Friday, June 24, 2011

~ earth stars

This morning on the ABC News Breakfast show, Mal Brough presented us an old chestnut which seems to be coming back into its own : why should Australia lead the world in reducing its carbon emissions (and why should we bother, as we're such a small polluter on the global scale). When Barry Jones responded, I was hoping he'd give the right answer. It would be good to hear the right answer clearly articulated on the airwaves, just once.

By my book, he did pretty well. Among the developed nations, Australia is the world's largest per capita producer of greenhouse gases. While most of the world subsists on trotters and belly pork, we are living high on the hog. Plainly, this places a moral burden upon us, more so than any other nation, to curb our negative influence on the environment. For their own reasons - largely selfish - many conservatives and the much of the business sector do not subscribe to this thinking - but most of us, I feel, would agree that ethically speaking we have an obligation.

Thus Barry Jones replied, adding that Australia has been a world leader in the past and is perfectly capable of being so again.

It is an position of integrity and right. Though certainly nothing Australia does in isolation with its emissions will curb the global pollution problem, it can act to secure the future by influencing the world at large. Australia – unlike the USA - is in no position to strongarm, but it is sufficiently large that its actions are noticed. It can pave the way that others may follow.

As well as the high-minded moral argument, I would not have complained if Barry Jones couched his response in more selfish terms. People are afraid of the coming change. They are confused by the clamouring voices, raised against each other, crying contradictory predictions and positions. And it is the way that when danger looms, humans look to their own.

If the current generation of Australians wish to provide a rosy future for their children and grandchildren, they can act personally but to little overall effect. Yet if they act as one to reduce their emissions, establishing new standards and new economic mechanisms, then they are lighting a beacon for other nations, who might act in turn - until sufficient of us are united in the cause to positively influence the future of the planet.

Yesterday, more importantly, while scraping up some mulch for my potted anemones I unearthed what I thought to be some old, partially digested plastic daisies. On closer inspection, I discovered they were ripe earth stars, their 'stomach-shaped sacs' bursting with spores. I've trawled for about half an hour, but can't identify the species, though the family is certainly Geastrum. Over my many decades of turning the earth in Mt Waverley, I have never before encountered earth stars.

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1 comment:

Ann O'Dyne said...

good morning Sam.
'deadly spores' ? an unkindly label, unless you are blaming the stars for greenhouse gas emissions?

in the far north of australia, giant, foreign corporations own millions of acres of beef producing land, emitting bazillions of methane units -
(so that they can all get bowel cancer from eating meat, and spiritual cancer from eating a sentient being killed while producing fear hormones) - ... if we could stop that, it would be a good thing for the air.
which is everywhere.
breathe deep.
cough cough.