read that said the black finch had been in the firing line in over 700 development approvals. Every time it was considered acceptable that the finch could just move somewhere else.

    I remember a naturalist saying once that if you relocate an animal it usually dies.

  76. zoot, that’s right.

    I was going to remind people that at the end of the Adani approval saga the Qld Environment Department, which in the Qld system is supposed to have the independent powers of an EPA, was insisting that bird counts be done by qualified people, who knew what they were looking at when they saw a ‘finch’.

    Such people are not in plentiful supply, so I thought the process would drag on forever.

    However, there was an intervention by Palaszczuk during the election, and suddenly there was a green light. That’s all that anyone seems to know, but to my mind it does cast some doubt on the independence of the Qld regulator.

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