Monday, March 30, 2009

More commentary on the Victorian Bushfires

Andrew Campbell, former Executive Director of Land and Water Australia has written about the Victorian Bushfires and pretty much makes the same points (although more eloquently) as I previously have. Glad to know I'm not alone.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pee on a Tree Day update.

In response to much (well one) questioning, those who are a little embarassed about going out in the open and peeing on a tree go and find yourself a composting toilet or long drop. There problem solved now get back out there and tell people.

Place your bets...

I had to laugh when I read this headline:

Garrett opposed to Kimberley gas plant: Oils drummer

In the article former bandmate Rob Hirst claims Peter Garrett won't allow the contentious Kimberly gas plant to go ahead, yeah right! In his time as Environment Minister Garrett has approved Gunns paper mill in Tasmania, a huge water desalination plant in Victoria, the McArthur River mine extension and of course he's done bugger all for the whales and that's just for starters.

So who's prepared to put money on him stopping the Kimberley gas plant?

June 25th International Pee on a Tree Day!

I've just declared it, see my rantings about Earth Hour below.

Earth Hour! What a load of crap!

Hi all, sorry it's been so long since I've posted but I'm back and I'm fiesty so here goes.

So did anyone turn their lights off for "Earth Hour" last night? Turn your lights off for an hour and save the planet? What a load of shit, 20 years of "awareness rasing" and this is the best we can come up with a counterproductive feelgood excercise.

Lets face it do you really think those coal powered turbines were shut down for an hour while you lit up your house with (most likely non renewable parafin wax) candles? Honestly the whole thing does a whole three parts of fuck all to reduce the problem and and will do very little to achieve Kevin Rudd's piss poor five percent reduction.

No doubt people will say I'm being too cynical and it's all about "awareness raising", this has been going on for the past twenty years and the best we can come up with is to turn the lights off and hide in the dark? (which somehow seems quite appropriate)

Wanna help the planet? Pee on a tree. Seriously, you'd save around five to ten litres of water a flush (well ok I should check that one), you'd save the energy used in collecting, treating, transporting and treating again. So if we can get a million peeple (spelling intended) to pee on a tree rather then flush it down the drain we'll save 5-10 million litres of water and the attendant energy use.

Y'know what? That's not such a silly idea, why not a national, no sorry International Pee on a Tree Day? If we make it June 25th that gives us two months, right, who's in? I know there's people who read this blog, surely one or two of you think this is a good idea and have some sort of creative ability? This could get really big and it'd really piss off those Earth Hourers (sorry just had to do that). We need logo's slogans, stickers, publicity.... Today the lemon tree, tomorrow the world!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Last comment on the Victorian Fires (for now anyway)

As I mentioned the recent Victorian bushfires took place under some fairly extreme conditions, the Bureau of Meteorology put out a statement on the prevailing conditions on the 12th of February which makes for some very worrying reading: read it here

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Trouble with Humans.

A couple of things about you humans is that you love simple one size fits all answers and when things go wrong you want to find a scapegoat to blame (see my previous posting "The Blame Game"). In the wake of the Victorian bushfires there have been the inevitable calls for more hazard reduction burning, wide firebreaks around towns and settlements (hence negating the reason many people moved there in the first place but I'm digressing) as the one size fits all panacea. Unfortunately unless you blacken every hectare, every year you will still have fires and more than likely loss of life and property.

I went through Victoria last weekend and while I did avoid my usual route which would have taken me right through the middle of the burnt zone I did go through some burnt area along the Hume Highway to the North of Melbourne. I didn't take any photos of the burnt area (just didn't feel right) but took some up the road and the following I think are pretty instructive:

The above images are fairly typical of what the ground around the Broadford area would have been like prior to the fires, what the photos show are the relatively low amount of fuel available to burn and the very dry conditions prevailing at the time. Under normal circumstances a fire in this fuel load is fairly easy to suppress, reading the burnt out area showed the conditions were far from normal. The low level of ash in some areas indicated the grass had been eaten to ground level but still burnt out, many of the trees and shrubs along the freeway show scorch to only around 30-50 cm and the tops of many low shrubs (1-2m) didn't burn indicating a very fast moving fire running along the ground for most part pushed along by high winds. Firebreaks (such as the highway) were ineffective, fuel level was already quite low and it would have been absolutely horrendous to be there trying to control it.
When we hear calls for more fuel reduction in this case certainly we need to ask just how much more could it possibly be reduced? There is a role for hazard reduction (and ecological) burns and under normal circumstances they are quite effective (and as someone who has had around 20 years of bushfirefighting experience I do know a little about it) but under extreme circumstances they're often little but a momentary lull.