An Eco Chat with Dad

Tonight, I caught up with my Dad via Windows Live Messenger. He lives on Bribie Island, Queensland, with his partner Norma, and we often catch up this way (a lot cheaper than phone calls). I asked him at the end of it if I could share the conversation in my next blog post, as I think it makes topical reading. The reason I say this, is that I think my Dad is a bit of an old greenie, but he just doesn’t realise it! He worked on the railways and then on a dairy farm in Loxton North, for most of my childhood, so he knows a lot about mass transport and small farm techniques and how the land works when you treat it right.

Here goes nothing, and please note, some private stuff has been edited out but it still flows OK. I have put amplifying remakes in square brackets [like this].

Gavin says:
Hi Dad, heard you are having lots of rain up there and that there may be a king tide tonight, hope everything is OK???
John says:
hi we’ve had 215mm at Bribie but no flooding. all the king tides do to us is take sand off beach. Gold Coast and Sunshine coast are copping it bad
Gavin says:
that’s a lot of rain
John says:
that’s for sure. just like standing under a hose.
Gavin says:
well I am glad the tides are not affecting you. How was your holiday [he went to Longreach]. Saw the photo you send us
John says:
the holiday was great, my 2nd visit there, Norma’s 1st. Disappointed in the stockman’s hall of fame. they’ve got rid of a lot of static displays, and replaced with digital stuff. the boat cruise was good especially the boat cruise, the sunset over the river, the camp fire dinner afterwoods and the sing song
Gavin says:
sounds like you still had fun
John says:
we did but didn’t get much sleep on train [Dad is a train fanatic, and I don’t know if he knows that it is a very eco friendly travel option]. but it was still good trip. The meals were excellent on the train, and the people. we were with great company
Gavin says:
how long did the train take from rocky?
John says:
the train trip took 23 hours from Caboolture left here at 2pm arrived at 1pm
Gavin says:
That is a long train trip!
John says:
The trip was okay until Emerald then we went onto light rail track and thats when train got a bit rough especially when u are trying to sleep. Coming home wasn’t as bad because we left Longreach at 7.15 am and we got to heavy track by night time. it was unbelievable the amount of coal trains we passed either way going from Blackwater to Gladstone.
John says:
I’m still reading your blogs. have u decided what chooks u are getting yet
Gavin says:
well the Chinese can’t get enough of the stuff [coal that is, not chooks]. They need it for steel and their power plants. They reach Peak Coal in about 3 years [I may be wrong, but I exaggerated to make a point]
Gavin says:
Yes, hopefully some Isa Browns, best layers I have been told
John says:
they must be like red althorps which we used to have
Gavin says:
I think they are a cross breed rhode island red and rhode island white. I shall check my chook book
John says:
you probably right about the chooks.also I used to get 2 year old white leghorns from the poultry farm they were good layers. They used to have there beaks cut so they wouldn’t peck other chooks in cage. i had to give them their feed in a container till there beeks grew. it was rather cruel
Gavin says:
Yes it is very cruel to de beak a chook. Hopefully mine will be in good nick. I found a bit of info about isa browns
Gavin says:
Another bird, of French origin, is the ISA Brown. This is a cross between a Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White. With production exceeding 300 high quality eggs in the first year and a very good temperament, this cross breed is likely to become exceedingly more common amongst backyards.
Gavin says:
cut and pasted from Burke’s backyard website
John says:
you’ll be right for eggs if they live up to expectations. have u been getting much winter rain this year. I was talking to Scott [my younger brother] before and they’ve only had 5mm rain. it didn’t get inland
Gavin says:
we have had one rainy day in May which filled the tank up, but nothing other than that. The dew has been heavy every day, so the garden is not suffering
John says:
this rain we’ve had is unusual for us this time of year. most of our rain is in monsoon season [must be climate pattens changing!]
Gavin says:
Some of the farmers around here have planted wheat, and it is growing, but if they don’t get more rain, the crops will be of minimal yeild
John says:
the same in the mallee around Loxton. They’ve had inch to an inch 1/2, enough to plant. Hope they get follow up rains. Lots of good crops around Emerald and a bit further out because all the dams out that way are full from the big rains a few months ago. They are still pumping water out of that coal mine that got flooded at emerald months ago. It was like a big dam. You can see it from the train
Gavin says:
That must have been a sight. I would have laughed!
John says:
yes the poor buggers wont make so much profit this year (HA HA)
John says:
I still cant see how digging all this coal out of the ground doesn’t up set the balance of the globe. I must be getting old and not understanding it
Gavin says:
It is about time they spent more money on renewable energy, and start pouring their massive profits into something more viable while they still have a surplus
Gavin says:
It would be balanced by the whopping great holes they have dug in the US and China to get their coal out of the ground!!!!
Gavin says:
Not very scientific by sounds good
Gavin says:
the carbon tax will double the price of coal for the coal companies, they just don’t realise this yet
John says:
our state govt is about to slug them more royalties and put it into infrastructure works. that’s why I think state is getting in early and getting their cut. The royalties haven’t gone up since 1974.
Gavin says:
They better hurry up before the federal govt get their cut. I just hope that they spend at least half of any carbon tax on renewable energy and not the pipe dream that is carbon capture and sequestration
John says:
I hope so too. I don’t understand it all yet, but I’ll try and get info on it.
Gavin says:
Thanks mate. I think that I did a post on CCS a while ago, and it had an audio interview by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki about the furphy that is Clean coal.
Gavin says:
have a look, it will help.
Gavin says:
I better go and wrap Kim’s present [it is my lovely wife’s birthday tomorrow!]
Gavin says:
do you mind if I use an extract of this conversation in my blog. It gave me an idea to discuss the whole coal thing?
John says:
right I will . Give Kim a birthday kiss from us for tomorrow. Yes, use as much as u want
Gavin says:
thanks, I will edit it nicely. Enjoy the rest of your evening Dad
John says:
thanks Gav, love u all
Gavin says:
Cya, love to you and Norma
[END]

Well, as you can see, Dad knows more about the environmental problems around the country than he thinks he does. This gives me great hope for the future of our world, because if my Dad can figure it out, then that means that most other Australians probably have a basic knowledge about climate change and peak resources. By sharing our collective observations, as Dad mentioned regarding the coal industry and the weather on his trip, can we determine the full extent of the changes we are making to our eco-systems and climate patterns. I swap a story with him, and he swaps a similar one, even though we live about 1400 kilometres apart. It will only be through the blogging community that these stories will get told, without suppression from media bosses worried about their advertising dollars and whether a story will upset one of their sponsors. This is the main reason I decided to share this simple tale.

Hope you enjoyed it, and a big thanks to Dad for helping me become the man I am today!

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Comments

  1. says

    Lovely Gavin. Governments don’t yet realise how much people – just about everyone – can see things aren’t right and want to see change happening fast. I am disappointed in Rudd etc but it is exactly how I personally thought it would be. Our state gov is more interested in building a VERY expensive football stadium than building some water recycling facility which would solve ALL our water problems. They think this will keep the masses happy and get votes but, from my listening to talkback radio, no-one is fooled and everyone – even the sports fanatics – are angry all over again. Again and again and again. We are having warm, sunny weather and they are talking about football. I just can’t understand it! Only the gardeners have water restrictions in the city – mining can use all they want etc etc etc etc (“Shut-up Kate”….Sorry Gavin!)

  2. says

    Kate: Sounds like the downfall of the Roman empire! Only bread and circus’ could keep the plebs from revolting, and in the end when the grain shipments from North Africa stopped, the empire tumbled. Sound familiar? All I know is that you can’t eat football.

    Dad: You have always been my role model. It is my honour to give you a spot on the blog.

    Gavin

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