Sunday, June 27, 2010

Enviromental Issues in Melbourne

Now Lord Wiki is going to give me a lesson in Melbourne's environmental issues.

I know a little bit already. Well, at least I know about some of Victoria's problems. There's those big massive horrific fires. The weather can be extremely hot. You mix that with dryness, and you've got a dangerous situation. Then other times you get too much rain, and there's flooding.

Lord Wiki says that Melbourne has been in a drought since 1997. I didn't know that. It's pretty scary. As far as I know, Fort Worth has droughts on and off. We can see this by the dock at our lake house. Right now, we have no beach area. The water level's high. So I'm guessing this means we have no drought. At other times, the water level's low, and we have a little beach. I would guess that this means there's a drought.

Well, there may be other factors that I don't understand. Maybe lake levels aren't a fully reliable way of knowing if there's a drought or not. This news article says Fort Worth is currently dry, and we have a drought looming.

I guess I should wish for rain.

Melbourne tries to deal with their water shortages with water restrictions and water recycling. There's also something called the Wonthaggi desalination plant. It was a project proposed in 2007, and it's due to be completed in 2011. From what I understand, desalination is removing salt from water.

There's a lot of controversy over this project. The Australia Green Party doesn't support it. And then there's the action group called Your Water Your Say. I personally feel some of the font on their website is hard to read. It might be the fault of my old computer though.

On this page, they explain why they're against desalination. They say it'll be a threat to various marine animals. This includes those penguins on Phillip Island. Why is it a threat? Toxics from the desalination factory will go into the water. That's not good.

The other problem is the factory would cause a lot of carbon emissions. The website says, Ironically, it is carbon emissions that increase climate change that reduce rainfall that is driving Government’s misguided decision to pursue desalination, resulting in this lunatic and irresponsible vicious cycle.

Yeah. From what I know now, I'd probably want to side with Your Water Your Say.

Melbourne's planning to go Carbon neutral by 2020. They came up with that plan in 2002, when 2020 was eighteen years away. Now it's only ten years away. I think it's easier to have grand plans when it's far off in the future. Sometimes when the goal becomes closer, things seem a bit less likely. But hopefully, Melbourne WILL reach their goal. It might be hard with that desalination plant though.

Lord Wiki says Melbourne has a large carbon footprint because of urban sprawl. People are packed together enough, and in the outer areas, people often rely on automobiles.

I can understand how that's a problem. When I was wanting to move to Sydney, I really wanted to live in the inner suburbs. I'd love to live close enough that we could walk to many places, and/or easily take the trains and buses....ferries too, of course! The closer to the CBD the better. But could we afford that? I don't know. We'd probably live farther out. I guess we could get by without a car, but there'd be times where it would feel inconvenient. I think we'd probably own a car, but use it sparingly.

I'd like a situation where we could very easily walk to shops and restaurants, and then also have a train or bus station that's less then fifteen minutes (walking) away.

Lord Wiki says that a problem with Melbourne is the outer areas don't have good public transportation. I don't know if most folks would agree with him or not. I guess later we'll learn more about transportation over there. How hard is it to go out to the suburbs?

Melbourne has a lot of foreign vegetable, and foreign animal invaders. Since the guys couldn't have really swam over, I'm going to assume that humans brought them (purposely or accidentally) So, that's an issue. I'm not sure if it's a huge issue or not. But one of the invaders is the European wasp. I do remember reading in the news that Melbourne was getting some nasty stings. Here's an article.

I'm not a fan of wasps. Neither is Jack.

What other problems does Melbourne have?

There's E coli in the Yarra River. Yuck. Lord Wiki says this comes from sewage.

There's litter....lots of cigarette butts. I have a hard enough time understanding why people would smoke. It's bad for your health, and it makes you smell bad. So, what's up with that?

And then on top of everything else, some of these people litter.

Why?

Here's an anti-butt website. They say cigarette butts are Australia's number one type of litter.

Some might think that the butts are harmless, and it's simply a cosmetic concern. According to this website, it's much more than that. The butts release toxins in the soil and water.

Oh! This website isn't a nonprofit special interest group. They're trying to sell something....special eco ashtray things. It looks pretty cool. The company is Melbourne based, but they're planning to expand their business through out the world. I wish them well. It's nice to see companies working to improve the world.