And a fifth F? What could it be?

It could be forests again. Earth Day is coming on April 22nd 2021. It could be forests beneath the sea – the role of sea kelp. It could be the future. In democracies, voters hold the power. How we decide affects how we proceed. I hate the phrase ‘push their buttons’. We sound like automata, not thinking human beings able to take in the consequences of our decisions. Are we going to go on as we have? More are feeling the reality of climate change through extreme events they never expected to face.

When did Rachel Carson write The Silent Spring? John Chafee made climate change clear to the United States Senate in 1986. Schools have taught about the ‘green-house effect’ in our public schools across Australia since the 1980s. Often through the humanities!  The science of ecology has become more and more important from the 1960s on.

Germany, a democracy, led the way thirty years ago to decrease then end the use of coal. Government, business, workers came together. They cooperated so no one was left behind. There was government investment in the process of change. Workers were able to get jobs in nearby developing chemical industries. This trinity is needed for us all.

In the English-speaking developed world today which are the three nations that have been the worst in their development of government policies, plans and investment to face the facts of change, according to Reese Halter? USA by far is the worst. Australia is not far behind. Then, there is the UK, although they have moved towards clean energy faster than USA or Australia. See Reece Halter’s analysis for ‘Earth Day’. [Below here] And, my blog ‘Complexity and Stability’ – June 15th 2020 – and the work of the Australian physicist and ecologist, Robert May, Baron May of Oxford, the UK’s Chief Scientist from 1995 – 2000.

‘From Sydney to Princeton, to the job of the UK’s Chief Scientist. Lord Bob May of Oxford brought physics into biology, moved from there into ecology with the knowledge of mathematics that helped to prove the essential connection between stability and complexity. He helped the UK to accept climate change and make the move towards clean energy. He showed the problem of relying on economists, too often tied to ideology.’

Australia’s national public broadcaster.

The Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Radio National’s the Science Show with Robyn Williams, who has presented it since 1975, tackled so much.  On Saturday April 17th 2021, the program first went to Mars with Dr David Flannery. Next, Robyn Williams introduced The Climate Cure, by Tim Flannery, showing how sea kelp, ‘forests’ deep in oceans, could be the carbon sinks the planet needs to take carbon from the atmosphere.

One of Australia’s leading science communicators.

Tim Flannery of the Climate Change Council has not given up. He gave us warning with The Future Eaters in 1994. In 2005 he wrote The Weather Makers. For a little time, between 2007 and 2012, Australia began to decrease its carbon footprint. In 2011 the Climate Change Commission was set up as a statutory independent body to talk to all Australians so that the science was made accessible. How can voters use their precious votes thoughtfully if they don’t have access to the knowledge needed to inform their decisions? The Commission was bringing us all together: experts were communicating clearly, sharing the evidence with us all.

In 2013, when the first of these three national Federal Coalition governments came in, the Australian Climate Commission was abolished by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who insisted ‘Climate change is crap’ All the work being done to connect with the public was reversed. And it was made worse in 2015. A review of our national curriculum for our schools by reviewers chosen by the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, decreased interdisciplinary connections, identified as vital by the Deans of the Schools of Education in 2000. ACARA now formalised that destructive separation of STEM versus HASS. A Seaweed Festival connecting science and the arts is below. See it.

We knew, and know, that history comes into everything. Look at this terrible history of climate change responses in Australia because too few of us have cared enough to make our governments act for the future. Let’s never forget, in all of this, the role of ‘The Carbon Club’, a joint Australian/USA combination of mining corporations and the Institute of Public Affairs denying climate change. Fortunately, enough Australians were not prepared to lose all the expertise the Commission had provided for the public. So, a truly independent council was established.

The Climate Council was founded in 2013 by tens of thousands of Australians to create a new, independent and community-funded organisation in response to the abolition of the Australian Climate Commission. More info? See our FAQs

President Biden is now caring about climate change in USA. But the market-driven Federal Coalition Australian government has, in its place, a Climate Change Authority. What matters is the choice made by Australia’s Prime Minister to lead it. He has chosen, as Chair, a man with a background in oil and gas! It is a bit like President Trump handing power to a Secretary of the American Environmental Protection Agency who had no commitment to America’s great public National Parks or the sacred lands of the Native Americans. Australia’s latest Coalition Prime Minister is insisting on a gas-led ‘recovery’ that will suit the fossil fuel mining industries like Santos and Woodside. At the same time the Indian magnate, Mr Adani, is being enabled to go ahead with the Carmichael coal mine. This Prime Minister says zero emissions by 2050 is his ‘preferred’ position. But is he now unlocking gas in South Australia, offering us $2 billion to do it?

Tim Flannery offers us an avenue for capturing carbon.

Seaweed a hope to capture carbon and help cool the planet

with Robyn Williams


Seaweed a strong hope for drawdown of atmospheric carbon.

Tim Flannery describes the promise of seaweed as a scalable option for drawing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


Festival reveals the beauty, wonder and potential of seaweed.
Festival reveals the beauty, wonder and potential of seaweed

Seaweed can be used for food, for fertiliser and may even save us from climate change.

But from this hope for the future we need to face this global estimation from Reece Halter.


Reese Halter looks at some key indicators of the health of the planet.
Key indicators of planetary health getting worse

Robyn Williams has not ignored the question of the future for workers in coal. This statement by a union leader gives worrying information for us ‘down under’. Most corporations are based in the northern hemisphere. ‘Capital’ can move quickly from place to place after we have been squeezed dry. That is clearly evident already. So many corporations set out to avoid or evade their responsibilities to pay their dues to us.


Do trade unions speak to scientists?

As working environments change, trade unions help their membership work through changes to their industries. Knowing what’s coming and what’s inevitable is helpful. Ross Garnaut has suggestions for regional industries in his book ‘Super Power’, what Australia is capable of doing.

Today’s program has ranged widely. The Science Show has made many of the connections we need as voters. Our decisions make the difference, for good or ill, for the future for children being born across the world today.


Has the media failed to tell the truth?
Climate change is f*%#ing terrifying. Has the media failed to tell the truth?

A slowdown in the Earth’s heating has not even started! Is there hope? Journalist, Jo Chandler, reads from her essay in The Griffith Review.  Jo Chandler’s decision about how to retain hope in the face of all the frightening signs of media manipulation matters very much for our citizens. Rupert Murdoch owns or controls almost 90% of Australia’s commercial media. Does he intend to ‘stream’ his Fox News ‘down under’? We face so many powerful corporations using tactics to defer action about global warming until they have made all they can from fossil fuels.

We need investigative journalists with the courage of Jo Chandler.

We cannot afford to give up hope for the children’s sake.

Now! What of a fourth F?

Flora. Fauna. Fungi. And now Frogs.

In Adelaide, World Frog Day was being celebrated. I decided to focus on these animals that tell us about the health of our waterways. ‘Habitat loss, climate change and pollution are large causes of declining frog populations around the world. Australia, like many other countries, has experienced dramatic declines in frog species with more than 40 Australian frog species threatened with extinction. Want to know more? Hop into our Envirodome tomorrow and learn more about these fascinating animals.’

Frogs are important indicators of the health of many ecosystems. Think of our rivers and lakes. How many are now polluted? What is the state of the rivers in Europe, in Africa, in Asia – I think of the Mekong – and the Americas? Australia has allowed its major eastern public waterway, the Murray-Darling, to be marketed for sale for licences! Irrigation upstream affects downstream. So, a major part of the waterway, the River Darling is dry in parts. Too many Murray cod are gone. Too little flows to the sea. Salinity will come further upriver. But, it is not only a decline in the voice of the frog in our rivers and lakes. Think of the decline in fish stocks in rivers and lakes. And in the oceans. Visit the blogs about the work of Dr Sylvia Earle. And the need for Marine Protected Areas and the need to check industrial fishing.

Children can’t vote. it is the parents, citizens in democracies, who vote. Children know the climate crises we are facing and march, ‘strike,’ to try to make us face it. They ask us to care about the future.

Too many of us were taught not to see connections, to think of subjects as ‘silos’. That blinkered approach has helped corporations that do not want us to make connections. They don’t want us to connect what they are selling with what is happening. That was true of tobacco companies and asbestos companies. Profit was everything. It is as true now of those selling artificial fertilisers, plastics, and those mining and selling fossil fuels. Fracking the land for LNG. Pesticides. Think of logging old forests!

I have chosen this article from 2018 in ‘Science made Simple’. Three years on, in Australia, I fear that too few care enough. It might be the same elsewhere. A Canadian Conservative Society has just said there is no climate crisis! And they live near the Arctic! The protection of Australia’s major eastern side public waterway, the Murray-Darling system has been hamstrung by major political decisions made without any thought of consequences down river. The efforts to keep water for the environment is bedevilled by narrow state-based political attitudes. The impact of upstream irrigation. Add that to the royalties they get from coal and LNG gas wells on agricultural land and in a forest in NSW and fracking in the NT.

Do you know what happens when we decrease the bio-diversity of our lands and oceans? Read about what happened in India in the 1980s. Add the impact of global warming into the mix of the indifference in too many governments. This article is comprehensive. Provided for students in the UK, we need it in Australia. Our environment and bio-diversity is under threat in Australia. We have no up-to-date national standards legislation, though we have the report by Graeme Samuels about what we need to do as a nation. The Coalition government intends to hand regulation ‘as a one-stop-shop’ to the States. And ‘one-stop-shop’ means market first! That’s trouble!

HomeCurriculumBiology › 3 Reasons Why Frogs Are So Important to the Ecosystem

3 Reasons Why Frogs Are So Important to the Ecosystem

December 13, 2018

by guest blogger Karin, who loves finding out animal facts! This is a UK production. You can find more animal facts here.

White lipped tree frog CC-SA Bignoter

‘From their sticky toes to their eyes that seem to pop, frogs have hopped into a central place in fairytales and science alike. Children are perpetually delighted by Kermit the Frog and scientists are still unlocking the secrets of these mysterious green amphibians. If you have ever caught a frog, you have probably been mesmerized by their almost otherworldly appearance. Frogs really are amazing animals – did you know that consisting of about 90% of the class of Amphibia, frogs are vital to a healthy and functioning ecosystem? Check out these 3 reasons why frogs are so important to the ecosystem.

1. Frogs Are an Indicator Species

How is a frog like a canary? This isn’t just a silly question. Historically, miners would take canaries and other birds into the mines with them. If there was poisonous gas in the underground tunnels, the canaries (unfortunately) would die, and the miners would know that they needed to leave the toxic tunnels right away. In a similar way, frogs act as a natural bioindicator, which means that they measure the health of the environment.

Because frogs are amphibians, they can live on both land and water. In fact, the word “amphibian” is Greek for “two lives.” Frogs also have very sensitive skin and pores, making them extra sensitive to the health of both land and in the water.

What is alarming is that frogs are increasingly showing signs of deformities and mutations, such as extra limbs, missing limbs, deformed tails, and missing eyes. Scientists have also discovered that frogs are dying off at an alarming rate. What is even more alarming is that frogs have been around for at least 250 million years, and amphibians have been around for over 350 million years. This means that frogs have lived through 3–THREE–different mass extinctions, including the one that killed all the dinosaurs. Despite living millions of years and surviving even the extinction of the dinosaurs, frogs are now dying off in record numbers. In fact, nearly ⅓ of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. They simply are unable to handle the current environmental stressors, which is a desperate signal that the earth needs help combating pollution and other environmental stressors. 

2. The Food Chain Would Crumble Without Frogs

Frogs go through several stages in their life cycle. At each cycle, frogs play a crucial role in the food chain, both as predator and prey. Specifically, as eggs, frogs provide food for spiders and wasps; and as tadpoles, they are food for shrimp dragonfly nymphs, and shrimp. As adult frogs, they provide valuable food for birds, lizards, snakes, monkeys, and more.

Additionally, frogs are a critical part of the food chain in more active ways as well. As tadpoles, they feed on algae, which helps filter and keep our water supplies clean. Full-grown frogs feed on insects, such as moths, grasshoppers, flies, crickets, mosquitoes, and spiders.

Female Mosquito Public Domain LadyofHats

Indeed, frogs help keep insects from wreaking havoc on crops. For example, in the 1980s, India exported large amounts of frogs to France as food, leading the population of frogs to drop dramatically. This led to an increase in insect population that decimated crops and fields. Realizing how crucial frogs were to a healthy ecosystem, the Indian government finally banned the export of frogs.

Frogs also help keep insects from spreading diseases, such as Zika, malaria, dengue, and more. Adult frogs eat mosquitoes and help keep the insect population under control. Importantly, tadpoles also eat many insect larvae that make their home in pools, puddles, ditches, swamps, and other water-filled containers. The death of frogs would send a catastrophic ripple through the ecosystem and compromise human health around the globe.

3. Frogs are Nature’s Medicine
Red-eyed tree frog CC-BY-SA Charles J Sharp

Researchers have found that frogs are important for various medicinal purposes. In fact, scientists have found over 200 beneficial alkaloids in amphibian skin. One of these can be used as a painkiller that is 200 times stronger than morphine and without morphine addictive qualities. Frog skin secretions can also be used as a powerful antibiotic, and some frogs produce peptides that can help heal cuts and bruises and can even heal organs after surgery. And that’s not all. Frog secretion can also provide treatment for heart attacks, depression, strokes, seizures, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. In Australia, the red eyed tree-frog and its relatives can even reduce compounds that scientist believe can prevent HIV.


Because frogs occupy the front lines of Earth’s ecosystems, they act as a lens to the ways we understand climate change, pollution, conservation, evolution and a host of other profoundly important issues. Beyond being bioindicators, frogs also act as a “conveyer belts” by transferring energy from invertebrates to predators higher up the food chain.  Frogs also control pests, provide medicines, and have a social value that inspires art and culture alike.  They are extraordinary animals that add not only diversity but also beauty to our Earth. Their disappearance would radically rewire ecosystems all over the Earth and change the way humans inhabit their many environments.’

 Author Profile: Karin holds a master’s degree in English and rhetoric and has been a university writing tutor and writing instructor for many years. She loves researching, reading, and writing for An admitted adrenaline junkie, she married her skydiving instructor and loves to go adventuring with him and their 4 kids.


Marent, Thomas. Frog: A Photographic Portrait. New York, NY: Penguin, 2008.

Rowley, Jodi, Dr. “Can Frogs Help Combat the Zika Virus?Australian Museum. February 23, 2016. Accessed: November 25, 2018.

Now, here is the voice of Mike Tyler, on the ABC Radio National’s Science Show. Professor Mike Tyler was at the University of Adelaide, Australia’s special ‘frog man’. He did so much to try to wake Australians to the often irreversible results of the destruction of habitat.

1 Aug 2020  This is the final of four excerpts from Mike Tyler’s broadcasts on The Science Show. Mike died in March 2020. Vale Mike Tyler.

Singing frogs bid farewell to Mike Tyler – The Science Show … › radionational › programs › sin…

Reasons for hope.

Protecting bees from big business. Fighting glyphosate – the pesticide.

Such a hero in Mexico. Leydy Pech has received the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Leydy Pech, a Mayan beekeeper from the Mexican state of Campeche

Mayan beekeeper has fought Monsanto GMO plantings in Mexico and won.

Published: January 12, 2021

Issue: January/February

Category: GMO News

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‘Leydy Pech, a Mayan beekeeper who led a coalition that stopped Monsanto from planting genetically modified crops in seven states in southern Mexico, was recently awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Pech, a 55-year-old Indigenous woman from the state of Campeche in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, works with a rare, stingless, native bee species (Melipona beecheii) that has been cultivated by the Mayans since pre-Columbian times. Beekeeping is a key part of Mayan culture, and quite important economically. In Campeche, an estimated 25,000 families, many Indigenous, rely on the honey trade for their livelihoods, and Mexico is the sixth-largest producer of honey worldwide.

In 2012, after failing to consult with local and Indigenous communities, the Mexican government granted Monsanto permission to plant GMO Roundup Ready soybeans in seven Mexican states, including Campeche. Pech formed a coalition of NGOs, beekeepers and activists who filed a lawsuit against the Mexican government. Her coalition advocated for research into the effects of the GMO plots, resulting in evidence that GMO soy pollen was present in local honey, and that glyphosate, a chemical best known from the widely used pesticide Roundup, was found in the water supply and urine of people in Pech’s hometown of Hopelchén.

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled unanimously that Indigenous communities must be consulted before the planting of GM soy. Monsanto’s permits were cancelled in Campeche and Yucatán states. Further organizing by Pech led to Mexico’s Food and Agricultural Service revoking Monsanto’s permits to grow GMO soy in seven states.

In a statement thanking the Goldman Environmental Foundation for the award, Pech said: “The award gives me the opportunity to tell the world that the territories of indigenous peoples are being dispossessed by extractive megaprojects, agro-industry, tourism, and others that strengthen a capitalist model that affects natural resources and our way of life.

“I call on all governments and world leaders to rethink more comprehensive development models that respect and recognize human rights, autonomy, self-determination of Indigenous peoples, and ancestral heritage.”

(Source: Goldman Environmental Foundation)

© Copyright The Organic & Non-GMO Report, January/February 2021

But why are these pesticides still being allowed when our bees are key pollinators?

PAN International | Pesticides don’t respect national borders

What is PAN? Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is a network of over 600 participating nongovernmental organizations, institutions and individuals in over 90 ..

Some good news in Australia

and in this – The Decade of the Oceans

On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National Science Show

we can listen to Martina Doblin. Despite still the absence of a national climate  change policy, our carers for the oceans, the marine life and us who depend on them are not deterred.

New director for Sydney Institute of Marine Science

Martina Doblin describes some of the research programs underway and plans for the future.

Then in the Australian Federation where so much relies on the decisions of the States and Territories, there is this good news from the Northern Territory government

‘The Northern Territory Government has just announced that seabed mining will be permanently banned in NT waters. Those NT waters are so close to West Papua, claimed by Indonesia, and the independent nation of Papua New Guinea. Not quite a Maritime Protected Area.

This is a huge win for Territory coasts and sends a strong signal nationally that seabed mining is too risky for our marine life and coastal communities!

‘The Top End has some of the last healthy tropical coasts in the world. Seabed mining is like bulldozing the seafloor. It would decimate our marine life, pollute our waters, threaten our fishing and destroy places of cultural significance. 

No sea-bed mining on North Territory coast of Australia.

‘The NT Government asked Territorians to have their say on whether or not seabed mining should be allowed. Territory locals, Traditional Owners, environment groups, commercial and recreational fishers, tourism operators and scientists sent a strong message calling for a permanent ban on this destructive industry. 

Huge congratulations to the Territory community and our friends at Keep Top End Coasts Healthyfor achieving this massive win for marine life, and to the NT Government for listening to the community and putting this ban in place.’ 

On the other hand, the Northern Territory government is permitting fracking near Booloola!

In the last blog ‘The Cry for Survival’ I included a warning from the Scientific American

Climate Deniers Shift Tactics to ‘Inactivism’

‘Fossil fuel interests are trying to blame climate change on individuals while also sowing division, says Michael Mann, one of their prime targets, by Richard Schiffman on January 12, 2021’ Now I add reference to this book. Professor Mann was in Australia when the nation faced those terrifying bush fires that should have woken us up to global warming.

Here are excerpts from an article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Nick O’Malley, February 15th 2021, about his Michael Mann’s book, The New Climate war.

Michael Mann sees reasons for optimism!

‘Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, spoke at the climate change science panel held by the Sydney Environmental Institute last year. ‘Professor Mann asserts in The New Climate War that, with the impacts of climate change now obvious to those living through it, those fighting effective action are determined to deflect and delay rather than deny.’ ‘Proponents of deflection,’ he argues, ‘range from the fossil fuel industry and their allies in the media across the political spectrum to purveyors of what he calls “doom porn”, who, in defiance of good science, preach that a climate cataclysm is inevitable and imminent.’

Don’t they sound like members of the Australian Coalition government who wanted to exempt agriculture from efforts to reach zero emissions by 2050 when they heard the Prime Minister say zero emissions by 2050 was his ‘preferred option’? Didn’t one of them say he wouldn’t be here in 2050 anyway? Some need to be voted out at the next election.


The cry for survival

‘The cry for survival comes from the planet itself.’

We heard the truth in the words of the 46th President of the United States of America. In that recognition hope surfaced again. USA will re-join the Paris Accord. There’s to be an end to the deliberate destruction of the environment to advance the coal, gas and oil industries. An end to logging Alaskan forests?  In USA at last we see signs of reasons to be hopeful.

Meanwhile, in Australia our wonderful, courageous Australian Youth Climate Coalition is fighting for the future because of the problems we face since our Australian government refuses to hear the cry for survival from the planet. Note their latest decisions beneath this image.

Australian Youth Climate Coalition AYCC

] Announcement of $50 million to fast-track fracking exploration in the NT’s Beetaloo basin comes after a series of budget commitments to scale up the gas extraction and production across the continent.

We have had orchestrated deliberate antagonism to dealing with global warming. A joint fossil fuel combination, in Australia and USA, as far back as the 1990s, set out to prevent action to deal with global warming If you haven’t read The Carbon Club by Marian Wilkinson, do so. With all their wealth and power, these corporations set out to deny the truth of science. Now that global warming can’t be denied they are changing tactics.

Go to the Scientific American.

Scientific American

The SciencesClimate

Climate Deniers Shift Tactics to ‘Inactivism’

Fossil fuel interests are trying to blame climate change on individuals while also sowing division, says Michael Mann, one of their prime targets, by Richard Schiffman on January 12, 2021

They certainly have their allies in the Coalition government in Australia that intends to take revenue set aside for our Clean Energy Climate Fund to promote gas! They are backing gas wells in a State forest in NSW and on agricultural land!

Imagine 800 gas wells in the State Heritage Pilliga Forest, an iconic Australian landscape and the Minister for the Environment has approved these wells!

Pilliga National Park | NSW National Parks

And it is not just fossil fuel and plastics companies.

In Papua/Indonesia we see the threat of the operations of a palm oil company.

by The Gecko Project and Mongabay on 21 January 2021

  • Members of the Auyu tribe of Papua, Indonesia, are demanding a halt to the operations of palm oil company PT Indo Asiana Lestari (IAL), which appears to be gearing up to clear their ancestral forests.
  • They say that the company failed to obtain the community’s consent for the project, and that it’s not clear whether it even has the requisite permits to begin operations.
  • IAL’s concession is part of the Tanah Merah megaproject that is already dogged by allegations that key operating permits have been falsified.
  • The Papua region is home to the world’s third-largest contiguous swath of tropical rainforest, after the Amazon and the Congo Basin, but large areas may be cleared for plantations.  
  • [Too often, it is profit now. No care for tomorrow.]

I have written about Carlo Rovelli before. He made clear he sees the modern separation of the sciences from the humanities as pernicious. Go to my blog

Carlo Rovelli – Enhancing our understanding of nature. Now I bring him in again. I go to his essay, written in 2015, Certainty and Global Warming in his book There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness, published by Allen & Unwin, 2018, translated by Erica Segre and Simon Carnell 2020.

Dealing with those climate deniers using the uncertainty principle to denigrate climate science – remember our Coalition government got rid of that section of our CSIRO – Carlo Rovelli wrote: ‘If a fire breaks out in a cellar, a reasonable person looks for a fire extinguisher, calls 999, escapes from the building. Whoever says, ‘But there’s no certainty that the fire will spread, therefore let’s carry on with breakfast’ is a cretin. And yet this is precisely the attitude taken by those who argue that the problem is not serious, because we have no certainty regarding the climate.’  p. 166

They are still here lobbying. Unlike New Zealand, Australia does not have a climate change policy. The Coalition government has not signed the UN declaration to protect bio-diversity despite the fact that this continent has fauna unique on the globe. The marsupials and the monotremes. And our flora is so different!

So, where is the hope in this blog? First go to the

Gallery for Sustainable Art in Berlin

Artists are facing the future. Among the works, one dealing with the impact of extreme flooding is ‘Floodtide’ – a video poem by Ian Gibbins of South Australia – Artists know fossil fuels are significant enemies of the future. Plastics are another.
While there are some concerns with his point of view, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on ABC RN is presenting the Boyer Lectures for 2020, delayed by the virus. The first lecture by Dr Andrew Forrest calls for a move to green hydrogen.
Andrew Forrest calls for a move to green hydrogen “on a … › andrew-forrest-calls-for-a-mo…

Ross Garnaut in his book Super Power promotes green energy. But, does this Australian government have the political will to make the investments we must have? And in our democracies will voters care about the future for the young people? Go to

President Biden of USA has said it clearly.
The cry for survival comes from the planet itself.

‘Hope spots’ and ‘Hope in Hell’.

With so much out of sight and out of mind, we are still offered more reasons for hope.

In 2010, Sylvia Earle’s book The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s are One, was published by National Geographic, Washington. This outstanding American oceanographer has been working internationally to set up Marine Protected Areas‘hope spots’ – in our global ocean. She has not been alone. There are scientists now called ‘Ocean Elders’ working with her and the UN. She recognizes, while we designate the oceans the Pacific, the Atlantic or Indian, that they are one. and we are inevitably tied to them in so many ways. She is providing the evidence of what we have done and the knowledge to help us act in the positive way we need to act for our future. The health of our oceans as well as our land is vital for our own health. We seem to ignore this fact while we face the random, continuing attacks of this mutating corona virus. There will be no vaccine for climate change.

People on coastlines know it. South Pacific Nations know it. The First Nations of the Torres Strait Islands know it. The east coast of Australia is learning it. Fiji begged the Prime Minister of Australia to recognize we are facing a climate emergency. Our major political parties have not done so. Louisiana could become the first American State to have climate refugees.

How the Climate Crisis is Affecting Louisiana | Climate Reality › blog › how-climate-cr…

Sylvia Earle, recipient of the International Lewis Thomas Award, is the narrator for our wonderful Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Australian Odyssey . The documentary describes what is happening along our east coast as the warming east ocean current, flowing south from the tropics – bringing rain to the Daintree forest – past the east coast of Tasmania, to the Southern Ocean, affects changes for our marine life and the vital sea grasses.

Bridging the worlds of science and the humanities.

Sylvia Earle gives us her  ‘Reasons for hope’ – Marine Protected Areas – ‘hope spots’. See pp 256 – 259 after we have acquired the knowledge she gives if we are to care and push for positive action. She gives us weblinks and names! One of her Ocean Elders is –

Graeme Kelleher AO, an Australian scientist,

Sylvia Earle says he is high on her list as a ‘science-based hero of ocean conservation.’ Formerly Head of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority for 25 year until 1996, [He] has helped to guide a global initiative to consider what is needed to maintain the health of the ocean through a system of protected areas, and developed working groups in all of the world’s marine regions to identify priorities for the establishment and improved management of marine protected areas with particular emphasis on the protection of biodiversity.’ p 252 . This was 2010. She named Australia, New Zealand, America, Kiribati, South Africa and Indonesia as adding to marine protected areas between 2006 and 2009. But the area that remained protected was less than 1 percent of the world’s oceans. [In South Australia, we did save part of the Great Australian Bight from oil exploration, though not the breeding grounds for cuttlefish from commercial intrusion.] In the national sphere, since 2013 in Australia, Coalition governments have reduced areas set aside as marine sanctuaries. Preservation increases biodiversity. Industrialized fishing does to the ocean what logging does to the carbon sinks that are our old growth forests. Our Coalition backs commerce before care for our environment, just as it prefers to ensure profit for fossil fuel companies of coal and LNG that have effectively lobbied for our national Clean Energy Fund to be used for fossil fuels.

The majority knows we need to act now. Why don’t we all, as democracies, do so? Ask our Prime Minister who has gas and media men in his Office. Ask the outgoing President of USA.

In America, The Revelator, an initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity  now is identifying 12 ways in which he is undermining the environmental protections that have been put in place over the last 100 years before he is forced to leave the White House. The article written by  Tara Lohan was published December 14th 2020.  Climate Change

12 Trump Attacks on the Environment Since the Election
In its final days, the administration is rushing to cement its destructive legacy with attacks on clean air, wildlife and public lands that could be difficult to undo.

In Canada, a valuable organisation is keeping watch .– Think about that oil pipeline, the Keystone Pipeline, as well as the impact of warming in the Arctic.

In Australia, Rebecca Giggs, a Western Australian author, has been published ten years on from Sylvia Earle’s proposal for increased Marine Protected Areas, the ‘hope spots’ that are her ‘Reasons for Hope’. We are offered more knowledge. Fathoms: The world in the whale has made us aware of our world in the whale, literally in one case. The irony of it. Found in the stomach of a beached whale in Spain is all the plastic of a green house. It has been too easy for too long for us to use our oceans as dumping grounds. In The Waste Makers, Vance Packard identified us in 1960. Now we face the power of fire. But we have not given thought to the increasing loss of bio-diversity in our lives by our cavalier treatment of the oceans.

Image: Front cover.

Published by Scribe, 2020, a decade on from Sylvia Earle’s advocacy for oceanic ‘hope spots’, Anna Westbrook reviews Rebecca Giggs’ book, ‘Fathoms’ is a meticulously crafted opus, showing off Giggs’ bower-bird eye for glittery detail dredged from trenches of research, down every whorl and fossicked from the silt.   . . . Carl Sagan, as Giggs mentions, included whale song on the Golden Record sent out into space with the Voyager in 1977. He called the record: ‘A love song, cast upon the vastness of the deep.’ Equally true of this inimitable book.’

Here is the hope I am adding to ‘Hope in Hell’. Nations need to establish more Marine Protected Areas –  hope spots – for the future. 1% of the ocean protected is not enough. Many people, organisations, businesses, governments have what the UN now calls the ‘climate ambition’ to face what needs to be done by 2030 and 2050. More need to act.

Do we want to leave what David Attenborough calls a ‘dangerous legacy’ to the children of a climate catastrophe brought about by the absence of thoughtful transition?

There is hope in hell.

In his book ‘Hope in Hell’ we are told, there is still hope. We may even have hope of avoiding hell if we act with wisdom. Jonathon Porritt says It’s the excitement of young people everywhere willing to drive change for a better future which gives him hope of avoiding hell.

Hope in Hell, Decade to Confront the Climate Emergency by …

Hope in Hell‘ provides a brilliant analysis of humanity’s impact on the Earth. Jonathon Porritt still allows us a little hope, but no excuses for further delay, urging radical political action.

Jonathon Porritt was interviewed by Robyn Williams on our wonderful citizen-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National’s Science Show.

On my first blog, back in February 2019, I went to the UK’s Astronomer Royal.

 In Thank you Martin Rees I quoted from his work. On the Future Prospects for Humanity.

Sir Martin Rees wrote: It is the felt connection that helps us make the wiser decision.

Often poets awaken that felt response.  It’s Snowing Underwater –See the blog – March 2019.

Sent to me by Professor Dietmar Muller, the poet is Dr Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at the Manchester Metropolitan University.

For Lewis Thomas we are The Fragile Species. See his essay ‘Science and the Health of the Earth’ My blog – April 2020.  AXIOS is making clear what is happening to fossil fuel giants that relied on ‘The Carbon Club’ – See Marian Wilkinson’s book. AXIOS says, Exxon has lost 54% of its value this year alone. That’s some $163 billion. By contrast, Chevron is down 42%, or $95 billion, while NextEra is up 23%, or $26 billion because it is focused on renewable energy.’

Jonathon Porritt says ‘…While politicians have only been able to deliver grudging incremental change, business now understands, talking about solid change and achievable goals.’

Hope also comes from JoAnne GrowneyJoAnne Growney, Silver Spring, MD  @MathyPoems   with this information.

Advanced notice from the Canadian poet, Alice Major.

A virtual conference is to take place November 19th at noon Toronto time.

Appropriately, the Massey College Motto in English is ‘Have the courage to be wise.’

Subject: Art and climate change.

Massey College in Toronto is putting on a virtual conference on short notice since the global conference on climate that should have happened this month in Glasgow has been postponed for a year because of covid-19. One of the sessions — in which Alice Major will be a panellist, along with Canada’s heritage minister and two other artists — is about the role of arts and climate change.

Australia, despite the National Farmers Federation, the Business Council, the Australian Medical Association wanting us to commit to zero emissions by 2050, has a Coalition government determined to have a gas – fossil-fuel – led ‘recovery’. It refuses to make that commitment. So, we need wiser minds and hearts to prevail. And we need citizens in democracies like ours and in USA to stop sleep walking into the future we see coming all around us. Vote for politicians who care about the quality of the world they leave behind them.

‘The Grapes of Wrath’

John Steinbeck’s novel was published in 1939.

Eighty years on, after that terrible time in the 1930s that made dust bowls in USA and Canada when droughts destroyed crops, farmers suffered, banks foreclosed and all the warnings about the impact on the ecology of the areas went unheeded, and the Joad family like so many had to take the long, hard road to California, Steinbeck’s title ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ brings those lyrics down to earth. The powerless, like the Joads then, appear the prey today. But people need not be prey. Voters in democracies have power, if we decide to use it well.

And we have had the evidence of our contribution to global warming for so long.

So, where are the signs of hope?

In the Arts and Humanities and Sciences where so many refuse to be silenced.

Rachel Carson’s book has been re-printed!

We need to heed her now.

AND Barbara Kingsolver has woken sleep walkers through ‘Flight Behaviour’.

But, where do politicians stand on global warming? Why, eighty years on from Steinbeck’s warning, are too many politicians listening to a media mogul who jeers at climate change? [Didn’t his employees in USA and in Australia try to blame our terrifying fires on arson?]

Fiery lightning strikes are waking more and more. But not waking enough of those who use their power to refuse to care about the Earth’s ecology.  Look at these English-speaking nations: Canada, where English and French are official languages, Australia and USA.

In Australia a major LNG company is planning fracking on First Nations land. Who remembers ‘Gaslands’ – fracking in American national parks? Those loop holes in the law? There are fears Indigenous owners will be stopped from asking questions at its online AGM.

In USA Trump attacks the EPA in every way. Destroying forests in Alaska. Oil exploration in the melting Arctic. Polar bears moving inland. [Has he just now offered to issue exploration licences?] In Canada, forestry companies are using Monsanto’s toxic pesticide, glyphosate, to spray remote Indigenous forests, when trees and their bio-diversity are our lifeline. And is the Canadian government doing anything to stop it? In Australia our Federal government, funding fossil-fuelled, LNG corporations to the tune of $52.9 million from our revenue, is trying to reduce its responsibility for environmental – with cultural – regulation. And the Prime Minister has cut 29% from funds for Environmental Studies courses in our public universities! Why this attack on education? Why this attack on a core part of learning today for all young and older people?

But the problem with grapes of wrath is that they are sour.

 They feed the bile, make us irritable and liverish, bitter and acrimonious. They do not bring about renewal and regeneration. How do we bring about the change we need?

Where is hope in all of this while the truth of global warming is marching towards us?

There are businesses moving ahead. 64 nations signed the pledge to work to improve bio-diversity. Australia, unhappily, is not one of them. Nor is USA. But ‘green aviation’ is on the agenda in Europe! ‘Future Tense’, on ABC RN, told me about this on Sunday. AND there’s the

Global Battery Alliance – The UN Global Compact

AND the Arts: in drama, painting, plays, music, on film, and always in poetry.

Poets help us find and feel the truths in our humanity.

Judith Wright, one of Australia’s finest poets, called us ‘self poisoners’ in ‘Australia 1970’.

AND, thanks to JoAnne Growney,

I have discovered an American poet, passionate about environmental science and community.

Leah Naomi Green

Visit her websites. ) and explore some of her work (here is a link to several of her poems: !

AND, in the political sphere, despite this pandemic, there is good news. New Zealanders have just voted for a government whose Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has committed New Zealand to zero emissions by 2050.


‘It’s not easy being green.’

‘It’s not easy being green’ – as Ray Charles sings – Warming ice. Massive floods. Dust storms. Top soil gone. The Amazon going. Fires in California and Siberia and Australia. Floods in Pakistan. Extreme weather across Africa. Heat waves. Drought in Europe. Fires in southern Europe. Floods in Greece. India – rain storms. Smoke over Bolivia. Logging. Rising sea levels in the Pacific. And in our Torres Strait Islanders’ homes. [This Australian government is not concerned about that, telling the UN it is not a Human Rights issue for the Council.]

‘It’s not easy being green’. Young people, protesting to be heard about climate change, are told by Ministers in the Australian government to get back to class and get an education!!!!

But we live in hope. We have future-supporters increasing bio-diversity through regenerative farming. In Australia, see the work of Charles Massy. His book, The Call of the Reed Warbler shows how he is doing it. He is not alone. He is now influencing so many more to make the change from the old ways. No more petrochemical pesticides or fertilizers. It is a companion book to ‘For the Love of Soil. See my last blog about the work of Nicole Masters.

Still, ‘It’s not easy being green’ when the Australian government prefers ‘blue’ [gas -generated] hydrogen to ‘green’ [‘clean energy generated’] liquid hydrogen. In 2020 why this in Australia? What direction is promoted by commercial media? Lobbyists here push gas as our ‘transition’ fossil fuel? In NSW, Australia, 800 gas wells in a State forest!! America is planning the destruction of a major forest in Alaska!! See my last blog. And in Brazil now!

A section of the Amazon rainforest stands next to soy fields in Belterra, Para state, Brazil. Photograph:Léo Corrêa/AP

Brazil, China, India, Russia, USA and Australia have refused to pledge to work to restore bio-diversity. So much has been lost. All nations have been asked to make this pledge. Australia has refused. Sixty four national leaders have made this commitment. Australia’s Prime Minister says this pledge is ‘inconsistent with our policies.’

While the New South Wales government supports gas, affecting ground water at the expense of food production in its north west, its Department of Planning and the Environment says “The thin, porous skin of frogs and tadpoles makes them sensitive creatures. Through this skin, they absorb chemicals from the air and water. For this reason, frogs are good indicators of environmental damage.” If we do not ruin their habitats with our market-driven madness.

India, Australia, USA, Brazil are democracies! What on earth are we voting for?

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Mr Frank Bainimarama, gave a powerful address calling for Australia to urgently transition to clean energy at the Smart Energy Council‘s Summit “With other countries investing in clean energies, you have the opportunity now to choose: will you lead or will you follow?”

New Zealand is committed to zero emissions by 2050.

Taking a Stand.

Should our future be decided by those who refuse to acknowledge the science?

The situation is dire. The Scientific American is making a political stand for the first time in the history of its prestigious 175 years long life.

Policy & Ethics

Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden

 THE EDITORS | Scientific American October 2020 Issue

Credit: Ross MacDonald.

‘Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly.’

‘The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.’


See this blog from The Wilderness Society. Look at what Trump has planned for Alaska?

So close to the Arctic! So much evidence of global warming! He destroys carbon sinks!

Blog The Wilderness Society.

3 reasons ramped-up logging in the USA’s biggest national forest could be a disaster.

September 25, 2020

Tongass National Forest, Alaska

Southeast Alaska Conservation Council

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Alaska’s Tongass National Forest combats climate change, supports Indigenous communities, provides clean water. A plan to be released by the U.S. Forest Service will set the stage for the federal government to open millions of acres of old-growth temperate rain forest to logging and development.
[Who now is in charge of the EPA in USA?]
The Final Environmental Impact Statement, expected to be issued Sept. 25, is one of the last big pieces needed before the administration can remove protections from more than half of the 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

Proposed changes would exempt the Tongass from a law called the “Roadless Rule,” which is designed to protect the very wildest parts of America’s forests from reckless development. For the most part, people don’t want this to happen: a majority of some 140,000 public comments solicited by the Forest Service about the plan favoured keeping the Roadless Rule intact. And the president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska has said this rule-making process “repeatedly disrespected and ignored sovereign tribal nations and their tribal citizens.”  

In Australia, we have loggers calling the shots in Tasmania! We have burnt forests not being allowed to regenerate. When forests are destroyed by logging we lose life! Think of what is being done to the Amazon! Fossil fuels are toxic to us and the planet. The evidence is clear! But

The Australian Coalition government insists on a gas-led post COVID 19 recovery with coal-based carbon capture and storage, not the regenerative possibilities offered in new agriculture. See ‘For the Love of Soil’ in my previous blog. We have a Coalition government determined to use our money, put aside solely for renewable energy, for gas! And they intend to let the Coalition Minister for Energy interfere with how it is used!

This great American voice for intelligence is taking a stand. We need to do the same.

Regenerative Agriculture.

Think of it. What would be better for us and the planet? This?


‘De-risking’, so insurers take on toxic fossil fuel like gas-fired power!

When you can have real carbon capture in agriculture by not clearing land!

And not importing and using petrochemical fertilizers.

New Zealand born Nicole Masters is an independent agroecologist, systems thinker, author and educator. She has a formal background in ecology, soil science and organizational learning studies in New Zealand. Nicole is recognized as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker on the topic of soil health.

See it in WA in Australia, the South Island in NZ, in Nevada in USA. and Canada.

Masters unveils a flawed food production system that is in desperate need of review,” says Graeme Sait, director of Australia-based Nutritech Solutions. “She chronicles the heroic work of the farmers and ranchers who have accepted that challenge and she provides a pragmatic and inspiring game plan for those contemplating that journey.”

Nicole’s book breaks down the complex, technical know-how of soil into more digestible terms. She combines this with case studies from her travels working with farmers and ranchers across Australasia and North America to explain what inspires and enables these innovative land managers to embrace a new land ethic and build “soil capital” on their agricultural operations. Together, they present a compelling testament to the global, rapidly growing soil health movement.

The producers Nicole works alongside are based in some of the most extraordinary and breathtaking landscapes in Australasia and North America. She takes us on a journey to meet farmers and ranchers from the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island, to the wilds of Western Australia, the desert landscapes of Nevada and to the edge of grain production areas in Canada.  What led them to change their practices, how do they achieve their goals and what results are they seeing?

“For years, many of us involved in regenerative agriculture have been touting the soil health – plant health – animal health – human health connection but no one has tied them all together as Nicole does,” says farmer and soil health advocate, Gabe Brown. “She shows us through her own personal experiences and those of farmers, ranchers, researchers and medical professionals all over the world that the answers lie in the soil.”

In spite of the challenges food producers face, Masters’ book shows even incredibly degraded landscapes can be regenerated through mimicking natural systems and focusing on the soil first.

“Our global agricultural production systems are frequently at war with ecosystem health and Mother Nature,” notes Terry McCosker of Resource Consulting Services in Australia. “In this book, Nicole is declaring peace with nature and provides us with the science and guidelines to join the regenerative agriculture movement while increasing profits.”

These stories can offer inspiration to those who love quality food and the environment. We can all support producers, selflessly providing ecosystem services well beyond the farm gate. . . . Now more than ever we all need to catch the soil bug and regenerate our landscapes!’

 In Australia, as in USA, we have Federal governments that refuse to commit to zero emissions by 2050. Both of our Federal governments still listen to the lobbyists for fossil fuels to the extent that here, ‘de-risking’ will mean Australian tax payers taking on the risk of  stranded assets to satisfy the group, including gas with its fracking, calling themselves ‘low emissions’.

Information from the Australian Conservation Foundation. ‘On Tuesday the Morrison government announced $52.9 million in public funding for the gas industry. And then the Coalition revealed a plan to weaken our brightest renewable funds – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – to let them splash cash into fossil fuels.’ Because business is wary of such investment.

Australia’s Prime Minister has offered us zero emissions some time in the second half of the 21st century. For him, jobs equal gas, not other avenues in health and teaching.

Regeneration in land and landscape must mean much less logging of our old forests.

Once more thank you to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National Science Show presented by Robyn Williams.

Full episode 54min 7sec

How to eliminate CO2 emissions from agriculture? The answer lies in the soil!

New Zealand is committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050.