The Largest Living Structure on Earth

The Great Barrier Reef, Far North Queensland

Just below the surface lies a small part of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

I took this photo in November last year just before jumping off the tourist boat to go snorkelling. An hour later I was in shock. In the twenty or so years since I’d last dived here how could this have happened?

The Great Barrier Reef, in far North Queensland, is the largest living structure on Earth, and it’s visible from space. Most of us know of its outstanding beauty and biodiversity and many of us now know of the coral bleaching that has been so devastating over the past years.

Sir David Attenborough says, “It is one of the greatest, and most splendid natural treasures that the world possesses.”

So why are we doing nothing to protect it?

Why are we so complacent about climate change that we have ignored the science that could have prevented coral bleaching and the increase in extreme weather events?

Why does our government not only approve the biggest coal mine in Australia’s history to a foreign company, Adani, when pollution is killing our reef and fossil fuels are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but also offers Adani a billion dollars in incentives?

Do those of us who are educated and living in the developed world really believe that by ignoring climate change it will no longer be a problem?

One day our children will say, “What on earth were they thinking?”

Oh yes. And Happy Earth Day 2017 …

Platitudes and Silence

Staring through the window I sit
nursing a mug of tea.
The swish of tyres after recent rain
and the squawks of  parakeets
foraging in the flame tree
are background noise to my thoughts.
Thoughts of disbelief.
Thoughts of anger.
Colours mute as the sun descends.
Long shadows fall across the yard.
My phone beeps, more news.
I don’t look.
Enough bad news for one day.
‘Atrocities believed to have happened on Nauru.’
Believed to?
How can a government be so callous,
so cold,
so lacking in compassion?
I don’t want news.
I want answers.
But I don’t get answers.
All we get are platitudes
and silence.


Forces of Nature or Climate Change?

Many of the top world climate scientists believe the UN conference in Paris at the end of this year is our last chance to avoid global warming and climate change on a calamitous scale.

The increase in global warming must not exceed 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and the world needs to work together to prevent this for our climate, our economy and our communities.


Margaret River bush fires, Western Australia

Fires, floods, droughts and cyclones are costing lives and livelihoods and reducing our productivity.

Instead of limiting our consumption of fossil fuels the world, in general, wants more.

We know that clean renewable energy is almost as cheap as fossil fuels, yet the big polluters have the ears of our governments.


Dogs playing in flood water – River Ouse, North Yorkshire, England.

We are at risk of becoming complacent as these events become more common, so that in the end we fail to act.

We can do something before it is too late.

For further information:

Ban on the Burqa – or is there?

A ban on burqas was the final straw in what seems to me, and many others, as yet another divisive move on top of mounting tension in the Islamic communities in Australia. The anti Islamic rhetoric started in early August, at a time when the government’s unpopularity was at a high point having delivered a severe budget that only seemed to be beneficial to the oil companies, big business and miners. Throughout August and September there has been moves to send ‘humanitarian’, not military missions, to the Middle East – however, troops have now been deployed and fighter jets. Then there were raids on suburban Islamic households which have raised tension, and amidst this new National security legislation has been rushed through parliament, unopposed by the opposition.

“We had a ‘budget emergency’. Now we have a ‘terror emergency’.”

So given that parts of Australia are only just beginning to feel the global economic ‘downturn’, or even ‘crisis’, and as our public increasingly lose faith in our leadership and big institutions, it is at the very least convenient to use ‘terrorism hysteria’ to try to distract or simply scare the population back into subordination. As usual the mainstream media, salivating for a good story, report with gusto, ignorance and amnesia.

Was the Klu Klux Klan a mainstream party? No.

‘Though most members of the KKK saw themselves in holding to American values and Christian morality, virtually every Christian Denomination officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan.‘      Wikipedia.

Therefore should we assume that all Muslims support Isis and Al Qaida? Our brain tells us of course not, yet we allow the Islamaphobia of  some of our media and our government to scare us into this demonisation. After all,  a majority of the people being killed by Isis are Muslims?

But is there another agenda here?

In the Climate Summit 2014  President Obama said: 

“For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week – terrorism, instability, inequality, disease – there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

Given the tragic backward steps our country has taken on climate action, perhaps our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has his head in the hot, dry, and becoming hotter and drier, sand.

Or could it be behind a burqa?

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