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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

How can we get motivated to exercise daily?

FITNESS: Chris Sharp

I’VE BEEN in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years now and the thing I see most that stops my clients achieving their goals is self-doubt and not believing they can actually be the best version of themselves.

Life’s pressures such as relationships, work and illnesses will halt them and, on many occasions, they give up.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself; if you get off the fitness wagon, you just have to get back on.”

It’s always important to look at the big picture; one of my favourite sayings is “health is not just for now, it’s for life”.

Dealing with Setbacks: How to Stay Motivated When Feeling Flat

It is estimated that 60–70 per cent of the Australian population does not engage in regular physical activity.

The most common reasons as to why people fail to stick to a regular exercise regimen include lack of time, inability to get to a gym, lack of motivation, fear of injury, and misconceptions about exercise.

Barriers such as these have caused a majority of us to sacrifice regular physical activity, an element that is as vital to our health and well-being as food, water, and shelter.

By taking a closer look at the barriers that keep us glued to our couches, I hope to help anyone out there who is struggling to overcome them.

Here are some common excuses and ways to combat them on days you’re feeling flat: “I don’t have the energy to exercise.”

It can be a struggle to get moving at times.

But I can guarantee that once your body becomes accustomed to regular workouts, not only will your energy levels soar, but sitting still will become the struggle! I still remember being new to exercising on my own, not playing a team sport and sometimes dreading what lay ahead, but before I knew it, I began craving the workouts because I loved the way I felt afterwards.

“I don’t have enough time to exercise.”

This is the one I hear most of all and I often use this equation to quantify my response.

There are 168 hours in a week.

If you exercised at least three hours, that’s only 5.6 per cent of your time consumed by exercise.

It’s really not much is it?

One of the leading reasons many of us fail to stick to a regular exercise routine is the belief that we never have extra time.

With the busy lifestyles most of us lead, it can seem almost impossible to fit in a workout every day.

However, studies have shown that if we can commit 30 minutes a day to some form of physical activity, our health, well-being and productivity can improve dramatically.

I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is unable to dedicate just a half hour a day to their fitness, even if that means splitting 30 minutes into two sets of 15 minutes or three sets of 10.

Whether it be taking the stairs instead of the lift to the office, taking a walk during your lunch break, kicking the footy or throwing a ball or Frisbee around with the kids after work (I’m sure they would appreciate it!) or hiring a mobile trainer to train you at the destination/time of your choice, there are plenty of ways to keep active throughout the day.

When we exercise, endorphins (AKA ‘happy hormones’) are produced by and released into the body, causing an overall sense of happiness, relaxation and well-being.

So, if low energy levels are preventing you from staying active, focus on how fantastic you will feel if instead you were wide awake from working out!

“Exercise is boring…”

This is one I also hear a fair bit!

This is only the case if you choose boring activities!

You wouldn’t wear the same clothes all week, or eat the same food every day, so if physical activity is as vital to our well-being as these things, why choose the same boring exercise?

Choose something you enjoy, whether it is dancing, a sport, or having a personal trainer provide you with a program that caters to your likes and dislikes.

Ensure that you mix up your exercise routine, so you are not taking part in the same activity every day (e.g., Monday night dance class, Wednesday night personal training session, Friday afternoon beach jog/walk).

Do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

This way your mind stays motivated and your body stays challenged.

“Exercise is too painful”, or “I’m afraid I’ll injure myself”

The old saying “no pain, no gain” is one that should be disregarded completely! Exercise DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT need to be painful to be beneficial and effective.

Yes, it may be true that if you are training towards an elite level of fitness (such as an athlete or bodybuilder preparing for competition), you will need to endure an elevated level of intensive training.

However, for those of us who wish to exercise for the sake of general health and happiness, a moderate level of activity will suffice.

Still, it is important that as fitness increases, the intensity of our workouts increase as well to ensure that our bodies continue to respond to the activity by getting stronger and more capable.

You can do this on your own by increasing duration of activity, or number or sets per exercise.

Alternatively, a good personal trainer will be able to provide a program suited to your goals and adjust it according to increases in your fitness levels.

At NO stage throughout a workout should any pain be experienced, and if it is, the activity should be ceased immediately.

But there’s a difference between the pain of injury and the burn you feel when challenging your body.

A great instructor once told a class I was participating in, “This is not pain. This is just necessary discomfort!”, and I think a life of looking and feeling fantastic is worth enduring a bit of “necessary discomfort.”

The barriers mentioned above are only a few of the ones that can prevent us from engaging in regular physical activity, and I have only offered several of the many ways you can overcome them.

The main idea is to work on changing your perspective to get the motivation you need.

Next time you are tempted to put off your workout regimen until tomorrow or next week, remember all the benefits of exercise awaiting you, pull on those trainers, and get yourself on the track towards achieving the optimal health, fitness and well-being you deserve!

 

Chris Sharp owns and operates rivvaPT at 4/5 266 Yarra St Warrandyte

A place to call home

There are numerous native animals that are dependent on naturally hollowed out sections of trees.

These cavities can occur within both living and dead trees, with an entrance to the outside environment where the animals can enter and exit from.

Natural hollows range in size from small cracks to large vertical hollowed out cavities similar to a chimney.

These hollows can occur in the trunk or horizontal limbs with the hollows and entrances at any height.   

Bush fire, lightning strikes or breaking branches can expose the trees to the elements and the cavities are then largely created by termites, beetle larvae and moth larvae which feed on the internal dead wood of the tree (heartwood).   

Fungus can also assist with rotting the timber and fire can further influence the enlargement of the cavities.

These cavities allow the animals to shelter and breed.

Most native trees in Greater Warrandyte are around one hundred years old and are regrowth from the last large scale mining ventures that ended around the beginning of WWI, in 1914.

Some of Warrandyte’s native animals such as gliders, phascogales, possums, parrots, ducks and owls are unable to create their own hollows.

Different animals have different nesting requirements, mainly due to their size.

Nest boxes provide an important supplement to the lack of naturally occurring hollows, in particular the larger ones.

Increasing in popularity is the creation of artificial hollows cut into the trunks of dead trees.

Throughout Melbourne I have seen a growing trend of large dead trees being trimmed of branches and cavities being cut into the upper trunk.

Most of these animals use multiple hollows and regularly change hollows.

This helps keep their hollows clean and free of parasites or disease.

It also helps them avoid predators such as owls which quickly learn which hollows are in use.

Because they rotate homes we need to provide multiple nest boxes to support each individual animal.

I aim to provide two to three nest boxes for each target animal.

Natural tree hollows provide excellent insulation against the cold/heat and last for a very long time.

It is very important to use thick timber or materials that are strong, rot/rust proof and have adequate insulation properties for animal comfort.

I use treated pine that is at least 25mm in thickness as this will begin to provide enough thermal insulation for wildlife.

I also use screws and hinges that are corrosion free and paint the interior and exterior for aesthetics and longevity.

I fasten internal ladders for both marsupials and birds.

They will also provide grip for the young animals that might struggle with climbing.

I also cut external grooves entirely around the entrances for possums to grip on.

I have studied possums exiting the nests at night and they tend to immediately climb upwards so it is important to have grip around the entirety of the entrance.

When installing the nest box I will select a location away from general disturbance and bright lights.

I like to orient the nest box on the side of larger trees and on the south side of the trunks away from the hot afternoon sun.

As most animals will use boxes at about four metres high I usually install the box using a large ladder such as an extension ladder.

Ensure the ladder is tied to the tree for safety and remember that you will want to access your box to inspect it later.

The higher the installation the further away from disturbance the animals will be.

I usually fasten the boxes using plastic coated wire.

As the growing tree trunk expands this may require adjustment over time as it gets tighter.

Spring-wire can assist with allowing the attachments to expand and require fewer adjustments over time.

Generally, you do not need to clean your box.

I will deposit fine mulch in the base for comfort and further insulation.

Most wildlife keep their nests clean.

A few species, such as the phascogale, will soil the inside of their boxes.

That is their normal behaviour.

Cleaning your boxes may stress the animal and cause the animals to temporarily desert the box.

A few small holes or gaps in the base of the box can help drain any water and keep it dry.

It may only take days or weeks before animals such as possums move in whereas others that are seasonal, such as birds, you may have results during the breeding seasons, usually in spring.

Also remember that wildlife move between hollows (and nest boxes) on a regular basis so some of the boxes will be vacant at any given time.

You will often find signs that your box has been used (feathers, scats or nest material including bark or leaves) even though the animal is not at home.

I usually incorporate folding lids that are the easiest way to check inside boxes.

Increasingly popular is the installation of cameras either inside the box or by installing an automated wildlife camera on a nearby tree.

This will monitor what comes in and out of the box.

These pictures are a sample of some of the recent success I have had with providing homes to our local animals in Warrandyte.

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The lingering infection of terra niullius

By JIM POULTER

EVERYBODY is familiar with the term “terra nullius”.

Australia was purportedly owned by no-one and the British used the term to justify colonisation.

Nowadays, almost everyone rejects the validity of this notion, but very few of us really understand its full implications.

We remain essentially unaware of how terra nullius still insidiously and unconsciously influences our thinking.

Aboriginal people hate the term terra nullius with a passion, and rightly so, because it strongly implies that Aboriginal people had a vacuous culture and achieved nothing.

After all, they were just a primitive bunch of people wandering around bumping into trees.

They did not use the land, had not even invented the wheel, and their only technological achievement was a bent stick that came back when you threw it.

Aboriginal people did of course cultivate the land, but not in the intensive, exploitative and unsustainable way that most other world cultures did.

All Aboriginal knowledge was integrated through the totem system to ultimately serve ecological purposes.

So whether it was knowledge related to science, art or religion, it was all focussed on ecological outcomes.

Even the nursery rhymes sung to little children had an ecological message.

Think of all the descriptors usually applied to traditional Aboriginal society.

Words like simple, primitive, pagan, uncivilized, nomadic, stone-age, hunter-gatherers.

These are all pejorative terms that put western civilisation at the highest level and Aboriginal society at the lowest level.

Never mind that western society has over the last 3000 years had a history of internecine war, conquest, rolling plagues, overpopulation, social inequality, gross disparities of wealth and poverty, plus religious and political persecution.

Aboriginal society had none of this, but ironically the sustained warfare of European and Asian history created the spur for technological achievement.

This technological advancement is then taken as a sign of a “higher” civilization.

Darwin put forward the idea of natural selection and this was immediately seen as a justification for western conquest and colonisation of others.

It was simply “survival of the fittest” in action. Many world cultures are so inured by their histories of warfare, that it is regarded as part of human nature. Many people therefore flatly refuse to believe there were never any wars of conquest or invasion in Aboriginal Australia.

The proof that there were no wars of conquest is simple.

Show me one myth, story, legend, dance or song from anywhere in Australia that depicts either the victories of a warrior king, the subjugation and enslavement of others, or an uprising against a despotic ruler. It just never happened.

The real problem is that spurious notions like this have seeped into our consciousness and we do not know how to challenge these received wisdoms.

This is the foundation of institutional racism, the process by which prejudicial ideas are ingrained into present day social perceptions.

However, this should not be interpreted as meaning that Australians are racist.

Australians are overwhelmingly fair minded people who meet and greet people as equals.

This is the cornerstone of our national culture. But what we fail to understand is how the prejudices of our forefathers continue to unwittingly shape our thinking.

The idea of terra nullius is in fact behind our inability to recognise a road or highway we are travelling on as an ancient songline.

It is behind our inability to recognise a river rapids area, like at Warrandyte township, as an original site for fish traps or a mussel farm.

It is also the reason why many historians make blatant errors when they try to interpret Aboriginal behaviours.

Their assumptions are often unconsciously based on ideas of European superiority.

Before giving a classic example of this fallacious thinking I will cite two facts.

First, Aboriginal people had ingrained cultural habits of listening and sound replication that made them gifted linguists. All Aboriginal children were brought up multilingual.

Second, Aboriginal people travelled extensively and safely through other tribal areas as long as they stuck to the designated songline and observed proper protocol.

However, when Aboriginal people tried to communicate these protocols to early colonists, it was wrongly assumed that Aboriginal people were frightened to leave their own country.

In 2008, AFL historian Gillian Hibbins, dismissed the possibility of any connection between Marngrook and Australian Football with the comment, “Aborigines….lived within quite clearly defined tribal areas, speaking a language different from those of other tribal areas.

“Aboriginal tribal strangers were regarded with suspicion and did not trespass without being killed.”

This comment clearly painted Aboriginal people as a simple, primitive, xenophobic and violent bunch.

Its roots were clearly embedded in the notion of terra nullius.

The comment is a glowing example of institutional racism by a historian who claims for herself the highest standards of academic scholarship.

Unfortunately, it is just one of many examples of the lingering infection of terra nullius.