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The Question of Australia 
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Post The Question of Australia
Well I'll be... I never knew that bt had discussed the book. I asked Robert Tulip a question about it and he sent me back to the 2007 forum. My question to Robert concerned Australia's challenges with sustainability. These challenges are no different than many other countries face, but they may be more urgent for Australia due to the relative fragility of its environment. It's not at all clear 300 million Americans are living sustainably right now. We simply have a deeper resource base from which to draw. Next I'll read what people said about Diamond's book four years ago.

Question for Robert: I just finished reading Jared Diamond's Collapse. He has an attachment to Australia and talks about the sustainability challenges facing the country. Says Diamond, some believe that this country of 20 million has the resources available to support only 8 million or so, so that figure should be the planning goal. Further, the economy and the national identity need to be shifted, away from the British-based agricultural model featuring sheep farming. You're the only Australian I know to bounce this off of.



Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:26 pm
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Post Re: The Qestion of Australia
DWill wrote:
Well I'll be... I never knew that bt had discussed the book.

Hooray! It never occured to me to look on BT, but it makes sense that the book was discussed here. Now, I just might get at some of those questions I had with me the night the little book club I belong to never got to the night we discussed the book.



Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:27 pm
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Post Re: The Question of Australia
DWill wrote:
Well I'll be... I never knew that bt had discussed the book. I asked Robert Tulip a question about it and he sent me back to the 2007 forum. My question to Robert concerned Australia's challenges with sustainability. These challenges are no different than many other countries face, but they may be more urgent for Australia due to the relative fragility of its environment. It's not at all clear 300 million Americans are living sustainably right now. We simply have a deeper resource base from which to draw. Next I'll read what people said about Diamond's book four years ago.

Question for Robert: I just finished reading Jared Diamond's Collapse. He has an attachment to Australia and talks about the sustainability challenges facing the country. Says Diamond, some believe that this country of 20 million has the resources available to support only 8 million or so, so that figure should be the planning goal. Further, the economy and the national identity need to be shifted, away from the British-based agricultural model featuring sheep farming. You're the only Australian I know to bounce this off of.


DWill, I think it is abundantly clear that the USA is not living sustainably, and nor is Australia. We have passed peak phosphorus and peak oil, and are pushing the planet towards a runaway greenhouse effect through accelerating CO2 emissions. We need a systemic shift of energy supply and resources to avoid collapse. I think such change is possible through new technology, but without such change we are headed for the four horsemen of the apocalypse - famine, plague, war and death. Things that are not sustainable stop.

Australia now feeds 60 million people including exports. But much of this comes from mining the land, through use of fossil water and fossil fuel. Systems based on finite fossil resources are by definition unsustainable. Diamond is right that Australia is particularly crazy when it comes to wrecking fragile ecosystems. We have the highest rate of mammal extinction on the planet. You might be interested also to see the book by Tim Flannery, The Future Eaters, which also takes Easter Island as a planetary parable. Flannery explains that when the Maori in New Zealand ran out of megafauna, they started eating each other.

I agree with Diamond on the need to shift the economy from the colonial plunder model, but the national identity question is harder as I think that British heritage is valuable (although plunder is a great British pastime going back to Drake and other pirates). I have previously expressed my views on the potential to develop new technology for sustainable agriculture and energy, and can repeat those if anyone wants to hear them.



The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
Chris OConnor, DWill
Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:44 am
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