Climate Change and what we might do locally

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Take Paradise and make it a parking (or housing) lot.

Development around St Leonards began as a result of using the Bellarine Peninsula as a source of firewood for Melbourne in the 1850s. A pier was built in 1855. The town consisted of a hotel, store and six houses in 1858.

Australia’s population has grown from an estimated population of around 500,000 or so at the time of British settlement in 1788. Since the end of the Second World War Australia’s population has more than doubled, from around 7,500,00 to around 28,000,00 today. If we keep increasing, 30 -40 million people will inhabit Australia within our grandchildren’s lifetime, unless Climate Change or other disasters intervene.

World population rate increased significantly after the industrial revolution. By 1950, around 2.5 billion people on earth. Since 1950, the total number of people on the planet has tripled to 7.6 billion today.

The on-going Amazon fires, presently much more intense and widespread than usual, destroy huge sections of the world’s largest rain forest. Their disastrous impact is consistent with what has been happening world-wide for millennia. In Australia too, forests, seas and lands have been impacted first by Aboriginal land use and ever so much more after European settlement in order to meet immediate needs for food, shelter and industry.

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere make it harder for the Earth to radiate an equal amount of the heat energy that comes from the Sun back into space. This retained heat increases the temperature of the Earth’s surface, ocean and atmosphere.

Because we burn much more fossil fuels and change land use patterns – forest to farms to deserts – the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising and causing surface temperatures – land and oceans – to increase. This will continue until enough extra heat can escape to space to re-balance.

Without any greenhouse gases, the Earth’s surface would be much colder – an average temperature of around minus 18 °C. Before industrialisation the incoming sunlight and outgoing heat were balanced. The World’s average temperatures were fairly steady – around plus 15 °C.

This climate change will see rising average temperatures, extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, see and a range of other impacts.

Climate and population issues are connected. The curves of population growth and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since 1880 almost precisely follow each other. Population growth automatically increases energy consumption, which in turn means increased greenhouse gas emissions- Overpopulation. See also United Nations Report

A dampened population growth in the world would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the long term by 40 percent or more, according to a study in The Lancet from 2012. CO2 emissions from energy use respond almost proportionately to changes in population size.

Current responses to Climate Change focus on renewable energy, phasing out the use of coal and other fossil fuels, electric vehicles and clean energy technologies. These responses are necessary but on their own are far from adequate. Actions to contain and reverse population increase are missing. Unsustainable population growth is the root cause of our Climate Change crisis.

To quote from a Paper on the website of Australia’s Chief Scientist -” Based on data from typical perennial grasslands and mature forests in Australia, forests are typically more than 10 times as effective as grasslands at storing carbon on a hectare per hectare basis.” “Agriculture and forestry hold great potential for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through afforestation, soil-carbon management, and better management of livestock and cropping emissions -Action within the next decade to lower greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the probability and severity of climate change impacts. Aust Gov Chief Scientist

To deal with the threat to our existence posed by Climate Change, surely we should look first to what we need to do personally and locally. Ever increasing urbanisation, which sees forests replaced with houses and shopping centres and industry, is the biggest threat we face locally.

Urban development must be confined to existing areas – no further alienation of forest or farming land. Greater density and even high rise housing will see loss of local amenity but the ongoing expansion of housing estates is totally unsustainable.

We should also seek to direct attention, urgently, to the pressing need to reduce population growth – locally, nationally and world wide. Government’s focus must be on substantially reducing immigration levels, assisting communities World-wide with education, family planning and effective and readily accessible birth control programs. Foreign Aid programs should be substantially about reducing population growth – effectively, humanely and ethically.

We can’t return to the Sportsman’s Paradise – maybe we can survive?

Sovereign Currency

Australia’s Sovereign Currency

The Australian Government uses its own currency, issued by The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) USA, Japan, United Kingdom and New Zealand and many others do the same. Most European Countries do not have a common currency and use the Euro.

A Bank of England publication ( Quarterly Bulletin 2014):-

A central bank simply creates new money at the stroke of a computer key, in effect increasing the credit in its own bank account. It can then use this new money to buy whatever assets it likes’. http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/monetarypolicy/Pages/qe/default.aspx> .

Every time the Australian Government spends a dollar, it does so by crediting the reserves of a commercial bank which are held at the RBA (Australia’s central bank) by that dollar, and having the commercial bank credit the bank account of whoever has been the beneficiary of that spending. 

The Australian Government has an unlimited capacity to pay for things, to make contracted future payments and it has an unlimited ability to provide funds to the other sectors. The State and Local Governments cannot issue currency and rely on transfer payments from the Australian Federal Government, State and local taxes, stamp duties, rates, fines and fees, poker machine taxes etc.

A Sovereign Currency country – Doesn’t borrow in foreign currencies or peg its currency to any other: Spends and taxes only in its own currency, which floats against other currencies: and the central bank sets policy interest rate.

A Sovereign Currency country’s government can purchase anything that is available for sale in that currency including all idle labour. Productive resources need never be idle if they are looking to be used.

Growth in the money supply is critical for economic growth, and there are only two ways that the money supply can grow in a fiat currency system – Government spends more than it collects – runs a deficit or by private credit growth.\

Adding money to the economy is not inflationary until full economic capacity is achieved. Government spending is not constrained by inflation. It is constrained by the capacity of the real economy. Once spending (either by the private sector and/or the government sector) exceeds the capacity of the real economy inflation increases. 

The Australian Government does not fund its spending from taxes. Its capacity to spend is independent of taxation revenue. Taxation supports demand for the currency. The non government sector cannot pay taxes without the government first spending.  Sovereign Currency Governments spend first and tax afterwards

Taxpayers do not fund anything. Taxpayers simply lose or gain purchasing power as the national government manipulates the policy parameters in search of public purpose. Tax is all about the social consequences; that is the total impact of each tax on the real economy and on people’s well-being. In a modern economy, spending and taxing are economically separate activities.’

A Sovereign Currency Government can always buy or construct things or fund things if they can be paid for in its own currency. It must carefully consider the effect its spending on the economy, prices, unemployment levels, industrial and other output, foreign trade, etc but there is never a shortage of money unless it is self-imposed.

 

 

Portarlington School Community Garden

The herb garden section will include- Pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) –

  • Annuals
  • Sow in spring or summer – after becoming established they will self-sow around the garden.
  • All of the plant is edible.
  • Leaves and flowers are a bit sweet and slightly salty.
  • Pull off the petals and chuck some in salads or sandwich fillings or stir into some rice – fried rice, maybe.
  • Tastes and looks good!

Pot marigold

On 26th September I planted 4 seeds in biodegradable mini pots. Intend to plant in School’s garden when mature

I did this because it is difficult to ensure seeds planted directly into the garden will be watered regularly, particularly during school holidays. Direct planting is said to be the best method.

Parsley Soup

  • Take a bunch of parsley and wash it. I reckon the curly leaf tastes best but use flat leaf variety if you wish.
  • Roughly chop the parsley stems and separate stems and leaves. Keep the leaves aside at this stage.
  • Chop up a couple of large onions and a couple of garlic cloves fairly finely.
  • Cut a two or so large potatoes into dice.
  • Heat a good lot – around 3-4 tablespoons – of ideally, good locally produced olive oil in a large saucepan (with a lid) over a medium heat.
  • Chuck in the onions , garlic and chopped parsley stems. Stir-fry gently for 10-15 minutes or so. Add the potatoes.
  • Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and leave the potatoes to soften. Add some vegetable or chicken stock,(or even water with a stock cube or two) bring to the boil and simmer for until everything is tender.
  • Finely chop the parsley leaves that you kept and chuck them in the soup: cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add around 200 ml of natural yoghurt, cream or milk.
  • Use a stick blender (carefully!) until smooth 
  • Add a twist or so of black pepper and a little salt.
  • Don’t let the soup boil – this can curdle it.

About Parsley

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