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 …

Is it Summer?

Last summer when I was in North Yorkshire, we stopped at a rural tearoom drawn in by the thought of cakes, scones and other delights. We weren’t disappointed.  When we left,  I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this sign with its wonderful Yorkshire humour.

Resident now in the Antipodes, I never know what weather to expect when I return to my homeland. Was it always like this or has the climate really changed? I think the latter.


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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