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How puny are you?

By Valerie Yule - posted Friday, 8 April 2011

Many people believe they are so puny they can't affect the climate or the degradation of the earth. They don't think they contribute to the waste of resources. Almost everybody in our street doesn't believe they do anything to add to climate change. Over 3,500 people voted first for the Climate Sceptics for the Senate in Victoria. They hear about retreating glaciers and rising sea-levels and other people suffering natural disasters but it's far away and not their fault. Jungles and savannah have shrunk, and fertile land become semi-desert, but it's not in our back yard.

Well, look at what you can change, before you let the climate-engineers affect the climate by umbrellas over the sun and inventing bugs that eat the carbon with unknown consequences.

Just think, there are two billion of us, living well, and four billion living not so well, whereas up to 150 years ago there were only about 500 million of us all told. About 100 of us may get on space rockets to live on another planet.


So look at what we ourselves get up to at home.

See what you are getting up to at night. See and

See Google maps showing how much of the earth is cities, and how little is uninhabited. Have a look at your nature strip after someone has parked their car there when it is wet, and the nearest reserve when motorbikes or even bikes have been around it. Then imagine what all the 4-wheel-drives leave behind them in bushland and creek-verges.

Why do the local councils carry on about landfill sites? You only put one bin out for it each week and a quarter of your household goods out as hard rubbish once a year. But imagine your trash-can multipled by say one billion, every week. See your council's landfill site with its exhaust pipes for all the methane produced. Imagine all your three rubbish bins multiplied by every household in Australia.

Have you seen what happens to your recycling? Imagine all the energy, emissions and resources used for the five or six processes used to sift and sort and transform its components.

How much fertile farmland and original forest is going under to our new housing all. 


Have you seen an ocean map of trash? Here's what we do. and look at for an animation.

Our cities even take water from our farmland – as with the Victorian north-south pipeline, taking water down to Melbourne that should flow into the Murray River from the Goulburn.

If you have lived anywhere for ten years consecutively, have you noticed the decline of birdlife and wild-flowers, and the increase in feral pests like foxes and rats? What has caused this?

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About the Author

Valerie Yule is a writer and researcher on imagination, literacy and social issues.

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