A Koala Bear Story.

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Grass tree fire. Image — Wikimedia Commons.

An Australian Story. Based on a 19th century British fairy tale first recorded by Robert Southey in 1837 and called ‘The Story of the Three Bears’.

A long, long time ago, about 60,000 years ago lived a very smart young girl who had glossy dark hair that shone like silver, and her name was Purli. She was named because of her hair, her name meant star shine.

Purli was travelling across country with her family and all the rest of her Wurundjeri people. …


Responding to the momentum of MOOCs Massive Online Open Courses

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Satellite imaging. Image — Wikimedia Commons.

See end of this article for links to free remote sensing resources.

Remote sensing is taking land or water surface images from satellites, planes, helicopters and from unmanned airborne systems, and image processing is making some sense of all the light spectral data within those images, using computer algorithms developed to quickly process huge amounts of data.

Remote sensing and image processing has practical application in areas such as natural hazards (eg fire, floods, cyclones), coastal environments such as mangrove reduction or restoration, mapping the spread of weeds, savanna fires, marine and benthic habitat mapping, and ocean colour indicating water quality. …


The host species varies widely among parasitic plants.

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Nutsyia floribunda Australian Christmas tree in flower. Image — Wikimedia Commons.

Four plant parasites that occur in Australian ecological communities are given here. Nutsyia floribunda Australian Christmas tree, the climber Cassytha melantha coarse dodder-laurel, Amyena miquelii box mistletoe and the popular bushfood Quandong, Santalum acuminatum.


All things in moderation. Have we overdone it with civilization?

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Yurt and horses of the Tatars in village of Kruszyniany, Poland. Image — FreeIMG Creative Commons.

Many old ways of living are no longer practiced or only by a largely reduced number of people. Traditional lifestyles such as subsistence, hunter-gatherer, nomadic lifestyles or transhumance, where livestock are moved between summer and winter pastures, have been replaced by living in towns and cities and the continuing spread of urbanization.

These traditional lifestyles have declined due to the industrial revolution providing different employment opportunities, political boundaries preventing travel to seasonal pastures and the human desire for modernity.

The modern urban lifestyle, practiced by so many of us in our present civilization, can lead to ill health through lack of physical activity, stress, pollution, easy access to low nutrient highly palatable foods, and offers little choice, a one size fits all 40-hour work week or not enough work, together with endless consumerism. …


Since 1753 plants have had two names. The Genus and species name which used together give a plant its botanical name.

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Swainsona formosa Sturt’s desert pea. Image by author.

Around the world botanists, environmentalists, plant nurseries and keen gardeners use a binomial system of naming plants, that is, two names, a Genus and a species name. The system was developed and introduced by Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist and is called the Linnaean system of binomial nomenclature.

He published his Species Plantarum in 1753 which was the first publication to name plants exclusively with the binomial system. …


What we need from Scotland, COP 26.

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Global Warming Predictions. Image — Wikimedia Commons. (HadCM3, a climate model, Hadley Centre Coupled Model, version 3)

The media generally is feeling more positive about successfully mitigating climate change, with the change in government in the USA, with 2021 being called the tipping point year for electric cars and with more countries pledging to be net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

The next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC meeting, the 26th Conference of Parties COP26, will be held at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow on the 1st to the 12th of November 2021.

This will be a conference of heads of states, climate scientists and climate change mitigation campaigners, with the goal to increase the efforts of governments, industry and society to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. …


And what they look like when planted in the ground.

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Parlour palm in a parlour. Image — FreeIMG Public Domain, Creative Commons.

Five palms: Howea forsteriana, Phoenix roebelinii, Syagrus romanzoffiana, Archontophoenix alexandrae and Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, and Chamaedorea elegans.

I have included Archontophoenix alexandrae and A. cunninghamiana together because they are similar.


Free or inexpensive but empowering decisions you can make to help the planet.

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Tesla electric battery car. Image by author.

Many of us are concerned about the present climatic situation, with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting in the greenhouse insulating effect. This is causing increased global temperatures and increasing atmospheric moisture resulting in more intense storms and more droughts (UN Climate Change Annual Report, 2019).

Climate science is complicated at the best of times but trying to understand that science while it is threatening the livability of many parts of our planet, is even more stressful and difficult.

Learning about climate change can give some understanding of what is happening and a good place to start is the Keeling curve (Keeling et al. 1976), showing the recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations since 1960 at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA (Earth System Research Laboratories, 2020). …


And what they look like when planted in the ground.

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Avenue of Morten Bay Fig trees or large leaf fig, Ficus macrophylla. Image by author.

About

Peter Miles

Peter Miles B.Env.Sc. 45 years in Environmental Science, specializing in Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Writes about Animals, Revegetation & Climate Change.

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