19 December, 2010

the 2010 Barber Christmas Letter (the Lord of the Ring Roads)

Lord of the Ring Roads

The Christmas letter continues.....

This is the fifth instalment of a Mills & Boonesque saga about an elf & a fairy who settled in the land of Normanby to live happily ever after......

When the Coordinator General announced that he would approve the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Lord Mayor’s Northern Link Road Tunnel, there was much talk and concern in Normanby.

While the Lord Mayor was not intrinsically evil, he was determined to pander to the interests of On Road Commuters (ORCs). At the same time, he was failing to address the compounding issues of Climate Change and Peak Oil. His day time dream was to complete a ring of tunnels, bridges and roads around the city of Brisbane. It was his “tunnel vision”.

Tunnels are structures which allow some people to drive from point A to point B very fast whilst other people dash from point B to point A very fast.

An Elf, a Fairy, a Bug, a dog (Boutros Boutros Buttons) & three chooks (Julie, Judy & Julia) lived at point C. Point C being a point at the Eastern Portal of the proposed Tunnel. They were often given to wonder what's so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there and what's so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there. They often wished that people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be.

The Bug was a hybrid of the Elf and the Fairy. She spent her days eating; sleeping & singing tunelessly (just like her father). On the 13th of August the Fairy celebrated her birth. On the 14th of August, the Fairy, the Elf and a plethora of friends & family, celebrated the Bug’s first birthday. On Mondays and Fridays she attended a local Child Care centre where she was learning to paint and share crayons.

The Fairy spent her days managing the day to day affairs of the family and helping the storks deliver other people’s babies. The Fairy was a midwife.

The Elf has dreams of working in international development and/or addressing the compounding issues of Climate Change and/or Peak Oil. In reality, he earned a livelihood in Environmental Management at its very most fundamental. He also ran seminars, workshops and training courses on topics of interest like Coal Seam Gas Development and Ecological Sanitation. He was honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to talk about poo at the Engineers Without Borders National Conference in Melbourne. The Elf was on standby to go to Zimbabwe, PNG and/or Haiti to fight the good fight against easily preventable diseases like cholera.

Whilst the Elf was away in Melbourne, the Fairy hosted a mother’s group at Normanby. Unfortunately, Buttons took advantage of the situation and escaped. He was mercilessly (though unintentionally) run over by a passing ORC. His prognosis was good, but the recovery was slow. Buttons was not fond of wearing his Elizabethan collar.

As Christmas approached the Lord of the Ring Roads and his forces of darkness began Geotechnical investigations in the Normanby precinct in the middle of the night. The Elf awoke to the sounds on a sledge hammer clanging on steel plates. Seismic testing involves using a line of geophones on the ground to measure sound waves from hammering. The elf wished battling the forces of darkness and evil was a simple as tossing a ring of power into the fires of Mount Doom.....

To be continued.....

16 December, 2010

geotech testing for the Legacy of Debt

Campbell Newman
Lord Mayor
Brisbane City Council

Dear Lord Mayor,

It is 12:06 am (GMT+10) on Thursday 16 December 2010, as I write this email to you.

I arrived home from work at 10:00 pm.

For the last half an hour, a bloke with a sledge hammer has been banging steel on steel on the remains of Ithaca Street which is now part of the Inner City Bypass (ICB).

This demonstrates a number of things to me:

A) how inconsiderate the proponents of the Northern Link Tunnel are;
B) how ineffectual the existing noise barriers that separate my precinct from the ICB are:
C) a taste of things to come when construction of the Northern Link Tunnel begins in earnest.
D) how useless my political representatives at State and Local level have been as advocates for my community

I realise that I was advised in a very polite letter and an email about the commencement of Geotechnical testing.

I am reminded of the following extract from Douglas Adam's book: the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

"Bypasses are devices that allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast while other people dash from point B to point A very fast. People living at point C, being a point directly in between, are often given to wonder what's so great about point A that so many people from point B are so keen to get there, and what's so great about point B that so many people from point A are so keen to get there. They often wish that people would just once and for all work out where the hell they wanted to be. Point D wasn't anywhere in particular, it was just any convenient point a very long way from points A, B and C"

When some one bangs steel on steel in the middle of the night in close proximity to my house, it makes it difficult for me to sleep and it makes me feel the amenity of my precinct (Point B) is less important to the Brisbane City Council than those who live at Points A, B or D.


Rowan Barber

03 October, 2010

epilogue to sneetches

In Novemeber 2009, I wrote a poem (in this blog) about car addicts.

Here is the epilogue:

Then quickly, Sly-Can-do, he had a new dream,
Turn car addicts to cyclists with the CityCycle Scheme
Then, in their suits and their ties, they all pedalled about.
And they rang on their bells and they let out a shout,
It was cool, it was easy! The liked seeing the sights.
The car addicts now were addicted to bikes.

02 October, 2010

Dear Wayne Swan - Please POSTPONE the NLink

Wayne Swan

Federal Treasurer

Australian Federal Government

Dear Mr Swan,

The Lord Mayor of Brisbane is determined to sign contracts with a consortia: Transcity, comprising BMD, Ghella and Acciona and commence construction of the Northern Link Road Tunnel before the end of 2010.

It would appear that the Lord Mayor has failed to take into consideration the financial failure of the Clem7 and repeated warnings from the Queensland Treasury Corporation that building the Northern Link Road Tunnel might limit the Brisbane City Council's "ability to fund other capital expenditure and could result in deferral of projects".

I would much rather see the deferral of the Northern Link Road Tunnel, than a deferral of other walking, cycling or Public Transport projects or fabulous initiatives such as the purchase of renewable energy and more efficient litter prevention programmes.

Would you please delay or postpone any Federal funding for the Northern Link Road Tunnel until the Brisbane City Council and/or the Queensland Coordinator General can provide a current assessment of the financial, social & ecological risks?


Rowan Barber

30 Normanby Terrace NORMANBY Q 4059

18 September, 2010

Was Tunnels all "Can-do" could do? (to the tune of All I want is You)

apologies to Paul Hewson;Dave Evans; Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen Jr for stealing their melody

You say you want
Tunnels & a rings of roads
You say you want
Your TransApex scheme to behold

But all the legacies we leave
From the history books we’ll read
Was tunnels all “Can-do” could do?

You say you'll give me
Northern Link with no one in it
Toowong to Normanby in seven minutes
Though the planet pays the toll!

You say you'll offset
the tunnels by planting trees
A river of green wash Eze
A bikeway network still in fragments
But all the legacies we leave
From the history books we’ll read
Was tunnels all “Can-do” could do?

You say you want
Your tunnel vision to prevail,
Even if it makes more sense to build rail

You say you want
Tunnels on a ring of roads
Your TransApex scheme keep cars in mode
Despite signing up the City Mayor’s Code

All the Codes of ethics we break
From the history books we’ll read
Was tunnels all “Can-do” could do?

Do...all “Can-do” can...
Do...all “Can-do” can
Do...all “Can-do” can...

21 August, 2010

this election held in twenty ten

one, two, three, four

tell me who you're voting for?

Climate Elephant,

who they choose to ignore.

both parties want processing offshore

dog whistling, vulnerable and poor.

oh, oh, oh, you're swinging your vote.

oh, oh, oh, football with the boats.

Abbott, Gillard

I cannot tell you apart.

cash for clunkers

sell your soul

gambling on cleaning coal.

local candidates,with promises and lies.

elephant in the room,

will not compromise.

oh, oh, oh, you're swinging your vote.

oh, oh, oh, football with the boats.

one, two, three, four, five, six, nine, and ten.

pork barrels can't buy, if you deny

this election held in twenty ten.

one, two, three, four, five, six, nine, and ten.

pork barrels can't buy, if you deny

this election held in twenty ten.

oh, oh, oh, you're swinging your vote.

oh, oh, oh, football with the boats.

oh, oh, oh, you're swinging your vote.

oh, oh, oh, football with the boats.

02 August, 2010

my letter to Lord Mayor Campbell Newman asking him to be an advocate for the people of Brisbane

Dear Lord Mayor,

Sorry I have not written for a while. I note that we are in a Federal election campaign and I have also been distracted by the State Government's failure to regulate the coal seam gas development and underground coal gasification industries.

Again I would like to commend Brisbane City Council and your administration, for having a better response to address the causes and the consequences of climate change than your opponents and colleagues at a Federal level.

Since I sent you the correspondence below on the 14 July 2010, I have had two letters from you and a phone call from one of your staff, informing me that you are considering your response.

My question is really quite simple. Would you please re-consider your strategy to provide more & more infrastructure for individual cars as proposed by the "TransApex"?

You have done a great deal to address the issues of traffic congestion in the city of Brisbane. Perhaps it is time for you to focus on advocacy for the people of Brisbane with the State and Federal Governments to provide us with the iconic, rapid, mass transport systems that we need.

kind regards,

Rowan Barber
30 Normanby Terrace


On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 9:49 AM, Rowan Barber wrote:

Campbell Newman
Lord Mayor
Brisbane City Council

Dear Lord Mayor,

I find myself needing to commend you once again for Brisbane City Council's green initiatives.

Last night, I observed you launching the EzyGreen programme in the "Green Street Mall".

I have signed up to EzyGreen and I will be encouraging my friends, neighbours and personal and professional contacts to do the same.

EzyGreen and purchasing of renewable energy for the Council are commendable and practical actions. EzyGreen will help your constituents address their personal behaviours which lead to excessive generation of Greenhouse gases.

However, your relentless pursuit of the "TransApex" projects sends a mixed (conflicting) message. Providing more infrastructure for motor vehicles will only encourage people to continue to drive.

You have stated that "TransApex" has widespread support and two electoral victories and the conditional approvals by the Coordinator General, demonstrate a "mandate" to procede with the "TransApex" strategy.

I would ask you to reconsider your "TransApex" strategy in light of the following recent developments (which have not been considered previously):
* the failure of the Clem7 to attract the predicted traffic flows and toll revenues;
* the impact of revenue losses on the viability of the Northern Link Road tunnel;
* the impact of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on the perception and reality of reliance on motor vehicles;

If these matters are not considered, then I can only assume that EzyGreen and the purchase of GreenPower are simply attempts to GREENWASH and provide some sort of guilt offset.

This is akin to being unfaithful to your lovely wife - Lisa and then believing that paying others to be refrain from infidelity would somehow compesate Lisa for your behaviour.

I apologise for the personal nature of this letter. The Northern Link Tunnel has deeply personal impacts on the amenity of my precinct and the future for my 11 month daughter. I also have grave concerns for vulnerable people and species we share this planet with.



25 July, 2010

the race to the bottom

Did I ever tell you that PM Gillard
Called an election and played the race card.
Well, she did and it wasn't a wise thing to do.
You see, she took her dog whistle and blew and she blew!
Escalating racial tension doesn’t encourage debate.
Mandatory detention fuels ignorance & hate!
This makes things quite difficult seeking consensus
As you can imagine, with so many fences.
in a race for climate inaction she opened the gap,
Just like Tony Abbott’s, it was absolute crap.
She matched him on processing asylum seekers offshore.
A previous mandate on climate, she chose to ignore.
She forgot about Stern. She ignored Ross Garnaught.
She suggested a people’s assembly was the way to go.
She caved into miners on super profits taxes.
She extended the fictional Bush evil axis.
With an internet filter she sought to persist.
Same sex marriages weren’t on her list.
She took cash back from solar,
To fund cash for clunkers.
And Aussie troops in Afghanistan
Were left in their bunkers.
She left us no choices, her hands covered in blood,
And now that he’s gone, I sure miss Kevin Rudd.

23 July, 2010

Australians have moved beyond a people's consensus

Arch Bevis
Member for Brisbane

Dear Arch,

I would like you to remind Senator Wong and Prime Minister Gillard
of the Green Cross Australia's people's assembly, addressing the
humanitarian consequences of climate-induced sea level rise in Asia
Pacific and Australia’s response. A report has already been
presented to Senator Wong on 30 August 2008.


I would also like you to remind our illustrious Prime Minister
Gillard, that the Laws of Thermodynamics do not negotiate. According
to the Garnaut Review, one cannot choose a CO2 equivalent target of
450 ppm, without compromising the Murray Darling Basin and the Great
Barrier Reef. Our Prime Minister is seeking a people's consensus
without anybody to represent future generations or the other species
which share our biome.

Is the Gillard Government moving forward or just idling in neutral?

Rowan Barber
30 Normanby Terrace NORMANBY Q 4059

11 July, 2010

My request to my Federal MP to ask cabinet to undertake every action possible to halt & reverse climate change

Arch Bevis
Federal Member for Brisbane

Dear Mr Bevis,

In 2007, I celebrated like it was new year's eve, when the Labor Party won enough seats to form Government. The previous Government, led by the former Prime Minister: John Howard, failed to respond to the challenge of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. For >10 years the former Australian Government was in denial of the need for action to address climate change.

I concede that Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong attended UN Climate Change Conference in 2009, with the best of intentions. However, in reality, there has been very little effective action internationally or domestically to address the causes and the impacts of climate change. The proposed (and since postponed) emissions trading scheme (ETS), was so compromised that it became a Carbon Pollution Rewards Scheme (CPRS).

I read in Andrew Morton's Article in the Age that cabinet will meet on Tuesday 13 July will be discussing the Federal Labor Party's policy on climate change.

As my elected representative, would you please ask Prime Minister Gillard and her cabinet, to undertake every possible action at a National and International level, to halt and reverse climate change? I still believe that Australia has a moral obligation to protect the world’s most vulnerable people from the effects of climate change.

In my humble view, action on climate change at a National level has to include a price on carbon and/or greater incentives for generators, distributors and consumers to switch from fossil fuels (including coal, crude oil and natural gas) to lower emission sources of energy. I am looking forward to the release of Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan on Wednesday the 14 July 2010.

This cutting-edge plan, the culmination of over 12 months and thousands of hours of pro bono work by engineers, scientists and postgraduate students, is a collaboration between the climate solutions think tank Beyond Zero Emissions, and the University of Melbourne Energy Institute.

This plan is unique in Australia. It is a detailed and costed blueprint for transitioning our stationary energy sector to 100% renewable energy in ten years. The technologies utilised in this plan are commercially available now. It has been put together in a collaborative way involving over 50 technical experts. The full report will be made available for the first time on 14 July 2010, free to download from the Beyond Zero Emissions website or hard copy for purchase.



Rowan Barber
30 Normanby Terrace NORMANBY Q 4059

20 June, 2010

Rowan's questions to Lord Mayor Campbell Newman concerning the budget

Campbell Newman,
Lord Mayor
Brisbane City Council

Dear Lord Mayor,

I have been trying to make sense of your recent budget speech - http://www.thewebconsole.com/process/link.php?lId=845398&cId=1037596

I would like to commend you on initiatives like:
$895k in 2010-11 to help fund a home energy reduction program through the CitySmart, EasyGreen program in partnership with the State Government and private enterprise to assist Brisbane residents slash their power bills, reducing home energy consumption and carbon emissions.

I am particularly pleased about the allocation of $11.25 million to fund a Brisbane-wide litter prevention program including another two general maintenance "flying gangs" to boost the work being done to keep our city clean and green.

You have been particularly generous with half a million allocated for a 15 year plan to restore and rejuvenate the environment of Norman Creek.

I applaude the portion of the $1.23 billion which will go to improve public transport and make it easier for people to walk and ride around our city.

It is the estimated $1.8 billion Northern Link tunnel that has me concerned.

In light of the spectacular failure of the CLEM7 tunnel to attract the projected traffic flows (and projected revenues), would you please advise me how this would impact on the Northern Link Road tunnel project?

I understand that the CLEM7 is a public/private partnership. The risk for financial losses of the CLEM7 lies with the Rivercity Motorway Group. However, I am led to beleive that the financial risk for the Northern Link Road Tunnel rests with Brisbane City Council. Please correct me if I am wrong.

If the Northern Link tunnel fails to attract the projected traffic flows (and projected revenues) by the same margins as the CLEM7, what would be the impact on the ratepayers of Brisbane? How much would our rates increase or what community services would be cut back?


Rowan Barber

11 June, 2010

World Mayor project: The Code of ethics and the Northern Link Tunnel

Dear Lord Mayor,

As a nominee for the 2010 World Mayor Prize, are you going to sign up to the City Mayors and the World Mayor Project Code of Ethics, which were established to promote, encourage and facilitate good local government?

Article 1 states that:
Mayors shall execute the office of mayor for the common good of their communities while refraining from actions that may harm other communities or the wider world. They shall take full responsibility for any acts performed by themselves or by members of their administrations.

If you proceed with the Northern Link road tunnel it will:
harm the community of Normanby;
emit an estimated greenhouse gas emissions at 32 000 tonnes of CO2e for construction of the project;
emit an estimated annual GHG emissions for the operation of the project of18 120 tonnes CO2-e (averaged over a 12 year period from time of opening).
This will contribute to the harm of other communities and/or the wider world.

What is the legacy you wish to leave for Brisbane and the wider world?

How do you wish history to treat you and how will you be remembered?


Rowan Barber

29 May, 2010

sorry does not cut it when nothing changes

Jenny Macklin MP
Indigenous Affairs Minister

cc: Arch Bevis, Andrew Bartlett, Gregory Andrews

Dear Ms Macklin,

Today I am angry at the Australian Government.

I reflect on its broken promises to the stolen generation on closing the gap and to future generations with respect to climate inaction.

Post apology, the wrongs are still wrong.

The pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, continues.

The Australian Government has done next to nothing to heal the nation.

I express my concern at the decrease in funding for Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV) and the impact this will have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

I call on the Australian Government to take swift action to increase funding to support the valuable service provided by ICV.

I note that ICV is leveraging the services of Australians (such as Engineers Without Borders) who volunteer their time. I would like to emphasise that ICV is one of the few organisations working in this field that measures and reports on the impacts of its program. This means I have confidence that ICV are having a real effect.

Rowan Barber
engineer without a border and climate advocate


On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 12:38 PM, Macklin, Jennifer (MP) wrote:

Thank you for your email, your concerns are important to me.

As I receive a large amount of emails, it can take some time to read and respond to each email.

If the matter is urgent, please contact my office 02 6277 7560.

Thank you.

Jenny Macklin.

27 May, 2010

Star Fish Tossing: the Bob Brown Greens party

PETER HARTCHER wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22 May, 2010

Kevin Rudd is likely to be given a second term in power and if he is, he
will face a new phenomenon. He will be the first prime minister to confront
a Senate where the balance of power is controlled by the Greens, according
to the consensus of expert analysis.

The Rudd led, Federal Labor Government have stolen many of the policies from the former Howard Government (including climate inaction). The Abbott led coalition have moved beyond climate inaction to denial of the imperative to respond at all. The Australian Democrats appear to be extinct. Many people are turning to the Greens as an alternative choice for political representation.

Depending on who you talk to, and the circles of friends and colleagues you mix with, it seems that times couldn’t be better for the organic-sprout eating, hybrid-car driving, Fair-Trade wearing, Green politicians.

I am not currently a member of any political party. I am an ecologist. I am an environmental campaigner. I am an engineer without a border. The trouble with the Greens, moving to the mainstream and seeking popular support, they are destined to fail to achieve any real change.

As a political party, the Greens evoke the analogy of a small child, tossing star fish back into the sea. For every star fish thrown back, another 100 wash up.

When questioned about the futility of the excercise, the child gleaming, picks up a star fish, tosses it into the sea and says: "I made a difference for that one".

As a populations ecologist, observing a plague of star fish, I have to ask question at a systems level. What is the species? Are they native or translocated? What is the reason for the population explosion. What is the social, ecological and economic impacts of action (tossing) versus inaction?

My concern is that the policies that are necessary for inter and/or intra-generational equity will not be mainstream and they will not be popular.

A party who suggests a great big tax on gasoline, distilate and liquid petroleum gas is not likely to be elected. A party who suggests a phase out of the individual ownership of motor vehicles is not going to be popular. Prohibition of cows, cotton, cars and coal are not vote winners.

Is this Bohemia?
Is this the Bob Brown Greens?
Moving to the mainstream?
Has left me in redundancy
for better or worse,
Now the Human Resource is me

I'm Echinoderm
Asteriidae – my family
I’m happy here on the sand
Desiccating on dry land
How was I to know, oh?
Now I’ve been tossed back into the sea, the sea

Bummer, easy being green,
I was a stranger in strange lands
When I washed up on the sand,
Bummer, I'm too extreme,
and now I have been tossed back in the sea

Bummer, ooh
I was quite happy being dry,
Facilitating meaningful and lasting change,
Striving on, striving on: nurture culture and values..

Oh great, I’m out at sea,
Neural pulses down my plexus
Endoskeleton just flexes,
Main stream for Bob Brown's Greens,
Now I’ve been tossed
I have to learn to fly or sink or swim
Bummer, oooooooh (How was I to know?)
I don't want to fly,
Sometimes wish I'd never been spawn at all

Ocelli sense a change in touch, light and temperature
Pedicellariae, pedicellariae do you feel the current flow,
Floating in the ocean, vascular locomotion, me!
(Asterias) Asterias (Asterias) Asterias, Asterias amurensis
Eee eye, eee eye-o-o-o-o
I'm just the tossee being thrown out to sea
he's just the tossee from Asteriidae family
Spare his career from this redundancy

Easy toss, easy vote, easy being green?
Tosser! No, you are too damn extreme
being green
Tosser! No, you are too damn extreme
being green
Tosser! No, you are too damn extreme
Being green (are too extreme)
Being green (are too extreme) (ever, ever, ever, ever)
Being green, ee,ee,ee,een...
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh diarrhoea, diarrhoea) diarrhoea, being green
the QEC has a candidate for me, for me, for me!

So you think you can toss me back into the sea
So you think you can leave me in redundancy
Oh, Bob Brown Greens, can't do this to me, Bob Brown Greens
So much for policy? So much for ecology?

(Oooh yeah, Oooh yeah)

Populist policy
Not ecology,
Populist policy
Tossed away by for being extreme

How was I to know oh?....

19 May, 2010

Selling Queensland (apologies to the Boom Town Rats)

The power switch inside her head
Gets tripped on overload
And nobody’s gonna hear the truth today
She’s been convinced about clean coal
The unions don’t understand it
They always said she was from the fold
And they can see no logic
'Cos there is no logic
There is no such thing as clean coal-o-o-o-oal?

Tell me why?
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why?
I’m selling Queensland
Tell me why?
I’m selling Queensland
I wanna sell-ell-ell-ell-ell-ell the whole State off

The Twitter machine it starts to stream
And it tweets out to cyber space
And Beattie is so shocked
Goss’s world is rocked
And their thoughts turn to their own little State
Sweet 49, botox smoothes the lines
Now that’s a bit too old, to believe in clean coal
They can see no logic
'Cos there is no logic
What reasons do you need?
Oh Oh Oh Oh

Tell me why?
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why?
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why?
I’m Selling Queensland
I wanna sell-ell-ell-ell-ell-ell
The whole State off, off, off, sell it all off

And the mass debating's stopped in the parliament now
When there is no opposing side!
And caucus is out early and soon they'll be learning
And the lesson today is how to sell
And then the botox injections
suggest there’ll be an election
(So the Premier can keep a straight face)
And she can see no reasons
'Cos there are no reasons
What reason do you need to sell, sell?
bloody hell

Tell me why
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why
I’m Selling
I’m Selling (Tell me why)
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why
I’m Selling
I’m Selling (Tell me why)
I’m Selling Queensland
Tell me why
I’m Selling Queensland
I wanna sell-ell-ell-ell-ell-ell the whole State off


When: Saturday 3 July 2010
Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Where: University of Queensland - Brisbane
room 414 in the Chamberlain building

Charge: $60 working people, $40 students & EWB members
RSVP: rowan@carbon-counters.com

Information: A one day course on ecological sanitation (also known as
urine diversion, dry composting toilets). The course aims to develop
and promote sustainable sanitation in the developing world (& in
Australia) through capacity development and knowledge as a
contribution to equity, health, poverty alleviation and improved
environmental quality. The course draws on the Sustainable Sanitation
Alliance (SuSanA) and local experts.

This course will be followed up with an opportunity to construct an
ecosan toilet......on another occasion.

1. What does "ecosan" stand for and what is the principle behind it?
Ecosan is short for "ecological sanitation". Ecosan systems enable the recovery of nutrients contained in excreta and household wastewater and promote their safe reuse in agriculture. They contribute to preserving soil fertility, whilst minimising the consumption and pollution of water resources. Additionally, they have the potential to produce renewable energy from biogas systems.

2. What does "sanitation" comprise?
The main objective of a sanitation system is to protect human health by breaking the cycle of disease. Sanitation includes four technical areas:
* excreta management (faeces and urine)
* greywater management
* solid waste management and
* rainwater drainage.
Sanitation policies need to be closely interlinked with many sectors of society (e.g. infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, urban planning).

3. What is the definition of an "ecosan toilet"?
The term "ecosan toilet" is widely used but we do not recommend to use it, because ecosan is not limited to a specific toilet type but is rather a concept. Even a flush toilet could be part of an ecosan approach, e.g. if flushed excreta are treated anaerobically together with animal manure to produce biogas. The so-called “ecosan toilet” should rather be called a urine-diversion dehydration toilet (UDDT), or - as a compromise – an “ecosan UDD toilet”.
For further information, see our technical data sheet on urine diversion.

4. Is ecosan the same as “dry sanitation”?
Ecosan and dry sanitation are not identical: Toilets which use water for flushing can also be used in an ecosan concept (e.g. vacuum toilets, urine-diversion flush toilets, but even conventional flush toilets if connected to a safe and sustainable reuse system).


DRAFT Programme

The proposed programme might include:

9:00 Welcome/Introductions
9:10 Water and sanitation in developing countries - Community Led Total Sanitation
10:00 Morning Tea
10:30 Case Study - Base of Pyramid stuff in Cambodia
11:00 Environmental Health
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
13:30 Sanitation Systems & technologies
14:00 Case Study - Currumbin EcoVillage
14:30 Urine stuff
15:00 Faecal Sludge Management and Solid Waste Management
15:30 Planning for Environmental Sanitation
16:00 Discussion

11 May, 2010

Will taking photos of my bowel stop constipation?

Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services
The Honourable Neil Roberts

Dear Mr Roberts,

Considering the bigger picture, how does encouraging more people to drive, reduce congestion?

It is analagous to taking photos of my bowel to display to the food I eat, in order to stop constipation.

The interactions between State controlled roads and local Council controlled roads will be some what problematic.

Would it not be better to invest the $0.9M in informing people how and where to catch public transport or putting the web cams on the bikeways instead?

I wrote the following story for my daughter when she was 8 weeks old. She is now 9 months old and the story is still a work in progress. Perhaps you can assist me by telling me and how the story might end!!

Now the car addicts of Brisbane were dependent on cars.
The cyclists of Brisbane clung to their handle bars.
The roads were quite wide; there was plenty of room.
So you think the cyclists & car drivers would be happy to zoom.
But those in their cars, would yell out in vain,
"Hey you, you cyclists, get out of our lane."

With the soot in the air, cyclists would cough and they'd snort,
For some space on the road a fight would be fought.
And as for pedestrians who resorted to walking,
the car addicts zipped past them without even baulking.

When the car addict's children were dropped off at school,
those who rode bikes or walked were considered un-cool,
Yet they lined up for blocks in the school traffic jams,
you’d think it would be better if they all caught a tram

When the car addicts of Brisbane drove their cars to the coasts,
the traffic was grid locked, while the trains carried ghosts,
they never considered the gases emitted.
Along side the roads was the stuff that they littered.
They commuted to work, they parked there all day,
and didn't think twice of the price that they paid.

Then one day, it seems, while the car addicts
were static, just static grid locked in the traffic,
sitting there, wishing the congestion would ease,
up popped a stranger who was aiming to please.

"My friends, " he announced in a voice almost human,
"I want to be Lord Mayor ‘can-do’ Campbell Newman”.
“I've heard of your traffic; and I have a suggestion
I can fix that; I am the ‘can-do’ of congestion.

I've come here to help you; I’ve seen your dismay,
My tolls will low, and I’ll show the way,
and my public private partnership will be user-pay."

Then quickly, the Lord Mayor ‘can-do’ Campbell Newman,
Proposed a truly remarkable solution.
Then he said, "You want to drive freely from A to B?
I’ll build you a tunnel for a billion dollars or three.
You know you can trust me, I am a man of my word,
Just keep me in office and call me “my Lord"

They elected him Mayor with a nod and a wink.
The Coro Drive bus lanes disappeared in a blink
He dug North-South bypass, he built Hale Street Link .

When the car addicts drove he would charge them a toll!
They actually paid to go down through his hole!
Then as time went by more cars filled the tunnel,
they closed surface roads so the traffic would funnel.
then grid lock returned, and traffic it queued.
the Emperor in new clothes now appeared to be nude!"

"Good grief!" groaned the ones who had been gridlocked before.
"We're no better off, perhaps worse off, we’re not sure.
We are stuck on a freeway in a tunnel they all frowned,
We just took the same problem and moved it underground

Then up stepped Can-do with a nudge and a wink, and he said,
"Things are not quite as bad as you think.
We’ll just make them wider and longer and deeper”.
Their addiction to cars was not going to get cheaper.

So they dug more tunnels and added more lanes
and then had to build wider, longer, deeper storm drains
“we need more bridges & tunnels, " said Can-do.
When you build a new sewer people don’t do more poo,
but when you make the roads wider more people will drive,
Like swarms of angry bees when you mess with their hive.

....to be continued


Rowan Barber
30 Normanby Terrace NORMANBY Q 4059

Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Emergency Services
The Honourable Neil Roberts
Congestion-busting cameras to be doubled

Police Minister Neil Roberts said the number of roadside traffic cameras on state controlled roads in south east Queensland would be doubled in a further bid to ease traffic congestion.

Mr Roberts said more than 50 new web cameras will be rolled out across the south east in the coming months.

The cameras stream live vision to the 131940 traffic website, alerting motorists to potential hazards, traffic snarls, accidents and delays on the road.

"It's great for people who lead busy lives. It'll save time and inconvenience. They can plan their journey before heading out in the car," Mr Roberts said.

"It's a $900,000 investment to double the number of web cams in the south east and it's money well-spent," he said.

Minister Roberts visited the Traffic Management Centre in Brisbane today to see the cameras in action.

"The new cameras will be installed in more than 50 busy roadside locations on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

"Some of the hot-spots include the corner of Arrow Street and the Pacific Motorway in Brisbane, exit 60 on the M1 on the Gold Coast, and the Anzac Avenue/Bruce Highway interchange on the Sunshine Coast.

"The sites were carefully chosen. They're places that are prone to congestion and traffic build-up for motorists and the freight industry.

"My message to motorists today is to log on to the 13 19 40 website before you grab the car keys. Plan your journey and look for alternative routes if the web cam data indicates heavy traffic."

21 April, 2010

Water Engineering Manager

Carbon Counters is diversifying into recruitment consulting.

We are interested in hearing from Employers and candidates in the "Sustainability" sector - including those involved in water conservation, energy efficiency, environmental compliance and/or international development.

Please contact rowan@carbon-counters.com if you would like to be put foward for the following role, based in Sydney.


Do you want to save water? Are you a senior water engineer with experience in water management plans, rain and stormwater harvesting, recycling, approvals, design and construction? Do you have team leadership and management skills? Do you want to be part of a growing agile company with a real can do attitude?

This is an exceptional opportunity for a highly motivated, well qualified candidate with a strong business sense who wants a break from red tape. If you got what it takes to spearhead and further develop a team helping large water users save water we invite you to examine this role.

12 February, 2010

A week in politics

Corporate Field Forces give the nod
Dodgy home audits sustainability
Foil insulation in the rooves
Foil through which live current flows
Divided world, AHSA, say who control the issue
You leave us with no tech support
You can write your own assessment

Sing me songs about Green Loans
Waiting for the Hotline phone
Listen to the phone just ring

Will you know it when you see it
Sustainabilty Assessors at the door
Now market forces, over supply
Too many trained, it makes you cry
Waiting for the needs of tomorrow...

Sing me songs about Green Loans
Waiting for the Hotline phone
Listen to the phone just ring

Too much red tape to reduce emissions
Accuracy without precision
Garrett unable to make decisions
Politicians party line, Turnball crossed that floor
Tony Abbott can't save your life
Barnarby Joyce is in more strife
In the shadow of tipping points we live.....

Sing me songs of climate denial
Carbon trading might take a while
Waiting for the next big thing


(apologies to Moginie/Garrett)

22 January, 2010

your stars

21 March - 20 April
You need to understand the bigger picture. You are completely insignificant in the context of the universe (or perhaps the multiverses) and yet you have the audacity to burn (directly & indirectly) copious quantities of oil, coal & natural gas impacting the atmosphere of an entire planet.

21 April - 21 May
You have a more serious view of life at the moment as you endeavour to understand the deeper and spiritual undercurrents of your nature, of the situations that are occurring in your life now. Strangely you are completely disconnected from the impacts of your consumer behaviour on your planet & on developing communities.


22 May - 21 June
You haven't missed the boat if you've contemplated getting a new job. You have come to the revelation that your current employer has sweet bugger all corporate or social responsibility. You could continue to try to make changes from within but in reality you are just making the ecologically unsustainable practices of your employer more economically viable.

22 June - 23 July
You can feel safer in your home environment over this period of time, but don't allow this to turn you into a coach potato. By all means improve your energy efficiency and prepare yourself for the dual challenges of peak oil & climate change. Just don't hide behind your four walls. Start growing veges in your backyard and/or get involved in a local community garden.

24 July - 23 August
You are fraught with guilt at how blessed your life is (in relative terms to those in Haiti). This makes sense since you are part of the 9% of this planet’s human population that is using 40% of the world's resources and creating 45% of the world's waste. Perhaps you can offset your guilt by getting involved in international development, emergency relief and/or supporting Engineers Without Borders or facsimile.

24 August - 23 September
You're starting to get your daily routine in order now and this could be very depressing to you. Along with getting timetables and meetings in order, it's imperative that you consider your work life balance. Perhaps you need to put in perspective the reasons you need to go to work and what it is you actually spend your wages on. You work for people you don’t like, to earn wages to pay for stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have, at the expense of spending time doing the things you would prefer to be doing.

24 September - 23 October
You live under the illusion that there is safety in numbers. You chant in unison: “we are all individuals!” You are paranoid about putting your neck on the chopping block for the sake of proving yourself right or unique. If you keep your thinking in line with the group, you may miss out on an opportunity to differentiate yourself. Keeping up with the Jones has escalated into a race for acquisition of stuff, like some sort of cold war. It is up to you to sign the non-proliferation treaty.

24 October - 22 November
You just need to get away from the responsibility that others are placing on you now. You're probably stressed and feel as though one or even two people are pushing your buttons. You know the likely consequence if you don't step away and give yourself some relief now. Do yourself a favour and take some time out to reconsider you life’s ambitions.

23 November - 22 December
Combine your social pleasures with a creative enterprise just now. If you're feeling dry or a little uninspired it may have something to do with the fact that you've totally focused on the material side of life rather than the creative. You are living in a material world. You are disconnected from the air, the soil, the water and the sunlight that actually sustain your life.

23 December - 20 January
You notice everyone around you is miserable. You might feel compassionate but completely ill-equipped to help others. You need to understand, clearly at the outset whether you're even capable of helping someone in this situation at all. You need to realise that you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself. There is no point rushing into a fire to save someone, only to need to be rescued yourself.

21 January - 19 February
You may finally have to have that deep and meaningful talk that you've been postponing for some time. You may be nervous about it, but until you get it out of the road you're not going to feel peaceful. Just be honest, straightforward and call a spade, a spade. You will discover in the course of the conversation that all the advice you give will apply to yourself.

20 February - 20 March
You've probably felt some guilt in not being able to do your part for a greater humanitarian cause. You don't necessarily have to spend money to make your mark or help the needy. The old adage that charity begins at home is a good starting point. Assess what skills you could transfer to others or how much time you have to donate.

Advance Australia Fair Dinkum

Australian all let us rejoice, for some of us are young and most of us are free......
We have wind blown soil, coal, gas & oil that we ship overseas
Our land abounded in nature's gifts 'til we cut down all the trees,
In history's page let every stage invoke apologies.
whilst off our brains, sing once again
Advance Australia fair.

wearing tatoos of the Southern Cross,
We'll escalate the racial tension,
To make this Commonwealth of ours
known for mandatory detention,
For those who've come across the seas,
we'll keep them off the map,
and those who were already here,
we'll keep widening the gap
In painful strains sing once again,
Advance Australia fair.

21 January, 2010

My poem about the alleged Senator Feilding

Did I ever tell you about Senator Fielding?
A climate science skeptic who would not be yielding...
Climate is changing, he did not dispute,
"But are humans at fault?" He would often refute.

To all fellow senators he sent a submission,
Steady temperatures versus skyrocketing carbon emissions.
He blamed the volcanos, he blamed the sun spot.
He doubted cars, coal & cows could be causing the lot.

He was alarmed & alert. He went on world trips.
He listened to experts - just pressurised drips.
The things that they told him were utterly apalling.
They showed him a graph of the temperature falling.

He came back with the graph & he went door to door.
He even had breaky with the prophet Al Gore.
"The temperature's falling" Steve Fielding would cry.
Just like Chicken Little had said of the sky.

He knew little of science & nothing of climate.
El nino, la nina variations in time, mate.
Mean global temperature may still be steady,
While local extremes, southern oscilations will eddy.

Steve's advice to the senate was sit back & wait.
For the deals at Copenhagen to decide on our fate.