Swift action needed
It is extremely upsetting to see in hard numbers what activists have been saying for years, how pervasive sexual assault really is at university campuses across Australia.
The cultural acceptance that allows this crime to occur and go unaddressed has gone on for far too long. Universities must now take swift and strong action to stop sexual assault and harassment, and implement the recommendations.
Another one bites dust
The resignation of Katrina Hodgkinson brings to three, Ken Trethewey and Christine Ferguson before her probably caused by the dreadful merger of Cootamundra and Gundagai shires recommend by faceless people in IPART to the state government; they treated our communities with contempt. A demerger is essential to give both communities a sense of ownership again - a bigger shire gets doesn't mean better, it becomes less responsive to its citizens.
Now we are to go through more unnecessary heartache with a by-election and a local council confused about the future.
Warming affects us all
Global warming doesn’t just affect us humans. Ian Fraser, a well respected Australian naturalist based in Canberra, has published online an article called “Nature in a Warming World”, which shows how global warming is affecting the natural world. This is a very brief summary.
Firstly some birds: Mr Fraser points out that while bird ranges can vary, it is clear that climate change is pushing warmer climate birds further south – as happens in reverse in the Northern Hemisphere.
Tawny Grassbirds, whose normal range ends just south of Sydney, now appear as far south as Melbourne. The Pacific Koel - which normally winters in Indonesia and New Guinea and breeds in northern and eastern Australia - over the last 20 years has become common in Canberra. The Channel-billed Cuckoo, with a similar normal range to the Koel, is also getting commoner in Canberra and likely to be breeding in the region in years to come. White-headed Pigeons have extended their range from the mid-south coast of New South Wales well into Victoria in the past decade or so.
A 2010 CSIRO study showed that at least 45 species of south-east Australian marine fish have exhibited “major distributional shifts” which were almost certainly climate-related. Warmer water fish from both further north and west have moved into formerly cooler Tasmanian waters, inevitably displacing local species.
A 2003 study in the Peruvian Andes showed that 85 per cent of the 1000 tree species studied were moving higher at a rate of 2.5 to 3.5 metres per year – significant but, according to the report authors, only half as fast as they need to move to keep pace with the observed warming. Another study in the French Alps showed that of the 175 plant species studied, 118 of them – nearly 70 per cent – had moved at least 18.5 metres per decade up the slope over the 20th century.
Spring is arriving earlier which upsets breeding and migration patterns.
A 2003 study in the journal Nature reported that spring was arriving earlier at the rate of 2.3 days per decade. In 2007 the IPCC reported that the arrival of spring had been advanced by up to 5.2 days per decade over the past 30 years. In 2013 an Australian review of published studies showed that the mean rate of advance across all plant responses (leaf set, fruiting, flowering etc) was 11.3 days per decade. The same review showed that the spring migration departure of birds moved forward by 2.2 days per decade. This is a dramatically shortened summary of the article. To see the full article Google “Ian Fraser nature in a warming world”.