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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 7 June 2007
Barbara Lichi of Ultimo Project exhibits fractals at Brenda May Gallery
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: culture
 Barbara Licha exhibits at Brenda May Gallery till 23rd June 07


Posted by editor at 9:53 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007 11:09 AM NZT
It's the climate stupid - PM Howard on 6 week end game?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Thank heavens for the garbos taken at 5.10am this morning, with welcome light rain making for a cold job for these toilers.

Apparently influential columnist Andrew Bolt in his column June 6th 2007 in Melbourne

Howard's last gasp 

has called in effect for a 6 week time line on removal of PM John Howard to be replaced by Peter Costello .... who as Treasurer took a grilling from Kerry O'Brien of the 7.30 Report last night

Government welcomes strong economic figures 

on why his Cabinet submission to act on climate change was rejected by PM Howard 4 years ago 2003. Costello was very light hearted and patient saying he had "set his course" sounding very much like "I told you so".

Also climate change sceptic Cardinal George Pell has been roundly and collectively repudiated by the NSW ALP - ostensibly on stem cell research, but also the subtext of climate change? One wonders. It would be interesting to know if Pell is quoted in the PM Howard's so called Clever Climate PR advertising package.

It would be quite orthodox for Pell to be in Howard's PR as a trenchant critic of the Greens and their alleged rival religious belief in global warming.

The ALP (federal and state) presumably know they have to neutralise Catholic cardinal Pell prior to the next federal election vis a vis Catholic voters on global warming let alone stem cell research for medical benefits.

And to underline how the climate is the main game PM Howard is in the news today prefacing attempts on a post Kyoto international deal at the Sept APEC in Sydney:

Let's replace flawed Kyoto: PM

MARK DAVIS | John Howard will use this year's APEC summit to try to forge an international consensus on climate change.

Just as Glen Milne has written about this recently: Glenn Milne: APEC makes heavy weather for Howard | Opinion | The ...

Our sense of this is that it's all too late for long time, allegedly indispensible PM Howard.


Which calls up this article (offline it seems) by Geoff Gallop hidden away in Higher Education May 16th in Murdoch press The Australian, perhaps explaining again his journey from depression to light in his new job as director of the graduate school of government at Sydney University (from which campus this writer is still capriciously banned?):

Not just the grip of the Bourke cronies running developer corruption through the ranks, not just the pro uranium mining stoush with federal colleagues, but also the underlying existential philosophical foundations of a post industrial economy. It's an article as if written by and for the Green Party:

Postscript #1 - press backgrounder climate change, G8, APEC

PM Howard seems to have woken up that climate change is a global problem and isn't going away on his watch judging by the press today. Shortly we will add a snapshot of the headlines. But for now some links showing that Howard like his mentor Bush regime are trying to play catchup for APEC in Sept if not G8 on now.

There is an intriguing side play to all this: Why was Peter Hartcher's so called blog story excluded from the paper version of the newspaper today: John & George and the G8: Who's copying whose homework? posted "6 June 2007 5.32 pm"?

This reminds us of the Marian Wilkinson story of the Singapore diplomatic alarm at nuclear energy (or worse) proliferation/safety problems in south east Asia, which also missed the paper print version: Asia-Pacific nuclear authority plan scuttled after safety debate ...

Other serious reporters today on this evolving geo politik theme of how to save our planet today, in scary real time are here:

Blair will be at his most persuasive

Canada joins PM on climate (p1 of The Australian)

Mike Steketee blog: Playing on fear

Vital role for APEC in any post-Kyoto framework

Dalai Lama calls for climate change action | The Daily Telegraph

including quote from Virgin Blue airline chief Brett Godfrey in furious agreement at a function with the Dalai.

Airline industry wakes up to green debate far too late

Good oil on carbon trading needed now 




Posted by editor at 8:30 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007 1:20 PM NZT
Wednesday, 6 June 2007
Brute politics to bring down swaggering Treasurer Michael Costa?
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: nsw govt

We wonder about Michael Costa Treasurer of NSW due to give the next NSW Budget speech on June 20th: NSW State Budget Lunch 2007 - CEDA

We noticed the increasingly rotund and rambling state of mind of the treasurer in the Upper House Question Time 8 days ago, effecting the nonchalance of a political assassin who fears no one and nothing and thus seems somehow a little careless.

But it's pretty dangerous it seems to us living and working in a chaotic zoo like NSW politics even for Costa. Might be a rampaging fang toothed Gibbon, or Kodiak Bear on the prowl at any time. We wrote of that slightly bizarre wild atmosphere up there at Macquarie St a week back here:

Thursday, 31 May 2007
Morris Iemma head keeper in NSW Parliamentry Zoo making governance here a circus?
Now the Sydney Morning Herald editorialist has picked up our 'zoo; theme today with this last line of their piece today

"Anything which makes the bear pit more like a parliament and less like a zoo deserves everyone's support"
referring to poor standards of communication in the House.

We get the intuition Costa may get a shock within the next 5 weeks. Politics is a frighteningly random and dangerous business really and those who live by, quite often die by the same ruthless play. Look at Chief of the DPP here just doing his job copping a fearsome flogging in the press:

Then look at these two hapless ASIO agents being prosecuted for allegedly leaking (?!), who must feel like they are lions on the main course in the Coloseum of old. Why the reporting restrictions? Why indeed has Chris Merritt the legal editor at The Australian and a seriously heavy journalist, formerly with the Australian Financial Review whacked this postage stamp story on p5 of The Weekend Australian. Heaven knows:

We bought the postcard of the Roma icon at right from the junk stall at Addison Rd Centre Market last Sunday to send to the thinking man's crumpet. Sure enough she has a column today about public/private censorship in today's press refering to "exotic fauna" - ironic really coming from the unique Liz Farrelly - and also "ancient Rome". Perfect.

And the apprehension by the coppers of a quite different Mediteranean type Tony Mokbel all seemed to gel together with Mr Costa, not for any illegal shipping on the latter's part. No totally legal coal export is Costa's game but he also has that cavalier style in his politics bragging 8 days ago to the 3 Green MPs how his dark suit was "the colour of coal", as if climate change was a figment.

It's probably easy for Costa, Premier Iemma with him, PM Howard too, to think it's only the economy that matters when people around them are pandering to their ego as per this cover of the Sydney Writer's Festival broadsheet #1 of 4, with Morris in the middle:

It's all enough to make us feel like the frog in this picture below for newsletter #2, one per day for the 4 day event, or the kid in this YouTube classic being chased by the wolf. 

And not just me. Costa might consider just how many wolves there are in the legal fraternity when he attacks one of their own like Cowdery ... for doing his job. Lawyer Greg Barnes gave a clue to the anger within these halls of serious money and power yesterday on the crikey.com.au ezine. Nor would I think that's the end of the matter if I have any sense of my own legal profession here. Some serious hard cases in there the equal of one Michael Costa.


Posted by editor at 3:40 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007 8:48 PM NZT
Green Party in NSW looking to cooperate with Labor in the Senate, several marginals
Mood:  energetic
Topic: election Oz 2007

The Australian carry this emerging story as well as the ABC radio yesterday:

Labor, Greens set for swap deal | News | The Australian

There is also this news in the Canberra Times June 6th (?) which looks to be offline regarding Cr Keith Hughes, spouse of Harriet Swift both anti woochip colleagues of this writer:



The version we heard on the abc radio June 5th 2007 is that ALP policy will not be affected by any preference swap and audio of Senator Nettle said she welcomed the chance for her party to remove John Howard in his own seat of Bennelong.

It seems a very significant helping hand on national environment day for the re election of  Greens Senator Nettle.

Posted by editor at 2:39 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007 10:22 AM NZT
Maireid's report on Irish election outcome(s) for the Hill of Tara heritage
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: world
Hi Everyone,
The Irish General Election count is in. 
For those of you won't don't understand how the Irish election system works, here is a fantastic insight, below. 
No party has a full majority, so there will need to be a coalition government. 
We won't know who will form the coalition government until 14 June!
This RTE (Irish tv)  link has a very informative video panel review of the election.: http://www.rte.ie/news/elections2007/

Note this comment on the Fianna Fáil (Fianna Failures!)  majority vote, by Pat Rabbitte, Labour Party leader: "People have a huge level of indebtedness – large mortgages – they were afraid that a change of government would undermine the economy."

(How familiar is this? How many people 'speak' one view and actually vote for their self-interest?)

While Tara preservation campaigners were hoping and praying for a change of government, we still have a ray of hope via influence from a new coalition government comprised of a combination of Independents, Labour Party, and Green Party, (the latter two have stated that they want to reroute the M3). Meanwhile, the Fina Gael Party, which won the second largest number of votes, may also be able to make up a coalition for an alternative government! .

The article below should make it all understandable.

Either way, unfortunately, we're still faced with uncertainty over the fate of the Hill of Tara, so the Anam Cara for Tara arts action campaign must keep going for a while longer. 
In other words, the campaign can not "culminate" with the Anam Cara Festival in June, hence, we have decided to postpone the festival until August. 
All events programmed for June will go on under the name of the Anam Cara for Tara arts action campaign. (simply, handing out the downloadable b&w info. handbill at the door –to raise awareness.)

Many renowned artists have said they would love to give their support, but need more time -- representing an impressive list of great artists in the Irish / Celtic genre, whom I dare not mention until their events are confirmed!

Politically, we need to renew our concerted effort, folks, if we are to have an impact on the politics of treason that threaten Irish national heritage today.
Write a letter to the Irish media, since the Irish government ministers are not paying heed to thousands of letters appealing to them to reroute the M3 freeway away from the Hill of Tara! 
Ask friends to write a letter too. How hard is this to do!!?? 
Break a leg! Do it! Now! 
Go to the website http://www.AnamCaraFestival.org 
and take action!
If you are an arts practitioners, let your audiences, students and colleagues know about this urgent campaign!

The spirit of Tara is calling to us all! Listen! Act! 
Remember the spirit of your ancestors!
We are the 7th generation!

In good faith!
Maireid Sullivan
P.S. We have had to move www.AnamCaraFestival.org to the main server because it was getting so many hits that the server wanted to charge more money!
The link still works, but is diverted from the first page.

Irish Times, Monday 4 June 2007
FF and Greens to resume talks on coalition
Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff

Negotiations between Fianna Fáil and the Greens on the formation of a
new government resume today after "differences" emerged between both
sides during initial opening talks yesterday.
The discussions are central to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's plan to form an
86-seat government with the Greens and the Progressive Democrats, along
with the further support of three of the five Independent TDs, Michael
Lowry, Beverly Flynn and Jackie Healy Rae.
Mr Lowry confirmed in a statement last night that he had been asked by
Mr Ahern to negotiate with Fianna Fáil about his involvement in a
"cross-party alliance". A Fianna Fáil source said a cross-party alliance
would give Mr Ahern an enormous "comfort factor" and would offer a more
stable option than doing a deal solely with the PDs and Independents.
Green Party chairman John Gormley and Fianna Fáil's Séamus Brennan
described the opening three-hour discussions at Government Buildings as
"cordial and constructive", but stressed that nothing had yet been
agreed and there were differences on policy issues which they would try
to resolve in the coming days.
Mr Brennan said after the meeting there were issues on which both sides
placed different priorities which "are publicly known and emerged during
the election" which they would try to work through.
Mr Gormley said the initial talks were positive but there were "quite a
number" of issues to be discussed, adding: "We hope to have resolutions
to any difficulties in the coming days". Neither would elaborate on
where the differences lie.
Mr Gormley also said the Greens had not ruled out talking to other parties.
Yesterday's initial talks covered very broad issues, including the
economy, and were very much an exercise in setting out the parameters
and timetable for continuing talks. When the talks get under way in
greater detail from today, there is expected to be tough negotiating on
several issues including hospital co-location, which the Greens are
against, and their demand that corporate donations be banned.
Yesterday's talks started at 11am and finished at 2pm. Ministers Brian
Cowen, Mr Brennan and Noel Dempsey comprised the Fianna Fáil negotiation
team, while Mr Gormley, Dan Boyle (who lost his seat in Cork South
Central) and general secretary Dónall Geoghegan made up the Green Party
team. Today's talks are expected to last all day.
A Fianna Fáil deal with the Green Party, which has six TDs, and the PDs,
with two TDs, added to Fianna Fáil's 78 seats, would give the Taoiseach
a comfortable 86 votes, plus the added support of some Independents.
However, Fine Gael insisted last night that it is still in a position to
form an alternative government, despite that fact one of its would-be
coalition partners had started formal talks with Fianna Fáil. "Contacts
are ongoing with the relevant parties involved," according to a spokesman.
In a statement on Saturday the Green Party said in spite of its best
efforts, the prospects for an alternative coalition "look remote". Fine
Gael sources insisted last night that this should not be interpreted as
the Greens giving up on a Rainbow government. "To the contrary
communication channels remain open." After the end of yesterday's
initial talks Mr Gormley stressed the Greens were not ruling out talks
with any other party.
In a statement last night Mr Lowry, the Tipperary North Independent TD
and former Fine Gael minister, confirmed he had accepted an invitation
from Mr Ahern to negotiate his involvement in a cross-party alliance "to
provide a stable government". He said he did not envisage Enda Kenny
having any realistic prospect of forming a government.
It is understood that the interim PD leader, Mary Harney, is open to the
prospect of a cross party coalition and is expecting further contact
from Mr Ahern later this week. She was aware that Fianna Fáil was to
have talks with the Greens.
A Green Party spokesman confirmed yesterday that a meeting of the party
membership has been called for the Mansion House in Dublin next Sunday
to decide whether or not to do a deal with Fianna Fáil if the
negotiation team reach agreement on policy issues this week. The
membership will also have to agree on going into a cross party coalition
with Fianna Fáil and the PDs.
Tensions ran high between the PDs and the Greens during the election and
a party source said yesterday that that could be an obstacle for the
party in agreeing a deal that included the PDs.

Irish Independent Saturday 26 May 2007]
No need for this M3 route
The next government will still have to grapple with trying to solve the
problem of finding an effective overall transport policy for Dublin and
its hinterland. If possible, this should be managed in such a way as to
meet not only the needs of Dubliners, the needs of commuters and their
families but also the continuing requirement to protect and preserve our
unique heritage and environment.

The recently discovered national monument at Lismullin lies directly in
the path of the proposed M3 motorway, just as the decision as to whether
to protect and preserve the Gabhra Valley (wherein the discovery was
made) will lie directly in the path of the next government.

The hills of Tara and Skryne, together with the Gabhra Valley, are all
part of an integrated archaeological landscape that must be preserved
from inappropriate development.

There is no absolute necessity for the present M3 motorway route and its
accompanying massive interchange at Blundelstown.

There are still viable alternative routes just as there are viable
alternatives to the motorway itself. These alternatives have been
detailed many times over (mass transit, upgrade N3 etc), and the first
step should be to get on with the necessary bypasses in conjunction with
reinstating the rail link from Dublin to Navan. These steps, together
with possible upgrading of the existing N3 (2 plus 1 is one particular
way), would be more cost effective and more environmentally friendly.
Paul Muldoon's piece also appears in the International Herald Tribune


Posted by editor at 2:22 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007 2:27 PM NZT
Tuesday, 5 June 2007
Andrew Bolt digging an anti science hole for himself on sea rise risk?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: globalWarming


This is a cautionary open letter of advice for green and red baiter Andrew Bolt there at the Herald Sun in Melbourne equivalent of the Sydney Daily Telegraph here:

The Age drowning in hype | Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog

Dear Bolter 

I saw you scoffing on Insiders , and the scoffing at your scoffing. You scorned this report carrying the picture above: page 1 The Age 2nd June 07 Landmarks at 'high risk' from rising sea levels - National ...

Here is the bad news: Dr James Hansen of NASA (you know, the guys revered for sending man to the moon) has analysed West Antarctica and Greenland with its above sea level ice volume. His advice is that there is accelerated melting via crevasse cracks. It's 1 mm sea rise per year now but NON LINEAR. 1cm in 10years. Then quite possibly double the RATE every 10 years ie 2cms 20 years, 4cm after 30 years. Do the math, by 2100 its 5.11m sea rise. You will see it's right.

A report is here on USA Grist news site  15 May 2007  An interview with renowned climate scientist James Hansen |  

 "I've actually written a paper and submitted it called "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise" [PDF], because it just seemed to me that there was a gap between what scientists really thought and what was in the public knowledge in regards to ice sheet stability and sea level rise."

at the pdf  [bold added] dated 23rd March 2007

"Under BAU forcing in the 21st century, sea level rise undoubtedly will be dominated by a third term (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005-2015 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted.


That time constant yields sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century. Of course I can not prove that my choice of a 10 year doubling time for non-linear response is accurate, but I am confident that it provides a far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component of sea level rise." :Dr James Hansen NASA.


The report on Grist is right next to their face to face interview with your Big Boss Rupert Murdoch on a similar topic of News Corp embracing greenhouse gas neutrality here: An interview with Rupert Murdoch about News Corp.'s new climate strategy  of 16th May 2007

I understand the IPCC report you quote from early this year was based on year or more old data especially omitting crevasse mechanism of accelerated melting data.

Bolter, you are sounding like Saul on the road to Damascus.


Poscript #1 (as posted on Melbourne Indy Media website)

Do the math, and Mother Jones
by Tom McL Wednesday June 06, 2007 at 10:32 AM


in 10 yrs - 1 cm sea rise - cumulative 1cm
.....20 yrs - 2cm ................- ...............3cm
.....30 yrs - 4cm ................- ...............7cm
......40 yrs - 8cm................- ...............15cm
......50 yrs - 16cm.............- ................31cm
......60 yrs - 32 cm...........-....................63 cm
......70 yrs - 64 cm............-...................1.27 metres

That's 2077, when this writer is well gone (112) and a 20 year old will be 90 years old. On this quite possible scenario under Dr Hansen's advice the ocean has risen 1.27 metres I suppose a bit like the image above.

But then it gets really 'interesting' on the last two doublings ie horrific just at the turn of the century, or maybe a 99 year lease (!?)

.......80 yrs - 128 cm.........-....................2.55 m
.......90 yrs - 256 cm.........-....................5.11 cm

What really worries me is this article by Mother Jones with 250,000 subscribers there in the USA which describes some 12 different climate tipping points from Amazon forest etc clearance, to methane release in the perma frost, to God knows what else.

Here is the article and it really should be PG or MA reading:

"The Thirteenth Tipping Point" dated Nov-Dec 2006.

A useful metaphor for the above would be driving a 4 wheel drive down a steep slope in first gear, and if you haven't done driver training, and foolishly, like fatally, put your left foot on and depress the clutch pedal to change to 2nd gear. At this point if you have enough nouse to realise your danger, you have two choices - die at the bottom of the hill or jump out: The gears will never re engage as you gain acceleration at exponential rate of increase. Nor will the brakes and tyre friction overcome the momentum of the car's weight on the skiding slope. The 4WD will crash - 100% certain. That choice is out of your hands from exponential increase in momentum the moment you put the clutch pedal down in a moment of supreme ignorance.

You have to stay in first gear going quietly until you steer to safety. 

When I did driver training as a zoology student in 1987 our instructor made us fold our left leg under the seat so he was sure we young bloods in training couldn't kill him by accident on a bush trail by depressing the clutch in a reflex action. Do you get it Bolter?

Postsript #2

Apparently influential columnist Andrew Bolt in his column June 6th 2007 

Howard's last gasp 

has called in effect for a 6 week time line on removal of PM John Howard to be replaced by Peter Costello .... who as Treasurer took a grilling from Kerry O'Brien of the 7.30 Report last night

Government welcomes strong economic figures 

on why his Cabinet submission to act on climate change was rejected by PM Howard 4 years ago 2003. Costello was very light hearted and patient saying he had "set his course" sounding very much like "I told you so".

Also climate change sceptic Cardinal George Pell has been roundly and collectively repudiated by the NSW ALP - ostensibly on stem cell research, but also the subtext of climate change? One wonders. It would be interesting to know if Pell is quoted in the PM Howard's so called Clever Climate PR advertising package.

It would be quite orthodox for Pell to be in Howard's PR as a trenchant critic of the Greens and their alleged rival religious belief in global warming.

The ALP (federal and state) presumably know they have to neutralise Catholic cardinal Pell prior to the next federal election vis a vis Catholic voters on global warming let alone stem cell research for medical benefits.

And to underline how the climate is the main game PM Howard is in the news today prefacing attempts on a post Kyoto international deal at the Sept APEC in Sydney:

Let's replace flawed Kyoto: PM

MARK DAVIS | John Howard will use this year's APEC summit to try to forge an international consensus on climate change.

Just as Glen Milne has written about this recently: Glenn Milne: APEC makes heavy weather for Howard | Opinion | The ...

Our sense of this is that it's all too late for long time, allegedly indispensible PM Howard.

Posted by editor at 8:33 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007 8:29 AM NZT
The ruthless ambitious world of high level politics: Time on US Democrat leaders here
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: world

Apparently 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards (and 2004 vice presidential candidate), was against the Iraq War and John Kerry admits as much here:
"That fall, [2002?] as a vote loomed on the resolution giving Bush authority to go to war, Edwards convened a circle of advisers in his family room in Washington to discuss his decision. He was skeptical, even exercised about the idea of voting yes. Elizabeth was a forceful no. She didn't trust anything the Bush administration was saying. But the consensus view ..... he didn't have the credibility to vote against the resolution. ....The meeting we held in the Edwardses' family room did him a disservice; of course, he was the candidate and if he really was against the war, it was up to him to stand his ground. He didn't. If he had, it almost certainly would have been Edwards and not Dean who emerged early on as the antiwar candidate. "
But then Kerry sinks the boot in deep as per a later quote below in a macabre anecdote in Time published 30th May 07 which on one level  is nothing to the trouble and suffering that President George W Bush has caused this last 6 years but it still reads as quite grim gossip, at page 2 of the story at



"Kerry talked with several potential picks, including Gephardt and Edwards. He was comfortable after his conversations with Gephardt, but even queasier about Edwards after they met. Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two beforeand with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again. When they did, Kerry tried to get a better personal feel for his potential number two ..."
Says alot about sleaze in politics at that incredibly high level, that Edwards could repeat something like that with a false preface, and that Kerry would still pick him as running mate after swearing off him.
And then Kerry helping with this hatchet job on him in Time May 30 2007 now with Edwards wife having breast cancer too, and still wanting to run though it's incurable (if my memory serves). How sicko is all this? No wonder Bush was able to beat them. Talk about lost their moral compass. Bush never even had to worry about finding his to compete it seems.
God spare us. It's hilarious in a sinister macabre fashion.

Posted by editor at 1:33 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007 3:01 PM NZT
SAM blog circulation figures for May 2007 - down 3000, but trend is okay
Mood:  amorous
Topic: independent media
Here are the hit rate figures for May 2007 (up to and including June 3rd, as we started on Jan 3rd) for hits to this password protected edited news blog. 
As a preface notice the downturn after a high point in growth in April. We looked into this and found unusually high interest in a story about the famous Simpson aka Kirkpatrick and his donkey at Gallipoli prior to Anzac day proper 25th April found via top right calender:
Sunday, 14 January 2007
The 'real story' of unionist, anti war Gallipoli martyr Kirkpatrick aka Simpson and his Donkey
That was a gem of an interview with a nugget of original primary evidence of Australian history. 
So we hope and trust the hit rate continues to trend upward but is subject to shooting stars as well. We have more faith in the daily discipline of researching, finding and reporting alternative news and gradually growing the information service. As they say, the folks who turn up for work every day end up running the place. At least cumulatively, at the risk of 'circulation spin' we have roughly 35,000 readers (new or repeat) since Jan 2007.  
Let's see how June goes:
May 2007 - 9, 059

April 2007 - 12,087

March 6,684

February 5,372

January 2800

Thankyou to our readers and especially anyone taking the time to comment or offer a story. This particular blog template could be more slick and alot more interactive but it will do for now. Thanks especially for the encouragement from various ngo and other professionals who are also stakeholders (aren't we all) in a vibrant community media sector here in Sydney.

Posted by editor at 10:29 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007 11:01 AM NZT
The old population canard on this world environment day
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: ecology



Picture: Fractals 18 by Polish born Autralian artist Barbara Lichi, showing at Brenda May Gallery till June 23rd 2007, 2 Danks St Waterloo Sydney 

From our 15 years in the green ngo sector and obsessive media monitoring we advise the following:


The world population is levelling out at about 9 billion by around 2050 says legendary Professor of Biology at Harvard University, Edward O Wilson on an ABC radio national show earlier this year on an alliance with theologians to vouchsafe our future:

Big Idea - 4 February 2007 - EO Wilson and Harvey Cox on Saving ...

Even that is surely too many, but at least slowing down.


The only proven method of reducing population apart from war or cataclysm or pestilence, which even then is usually short term, is to promote educational life opportunities to the women of society. With such life choices expanded the fertility rate decreases markedly. This is the experience apparently in Indonesia, and certainly in most if not all western countries. More here Green Left - Issues: US feminists debate population control


So....  if the population pressure can be managed and moderated, then the issue of excessive affluent material consumption remains squarely on the table as well. It's a walk and chew gum kind of reality: There is no avoiding the discipline of a less greedy lifestyle here in Australia, in the West and globally.

Stop being so greedy, seek cultural and spiritual rewards on this earthly strut upon the stage rather than shallow, self defeating materialism per se. Really.

Postscript #1

On cue for World Environment Day, 5th June 2007 Mayor and MP Clover Moore says Sydney will exceed NSW's ecological footprint SOS for a city that's eating itself

Posted by editor at 9:33 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007 7:41 AM NZT
Monday, 4 June 2007
More frequent mega fires an inevitable result of decades of logging, chipping landscape change
Mood:  irritated
Topic: wildfires

These diagrams below first presented in 1995 reveal the process of landscape conversion of native forest from moist old growth fire resistant type, derived from their closed canopy, to dry sclerophyl bushfire prone regrowth type.

As long as a moisture rich closed canopy is in place a high density of ground cover remains of moderate risk and tends to break down quite quickly as well.

The most severe process of logging disruption of the closed forest canopy has been going on since the advent of high intensity 'integrated logging' for timber but also high proportion of woodchips especially since the mid 1970ies. This was around the time of the advent of bulldozers, other big machines and modern chainsaws.

Thus even if a small proportion of a forest of say 2 or 3% suffers high intensity logging per year, after 40 years of pathworking, close to 100% of the moist micro climate will have been destroyed along with the broken canopy.  It will take maybe a century to re establish the moist old growth closed canopy microclimate across broad areas of forest IF devastating fires don't constantly set the clock back to zero again in a cruel ecological game of snakes and ladders.

That's how grim the situation has become in large areas of forested south east Australia as a result of rampaging logging and greed. Even much contemporary national park has been patchwork logged already prior to reservation in the last 40 years and still to regain closed canopy moisture. Depending on the fire patterns in the future they may never regain that closed canopy and moisture level.

There are many other factors contributing to bushfire such as ignition sources like arson or naturally occuring dry lightning. Climate impact of low rainfall also impacts fire intensity and risk. Ground fuel levels are also very significant.

But what is apparent in the current anxious reflections and research into how best to deal with the impending catastrophic fires of the futre is that the modern logging industry have been getting away with environmental murder that promotes mega bushfires. It all follows from breaching the natural water cycle under a closed canopy:



The diagrams above are based on the following scientific papers:

Cornish PM (1982) The variation of dissolved ion concentration with discharge in some NSW streams, Forest Hydrologist, Forestry Commission of NSW, The First National Symposium on Forest Hydrology, eds. EM  O'Loughlin & L J Bren, May 1982,

Rieger W A, Olive L J and Burgess J S (1982) Behaviour of sediment concentrations and solute concentrations in small forested catchments, University of NSW, Department of Geography, FAculty of Military Studies, The First National Symposium on Forest Hydrology, eds. E M O'Loughlin & L J Bren, May 1982

Stokes R A and Loh I C (1982) 'Sustaining Sensitive Wildlife Within Temperate Forest Landscapes: Regional Systems of Retained Habitat as a Planning Framework', pages 85-106 in Ecology and Sustainability of Southern Temperate Ecosystems, eds. Norton T W & Dovers S R, CSIRO 1994.

Wronski E (1993) Tantawangalo research catchments, Change in water yield after logging, Report to the Forestry Commission of NSW, 1st July 1993

Declaration: The editor/author was called as witness to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry, and briefly to the Coronial Inquiry after the summer 1993-4 bushfires, as a representative of the Wilderness Society in NSW.


Postscript #1 to and fro with pro logger Mr Chipman in crikey ezine this last week

Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 7:27 AM
Subject: loggers court megafires with science references, rebuttal of Chipman here

Been a hard 4 weeks but flu is on the turn, thank God. If I'd gone to Gulaga I think it might have finished me but here is silver lining for you folks (of sorts, note the nihilistic twist in the tail to borrow Rod Qantok approach to ousting Jeff Kennett back in 1999, sadly it's quite true). Follow the link to get the diagrams and especially the fantastic scientific references, all credit to the original authors shown on the book cover, Woof, Taylor, Thomson legendary forest defenders of the south east 90-95. Crikey.com.au goes to abut 45,000 a-grade political demographic.
The central thesis is that landscape change via highly mechanised logging this last 40 years has stuffed the water cycle in forests making them highly prone to mega fires. It's grim allright.
Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2007 10:37 PM
Subject: Reply to Chipman: Logging causes mega bushfires

Re Mr Chipman (Comments 4th June). He makes my point: Prof Kirkpatrick presumably was so dis-satisfied with the 'flexibility' as per the quote with the first 7 years of the Tasmanian RFA logging plan that he and 99 brave colleagues wrote a political letter before the last election repudiating it. Kirkpatrick's Order of Australia in 2003 just adds weight. But it was always a trick of bad public policy isolating Tas forest when Australia generally is a vast open plain and/or desert. And redundant now as we are doing national auditing of carbon store. We also have global responsibilities beyond the shire size population of Tas. And well established science here  shows that high impact mechanised logging this last 40 years has been destroying cool moist (and therefore) fire resistant closed canopy old growth forest. This is replaced with dry sclerophyl regrowth that really burns. Extrapolate this effect onto whole landscapes patchworked with 1 or 2% a year logging with a minimum 100 year canopy regrowth timeline, then turbo charge with climate change, and presto, I submit we have the root cause of frequent mega bushfires.  Truth is these 1000 year old canopies will never re establish, suggesting another climate change tipping point via cyclical megafires. We really are in big doo doo. A very basic first step is keep the closed canopy upstanding, then restore moist canopy in the regrowth somehow. We would need 100 Prof Kirkpatricks to do that ie it'll never happen. Just as we won't stop the polar ice caps melting. Truly one can say in Chipman's case, to win,  as he undoubtely has on forest destruction this last 10 years, is to lose. Just like Iraq. Suck it up.
Tom McLoughlin, ecology action Australia
Tasmanian logging:

Barry Chipman. Tasmanian state manager, Timber Communities Australia, writes: It is rather interesting that the Ecology Action Australia spokesperson (Friday, comments) didn't choose to tell the full story about the nationally agreed criteria (JANIS) for Australian forest conservation, which has brought about Tasmania's world-class forest reserve system of 47% forest biodiversity, 80% old growth, 97% wilderness. What was overlooked is the following very important element and quoting directly from application of the criteria: "Flexibility in the application of reserve criteria is needed because of differing regional circumstances. The criteria are considered to be guidelines rather than mandatory targets. In some circumstances and for some criteria, lower levels of reservation may prove adequate. The extent of potential social and economic impact may limit the ability to meet reserve criteria (see Sections 5.2, 5.4 and 6.1.1 of the JANIS document). Where different configurations of reserves are identified as meeting the criteria, the option that imposes the least cost on the community should be adopted." Also worth noting is one of the key environmental scientists deeply involved in the development of this criteria and then helping bring about Tasmania's balanced world-class forest reserve system gratefully accepted in 2003 the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) medal of his involvement. That citation reads:  "Professor James Barrie KIRKPATRICK, Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Citation: For service to environmental conservation, particularly in relation to World Heritage assessment and the development of forest reservation criteria. Date Received 09 June 2003."


Tasmanian Logging:

Tom McLoughlin, ecology action Australia, writes: Mr Chipman (yesterday, comments) must be baffled by his own corrupt RFA agreement specifications. 100 of our best independent forest scientists led by Prof Tony Norton, Prof Jamie Kirkpatrick and other luminaries have described this document as follows: "The Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) is widely perceived in the scientific community to have failed to deliver the intended protection for environmental, wilderness and heritage values that state and federal governments committed to when they signed the National Forest Policy in 1992. The scientific processes in the Tasmanian RFA were overwhelmed by political compromises. Established criteria for forest conservation were not fully applied. There are large areas of high conservation value forest that would have been reserved if the RFA criteria for forest conservation had been fully applied. Logging practices and the conversion of native forests to plantations have intensified in the seven years since the signing of the RFA, resulting in record volumes of export wood chip production. This intensification, combined with the well-documented inadequacies of the conservation reserve system (exemplified by the large areas of unlogged Eucalyptus regnans tall open-forest that remain unprotected) has produced highly modified forested landscapes with diminished landscape values." The full statement and signatories is extracted here. This devastating criticism was before the widespread public concern over climate change. This scientific advice was reported at the time on the radio national Earthbeat program until it was axed soon after the re-election of the Howard Government in 2004.

Posted by editor at 9:07 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007 9:07 AM NZT

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