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Showing posts with the label climate change

Reading journal: The Rain Never Came by Lachlan Walter

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Genre: Science Fiction Published: 2017 Date read: June 2018 A story of a future Australia where the inland is in permanent drought and the inhabitants have been forcefully relocated or herded into camps. But there are hold-outs, people who hide from the Creeps and eke out a precarious living. The story begins with a football match against a passing First People caravan, and the return of Bill’s friend Tobe from his wanderings. Bill and Tobe are close, and share a tragic past. Bill’s loyalty is tested when Tobe insists on an exploratory trip into the badlands, but he follows Tobe faithfully, even when they must abandon their bolthole, only to be betrayed in the end. (I hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler). This is an interesting book. I enjoyed it as a writer, seeing how Walter has varied the pace to create atmosphere. The structure of the book is interesting too, a classic story structure with a strong inciting incident which I didn’t identify until the very end, even tho

Reading journal: Sponge City: Water resource management by ICI Consultants and Sophie Barbaux

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Genre: Nonfiction Published: 2015 Date read: March 2018 I’m a real sucker for luscious illustrated books on landscape design, and I feasted on this one for days. The book explores new ways to manage urban water. Instead of trying to get rid of water as quickly as possible through underwater drains, this book shows how many cities and towns in France have instead brought the water back into the landscape with ponds, swales, ditches and overflow ponds. Flood waters are allowed to spread naturally and sink into the sponge as part of the water management system, rather than be seen as a problem. Descriptive text is provided in French and English. I didn’t understand the importance of this idea until I saw a television program about climate change in Europe. Over the next fifty years, cities are planning for record floods as ice and snow cover and glaciers disappear. Too much water is an imminent threat. From an Australian perspective, we are worrying more about extended heat

Book review: Running Down: Water in a changing land by Mary E White

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Genre: Nonfiction Published: 2000 Date read: March 2018 This book explores the evolution of Australia’s river systems and how they have changed since European settlement. The book is packed full of wonderful photographs, maps, diagrams, and anecdotes, and a sobering message. White doesn’t paint a very optimistic picture. Our farming practices have created immense damage that most of us are not even aware of, since what we see now is what we assume was always there. There’s a truly awful story told by an old farmer from the Riverina. He describes how, on the advice of the Department of Agriculture of the time, they kept their land plowed and fallow. One heavy storm later, and most of their topsoil flowed into local rivers and creeks, filling them to the brim with mud and killing all the fish and other wildlife within. None of those rivers or creeks ever recovered to their previous condition, and neither did the farms. A tragedy. Publication of this book was sponsored by a g

Book review: Six Degrees by Mark Lynas

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Six Degrees is an interesting read about the mechanisms and impacts on our planet of increasing global temperature in increments up to 6º Celsius. The book was published in 2008, eight years ago now, and most of the changes described for temperature increases up to 2º have already happened, quite a bit sooner than expected. Lynas describes mechanisms of warming, such as glacier ice melt, ocean current and water acidification changes, ice cap reductions, and the release of methane from peat bogs and the ocean floor. He also cites historical evidence from tree rings, ice core samples and geology.  This material can be a little overwhelming and would have been improved by the inclusion of some pictures and diagrams. It’s one thing to describe a shrinking glacier but much easier to grasp comparative images. Mitigating events that may slow or reverse cooling are also discussed but not in much detail. Even sketchier are the discussions of the impact on humans as rainfall belt