Bulletin [17.4.18]

The news def ain’t like it used to be.

Where do you find your shit out? Do you diligently scan multiple publications and form a measured viewpoint of an unfolding situation, or do you just repeat shit you’ve heard from other people? I do both, the frequency of each in accordance with my level of sobriety.

It’s just really bloody hard to be on top of every little bloody thing all the bloody time!

Our access to obscure information is such that common knowledge is now a thing of the past; if we want, we can just geek out on the things we love and completely ignore the rest of the world. But it’s important - ahem, Preacher Rols speaking - to balance the sources of your information inputs! Echo chambers are a foolish dimension in which to exist.

So, this means a couple of things.

First, it’s important to expose yourself to information that you dislike, and doesn’t necessarily confirm any potentially emotional predisposed opinions you might have. That includes awful facts about climate change.

Second, there’s always room for one more on the bus, vis a vis, I’m going to begin a regular news bulletin and join your existing sources of current information. I’ve raved for yonks about how good the ABC Environment Portal is, so I’ll be regularly selecting the most compelling articles to condense into a small and easily digestible nuts-and-bolts rundown.

I’m hoping this might become a useful asset for people interested in a quick update on environmental news from an everyman, but perhaps lacking the time to look up their own facts online (or talking mad shit with people at the pub).

SO.

This week begins with a loose sitch in WA, where a poor 14 yearold girl found herself in a coma for a few days before two weeks of severe pain in hospital following an Irukandji jellyfish sting. Irujandji are gnarly! They are jellyfish smaller than your pinky fingernail, with a lethal sting that apparently feels just like sea lice when it hits. How dark is that! Like a tainted KGBeer, you don’t even notice it until your upper body becomes paralysed with pain. It is commonly reported that Irukandji jellyfish stings produce the specific symptom of “a feeling of impending doom” - whilst I don’t doubt it, I think that generally speaking any near-death experience would elicit such a response. The girl - Hannah Mitchell - was discharged last weekend after a fortnight in a hospital bed. Yikes.

Now some scary news (not that Irujandji don’t completely terrify me) - recycling in this country is under serious threat. Did you know we export 30% of our recyclable waste to China? Well we did until very recently anyway; China has clamped down on the quality of recyclable waste it will accept, and the standard of ours falls well short. Coffee cups, plastic bags, pizza boxes - lots of non-recyclable stuff ends up in recycling bins, and though it is upsetting and infuriating we have to assume it was done with correct intentions. Unfortunately though, now we are seeing the overwhelming majority of mixed recycling loads rejected under new Chinese import regulations, and we don’t have the facilities to process it domestically. Yup… shit. Many councils are in crisis talks with state governments, who are scrambling to come up with a solution amidst huge distrust about interstate waste processing. It was recently exposed that NSW has been sending a lot of recyclable waste over the border to Queensland in order to meet environmental targets, however much of it was ending up in cheap landfill sites in QLD’s southeast. Heavy times, but it goes to show how critical it is to dispose of your waste as mindfully as possible!

You know how I always say it’s about doing what you can, knowing your circumstances like only you do? This third story is pretty much about that, and identifies a massive potential impediment to mass change. Socioeconomics plays a potent role in climate change debate; if you’re struggling to make ends meet, you probably care less about where your energy is coming from and more about whether you can even afford energy. Yeah? Working class families on tight budgets simply don’t have the luxury of more sustainable choices as they are almost always more expensive. This particular article was focused on whether ‘green living’ is a fad of the rich, but to me it’s more a reminder of the need for self-honesty about whether you do as much as you possibly can. What do you spend your money on? Would you sacrifice a few luxuries to balance the scales of progress? Big questions.

Number four is about food. We can almost certainly agree on the following (unless you’ve got your head in the sand on purpose) - Aussie farmers do it bloody tough. Our population relies on a scarily small percentage of people for our food production: averaged out, every farm in the country is producing food for 300 people! That is some bone-chillingly-dependent vulnerability right there. Only 10% of Australia is arable, and those finite square kilometres are shrinking ever-rapidly in accomodation for urban sprawl from major cities. Farmers are looking to the right and sweating about how they’re going to afford already exorbitant and increasingly challenging council rates, then looking to the left and wondering how to produce more food for more people with less property and less money. Like we agreed, Aussie farmers do it fuggen tough, and that’s something worth keeping in mind when you shop for food.

And lucky last story! One for the weather geeks: have you, like me, been freaking out about how bloody hot its been?! We’re closer to winter than summer here in Sydney but still seeing temps north of 30 degrees, and it’s making me nervous... real nervous. For any other meteorology nerds, the bureau reckons it’s a combination of factors, namely high ocean temperatures (eek!), weak westerly winds and low soil moisture across the south. High ocean temperatures have been breaking records in the Tasman and are associative of low air pressure to the east (weakening usually chilly westerlies), and dry soil has less ability to evaporate and cool the air meaning the ground heats up a lot faster. It’s all pretty spooky this deep in April, no doubt about it, but it’s set to linger for another month yet. Super-spooky May, here we come.

***

And so ends my first wee summary of environmental news on this most excellent Monday, hopefully it saved you some time that you can now go and spend on tinder instead. Peace!

REFERENCES:

Story 1 - 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-16/teenager-recovers-from-irukandji-sting-wa/9663962

Story 2 -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-15/australia-tossing-up-circular-approach-to-its-waste/9657342

Story 3 -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-15/is-environmentalism-only-for-the-wealthy/9653306

Story 4 -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-04-13/how-to-save-australias-remaining-farmland/9627516

Story 5 -

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-12/weather-outlook-ocean-heat-wave/9644290