Moving towards a plant-based diet

In Eating for the Planet (two years ago) I argued that the ideal diet is “one which minimises harm to the environment and to animals while maximising benefits to our health. There is no logically necessary connection between the three objectives but there is a ‘sweet spot’ where all three happen to coincide: a plant-based diet emphasising fresh, local, seasonal food.”

carbon footprint of meats and other protein
Environmental footprints of various proteins, from the Environmental Working Group, UK.

Since then, calls for all of us to adopt a plant-based diet for the sake of the environment have become ever more frequent and more urgent. Not entirely coincidentally, I have been moving towards such a diet myself, and thinking about how to do so as easily as possible. After all, if a change seems worthwhile and isn’t too hard, then more of us will try it.

Changing the lifetime habits of a household all at once may be impossible but what if we can gently move in the right direction – one dish at a time, one meal at a time, and maybe have some fun doing so? Continue reading “Moving towards a plant-based diet”

School Strike for Climate – Townsville

The School Strike movement – SS4C – is a remarkable phenomenon, having grown from one lone teenager’s action 15 months ago to a global action which brought millions onto the streets and parks of major cities and small towns alike on Friday 20th September. Media coverage has been good enough that I don’t feel I need to say more about that here.

We attended the Townsville rally, at Strand Park. I haven’t seen official figures but my estimate was around 500 people, which is encouraging for a community of 200 000 even though it can’t compare with the thousands in Melbourne and Sydney.

School Strike 4 Climate Townsville
The crowd at Strand Park

I was struck by how happy, peaceful and positive the whole event was, and by how inclusive. Continue reading “School Strike for Climate – Townsville”

Jourama Falls in the Dry

jourama falls walking track
The walking track to Jourama Falls

On the way home from the trip which took me to the Dalrymple Track and elsewhere I stopped off at Jourama Falls. I didn’t walk up to the falls themselves because I saw from the creek – still flowing, but only just over the camping ground causeways – that the effort would not be well rewarded.

This photo, however, confirms just how dry the country is now.

Townsville is the same, but we know Townsville is in the Dry Tropics; Jourama is not far from Townsville, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s dry; but both are drier than usual, and Cardwell, definitely in the Wet Tropics, was nearly as bad.

Townsville’s 2019 fire season

Winter is traditionally followed by Spring but not here, and not in the era of climate change. Last week was Winter; this week is the Fire Season.

Perhaps that is a little melodramatic, but it’s justified by the conditions we have experienced recently. The fire season is already well under way, as it usually is by this time of year, and we have had several very smoky days in town but today was exceptional. Late this morning I could hardly see Mount Stuart from the Rising Sun intersection on Charters Towers Rd, so I visited Castle Hill with my camera to see what I could see from there. It wasn’t pretty.

View over Kissing Point to Magnetic Island
Looking over Kissing Point to Magnetic Island

Continue reading “Townsville’s 2019 fire season”

One final addition to the big bird list

I maintained a composite list of the birds seen in and from the garden of my previous home in Water St, Mundingburra, and the last addition to it was – all too appropriately – a pair of Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa) which flew in to land on the growing lake in the street in front of the house as the flood waters rose on Sunday Feb 3, 2019.

The story of the flood as an extreme weather event is here, and as it affected Townsville is here.

I have added the ducks to the list and declared it closed.