The rocks and the land tell far longer stories than humans.

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Rock pool and waterfall, Ingalalla Falls, South Australia. Image by author.

Australian Aboriginal people have inhabited the Australian continent for a very long time. They are the longest human civilization and have looked after the country far better than we are now. Aboriginal people have great reverence and respect for and indeed some fear of their Ancestors, and using the latest dating techniques of archeological remains, some of those Ancestors may be more than 60,000 years old.

Back in the present day, Aboriginal artifacts have been found in archeological diggings at rock escarpment shelters, and river and coastal settlement sites which have long been repeatedly and often continuously inhabited. These artifacts…


Is in flower now in the Astral southern hemisphere summer.

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Nelumbo nucifera flower. Image by author.

Nelumbo nucifera sacred lotus are in bloom in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens lotus pool now, in our Astral southern hemisphere summer. They emerge from the pond over three days and then bloom from morning until later in the afternoon. The plant makes a striking show with its large 15cm diameter, solitary, pink flowers and its large leaves, which are either floating or emergent.

The leaves are peltate (round) 40 to 50cm in diameter, blue green in colour, with an up to 2m tall spiny petiole. It has spiny rhizomes, about 2 to 3cm in diameter which contain air canals. It…


Regenerating mangroves by building bamboo barriers in Java.

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Mangroves. Image — Wikimedia Commons.

Mangroves protect coastal shorelines from sea storm damage and trap sediment deposited by waves, and also trap land surface water run off sediment. They hold large amounts of total ecosystem carbon stocks. When mangroves are removed for development of urban areas or prawn ponds, erosion of the long-accumulated sediment can occur and the ongoing catching of in-coming sediment ceases. This of course can result in lowering of the land surface, allowing too much sea water incursion, and combined with anthropogenic climate change sea level rise, may result in flooding of agricultural and urban lands (Ardhani, Murdiyarso & Kusmana, 2020).

This…


0.2% dry weight of feed can eliminate almost all methane.

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Red Angas Bull. Image by author.

Ruminant domestic farm animals, cattle and sheep, are responsible for a large amount of the agricultural enteric (intestines) methane CH4 greenhouse gas emissions. This is of concern because of the higher warming properties of CH4 and the high population numbers of ruminant animals. The addition of seaweed to the animal diet can reduce the enteric emission of CH4 by 98%.

Ruminants use anaerobic bacterial fermentation of organic matter to digest their food, resulting in the production of carbon dioxide CO2 and hydrogen H2, which is then formed into CH4 by microbial methanogenic archaea.

It is widely known that methane absorbs…


Why we should decarbonize our economy.

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Image — Pixabay.

Events of extreme heat pose a threat to human life. In the 2003 European heat wave over 70,000 deaths occurred, 10,000 during the Russian heat wave of 2010, unfortunately extreme heat waves are quite common (Mora, Counsell, Bielecki & Louis, 2017). The geographic extent of heat events is increasing with climate change and rising global temperatures (Mora, et al., 2017).

Climate conditions that prevent the body from losing heat, ie too hot, too humid and particularly both occurring together, cause the body to make physiological responses, potentially resulting in death.

A survey was conducted of PubMed and Google Scholar database…


A climate change term we may all come to know well.

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Animal carcass. Image — Pixabay Creative Commons.

An aspect of climate change not often discussed is the direct impact on humans and mammals of heat stress. Temperature and humidity are rising (Bellprat, et al., 2019; Willett, et al., 2007) and at a wet bulb temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, people’s bodies can’t dissipate metabolic heat, they then suffer from hyperthermia, overheating.

A wet bulb temperature is measured with a standard thermometer covered in a wet cloth while well ventilated, indicating the temperature at 100% humidity. Wet bulb or Temperature Wet TW is a measure of temperature and humidity combined.

Humans maintain an internal body temperature of 37…


A Faction Story about going to Mars. Fact with Fiction and a little Romance.

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Mars. Image — Flickr Creative Commons.

Retrograde rockets fired intermittently as the computer controlled the approach of the spaceship, to enable a soft contact with the Mars orbiter station. With a long whoosh sound of the cabin pressure equalizing, the spaceship locked into position, Commander Jack Miller released his harness and moved from the control console to the airlock, eager to start the descent to his home for the next 3 months, Base Phoenix, deep under the red planet surface.

Jack was looking forward to having some more space to move about in, after 4 months in the limited confines of the spaceship. Still, it was…


Sensor development in mangrove remote sensing.

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Irrawaddy Delta, Myanmar. Image — Wikimedia Commons.

Mangrove forests contain large amounts of biomass and therefore store carbon, they occur in the intertidal zone in tropical and subtropical region coastlines, hence the name blue carbon. It is generally known that mangroves are important breeding grounds for many species and support extensive ecosystems, as well as providing protection to fragile coastlines from ocean storm damage and trap eroded sediment from the land.

This article lists some developments in remote sensing of mangroves in several time phases, that is, before 1989, 1990–1999, 2000–2009, 2010–2018 and goals for the future.

Terms:

Biophysical parameters inversion. Lidar, light detection and ranging, is…


Who Won? Hint, the Emu is on Australia’s Coat of Arms.

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Australian Coat of Arms. Image — Wikimedia Commons.

The year was 1932, in the Campion District, on the dry infertile sand plains of Western Australia.

World War 1 had finished in 1918 and some of the returning soldiers were allocated land to farm wheat, in what at best could be described as marginal land, periodically too dry for cropping. Then in 1929 came the Great Depression and wheat prices fell, while promised government crop subsidies didn’t materialize.


Be honest and be on time.

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Nailing the Shoe to the Hoof. Image — PICRYL Public Domain Image.

Many years ago, I was working on the revegetation of a rural property of an old farrier. He was still running his horse shoeing business from his home stables and blacksmith shed. We were having a morning coffee and biscuits break next to the forge and as often happened he started to tell stories.

This old farrier told me about when he was a young man just starting to learn about horses and horse shoes, and the old man that he had worked for. He asked this older farrier whether he too would ever be able to run his own…

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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