Monthly Archives: September 2018

War, climate change and our future

ON MAY 8 1970, Melbourne witnessed a then unprecedented event: a demonstration of around 100,000 people in Bourke Street against the Vietnam War.

In all, some 200,000 people protested throughout Australia that day, sending a powerful message to the government that the tide of public opinion was turning against Australia’s involvement in the war.

Nearly 33 years later, on February 14 2003, there were again massive protests throughout Australia – and elsewhere in the world – against the proposed invasion of Iraq.

Estimates of the numbers at the Melbourne rally alone ranged between 100,000 and 200,000.

I remember marching down Swanston Street to Federation Square and being stunned by the vastness of the crowd.

Fast forward to 2018, and we’re now facing a crisis of a very different kind.

A crisis that can fairly be regarded as the greatest in human history – climate change.

Throughout the world, average surface temperatures are rising.

Globally, 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2001, with 2016 ranking as the warmest on record.

This is one aspect of what we call “climate change”, but the term also refers to a broader range of changes that are happening to our planet.

These include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic, and shifts in flower/plant blooming times.

They also include weather events of increasing severity and frequency, like cyclones, droughts, and floods.

The effects of climate change are everywhere to be seen:

  • The Great Barrier Reef is dying largely as a result of increased water temperatures due to global warming.
  • Low-lying nations, particularly small island states, face inundation as a result of rising sea levels.
  • With increased temperatures and frequent heatwaves worldwide, there is increased evaporation of water which provides fuel for storms, exacerbating extreme weather events like cyclones or hurricanes, especially in tropical regions.
  • The melting of the cryosphere (frozen water in the polar ice caps and elsewhere) means that we’re seeing not only sea level rises, but also the exposure of dark ocean waters, which absorb more sunlight than ice – heating the ocean more and speeding up a relentless cycle of melting and heating.

The international Paris Agreement, supported by world scientific opinion, has recognised that the situation we face is one of urgency:  we need to take drastic measures to limit average global temperature rises to a maximum of 2oC (since the start of industrial times) — and pursue efforts to limit the average increase to 1.5°C — if we’re to avoid the worst impacts of dangerous climate change.

Given the great weight of scientific opinion and that our planet’s future is at stake, it’s not unreasonable to expect our politicians to show strong national leadership on the need for urgent, effective action on climate change.

However, leadership has been sadly lacking on this issue.

Instead, the climate crisis has become mired in short-sighted political expediency, climate denialism, and party politics — including the destructive Liberal Party in-fighting that recently caused the (second) downfall of Malcom Turnbull.

In the absence of proper political leadership, the pressure for urgent climate action needs to come from the community.

The People’s Climate March in Melbourne in November 2015 was attended by an estimated 60,000 people.

But we should be seeing far bigger demonstrations in our streets calling for urgent climate action, on the same scale as the one against the Iraq War in February 2003, if not larger.

For various reasons, however, this has not yet occurred.

Climate change has crept up on us gradually, especially over the last 50 years or so.

The adverse effects of climate change are worsening, but they’re occurring intermittently over an extended time-frame of years and decades.

Most of the time, our weather conditions appear normal and the urgency of the climate situation is not readily apparent to many people in the community.

Unlike the threat posed at times by war or terrorism (for example, by the looming invasion of Iraq in 2003), climate change does not present the same sort of imminent and tangible threat that people feel they can do something about, such as by taking to the streets in protest.

Part of the problem in getting people to accept the need for urgent climate action arises from the process of psychological denial, whereby people choose to deny the existence of unpleasant realities in spite of the evidence.

Likewise, the climate change problem is so huge that many people feel overwhelmed and powerless to do anything about it.

So they “switch off” and opt to do nothing at all.

The key challenges for the climate action movement are to engage with the community to a far greater extent, and to understand and overcome the barriers to widespread popular support for urgent climate action.

The proposed Carmichael (Adani) coal mine and rail project represent an excellent focus for community engagement.

In the face of the climate emergency due to the burning of coal and other fossil fuels, the federal and Queensland governments are ardently supporting and facilitating the Adani mine, which will be the world’s biggest coal venture.

WarrandyteCAN condemns the recklessness of both these governments, and urges everyone to do what they can to support the Stop Adani campaign.

WarrandyteCAN would like to know what readers of the Warrandyte Diary think about climate change and asks them to take part in the following poll:

Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.


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Tasmania’s temptations

I asked our resident Tasmanian expert Anna, a Tasmanian herself, how best one should spend a lazy few days on the beautiful Apple Isle.

If you are a foodie and love the outdoors, it will be hard not to resist her recommendations.

Upon arriving at Launceston Airport, collect your car and travel about 10 minutes to your first stop.

Enjoy a winery tour, tasting and lunch at Josef Chromy Wines, a state-of-the-art winery located near Launceston. Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens and vineyards, the winery offers a range of cool-climate wines, delicious food and warm service.

Start by walking in the vineyard and learning about the estate’s high-tech winemaking process.

Sip some samples served by a friendly wine expert then head to a two-course lunch paired with wine.

It’s the perfect way to explore Tasmanian wine country. Head o for a beautiful drive looping the vineyards and providores on both sides of the Tamar Valley.

Exploring the Artentwine Sculpture Biennial on o er over October and November 2018.

Next day drive to Cradle Mountain, roughly a two hour drive.

On the way keep an eye out for Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café.

This place has an unending supply of raspberries and raspberry menu items.

Stop in, if only to buy some chocolate covered raspberries. is is important.

They are fantastic and will be perfect for an evening at Cradle Mountain Lodge with a good glass of red — I promise.

Spend your time in Cradle Mountain taking in the beauty of this amazing National Park.

The park contains an extensive network of walking tracks to suit everyone’s tastes.

A day walk map should be purchased from the visitor centre if you want to go on any day walks.

Start at the visitor centre will also provide tailor-made advice to match your walking needs with the tracks available.

Strahan is a harbour-side village with a dark and fascinating convict past set on the edge of the World Heritage listed Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Strahan is full of stories from the days of convicts and pioneers toughing it out in Tassie’s “wild west”.

Strahan is also the departure point for the West Coast Wilderness Railway which do a half day tour journeying deep into Tasmania’s rainforest.

A scenic road trip will see you in Hobart for a city sojourn to end your gorgeous getaway in Tasmania.

What are you waiting for?

Our travel expert Carolyn is the manager of Warrandyte Travel and Cruise.

Email her at — carolyn@warrandytetravel.com.au

Orlando and his skiff do us proud

A TALENTED young Warrandyte sailor has taken on the world at the Spanish sailing championships.

Orlando Yen has sailed since he was four years old and is a very familiar face at the local sailing club on Sugarloaf Reservoir, where he helps out coaching newer sailors.

He regularly competes in regattas in Victoria and interstate and his passion and skill has earned him trophies in many of these events.

Orlando is now 13 and has spent thousands of hours sailing his O’pen Bic ski as fast as he can.

He is a member of the Victorian State Sailing team.

This August, he was invited to join the Australian Team to compete in the O’pen Bic World Championships in Spain.

Warrandyte Lions, Rotary and the Riverside Market quickly put up their hands to sponsor Orlando to see him compete.

Four boys and two girls from Victoria and Queensland landed on the beaches of Arenys de Mar to represent Australia against 171 sailors from 15 countries.

The weather was hot and sunny and the Mediterranean inviting — but the winds were light and frustrating.

Orlando scored a creditable 35th place overall in the trying conditions.

The Australian team all placed very well.

One of Orlando’s team mates was rst in the Under 13 division.

Orlando is extremely proud to have represented Australia as such a prestigious event.

It was a great experience to travel to Spain and he made good friends.

The coaches (parents of two of the team) organised his food and accommodation and even took him for a day of sightseeing in Barcelona.

Back in Australia now, he is back in training for the next World Championships, to be held in Auckland in 2019.

 

 

Artist’s impact near and far

Local artist takes it to the streets

 

LOCAL ARTIST Tim Read has been driven to protest the treatment of refugees on Nauru, and he has done it through the medium of sculpture.

“Our government has been fighting in the courts against bringing sick children into this country — and when they are finally ordered to bring them to the mainland these kids are at deaths door,” he said.

Tim said he felt for the children suffering from a syndrome where they are uncommunicative and not eating, because they are being held in detention with no hope of release in sight.

“I was so frustrated that our politicians are doing this, and I thought ‘what can I do?,’ well I can do something at least through my artwork,” Tim said.

So, following his epiphany, Tim stayed up late into the night and produced A Postcard from Nauru, which he installed at Eltham Square in late August.

“Within a couple of hours of it going in people had started to put cards and flowers around it,” he said.

Not everyone was pleased about the installation, Tim’s Facebook page, Tread Sculpture receiving angry messages outraged at his protest, and other’s using the installation to refute Tim’s claims of ill-treatment.

“One person put a printout from the Nauru government website stating that refugee families are living happily in the community, so I looked into it, and it is rubbish — if you saw the

7:30 Report story, you would see the conditions are horrendous.”

Tim said that while he didn’t agree with the sentiments expressed and unhappy with his work being hijacked, the person still had the right to put the poster there.

“That’s the whole point of free speech, but do it with your own artwork, not mine,” he said.

Council also received calls about the work.

“I received a call from Council on Monday who said it couldn’t be a permanent installation and would have to come down.”

While the Council were very supportive of his protest, Tim has now removed the work from the site, and is considering his options about installing it in another location.

Northern Exposure

 

BEND OF ISLANDS artist, Tim Read of Tread Sculpture was pleasantly surprised by a phone call he received a couple of months ago to commission a work for the remote Aboriginal community of Mapoon in Far North Queensland.

“I was staggered when I looked up where Mapoon was,” Tim told the Diary.

The tiny community of around 250 people, only 200 kilometres from the tip of Cape York, is about as far as you can get from the Bend of Islands, but the community felt a connection with Tim’s work and commissioned him to produce an artwork for their up-and-coming Paanja Festival.

“The CEO of Mapoon Aboriginal Shire rang me to say they were having a celebration in September and they would really like some steel sculptural works representing the township and she found me online, ‘am I interested?’— and it went from there,” Tim said.

The remote community initially invited Tim to go fishing with them in exchange for his artwork. “It sounded like a great plan, except I have got to make a living from my artwork,” he said.

“My artist friend who had done work with communities up there, Linda MacAulay, told me that ‘life is simple up there, you enjoy the fishing and the hospitality and that’s the way it works’,” he said.

A more traditional payment was eventually negotiated for the commission.

Tim was shown a painting from local indigenous artist to inform his sculpture, which he has developed into a series of five totem poles that reflect the local Indigenous art, culture and landscape.

Tim works with reclaimed material to produce his sculptures and the rusted metal aspect of his work, along with Tim’s representation of native plants and animals, proved to be the right t for the remote community.

The sculptures are currently making the long journey to Cape York and, after being unveiled during the Paanja Festival, will stand as part of the gateway to the community.

If, dear reader, your travels take you to this far-flung community, keep an eye out for this little piece of Warrandyte in Cape York.

 

 

Small actions make a big difference

SEPTEMBER is Dementia Awareness Month.

More than 400,000 people are living with dementia in Australia and an estimated 70% of those people are actively living in the community.

Manningham Council is encouraging residents to
get involved in Dementia Awareness Month this September to help improve the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Council are encouraging residents to learn a little more about how we can better support family, neighbours, friends and people in our networks impacted by dementia.

It is an important step to help reduce stigma and dispel some of the common myths about dementia.

Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.

Some of the risk factors associated with dementia can be managed through lifestyle changes or appropriate medical treatments.

Many conditions have symptoms similar to dementia so it is important not to assume that someone has dementia.

Early and correct diagnosis can be helpful to ensure
that the correct advice and strategies are provided to manage the condition.

Manningham Mayor 
Cr Andrew Conlon said Manningham would be highlighting the small actions our community could take to create a big difference for people living with dementia.

“We’re inviting the community to show their support by becoming a Dementia Friend to increase understanding about the condition,” he said.

A dementia-friendly community recognises that a person with dementia needs to continue to participate in the community; this can include employment, volunteering or social activities.

Manningham Council
is running a number of workshops and resources for people and families impacted by dementia, as well as the wider community.

Cr Conlon said through increased awareness and support, Manningham hoped to make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia.

“We aim to transform the way we, as a community, think, act and talk about dementia,” he said.

Manningham will also be releasing a pocket-sized set of information cards with up-to-date information about dementia; this includes a list of reputable organisations the community can contact for further support.

Council, in partnership with Dementia Australia will be holding an interactive seminar for Dementia Month: Worried About Your Memory on Tuesday, September 18 at Manningham Civic Centre.