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Showing posts from June, 2020


Some Thoughts on Refugee Week, June 2020

Although Refugee Week finished on the 20th, many of the videos and online events will be available until the end of the month. I’ll include one or two here, just in case. It’s never too late to share a meal ,  recipes or inspiring stories or to make people feel welcome. Currently there are around 70.8 million displaced people in the world, the highest number in recorded history. Some are displaced within their own country (40.3 million) because of land degradation or conflict. We have already encountered some of those who must leave the countryside and move to cities because the land can no longer support them, or because of conflict –four million in Yemen alone, or natural disasters.   Others seek asylum in other countries because of religious or political persecution, such as the Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar,   because of their race or ethnicity such as the Hazara in Afghanistan, or even because of their sexual preferences (Nigeria).  This places great pressure on host c

Preventing Drought and Desertification

Drought: There are many definitions of Drought, the simplest being. "A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to shortages of water." However, drought also refers to a lack of soil moisture, causing crops to fail and surface vegetation to die. Desertification: A process whereby land becomes progressively less fertile usually as result of prolonged drought, deforestation or land degradation. Read More ... Lessons from history   Someone once told me that the Sahara Desert started because of a ship -building frenzy around the Mediterranean especially by the Romans, two thousand years ago, but I couldn’t find any further reference to that until now. Today I read on Wiki, that it was the result of the rapid expansion of the Roman Empire (beginning with the formation of the Roman Republic in 500 BC), and its insatiable demand for timber - not just for ship building, but for housing, for fuel, for heating homes and bathhouses, for the manufacture

Making More Water 2 -Water reclamation and reuse

Disaster in the making? Conflicts over water use are already happening and Australia has already had a taste of what the  future holds. Recently  Adani 's Carmichael coalmine - the largest in Australia, was granted a licence to take 12.5 billion litres of water from the the Suttor River in the Burdekin Basin by the Queensland government, despite already being granted unlimited access to ground water from Australia's Great Artesian Basin for 60 years ,  over the objections of farmers and farming communities in our arid interior,who rely on the Artesian Basin as their primary and most reliable source of water. As yet no comprehensive studies on the extent of the Basin have been done, though wells already have to be drilled deeper and deeper. At the same time, in NSW, on the already very stressed Murray -Darling Basin , a massive 270 km long pipeline is being built to transfer water from it to the town of  Broken Hill. Half this water will also be allocated to min


“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.” ― Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us   Today is World Ocean Day, but I’m not going to write much about this. You know the problems – plastics, warming, bleaching reefs, chemical, fertiliser and sewage pollution, oil spills, rising sea levels already threatening small islands but in the longer term also threatening many of the world’s most populous cities, unsustainable fishing practices and acidification . The last named may need a little more clarification. So far the ocean has generously absorbed the vast majority of the world’s excess carbon dioxide, but as is does so it becomes more acidic. This dissolves coral, the shells of molluscs and the bones of other fish which in turn diminishes the food supply for higher order predato