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."