(This item is my contribution to Blog Action Day 2010, whose topic this year is "Water".)
Australia is being confronted with a national dilemma which has a major impact on its society and the environment, and it will take a huge amount of wisdom, courage, co-operation and, yes, pain to reach a stable outcome.
Australia criticised over Solomons role
Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare has criticised the Australian-led RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands), accusing the mission of representing too much of Canberra's interests and of failing to focus on its mandate to restore law and order in the South Pacific nation. More from Associated Press in Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald.
It may be a tad simplistic to describe the conflict in Darfur as "the world's first climate-change war", but the following press release from Boston University on July 11 gives hope of a science-driven resolution to probably the world's worst humanitarian crisis of the present day:
'1,000 Wells for Darfur' initiative launched
A short item on the ABC Rural News yesterday grabbed my attention, about a Namibian scientist talking to locals in far west New South Wales about harvesting water from fog.
I have always been a vigorous supporter of the national interest taking precedence over states' rights in this country. The Australian Constitution, while in many ways robust and successful, was also a document of compromise, with the six states ceding specific areas of responsibility to the Commonwealth, and retaining everything else.
"...if it doesn't rain in sufficient volume over the next six to eight weeks, there will be no water allocations for irrigation purposes in the [Murray-Darling] Basin."
- John Winston Howard, press conference, 19.4.07
It would be easy to see this as another example of the PM playing politics and thus response with the line Howard to Farmers: Drop Dead. But it's a problem much more genuine and more serious than that.
Woohoo! We've made another worldwide top ten!
The Murray-Darling river system has been listed by the WWF as one of the world's top ten rivers at risk of dying. Up there with plenty of heavyweights, including the Ganges, Yangtze, Danube, Nile and the Mekong.
The World Wide Fund for Nature takes up the s
KEVIN RUDD: Does the Prime Minister recall his industry minister saying just six months ago: "I am a sceptic of the connection between emissions and climate change"? Does the Prime Minister support this statement?
Mr HOWARD: It is not only remarks made by people in this parliament. There is a farmer I know who is sceptical about that connection as well! But we can debate. Let me say to the Leader of the Opposition that the jury is still out on the degree of connection.