The debate on bushfires that has raged in The Canberra Times needs a shift in perspective in two respects.
The first shift is to abandon the idea that bushfires are unnatural events for which human race is responsible.
According to the authority of the Australian Academy of Science, bushfires are a natural, essential and complex part of the Australian environment and have been for thousands of years.
Please note, they are not only natural but essential for the continued survival of Australian plant species.
The second is to gain a better appreciation of the scale of the heat energy locked up in the bush.
According to the academy it has been estimated that the energy released by the Black Saturday fires in 2009 was equivalent to 1500 Hiroshima atomic bombs.
Having once again seen this awesome power let loose, we would do well to rethink some popular proposals on how to extinguish bushfires.
Those of us who choose to live in the midst of the south east Australian bushfire crescent would be wise to keep this awesome destructive potential at the front of their minds.
Fred Bennett AM, Bonner
The tipping point
Recent presentations by Bjorn Sturmberg ("The enemy has arrived", January 15, p18) and others typify the spirit that must now animate this, and other, countries.
To save our civilisation we will have to declare war on carbon dioxide, forest logging and native vegetation clearing to "improve land values". Our government should convene an emergency war cabinet of less than 10 that excludes the waverers, deniers, Craig-kellbillies and delayers but include qualified civilians.
It should be given the powers needed to wage and win the war on carbon dioxide.
In 1941-1945 PM Curtin did not try to direct the war himself but left that task to the generals while he concentrated on providing the wherewithal; material and spiritual.
Can we rise to the occasion today?
A Moore, Melba
Sequester carbon now
Dr Bjorn Sturmberg, in his thought-provoking article "The enemy has arrived. It's time for Australia to start World War Zero" (Opinion, January 15, p18) notes, among other astute observations, that one of our "secret weapons" in the fight to keep the world inhabitable is "the ability of (our) farmers to sequester carbon into their soils". This is very comforting to know, but Dr Sturmberg does not explain how farmers perform this feat.
Perhaps coincidentally, Dr Sturmberg's words that carbon sequestration "will increase the land's water-holding capacity, productivity and drought resilience" describe the result of adding biochar to depleted agricultural soils.
Biochar is a very finely porous form of almost pure carbon; extremely fine-grained coke if you will. It can store water and trace-element nutrients while locking away carbon for centuries, if not millennia.Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Biochar is a very finely porous form of almost pure carbon; extremely fine-grained coke if you will. It can store water and trace-element nutrients while locking away carbon for centuries, if not millennia. It's a win-win no matter which way you look at it.
I have no pecuniary interests in biochar.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
In depth inquiry?
Royal Commissions seem to be the order of the day. Why can't we have one into the ludicrous submarine contract we have entered into?
On the most optimistic of projections it won't deliver the first boat until 2034 (and who believes that?)
The last is due in the second half of this century at a cost of who knows what?
This surely has to be one of the dumbest decisions out. It involves enormous costs and highly questionable benefits.
The commission could also ask why Australia fails to have a worthwhile strategic reserve of fuel which could come back to bite us in a big way if things blow up in the Middle East.
But not to worry, she'll be right.
Do we have anyone in our parliament that has the slightest comprehension of these issues?
What are our defence chiefs contributing to decisions, or in the case of the strategic reserve, non decisions?
Should I mention head in the sand on climate change?
Eric Hodge, Pearce
Jenny Goldie (Letters, January 15) would do well to think a little more carefully about why Adani is proceeding with its mine.
Adani required the final approval of the Queensland government. This was granted rather hastily after after the 2019 federal election. Queenslanders saw fit to send 23 out of 30 LNP candidates to the House of Representatives. Their Premier was apparently spooked into action by the strong message that sent.
Adani alone will not destroy the planet. It will leave a scar on the Queensland landscape and also, perhaps, the Great Barrier Reef. Blinkered ignorance of the role of the states and laying the blame solely at the feet of the Federal government will not save the planet.
Geoff Mongan, Campbell
Article a mystery
I'm somewhat mystified by "Changing what the left sees as a protest" (January 14, p15).
Protesting is not mutually exclusive to anything else. You can actually protest as well as pray, belong to a spiritual community, read and contemplate the scriptures and so on.
Protesting about climate change action often comes from a deep caring and love of people, flora and fauna and our environment. All of these sing to the glory of a higher purpose or make life worth living because of their inherent beauty.
Really there is room for all forms of expression so let it be.
J Cocker, Chapman
What an excellent article by Michael Bones ("Changing what the left sees as protest", January 14, p15) commenting on the role of churches in society.
Bones makes the point that churches cater to all in society and provide a sense of community and belonging.
Bones does not mention God once. This supports what l have always said about going to church: "It is not about God, it is about being in your community".
When l was a boy, and made to go to church, l had real problems working out and understanding who God was (is). l remember looking at the men and wondering if they actually believed in God.
They mingled and conversed in much the same way as what happens at a "Men's Shed" today.
The Men's Sheds also meet once a week.
As Bones said: "Churches offer belonging - to your local community".
Geoff Barker, Flynn
The roo menace
Undoubtedly neither Chris Doyle or Francine Horne (Letters, January 14) have suffered the misfortune of their vehicle being written off as a result of running into a kangaroo on a road. I have.
Just after dusk on a Sunday earlier this month I saw five live kangaroos on the road in the suburb of Red Hill, eight next to Lady Denman Drive and one injured by a car at Glenloch Interchange.
On the Tuesday morning I saw three dead kangaroos next to the road between Bindubi Street and Lake Burley Griffin.
In a city, which Canberra is, cars and kangaroos are a dangerous combination. They just don't mix.
Steven Hurren, Macquarie
Contrary to Alan Schroot's view (Letters, January 20), Iranian Major-General Soleimani was not a "terrorist".
He was the commander of Iran's Quds Force whose role is similar to that of Western special forces. In April 2019, the Trump Administration listed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (of which the Quds Force is a part) as a "foreign terrorist organization" to increase political pressure on Iran.
This listing was only supported among the US's Western allies by Canada. However, it conveniently made Soleimani a "terrorist leader" and candidate for assassination.
Soleimani was eliminated primarily because he was the key actor in extending Iran's regional influence and undermining US and Israeli interests in the Middle East.
C Williams, Forrest
Face the music
"It is conceivable that much of Australia simply becomes too hot and dry for human habitation," Dr Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, told Reuters on January 15.
Despite this we have governments, oppositions and even Green parties across Australia that seek larger populations. The present bushfires are an urgent reminder that Australia needs to consider whether even its existing population is sustainable.
John Coulter, Bradbury, SA
TO THE POINT
John Hewson's "Morrison still defending the indefensible" (canberratimes.com.au, January 16) was disappointing. Any person talking about "economic growth", "major constraints on our growth", "recovery processes ... eventually positive for growth", in the context of climate heating has to be either insane or an economist.
Kenneth Griffiths, O'Connor
James Mahoney (Letters, January 19) the "some courtier" of whom you speak may be a "source close to the palace" who walks past Lizzie's on their way home.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham
The "Wet and Wild Water Park" on Queensland's Gold Coast was recently closed because the weather was wet and wild.
Keith Hill, Isaacs
WAIT AND SEE
I haven't seen 1917. But I will. I'm suspicious of any negative review of a movie I am interested in by a professional film critic. I will not be taking any notice of the glib opinions of an academic from Griffith. (Letters, January 18).
THE LUCKY COUNTRY
We really are a lucky country with Scotty from marketing in charge, basketball Bridget throwing three pointers from long range and McCormack from Wagga Wagga dispensing climate advice.
Is Scotty going to call the next election to coincide with the fire season or a major sporting event?
D Bogusz, Greenway
WINNERS ARE GRINNERS
Sneering references to "Scotty from marketing" won't change the next election result. ScoMo will win easily, reminding all the "luvvies" Clinton's famous quip "it's the economy, stupid" still applies and that thoughtful government is still appreciated by the "quiet Australians".
Doug Hurst, Chapman
IT'S A MYSTERY
The Prime Minister met with the charities chiefs to hear their views on helping fire damaged communities. He wasn't prepared to meet former fire chiefs to hear their views on how to stop the fires in the first place.
Greg Pinder, Charnwood
WE NEED BUGS
James Allan (Letters, January 17) notes we are bug free. Doesn't he realise that with no bugs and flies we will have no food. It's a total disaster to lose our pollinators. Also the birds are starving. Or did he write this with tongue in cheek?
Pamela Fawke, Jarramlee Park, NSW
People like James Allan (Letters, January 17) must still be bitter about the election if they are blaming the PM and coal for the lack of mosquitoes and flies. Mosquitos like humid weather. We've had a very long dry spell. If the Liberals cured cancer you'd still be complaining.
Ian Pilsner, Weston
DRAW THE LINE
Geoff Davidson (Letters, January 17) writes "Could we please ignore the politically driven armchair experts on climate change?" I would prefer to ignore the fossil fuel-industry driven, unqualified, and scientifically ignorant politicians. The likes of Craig Kelly, George Christensen and Tony Abbott.
Roger Terry, Kingston
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