The Road to Paris – Susie Dunn

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Can we afford to miss the bus? That’s what an Armidale-targeted campaign is asking about the upcoming climate talks in Paris. I’ve never woven a basket in my life, nor ever lived in Balmain, but I certainly know that the climate here has been changing and I certainly don’t want us to do anything that might accelerate the trend if we can help it.

Renewable energy seems so sensible, and certainly preferable to finite, older, dirtier options. It’s embarrassing to contemplate that Australia might not act in the most responsible way at the Paris Summit (Nov. 30 – Dec. 11) which aims to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. This shouldn’t be politics – it should be common sense, surely. The Kiwis will end coal-burning power generation by 2018.

Adam Marshall’s recent launch of NE Wind’s programme using SODAR’s state-of-the-art wind monitoring unit is one step. He also reminded us that the grid still had a part to play. ADC Mayor Laurie Bishop showed another trend by telling us his house is totally self-sustainable for both energy and water.

This year’s National Aborigines Day theme is “We All Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect & Celebrate” – that’s a pretty good general message for everyone, surely.
A new Canadian study says, “More trees on your street help you feel years younger… healthier … equivalent to increasing income by $10,000”). Goodness!

The dedicated hard work of the Armidale Urban Rivercare Group over the years – working from the Sport UNE playing fields to Cooks Road – has made a literally growing impact, and more people are now visually aware of it. What a pity that what I call the “gutter”, where the creek is confined through the centre of the Creeklands hasn’t been softened (removed?) yet. Some thoughtful planting with Council’s guidance and a more natural look would surely enhance it.

I always like this district to buzz. Sadly, bad news on the world buzzing front is that the bees are doing badly, being wiped out in many areas. Diseases, but also some pesticides, have definite fingers pointed. Implications for the fertilisation of crops and plants generally are on red alert. Can research facilities somewhere provide answers?

Thoughtful analysts seem to agree that if we thought technological change has been a mind-blowing revolution, we have no idea of the shockwave (thanks for the word image, Jack) coming towards us. This is why innovation is not just a fashionable word – for future jobs we have to create new industries with an entrepreneurial spirit. I was talking to someone manning a supermarket checkout the other day. He understood. We haven’t all comprehended our advantage with the NBN and should come to terms with it, letting go down that slippery slide into the future. Remember the saying that the jobs of the future haven’t been invented yet. (I’ve just learnt that to say “IT” is SO yesterday. Now it’s ICT or IOT, but by now that’s probably SO yesterday too.)

One of the exciting things I relish here is constantly meeting local people who are doing fascinating things. Educated in Armidale at school and UNE, John Walker is Macquarie Bank’s Executive Chairman in South Korea and Head of Infrastructure for Asia. He says his home in Armidale is his “bolt-hole”. John says he and Mike Creagan – CEO of the Business Enterprise Centre – have been best friends since they were four. Mike organised John’s talks to the Chamber of Commerce and the University. Great fun, clear-headed and definitely cutting edge, John’s full of suggestions for Armidale’s NBN and is talking with UNE’s Graduate School of Business. He’s also a pretty good singer.

Good to see that the Costa Group in Guyra is now set to produce 70+M tomatoes annually, while Inverell’s Bindaree Beef, identifying accelerating global demand for beef, is expanding. And winter reminds us there’s nothing like wool – and now you can wear it year round.
We want to keep icing on our cake.
Susie Dunn.

P.S. COMING – UNE’s Natural History Museum! And the Armidale Club has a surprise jazzman friend of mine playing on August 29.

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