bicycle spectacle

Wearing nothing but their causes, 30 naked cyclists hit Newcastle streets yesterday in a very visual protest.

Some found them appalling, others appealing, but whatever the personal impressions of the naturists activists, it was their messages splashed across their brightly painted bodies that gained the most attention.

Newcastle’s staging of the World Naked Bike Ride, dubbed Nudecastle 2008, was a huge success organiser Marte Kinder said. The group protested for environmental accountability, climate change action and anti-war causes.

Clothing was optional with some riders preferring to keep sensitive areas covered, while for others body paint did the trick, organiser Mr Kinder said.

Newcastle Herald (Australia), 10 Mar 2008 – screen copy held by this website

escape corridor

Australia will create a wildlife corridor spanning the continent to allow animals and plants to flee the effects of global warming, scientists say.

The 2,800-kilometre climate “spine”, approved by state and national governments, will link the country’s entire east coast, from the snow-capped Australian alps in the south to the tropical north – the distance from London to Romania.

The corridor, under discussion since the 1990s as the argument in support of climate change strengthened, will link national parks, state forests and government land. It will help preserve scores of endangered species.

The Age (Australia), 9 Jul 2007

back to the …

Here’s a simple solution to global warming: vacuum carbon dioxide out of the air.

Klaus Lackner, a physicist at Columbia University, said placing enough carbon filters around the planet could reel the world’s atmosphere back toward the 18th century, like a climatic time machine.

He estimates that sucking up the current stream of emissions would require about 67 million boxcar-sized filters at a cost of trillions of dollars a year.

The orchards of filters would have to be powered by complexes of new nuclear plants, dams, solar farms or other clean-energy sources to avoid adding more pollution to the atmosphere. LA Times, 29 Apr 2008

Venice opens and shuts

Will Venice really disappear within 100 years? If nothing is done to stop the encroaching sea, then yes.

The problem that Venice faces is familiar to anyone living along the Thames estuary – the land is sinking while, thanks to global climate change, the sea is rising.

“It’s a city that lies at sea level so it’s very vulnerable to changes,” says Caroline Fletcher, an environmental chemist and the Venice research fellow at Cambridge University, who is running the conference. Without any action, she warns, the city will be uninhabitable by 2100.

Fortunately, the Italian government has marked Venice as a priority for action and is trialling one possible solution. The city is at one end of a lagoon with three openings to the Adriatic sea.

The Italian scientists are testing a mobile barrier that could move into place in these openings at high tide, thereby blocking out any surges of water during storms.
The Guardian, 18 Sep 2003

clean energy for eternity!

Living in a coastal community and having young children has spurred Matthew Nott into action on climate change.

The orthopedic surgeon from the tiny community of Tathra on the NSW far south coast is the driving force behind a move to introduce clean energy to the Bega Valley.

The movement started out relatively small – raising $20,000 to install a wind turbine and solar panel on the roof of a surf club.

But now, under the banner of Clean Energy for Eternity, the group’s aims have grown and Nott says the next step is raising about $8 million to build a community-owned solar energy farm. Nott wants wants to establish a model other communities can follow.

“We want to set ourselves up as a centre for excellence for renewable energy,” he says.

Sun Herald (Australia), 23 Nov 2008 – screen copy held by this website

take a train today!

Greenpeace propelled airline travel into the headlines as a climate change issue when it offered airline passengers free train tickets if they would give up their seats in Britain in June.

The lobby group argued that the main problem with flying was the growth in short-haul flights. It predicted that by 2050 emissions from aviation could wipe out emissions savings made by every other industry combined. Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Oct 2007

calling all climate warriors

The American Psychological Association also released a report in June about the psychological impacts of climate change. “Well-being is more than just the absence of injury or disease; it is also about human flourishing and resilience,” the report says.

Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist, has offered some tips on how to care for yourself when feeling climate change burn out. They include practical advice for anytime—exercise, spend time outside, eat healthy.

Her tips also have some specific points for dealing with climate change anxiety: Recognize that your fears are realistic, but don’t give up. And “connect with your fellow climate warriors to laugh and play games.” Just maybe keep the conversation clear from climate to keep the laughs coming.

Smithsonian, 5 Nov 2014

cloud ships

Special ships that create clouds by spraying seawater into the air could be the most cost effective way of tackling climate change, new research has found.

The technique, known as marine cloud whitening, would create clouds above the Pacific Ocean that would have a cooling effect by reflecting sunlight away from Earth.

A wind-powered fleet of nearly 2,000 ships would criss-cross the sea, sucking up sea water and spraying it upwards through tall funnels.

‘When you spray saltwater into the air, you create nuclei that cloud condenses around, creating bigger and whiter clouds, thus bouncing more sunlight back into space,’ said David Young from the think-tank that commissioned the study.

The paper by Professor Eric Bickel and Lee Lane looked into the costs of potential climate engineering projects. It was commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre that advises governments how to spend aid money. Daily Mail, 8 Aug 2009

jelly balls to the rescue!

Vast numbers of marine “jelly balls” now appearing off the Australian east coast could be part of the planet’s mechanism for combating global warming.

The jellyfish-like animals are known as salps and their main food is phytoplankton (marine algae) which absorbs the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the top level of the ocean. This in turn comes from the atmosphere.

Mark Baird of the CSIRO said salps were notoriously difficult for scientists to study in the laboratory and consequently little attention has been paid to their ecological role until recently.

Dr Baird was part of a CSIRO and University of NSW marine survey last month that found a massive abundance of salps in the waters around Sydney. They were up to 10 times what they were when first surveyed 70 years ago.

Brisbane Times, 17 Nov 2008

pull up the moat!

A report done by University of NSW’s Dr Mark Diesendorf found energy efficiency to be a key way to cut greenhouse emissions.

Commissioned by Greenpeace, the report is based on the premise that to prevent global average temperatures from rising above 2C over pre-industrial levels, the world must cut emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.

To do that, interim targets are vital, with several estimates suggesting developed nations such as Australia must cut pollution by at least 30 per cent relative to 1990 levels by 2020.

To achieve the 30 per cent cut, more controversial measures such as an end to land clearing, a 20 per cent cut in beef production to reduce the effect of methane from cattle, a 50 per cent cut in business and professional immigration, and the elimination or offset of emissions from aluminium smelting would be needed.

Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Oct 2007 – screen copy held by this website