There are roughly 2.5 million dairy cattle in Australia.

Dairy farms send a tick over 9 billion litres of milk to the factory every year and around 2.1 billion litres end up on breakfast cereals and in drinks.

A city of one million souls uses 274,000 litres of milk per day. That is the output from around 27,000 cows.

Today there are 472 cities with more than one million inhabitants and 25 with more than 10 million.

These are amazing numbers.

Makes you think.

Is it a weed?

Recently, I spent a night in the bush. A cabin on a farm provided nominal shelter, as humans had not used it for a while. Nature was in residence with weeds making their way across the paved floor and more rodent and bat poo than seemed healthy.

After a little time sweeping out, we took a stroll down to a nearby creek in the hope there was a good swimming hole. A dead fish lying belly up put us off the best spot, so we cooled our feet in the running water near the bank.

As we sat and contemplated we grabbed handfuls of wild blackberries.

The spot was shady, the water running free and the berries as sweet as great-grandmas jam.

Small insectivorous birds were flying in and out of the blackberry thicket, happy to find cover and foraging space.

We sat for half an hour in that idyllic spot. The conversation turned to why the conventional conservation wisdom would have the blackberry bush ripped out. For this was an Australian creek and blackberries (the Rubus fruticosus group) are declared a Weed of National Significance with strategic plans for eradication and control.

Meantime, back at home; my wife had purchased two punnets of blackberries form the grocer for $4. I tasted one of these berries from the store. It looked perfect but compared to those by the creek it was bland and lifeless.

Makes you think.


It is very hot today

It has been hot and humid here for the past two weeks. Even the trees are wilting. Needless to say the media are onto it.

‘Is this heat wave global warming?’ they ask Dr David Jones, Acting Head of the National Climate Centre in Australia.

‘It’s a complex discussion. What global warming does is… it increases the frequency of hot events and decreases the frequency or likelihood of a cold event.’

I wonder how many of us know what this solid answer from Dr Jones means?

Is it hot because of global warming? No, it is hot because it is summertime. And in the Australian summer there is a chance that it will not only get hot, but also that it will stay hot for several days. Down under hot means over 40 degrees Celsius. What Dr Jones was saying is that as the globe heats up, so there will be a greater chance of these warm events occurring.

It is like weighting a coin. Spin a normal coin and there is an equal chance that it will fall heads or tails. Put a little extra weight on the head side and it will fall head side down more often than 50% of the time.

So warming weights these hot events, they are more likely to occur.

Global warming is really global climate changing. Especially change in the frequency of certain events.
Dr Jones did a good job. It’s a tough gig being the person everyone asks when there is a question about the climate.