Victoria has experienced some horrendous bush fires over the last two weeks. Although these fires are located in the Snowy Mountains well over one hundred kilometers away, periodically when the winds blow from the east Melbourne is covered by a milky white haze.
On Sunday, Pearl and I went for an early morning cycle along the beachfront, on the way back the vista of the city was totally hidden.
13 December 2006
Pearl and I would like to wish all our friends, blog readers and associates a very Merry Christmas!
If you do not celebrate Christmas we wish you fantastic holidays, a good break and a well-deserved rest after a hectic 2006.
May all your dreams come true in 2007! Have a great year!
03 December 2006
After seeing "An Inconvenient Truth", I picked up Tim Flannery's book at the airport on my way to South Africa, which discusses the global warming problem in more detail. It appears to be grounded in the same set of facts that Al Gore uses in his film, but documents some incontrovertible evidence of the effects that the phenomenon has already had on our environment, as well as some of the potential scenarios as time progresses. Tim writes very well, and I like his style of writing, even though some may classify the content as alarmist. I am convinced that man is having substantial impact on our planet and that unless we start acting collectively to moderate some of these impacts we will certainly leave the earth in a worse shape than it was previously. That is certainly not the legacy that I would like to leave - remember, "Leave a legacy worth leaving"!
Being an Australian, Tim cites examples in Australia, but also uses the example of the Karoo flowers (Namaqualand) and fynbos, both of which he sees as potential casualties of global warming. He is no fan of the Australian authorities, which up to now have made light of the phenomenon, and have refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol (along with the US), and furthermore bullied the surrounding island nations to drop many of their supportive positions. However it is starting to appear to me that the government may find the environment increasingly becoming a political issue here, and may well have to change their exclusively pro-business (mining / energy) stance as an act of self-preservation in the run-up to the elections late next year. This ridicule is only second to that which Tim reserves for the current Bush administration, whose actions (warmongering excluded) border on the criminal! However much more encouraging are the actions of companies such as BP who have or are a fair way on the road to re-inventing themselves as business transforming from being perpetrators to defenders of the cause.
As with Al Gore, Tim concludes his book with a number of fairly simple actions we can take individually to decrease our contribution to the release of greenhouse gasses by up to 70%, and I certainly intend doing something about those, while continuing to monitor the developments in research.
Since my last post, the cricket buzz in Aus has hit fever pitch. As those of you that follow the game would know, England's performance in the opening test in Brisbane can only be described as dismal. In the run up, the mantra amongst the Aus cricket team and followers was "it has been 4nn days since we lost the Ashes and are now pursuing our quest to return them" (to their rightful place). And at the first test's conclusion there were few doubts that the quest would be successful However I found that the Aus cricketers' confidence and arrogance to be distasteful and indeed dangerous! McGrath fro one made light of suggestions that he is too old to be participating at the this level of competition after his six wicket haul, only to pull up with an injury (bruised heel) that put him in doubt for the next test in Adelaide.
Well two days into the Adelaide test, the scenario has changed somewhat, with Australia beginning to realise that the result of their quest may not be quite as certain as it seemed only a few days ago. The similarity with the progress of the previous series in England is not lost on them: where after a good start they lost McGrath and then proceeded to loose the next three test matches and the series. I have no doubt that this will make the Aussies even more resolute to ensure that such history will not be repeated, and with England (with the help of their South African originating players, as is also often pointed out here) not being quite the pushover as once thought, I am looking forward to a competitive series, and hopefully a balanced one, by the time the squads arrive in Melbourne for their Boxing Day clash!
I have also found it encouraging to read that Monty Panesar, the English cricketer of Indian descent, has reportedly not experienced or seen any of the racial prejudice that is now regularly attributed to the Australian crowds, I just hope that he will get his chance to play! He may well just do that if Harmison does not prove his worth this morning!