Christmas and what comes after

Christmas is both a religious festival and a consumerist frenzy, and Green Path has discussed the tension between those aspects several times since the blog was launched. And it’s that time of year again…

Christmas future

If you’re still shopping (a week out from Christmas!), this may still be appropriate reading: Supporting the community (2011) is really an extended plea to shop local. That’s an important strand of a larger strategy of giving twice for Christmas (2012) by making your gifts valuable to the community – artists, charities, small businesses – as well as the recipients.

Christmas Present

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Magnetic Island’s West Point

We are lucky enough to be able to visit Magnetic Island as often as we like so we tend to forget that large parts of it are inaccessible. Nearly everyone lives in the string of bays (Picnic, Nelly, Geoffrey, Arcadia) along the east coast, plus Horseshoe on the north coast. The other half of the north coast can only be reached by boat, and the middle by serious off-track bushwalking. What about the west coast?

We had a car on the island recently (we’re usually bus dependent) and took the opportunity to visit West Point for the first time in more than ten years. There’s a road leading all the way (10 km or so) to a small settlement at West Point but it’s rarely used because most of it is a very pot-holey dirt track. We suspect the residents like it that way: buses don’t go there and hire vehicles aren’t permitted to go there, so most tourists can’t go there.

Views from the beach

beach and headland
West Point

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A Naturalist’s Bookshelf 3: Insects

Balcombe Super Fly coverSuper Fly – the unexpected lives of the world’s most successful insects

Jonathan Balcombe

Penguin, 2021

Unashamedly a popular-science book, Super Fly begins with the author’s acknowledgement that flies are more widely disliked than any other group of animals except, perhaps, cockroaches. The rest of the book is basically a really good attempt to remedy that situation.

The flies we find annoying, yucky, or both are a tiny minority of an enormous and incredibly diverse family, as Balcombe says. Adult flies’ lifestyles range from parasitic and predatory to pollinatory, and their immature stages (yes, including maggots) are just as diverse.

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Why Do Wombats Have Square Poo?

  • This is the third in a series of odd science publications. It was significantly updated on April 2 for the benefit of anyone who might not have noticed the significance of the date of publication. 


Why Do Wombats Have Square Poo?
Scat form, territorial extent and reproductive success in Vombatus ursinus
J Anal Scat 2023 April;1 (3):530-40

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Needed: radical solutions

This post grew out of a book review published here recently but I didn’t attach it to the original post as a Comment, as I usually would, because it grew into something much longer than the review.

It covers a lot of territory, mostly political, so I have reduced some sections to dot points to keep it as short as possible.

What we all want

What we need to achieve has been spelt out repeatedly by experts but, sadly, downplayed or ignored every time by the forces which govern our global and local societies. For now, let’s just say we need to implement the conservationists’ agenda as quickly, equitably and peacefully as possible. We need:

  • A sustainable society, one that offers our grandchildren as much hope of happiness as it offered us. That means preserving a functioning eco-system.
  • Social justice, including inter-generational justice, because we can’t achieve a peaceful, harmonious society without it.
  • Resilience to climate disasters. We’re already seeing many. There will be more.

Listening to anarchists

I’m basically a greenie who is aware that society needs to change radically to adapt to the climate change which is already under way and avoid catastrophic future changes. I’m not an anarchist but I’m prepared to critically examine all of our social institutions and advocate for radical change to any that don’t serve human happiness. As such, I will listen to anyone who might have solutions.

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