All Things Sustainable

ecology, economy, community

Week 2 of the mini MOOCs

So this week as well as the Sustainability MOOC (Nottingham Uni) the Climate Change MOOC (Exeter Uni) kicks in, I am wondering how I will keep the two streams separate although it probably wont matter as they seem to me to be inextricably linked anyway, and as this is just a general interest exercise who cares if they get mixed? In some ways the Climate Change course looks a bit more challenging, it started out with a simple presentation that demonstrated how the earth warms using simple analogies. No problem there, shortly after that it gave us some links to IPCC (historical overview) and NASA (causes) then there was a piece on the atmosphere and the way the earth maintains its climate. Wonderful stuff about evaporation and rainfall has left me with an image of water molecules shimmying in space as they shake off the heat and condense into water droplets that form clouds and rainfall. I remember (from another source) a report describing how water is recycled multiple times through the Amazon rainforest as the winds carry it across the landscape, and a suggestion that something (I forget what and don’t still have the reference to check it out) something that is part of the forest transpiration enhances the ability of the clouds to form and produce rain.
At this point I took a break ad headed to the ocean to enjoy a little of the rather warm weather and maybe have a swim.
The Sustainability MOOC also progressed, asking a little more from us this week looking at landscape and heritage. We were asked to offer comments on legislation covering these, there was no requirement that it apply to the UK. I focused on items like Abbott Point and expansion of the coal ports in Queensland, the necessary dredging and proposals to dump the spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. These have been approved by the Queensland State Government and have a tacit approval of the Feral (sorry that should read Federal) Government. The Marine Park Authority has yet to approve them but it will be under intense pressure to do so. Another similar failure that comes to mind is the NSW government’s failure to protect prime agricultural land from Coal Seam Gas exploitation and the damage that it may well cause to the underlying aquifers including the Great Artesian Basin. I could have talked about the way the Unions turned the tide and changed the face of Sydney with black-bans on the destruction of certain buildings but the research was not at my fingertips so I stuck with the stuff I knew.
On the question of heritage I became very aware of how little I know about the local Yuin people even though I attended the Yuin Back to Country event recently. I know a little more about the history of the forests here having seen photos of the massive trees logged in the early days and a bit more still about Bermagui and its transformation from a fishing village to a tourist destination. The photo that follows was taken at the Yuin Back to Country Celebration held at the Tilba showground in the shadow of Gulaga, the mother mountain.
The final thing I want to cover in this post is the description of a place that is special for me and what makes it special. That place is a small patch of remnant littoral rainforest on the edge of a lake close to my home. I have no claim on it, I was born half a world away but it speaks to me as no other place does. When you venture into it somehow it seem to wrap around you, the quality of sound changes and it is in some way timeless. I don’t have a photo of that place but here is one of the lake.
Bridge and Ducks


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