Saturday, June 05, 2010

World Environment Awayday

UFO spotted over Brisbane. Picture by Destin Sparks

It's World Environment Day. So let's review our progress, shall we? For a start none of the papers have dared mention it. That's a clue. It is left to us so let's tot up our combined human effort on behalf of the environment since last June 5:-

No. of worst-ever global man-made environmental disasters - 1
No. of agreements reached for international action on climate change - 0
No. of successful muzzlings of multinational resource bandits - 0

Here in Australia we discovered today that our own Environment Minister, former pub-rocker Peter Garrett, learned of his government's backdown on a proposed national ETS scheme by reading about it in the newspaper. Not quite as bad as an oil leak but not great for his party's credibility. Minister Garrett's qualification for his role as Minister for the Environment, Arts and Heritage is that he sang a couple of popular protest songs in the eighties. Fortunately, there's a smart woman (Penny Wong) overseeing the important parts of the Environment portfolio.

The most exciting environmental thing that's happened this World Environment Day is that a UFO was widely seen across Eastern Australia this morning. The above picture was captured by the almost apocryphally monikered Destin Sparks. In the land of Tysons, Tylers and Tegans that could so easily be a real name. Much respect to you Destin Sparks, especially if you are in fact an emissary from the Planet ZOK, home of the London Olympics. It appears that what people saw was a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral. Some reports have said this is a 'privately funded' rocket. Whatever.

We at Seat of Pants have celebrated World Environment Day by,

1) Buying nothing
2) Going nowhere
3) Listening to radio on rechargeable batteries

I tuned in to ABC Radio National's The Science Show and discovered that maintaining bio-diversity is essential to human health - who knew? Clever microbes that don't register on GDP because Monsanto don't yet own them, keep us all alive. I also learned that in a Sicilian village, garbage trucks were replaced by donkey-drawn carts three years ago. This has cut down considerably on the amount of trash that ends up in the tip as well as saving vast amounts on the absurdly expensive and erosive mechanical alternative.

The environment did score a big victory this week. Christopher Monckton, the climate change denying peer who falsely credentials himself as a member of the British House of Lords has had his climate-sceptic claims comprehensively discredited by an American academic. Professor John Abraham was so astonished by Viscount Monckton's citations that he determined to check every single one out himself and - guess what.

Happy World Environment Day everyone...