Food, tools and medicine: 5 native plants that illuminate deep Aboriginal knowledge



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Zena Cumpston, University of Melbourne

Over countless millennia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have harnessed the tremendous potential of plants, ingeniously using them for medicines, nutrition, to express our culture and to develop innovative technologies.

But as I learn more about First Peoples’ plant knowledge, I’m also better understanding the broader Australian community’s failure to recognise the depth and breadth of our expertise.

Aboriginal people, our culture and deep knowledges are often seen as “in the past”, fixed and stagnant.

Damaging perceptions which cast us as lesser and posit us as a
homogenous peoples, who were limping towards inevitable extinction before
the arrival of a “superior” race, still abound. Such tropes deny our dynamic place in the present day, and our ability to continuously adapt and innovate.

Below I’ve listed five of my favourite indigenous plants and the multiple ways Aboriginal people used them, and continue to do so.




Read more:
To address the ecological crisis, Aboriginal peoples must be restored as custodians of Country


These plants are examples from my recent publication exploring Aboriginal plant use, and highlight our deep knowledge and holistic approaches to ecological management.

1. Spiny-headed mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)

Spiny-headed mat-rush is a large tussocky plant found throughout southeastern Australia.

The Wurundjeri people particularly favour this plant for weaving cultural items such as necklaces, headbands, girdles, baskets, mats and bags for carrying foods, as well as for making technologies such as eel traps and hunting nets.

Spiny-headed mat-rush
Spiny-headed mat-rush.
Shutterstock

Its seeds are high in protein. They can be collected and pounded into a bread mix, with the core of the plant and the base of the leaves eaten as a vegetable.

Many diverse Aboriginal peoples use the roots to treat bites and stings. The caterpillars of several butterflies, such as the Symmomus Skipper, also rely on this plant for food and habitat.

2. Wallaby grass

There are around 30 types of wallaby grass in Australia. Native grasslands were once the most extensive habitat of Victoria’s western plains, but are now the most endangered plant community.

Wallaby grass
Wallaby grass.
John Tann/Wikimedia, CC BY

Grasslands provide food and habitat for a huge diversity of fauna, particularly birds, such as the peregrine falcon, whistling kite and Australian kestrels. Many animals, such as the legless lizard, little whip snake and fat-tailed dunnart, were once commonplace, but are now scarce in this endangered ecosystem.

Wallaby grass seeds make an excellent bread by pounding them into flour. The leaves and stem are also used to make cultural items, such as nets for fishing and hunting.

It’s also incredibly hardy – highly tolerant to frost, heat and drought, and requiring no fertilisers and little water. And it makes an excellent lawn, controlling erosion and weeds.

3. Bulbine lily (Bulbine bulbosa)

In summer, bulbine lily dies back to a dormant bulb, before re-shooting in late autumn. In spring, it displays vibrant yellow flowers.

Bulbine lily
Bulbine lily.
Shutterstock

Bulbine lilies can be found in all states except Western Australia, growing wild in tandem with milkmaids and chocolate lilies in the few areas of Victoria’s undisturbed remnant vegetation.

It’s considered the sweetest tasting of all edible root plants and is available year-round. You can find a plump, round, cream-coloured storage organ (a type of underground stem) under its stalk, which can be eaten after being roasted. Bulbine lily is also nutritious, a good source of calcium and iron.

4. Black kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus)

Aboriginal peoples from many diverse groups favour the fibrous kurrajong bark for making string for fishing lines, nets and bags, as well as body adornments such as headbands.

Flowers turn to fruit in the form of leathery pods. These pods contain highly nutritious yellow seeds, which contain around 18% protein and 25% fat, and high levels of magnesium and zinc.

Black kurrajong
Black kurrajong.
Luis Fernández García/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

To eat the seeds, you first must remove toxic yellow hairs surrounding them. They can be eaten raw and roasted, and have a pleasantly nutty flavour. The young roots of this tree also make an excellent food source and can provide water.

5. Black sheoak (Allocasuarina littoralis)

Favouring dry conditions, black sheoak is native to Queensland, Tasmania, NSW and Victoria, and can grow up to eight metres high. It flowers in spring, with either rusty-brown spikes or red flowers that develop into cones.

Its seeds are an important food source for many native birds, including parrots and cockatoos.

Black Sheoak
Black sheoak.
John Robert McPherson/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

Diverse groups of Aboriginal peoples use sheoaks for various purposes. The shoots and cones can be eaten, and sheoak wood can be used to fashion boomerangs, shields, clubs and other cultural implements because the wood is both strong and resists splitting and chipping.

In fact, the earliest evidence of boomerangs, found in the Wyrie Swamp in South Australia, were made from various sheoak species, and were dated at 10,000 years old.




Read more:
The art of healing: five medicinal plants used by Aboriginal Australians


The Conversation


Zena Cumpston, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Hard to spot, but worth looking out for: 8 surprising tawny frogmouth facts



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Les Christidis, Southern Cross University

The tawny frogmouth is one of Australia’s most-loved birds. In fact, it was first runner-up in the Guardian/BirdLife Australia bird of the year poll (behind the endangered black-throated finch).

Tawny frogmouths are found throughout Australia, including cities and towns, and population numbers are healthy. We’re now in the breeding season – which runs from August to December – so you may have been lucky enough to see some pairs with chicks recently.

Here are eight fascinating things about tawny frogmouths that you might not know.

A Tawny Frogmouth and its chick.
You might have been lucky enough to see a tawny frogmouth chick recently.
Carol Smith, Author provided



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1. They are excellent parents

Tawny frogmouths are excellent parents. Both males and females share in building the nest and incubating the eggs, generally one to three. The eggs take 30 days to hatch, with the male incubating during the day and both sexes taking turns during the night.

Once hatched, both parents are very involved in feeding the fledglings. A young bird’s wings take about 25 to 35 days to develop enough strength for flight (a process known as “fledging”).

2. They mate for life

Tawny frogmouths pair for life. Breeding pairs spend a great deal of time roosting together and the male often gently strokes the female with his beak. Some researchers report seeing tawny frogmouths appear to “grieve” when their partner dies.

For example, renowned bird behaviour expert Gisela Kaplan tells of rearing a male tawny frogmouth on her property then releasing it to the wild. It found a female mate and raised nestlings. One day, the female was run over on the highway; Kaplan recognised its markings.

She found the male “whimpering” on a nearby post. Kaplan reportedly said: “It sounds like a baby crying. It affects you to listen to it.” According to Kaplan, the male stayed there for four days and nights, and did not eat or drink.

A pair of Tawny Frogmouths in a tree.
Breeding pairs spend a great deal of time roosting together.
Shutterstock

3. They’re not owls

Although tawny frogmouths are often referred to as owls, they are not. But they do resemble owls with their large eyes, soft plumage and camouflage patterns, because both owls and frogmouths hunt at night. This phenomenon (where two species develop the same attributes, despite not being closely related) is called “convergent evolution”.

Unlike owls, tawny frogmouths do not have powerful feet and talons with which to capture prey. Instead, they prefer to catch prey with their beaks. Their soft, wide, forward-facing beaks are designed for catching insects. They will also feed on small birds, mammals and reptiles.

4. They are masters of disguise

Tawny frogmouths are extremely well camouflaged and when staying statue-still on a tree branch they appear to be part of the tree itself. They often choose to perch near a broken tree branch and thrust their head at angle, further mimicking a tree branch.

A tawny frogmouth sits still on a branch.
Tawny frogmouths are extremely well camouflaged and when staying statue-still on a tree branch they appear to be part of the tree itself.
Shutterstock

5. They make strange noises

Tawny frogmouths are quite vocal at night and have a range of calls from deep grunting to soft “wooing”. When threatened, they make a loud hissing sound. Their vocalisations have also variously been described as purring, screaming and crying.

6. They can survive extremes

In colder regions of Australia, tawny frogmouths are able to survive the winter months by going into torpor for a few hours. In this state, an animal slows its heart rate and metabolism and lowers its body temperature to conserve energy.

On very hot summer days tawny frogmouths will produce mucus in their mouths which cools the air they breathe in, thereby cooling their whole body.

7. They need old trees

It’s not that uncommon to see tawny frogmouths dead on the road; they often flit across the road chasing insects at night and can be hit by cars.

Tawny frogmouth populations are holding relatively steady, but there is a shortage of old trees for nesting. They especially like trees with old branches as they mimic old branches and stick out like sore thumbs on young branches.

When one NSW council chopped down a suburban tree that a tawny frogmouth pair had reportedly used for years as a nesting site, one of the birds was photographed sitting on a nearby woodchipper — a poignant image.

8. They’re not good at building nests.

Tawny frogmouths are pretty slack when it comes to nest building. They simply dump twigs and leaves in a pile and that is it. Chicks and eggs have even fallen out of the nest when parents are swapping brooding duties.

Three tawny frogmouths in a tree
Tawny frogmouths especially like trees with old branches.
Shutterstock



Read more:
Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours


The Conversation


Les Christidis, Professor, Southern Cross University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Fewer flights and a pesticide-free pitch? Here’s how Australia’s football codes can cut their carbon bootprint



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Brett Hutchins, Monash University; Libby Lester, University of Tasmania, and Michael Ambrose, CSIRO

Australian sport’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkable. Major leagues reorganised with impressive speed to keep games going. Schedules dissolved, seasons were compressed and players relocated. And the once unthinkable is now reality: the AFL grand final will be held in Brisbane.

What if the Australian sport industry could apply the same urgency and innovation to a different but no less significant global crisis – climate change?

Each week, teams and fans fly vast distances, producing significant carbon emissions. And that’s not to mention their other activities. According to the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework, “sport’s contribution to climate change – through associated travel, energy use, construction, catering, and so on – is considerable”.

Professional sport has enormous power to influence positive change. So ahead of this weekend’s grand finals, let’s examine the carbon emissions of our major men’s football leagues: the AFL, NRL and A-League, as well as Australia’s Super Rugby teams.

Football players struggle in the heat
Players struggle in the heat during an A-League match between Melbourne City and Perth Glory in Melbourne last year. Sport is a major contributor to carbon emissions and resulting global warming.
Julian Smith

The carbon cost of football

Our small-scale study analysed air travel-related emissions for the final four rounds of 2019 regular season games. We used the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s measurement methodology to create a snapshot of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO₂-e) generated by flying teams to and from games in different cities.

Air travel from just one month of football competition in Australia across the four men’s codes generated emissions equivalent to about 475 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Across the codes, teams travelled 231,000km in a single month.

Here’s how each league compared:

– AFL: 18 teams travelled 72,316km across Australia, producing an estimated 187.4 tonnes of CO₂-e or about 10.4 tonnes per team

– NRL: Largely concentrated in NSW and Queensland, the 16 teams covered the shortest distance: 46,400km. They generated 92.1 tonnes of CO₂-e or around 5.7 tonnes per team.

– A-League: 62,660km of air travel, which generated 107.5 tonnes of CO₂-e. The team average (10.7 tonnes) is higher than the AFL and NRL, as teams are spread between Perth and Wellington in New Zealand.

– Super Rugby: the four Australian teams in 2019 produced 87.8 tonnes of CO2-e from 49,624km in the air, with a team average of about 21.9 tonnes. Two games in Tokyo increased this average, although the Sunwolves are now defunct. Nonetheless, teams also flew to Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand during the season.

Unsurprisingly, far-flung teams produced the highest CO2-e emissions. However, the relatively short Melbourne-Sydney air route is the second most carbon-intensive at around 34 tonnes, exceeded only by Melbourne-Perth. The 25 teams in Sydney and Melbourne (plus Geelong) mean many return flights between the cities are required each season.

Explore the full results in this interactive graphic:

Come fly with me

Full seasons ran between 18 and 27 rounds, depending on the code. The results prompted us to consider how leagues and fixtures might be organised to reduce the number of flights taken during a season.

Many teams are located in the Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong corridor (plus Canberra) and Melbourne/Geelong. So visiting interstate and New Zealand teams could play two or three fixtures in these locations before returning home. Depending on the code, similar arrangements are possible in southern Queensland, Adelaide and Perth.




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We need to ‘climate-proof’ our sports stadiums


Organising teams into geographically proximate conferences, as Super Rugby does, is worth considering. This might mean, for example, that Melbourne-based AFL or A-League teams, and Sydney-based NRL or A-League teams, might play each other more often in front of large crowds in their home city.

Representative fixtures, such as the State of Origin rugby league series, could be shortened and based in one location. Teams could travel to play two or three games, then return home.

Even minor reductions in travel-related carbon emissions are worth investigating, and publicly showcasing, in an effort to spur more serious environmental efforts by leagues and teams.

AFL players board a plane
Sports teams regularly fly across Australia, creating considerable emissions from air travel.
Scott Barbour/AAP

Greening the game

There are other ways leagues can encourage a sustainable sporting future. In Britain, for example, League Two’s Forest Green Rovers is the world’s first carbon-neutral football club.

Its home ground features solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and a vegan matchday menu. The team plays on an organic pitch, cut by a solar-powered robot lawnmower, and collects and recycles rainwater. Clubs in Australia could follow this lead to achieve meaningful environmental credentials.




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Carbon measurement, reduction and offset strategies and environmentally responsible sponsorship policies are also needed.

Codes could hold environmentally themed rounds and games, and promote current and former sportspeople speaking about the need for action on climate change and environmental issues, such as:

Ballboy fainting in the heat
Officials assist a ballboy who fainted in the heat at The Australian Open tennis tournament. Major sports competitions are already being adversely affected by climate change.
Nic Bothma

Leading, not following

Last summer’s extreme weather in Australia was a taste of what’s to come under climate change.

Bushfires covered the Australian Open tennis in thick smoke. Cyclists in the Tour Down Under rode through bushfire-ravaged landscapes, and the three previous tours had stages shortened or modified due to extreme heat.

In other parts of the world, sports have been disrupted by events such as floods and reduced snow and ice cover.

Reducing the carbon footprint of sport is clearly in the interests of both the planet, and the leagues themselves. It’s now time for sport’s decision-makers to face reality.




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The Conversation


Brett Hutchins, Professor of Media and Communications Studies, Monash University; Libby Lester, Director, Institute for Social Change, University of Tasmania, and Michael Ambrose, Research Team Leader, CSIRO

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

This is how universities can lead climate action


Gabi Mocatta, University of Tasmania and Rob White, University of Tasmania

Universities are vital hubs of research and teaching on climate change. As large organisations, they also have significant emissions, which contribute to our climate crisis. Universities should therefore lead global action to limit climate change. How best can they do this?

It’s Global Climate Change Week. This annual event aims to encourage universities – staff and students – to engage with each other, their communities and policymakers on climate change action and solutions. As organising committee members and academics working on climate change, we explore here what leadership in university-based climate action looks like.

The reasons to act are obvious. In Paris in 2015, the international community agreed to pursue all possible measures to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. But current policies have us on track for an increase of about 3.6°C by 2100.




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Climate change is the most important mission for universities of the 21st century


The need to cut greenhouse gas emissions is urgent – the consequences of not doing so catastrophic.

What university climate action looks like

Universities are big consumers and emitters – some sectors more than others. Universities also have the autonomy to make decisions on sustainability and are increasingly doing so, individually and collectively.




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Many universities are basing their efforts on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability includes radically reducing carbon footprints.

Organisations like the International Universities Climate Alliance and Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability support such efforts. Campaigns like Race to Zero, Countdown and the Global Colleges and Universities Climate Letter provide forums for institutions to commit formally to reducing emissions.

Tasmania, a case study

And what does this climate action look like on the ground? We’ll start with our university, the University of Tasmania – the case we know best.

The university recently ranked third in the world in the Times Higher Education university rankings for climate action. The rankings measure research on climate change, energy use and climate change adaptation.

Our university punches above its weight, with many climate change research groups and more IPCC authors than any other Australian university. Researchers in social sciences, law, education and humanities are also influential in the study of climate change and its impacts.

The University of Tasmania has closely audited and reduced emissions and offset its remaining emissions. Certified carbon-neutral since 2016, it’s one of only two Australian universities to achieve this status (the other is Charles Sturt University).

Divesting from fossil fuels

Fossil fuel divestment is a process of transition with three elements:

  • negative screening – no new investments in fossil-fuel-related industries

  • positive screening – investment in renewable energy and ecologically sustainable industries

  • phased withdrawal of existing investments in fossil-fuel-related industries and activities.

To mark Global Climate Change Week, the University of Tasmania has just announced it aims to divest from any fossil-fuel-exposed investments by the end of 2021. The university already has no direct shareholdings in fossil fuel companies. Its investment strategy will include positive screening, investing in companies that are working towards a zero-carbon economy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Many universities are making divestment the core of their climate action. In Australia, La Trobe started that trend in 2016.

Globally, one of the largest divestment pushes has come from the University of California Berkley. In 2019, it announced it would divest completely from fossil fuels in its US$126 billion investment portfolio and $70 billion pension fund.

Here in Australia, an ongoing campaign is pushing the 450,000-member higher education superannuation fund, UniSuper, to divest from fossil fuel investments.




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Want to know if the Paris climate deal is working? University divestment is the litmus test


Generating power on campus

Some universities are generating their own renewable power.

For example, Deakin University has developed an industrial-scale microgrid: a 14.5 hectare solar energy farm with a 1 megawatt central battery. The project integrates rooftop solar panels and smaller batteries across the Waurn Ponds campus.

The University of Queensland has set up and maintains a A$125 million solar farm just outside Warwick to offset its annual electricity needs.

UQ now offsets 100% of its electricity use with renewable generation.



Read more:
In a world first, Australian university builds own solar farm to offset 100% of its electricity use


Monash is investing A$135 million in its Net Zero initiative. Already partly solar-powered, the university has committed to carbon-neutral infrastructure and operations by 2030.

UNSW plans to expand its onsite solar generation and buy 100% renewable power for the remainder, reducing its emissions in line with keeping global warming under 1.5°C.

Universities can and must do more

Many universities have made a start, but they must be more ambitious as climate action leaders. All universities can and should take meaningful and visible action.

This Global Climate Change Week, students, staff, university communities, get informed. Urge your university to divest from fossil fuels, use renewable energy and commit to achieving net zero emissions – soon. Organise your own campus sustainability initiative, or get active in your university’s existing one.

Only by acting to understand and reduce their own climate impacts can universities be credible climate leaders. Their role as platforms for climate change research and engaged political commentary, as well as sustainable institutional practices, makes them global exemplars on climate action. In this, universities are essential to all of our futures.The Conversation

Gabi Mocatta, Lecturer in Communication, Deakin University, and Research Fellow in Climate Change Communication, Climate Futures Programme, University of Tasmania and Rob White, Professor of Criminology, University of Tasmania

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

You’ve probably heard of the Green New Deal in the US — is it time for one in Australia?


Kate Crowley, University of Tasmania

After the 2008 global financial crisis, Green New Deals were proposed in various countries as a way to pick up the pieces of the economy. The general idea is to create jobs while rebuilding societies, by targeting environmental innovation as the key to economic recovery.

We’re in the midst of another global financial crisis that’s infinitely more crippling than in 2008, and the global pandemic that brought it on shows no signs of easing. So is now really the right time to, yet again, advocate for a Green New Deal?




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In his speech to the National Press Club last week, national Greens leader Adam Bandt reiterated his push for the deal. He lambasted the Morrison government’s economic response to COVID-19 in the federal budget, which largely shunned renewable energy investment, calling it “criminal”.

The Greens’ proposal echoes Labor, business, unions and environmental groups, and even some conservatives, who think green policies are vital to strengthen the economy post-pandemic.

And they’re right, the Green New Deal is explicitly designed to assist recovery after a crisis. With many countries already taking on similar ideas, the Coalition government’s steadfast investment in fossil fuels will only hold Australia back.

What is a Green New Deal?

The Green New Deal is an environmental version of economic stimulus, modelled upon US President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of massive public spending to create jobs after the 1930s depression.

It couples climate action with social action, creating jobs while reducing emissions, and reducing energy costs by adopting renewables. It’d come at a cost, however, to the fossil fuel industry.




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The Greens want Australia to quit coal by 2030, and have an independent authority, Renew Australia, to manage a just transition for workers, create jobs and see no one left behind in the transition to 100% renewable energy.

Even the International Monetary Fund sees a global green fiscal stimulus, with investment in climate change action and transitioning to a low carbon economy, as the right response to the COVID crisis.

Green New Deals around the world

In the socially democratic Scandinavian countries, green-led economic recovery has been the go-to policy response to political, banking, fiscal and resource-based economic crises in recent decades.

Energy taxation, offset by cuts in personal income tax, and social security contributions have driven economic recovery. As a result, Nordic economies have grown by 28% from 2000–17, while carbon emissions have fallen by 18%.

In late 2019, before the onset of COVID, the European Union announced a Green New Deal worth €1 trillion in public and private investment over the next decade to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.




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‘Green Deal’ seeks to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050


However, this funding is no longer assured. The COVID crisis has put a hole in EU finances, caused divisions over spending priorities and seen few environmental strings attached to member country bailouts.

In the US, the Green New Deal featured strongly in the Obama administration’s grappling with the global financial crisis. Now, during the pandemic, it’s featuring again as a proposal from the Democrats.

Between September 2008 and December 2009, South Korea and China outstripped the post-GFC efforts of the rest of the G20 nations with their astonishing green stimulus spending of 5% and 3.1%, respectively, of GDP.

Today, South Korea is using its COVID response to trigger environmentally sustainable economic growth, spending US$61.9 billion to invest in wind, solar, smart grids, renewables, electric vehicles and recycling.




Read more:
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It’s clear nations around the world have decided a Green New Deal is exactly the right stimulus response to crises, including the current fallout from the global pandemic. So how is Australia tracking?

Australia risks being left behind

The lessons for Australia are, firstly, that it risks being left behind in the technological advances that come with shifting to a greener economy, if it neglects the environment in its COVID stimulus planning.

It should embrace the COVID crisis and the climate crisis as dual challenges, given Australia’s urgent need to reduce its emissions in electricity, transport, stationary energy, fugitive emissions and industrial processes.

Australia can be confident investment in clean energy that sets it on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050 will not only be rewarded economically, but also diplomatically, as it joins the global, willing climate coalition.

The UN chief economist, Elliott Harris, has called for Australia and other nations to

place more ambitious climate action and investment in clean energy at the centre of their COVID-19 recovery plans.

Instead, the Coalition government has given fossil fuels four times more stimulus funding than renewables, and has prioritised coal-fired power, carbon capture and storage, and gas industry expansion in its recent federal budget.

This is a risky investment strategy. The International Energy Agency sees a poor economic future for fossil fuels, with demand for coal on the decline and jobs in renewables expected to increase.




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However, the government’s COVID advisory commission — led by a former mining executive, and criticised by independent MP Zali Steggall for lack of transparency — is recommending a gas-led, not green-led, recovery.

If the Coalition were to attempt it, a Green New Deal would ease the shift away from fossil fuels. It would focus, as such deals do elsewhere, on creating jobs by accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. It’s time to get on board.The Conversation

Kate Crowley, Associate Professor, Public and Environmental Policy, University of Tasmania

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Humans threaten the Antarctic Peninsula’s fragile ecosystem. A marine protected area is long overdue



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Marissa Parrott, University of Melbourne; Carolyn Hogg, University of Sydney; Cassandra Brooks, University of Colorado Boulder; Justine Shaw, The University of Queensland, and Melissa Cristina Márquez, Curtin University

Antarctica, the world’s last true wilderness, has been protected by an international treaty for the last 60 years. But the same isn’t true for most of the ocean surrounding it.

Just 5% of the Southern Ocean is protected, leaving biodiversity hotspots exposed to threats from human activity.




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The Western Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost part of the continent and one of its most biodiverse regions, is particularly vulnerable. It faces the cumulative threats of commercial krill fishing, tourism, research infrastructure expansion and climate change.

In an article published in Nature today, we join more than 280 women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine) from the global leadership initiative Homeward Bound to call for the immediate protection of the peninsula’s marine environment, through the designation of a marine protected area.

Our call comes ahead of a meeting, due in the next fortnight, of the international group responsible for establishing marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean. We urge the group to protect the region, because delays could be disastrous.

Why we must establish a marine protected area around the peninsula, right now. Video: LUMA.

Threats on the peninsula

The Southern Ocean plays a vital role in global food availability and security, regulates the planet’s climate and drives global ocean currents. Ice covering the continent stores 70% of the earth’s freshwater.

Climate change threatens to unravel the Southern Ocean ecosystem as species superbly adapted to the cold struggle to adapt to warmer temperatures. The impacts of climate change are especially insidious on the Western Antarctic Peninsula, one of the fastest-warming places on Earth. In February, temperatures reached a record high: a balmy 20.75℃.




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The peninsula is also the most-visited part of Antarctica, thanks to its easy access, dramatic beauty, awe-inspiring wildlife and rich marine ecosystems.

Tourist numbers have doubled in the past decade, increasing the risk of introducing invasive species that hitch a ride on the toursts’ gear. More than 74,000 cruise ship passengers visited last year, up from 33,000 in the 2009-10 season.

Six tourists standing on ice with their backs to the camera
The peninsula is the most visited region in Antarctica.
Shutterstock

The expansion of infrastructure to accommodate scientists and research, such as buildings, roads, fuel storage and runways, can also pose a threat, as it displaces local Antarctic biodiversity.

Eighteen nations have science facilities on the Antarctic Peninsula, the highest concentration of research stations anywhere on the continent. There are 19 permanent and 30 seasonal research bases there.




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Another big threat to biodiversity in the peninsula is the commercial fishing of Antarctic krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean which is the cornerstone of life in this region.

A cornerstone of life

Krill is a foundation of the food chain in Antarctica, with whales, fish, squid, seals and Adélie and gentoo penguins all feeding on it.

But as sea ice cover diminishes, more industrial fishing vessels can encroach on penguin, seal and whale foraging grounds, effectively acting as a competing super-predator for krill.




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Climate change threatens Antarctic krill and the sea life that depends on it


In the past 30 years, colonies of Adélie and Chinstrap penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula have declined by more than 50% due to reduced sea ice and krill harvesting.

Commercial Antarctic krill fishing is largely for omega-3 dietary supplements and fish-meal. The fishery in the waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula is the largest in the Southern Ocean.

Close-up of krill
Krill is a vital part of the food web in Antarctica.
Shutterstock

The krill catch here has more than tripled from 88,800 tonnes in 2000 to almost 400,000 tonnes in 2019 — the third-largest krill catch in history and a volume not seen since the 1980s.

How do we save it?

To save the Antarctic Peninsula, one of critical steps is to protect its waters and its source of life: those tiny, but crucially important, Antarctic krill.

This can be done by establishing a marine protected area (MPA) in the region, which would limit or prohibit human activities such as commercial fishing.




Read more:
Why marine protected areas are often not where they should be


An MPA around the peninsula was first proposed in 2018, covering 670,000 square kilometres. But the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (the organisation responsible for establishing MPAs in the Southern Ocean) has yet to reach agreement on it.

The proposed MPA is an excellent example of balancing environmental protection with commercial interests.


Nature 586: 496-499 22 October 2020, Author provided

The area would be split into two zones. The first is a general protection zone covering 60% of the MPA, designed to protect different habitats and key wildlife and mitigate specific ecosystem threats from fishing.

The second is a krill fishery zone, allowing for a precautionary management approach to commercial fishing and keeping some fishing areas open for access.

The proposed MPA would stand for 70 years, with a review every decade so zones can be adjusted to preserve ecosystems.

No more disastrous delays

The commission is made up of 25 countries and the European Union. In its upcoming meeting, the proposed MPA will once again be considered. Two other important MPA proposals are also on the table in the East Antarctic and Weddell Sea.

A map of the current and proposed Marine Protected Areas under consideration.
A map of the current and proposed marine protected areas under consideration.
Cassandra Brooks, Author provided

In fact, for eight consecutive years, the proposal for a marine park in Eastern Antarctica has failed. Delays like this are potentially disastrous for the fragile ecosystem.

Protecting the peninsula is the most pressing priority due to rising threats, but the commission should adopt all three to fulfil their 2002 commitment to establishing an MPA network in Antarctica.

If all three were established, then more than 3.2 million square kilometres of the Southern Ocean would be protected, giving biodiversity a fighting chance against the compounding threats of human activity in the region.




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The Conversation


Marissa Parrott, Reproductive Biologist, Wildlife Conservation & Science, Zoos Victoria, and Honorary Research Associate, BioSciences, University of Melbourne; Carolyn Hogg, Senior Research Manager, University of Sydney; Cassandra Brooks, Assistant Professor Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder; Justine Shaw, Conservation Biologist, The University of Queensland, and Melissa Cristina Márquez, PhD Candidate, Curtin University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Apple’s iPhone 12 comes without a charger: a smart waste-reduction move, or clever cash grab?



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Michael Cowling, CQUniversity Australia and Ritesh Chugh, CQUniversity Australia

Apple has released its new smartphone, the iPhone 12, without an accompanying charger or earbuds. Users have harshly criticised the company for this move and will have to purchase these accessories separately, if needed.

While some see it as cost-cutting, or a way for Apple to profit further by forcing customers to buy the products separately, the technology giant said the goal was to reduce its carbon footprint.

This is the first time a major smartphone manufacturer has released a mobile without a charger. Earlier this year, reports emerged of Samsung considering a similar move, but it has yet to follow through.

But even if abandoning chargers is a way for Apple to save money, the action could have a significant, positive impact on the environment.

Australians, on average, buy a new mobile phone every 18-24 months. In Australia, there are about 23 million phones sitting unused — and therefore likely a similar number of accompanying chargers.

Just as single-use shopping bags contribute to plastic waste, unused and discarded electronic appliances contribute to electronic waste (e-waste).




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Don’t chuck that old mobile phone, there’s gold in there


You can reuse a shopping bag, so why not your phone charger?

Just over a decade ago, Australia started to ban single-use plastic bags, starting with South Australia. Today, every state and territory in Australia has enforced the ban except New South Wales — which intends to do so by the end of 2021.

Since South Australia implemented its ban in 2008, state government estimates suggest it has avoided 8,000kg of marine litter each year — and abated more than 4,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits for the environment have been clear. So, why are we so hesitant to do the same for e-waste?

E-waste is a real, but fixable, environmental issue

E-waste includes different forms of discarded electric and electronic appliances that are no longer of value to their owners. This can include mobile phones, televisions, computers, chargers, keyboards, printers and earphones.

Currently there are about 4.78 billion mobile phone users globally (61.2% of the world’s population). And mobile phone chargers alone generate more than 51,000 tonnes of e-waste per year.

On this basis, the environment would greatly benefit if more users reused phone chargers and if tech companies encouraged a shift to standardised charging that works across different mobile phone brands.

This would eventually lead to a reduction in the manufacturing of chargers and, potentially, less exploitation of natural resources.

Who needs a charger with an Apple logo anyway?

Citing an increase in e-waste and consumer frustration with multiple chargers, the European Parliament has been pushing for standardised chargers for mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers, smart cameras, wearable electronics and other small or medium-sized electronic devices.

This would negate the need for users to buy different chargers for various devices.

Electronics 'sprout' from the ground.
Digital consumption is on the rise and unlikely to slow down any time soon. Recycling is one option, but how else can tech companies innovate to reduce environmental harm?
Shutterstock

Of course, there’s no doubt phone companies want people to regularly buy new phones. Apple themselves have been accused of building a feature into phones that slows them down as they get older. Apple responded by saying this was simply to keep devices running as their batteries became worn down.

But even if this is the case, Apple’s decision to ship phones without chargers would still reduce the use of precious materials. A smaller product box would let Apple fit up to 70% more products onto shipping pallets — reducing carbon emissions from shipping.

However, it remains to be seen exactly how much this would assist in Apple’s environmental goals, especially if many consumers end up buying a charger separately anyway.

Apple equates its recent “climate conscious” changes to the iPhone 12 with removing 450,000 cars from the road annually. The company has a target of becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

Are wireless chargers the answer?

It’s worth considering whether Apple’s main incentive is simply to cut costs, or perhaps push people towards its own wireless charging devices.

These concerns are not without merit. Apple is one of the richest companies in the world, with most of its market capital made with hardware sales.

Without a shift to a standardised plug-in charger, a wireless charging boom could be an environmental disaster (even though it’s perhaps inevitable due to its convenience). Wireless charging consumes around 47% more power than a regular cable.

This may be a concern, as the sustainability advantages of not including a charger could come alongside increased energy consumption. Currently, the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector is responsible for about 2% of the world’s energy consumption.

Unused electronic devices in a pile.
How many unused devices do you have lying around the house?
Shutterstock

The case for a universal plug-in charger

Perhaps one solution to the dilemma is device trade-in services, which many companies already offer, including Apple and Samsung.

Apple gives customers a discount on a new device if they trade in their older model, instead of throwing it out. Similar services are offered by third parties such as Optus, Telstra, MobileMonster and Boomerang Buy Back.

Ultimately, however, the best solution would be for tech giants to agree on a universal plug-in charger for all small or medium-sized electronic devices, including mobile phones.

And hopefully, just as we all now take reusable bags to the grocer with us, in a few years we’ll be able to use a common charger for all our devices — and we’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.




Read more:
Apple releases fast 5G iPhones, but not for Australia. And we’re lagging behind in getting there


The Conversation


Michael Cowling, Associate Professor – Information & Communication Technology (ICT), CQUniversity Australia and Ritesh Chugh, Senior Lecturer/Discipline Lead – Information Systems and Analysis, CQUniversity Australia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Explainer: what is the electricity transmission system, and why does it need fixing?



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Tony Wood, Grattan Institute

Shifting Australia to a low-emissions energy system is a big challenge. Much has been said of the need to change the electricity generation mix, from mostly fossil fuels to mostly renewables. Yet our electricity transmission network must also be overhauled.

The transmission network largely consists of high-voltage cables and towers to support them, as well as transformers. This infrastructure moves electricity from where it’s generated, such as a coal plant or wind farm, to an electrical substation. From there, the distribution network – essentially the “poles and wires” – takes the electricity to customers.

On Australia’s east coast, increased renewable energy generation is already stretching the capacity and reach of Australia’s ageing transmission network. New capacity is being built, but is struggling to keep up.

In his budget reply speech last week, Labor leader Anthony Albanese pledged to create a A$20 billion corporation to upgrade Australia’s energy transmission system. So let’s take a look at what work is needed, and what’s standing in the way.

Anthony Albanese, centra, with Labor frontbenchers
Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s budget reply speech included a $20 billion plan to upgrade transmission networks.
Mick Tsikas/AAP

Starting with the basics

The electricity grid covering Australia’s east is part of the National Electricity Market (NEM). It’s one of the largest interconnected electricity networks in the world, and covers every jurisdiction except Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The NEM comprises:

  • electricity generators (which produce electricity)

  • five state-based transmission networks, linked by interconnectors that enable electricity to flow between states

  • the distribution network (poles and wires)

  • electricity retailers (which sell electricity to the market)

  • customers, such as homes and businesses

  • a financial market in which electricity is traded.

The NEM’s transmission grid currently has a long, thin structure, running from the north of Queensland to the south of Tasmania and the east of South Australia. This reflects the fact that electricity has traditionally been produced by a small number of large, centralised (mostly coal and gas) generators.

Electricity transmission infrastructure
Electricity transmission infrastructure is expensive and complex to upgrade.

Who owns and runs transmission networks?

Australia’s electricity networks were originally built and owned by state governments, mostly during the latter half of the 20th century. Over several decades, interstate transmission interconnectors were built to share resources more efficiently across borders. The NEM was formally created in the late 1990s.

Between 2000 and 2015, several states either partly or fully privatised their transmission networks, leading to the mixed model of today. The transmission companies are monopoly providers, and the prices they charge are set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).




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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) operates the national market and is responsible for transmission planning. In Victoria, AEMO also decides on transmission investments. In the other jurisdictions, that role rests with the transmission companies.

In the past, electricity companies made some infrastructure investments far beyond what was needed – mostly in distribution networks, but also in transmission. This so-called “gold plating” of networks led to inflated costs for consumers, who ultimately pay for the investments via their power bills.

A $50 note in a power socket
The cost of transmission upgrades is passed onto power consumers.
Julian Smith/AAP

Why do the transmission networks need fixing?

Renewables have increased the total NEM generation capacity from 40 gigawatts to 60 gigawatts since 2007. More than 30 gigawatts of renewable generators and 12 gigawatts of energy storage are expected to come online by 2040.

In mid-2017, a panel led by Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel recommended a plan be drawn up to create “renewable energy zones”. These would coordinate the development of new renewable projects with new grid infrastructure.

The zones were contained in AEMO’s 2018 “Integrated System Plan (ISP). It identified transmission projects that should start immediately, and possible future projects.

Two initial projects involve expanding the system’s capacity between Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Possible future projects include a second interconnector between Victoria and Tasmania.




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But upgrading the transmission grid is easier said than done. The large size and cost of new transmission lines means planning and approval is subject to lengthy, intensive economic assessments.

What’s more, renewable energy generators are often built in regional areas, where solar and wind energy are plentiful. In many cases the electricity grid in those areas, designed in a different era, doesn’t have the capacity to accommodate them.

In September, the Energy Security Board (ESB), created by COAG energy ministers, said the transmission grid must be reconfigured along the lines of the ISP to suit the emerging mix of renewable generation and storage. This means upgrading existing interconnectors, and building new interconnectors and intrastate transmission from regional areas to coastal centres.

Transmission lines
The Energy Security Board has called for transmission infrastructure upgrades.
Shutterstock

Weighing the political promises

Labor leader Anthony Albanese last week released a A$20 billion “Rewiring the Nation” policy to upgrade the grid. It would establish a government-owned body to partner with industry, providing low-cost government finance for the upgrades.

The Morrison government, for its part, is also working on transmission solutions. It’s supporting projects prioritised in the ISP, including up to A$250 million allocated in this month’s federal budget.

Some states have separately accelerated their own high-priority transmission projects. However, none of the above measures effectively solve two big impediments to modernising the transmission network.




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First, the processes to identify, analyse and build transmission projects is too slow. Second, a state’s transmission infrastructure is currently paid for by consumers in that state – a poor fit for the increasingly integrated, and therefore shared, national grid.

Much work must be done to address these issues. Perhaps a government-owned national company could be established. It would own the shared transmission system, while AEMO would drive what gets built. Operations could be outsourced to a private company to deliver efficiencies.

Separating planning from owning would minimise the perverse financial incentives that led to past “gold plating”.

To minimise the risk of white elephants being built, strong, up-to-date benefit-cost assessments would be required.

Such alternatives will come with their own challenges. But the transition towards low emissions is too important for radical solutions to be ignored.The Conversation

Tony Wood, Program Director, Energy, Grattan Institute

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Some say neoliberals have destroyed the world, but now they want to save it. Is Scott Morrison listening?



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John Hawkins, University of Canberra

The International Monetary Fund this week delivered a somewhat surprising message. It warned Earth was on course for “potentially catastrophic” damage under climate change, and called for green investment and carbon prices to put the global economy on a stronger, more sustainable footing.

Of course, the message itself makes a lot of sense. The surprising part is that the IMF is the outfit delivering it.

The Washington-based IMF cannot be dismissed as a bunch of latte-sipping leftists. The organisation has traditionally been a bastion of free market economics and fiscal austerity, long detested by socialists.

It’s now abundantly clear Australia’s climate policies are at odds with even the most conservative approach to economic management. Increasingly, the Morrison government is an outlier on the world stage.

Person with umbrella walks past IMF building
The IMF has called for a green-led pandemic recovery.
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IMF calls for climate action

The IMF’s biannual World Economic Outlook projected a deep recession for 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global economic output is expected to shrink by 4.4% this year.

The IMF noted while the recession has reduced emissions, the decline is temporary. It warned policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were “grossly insufficient to date” and global temperatures could increase by up to 5℃ by the end of this century. This would lead to “physical and economic damage, and increasing the risk of catastrophic outcomes across the planet”.

It said “an initial green investment push, combined with steadily rising carbon prices, would deliver the needed emissions reductions at reasonable output effects”. It went on:

The package would initially boost global GDP, supporting the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, but then weigh on global activity for a period, as the impact of the investment push wanes and carbon prices continue to rise.

In the second half of the century, the reduction in emissions would place the global economy on a stronger and more sustainable path.

So in other words, the IMF recognises that now is a good time to undertake green investment, because it has long-term benefits and can act as a useful short-term stimulus.

The outlook suggests the stimulus effect of the investment push fades after the first decade. But any slowing in annual economic growth is trivial. The longer term economic benefits of avoiding catastrophic climate change far outweigh any transitional costs.

And in a transition to a low emissions economy, fears of net job losses appear misplaced. The IMF says says “the evidence indicates that environmental policies have succeeded in reallocating jobs from high- to low-carbon sectors”.

Solar panels
The transition to a low-carbon future will not lead to net job losses, the IMF says.
Shutterstock

What is the IMF proposing?

The IMF’s proposed package involves the following tools:

  • an 80% subsidy rate for renewable energy production

  • a 10-year green public investment program in renewable energy, low-carbon transport and energy efficient buildings

  • carbon pricing, calibrated to achieve an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, after accounting for emission reductions from the green fiscal stimulus

  • compensation for poor households whose purchasing power is dampened by a carbon price.

The IMF says the plan is “growth friendly”, especially in the short term. The policies are designed to increase the price of fossil fuel energy relative to low-carbon energy, and reflect the harm fossil fuels cause through air pollution and global warming.

The IMF is not alone in its thinking. Some 27 Nobel laureates in economics have endorsed a price on carbon. And recent research has conclusively found carbon pricing lowers growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

Skyline filled with polluting industries
The IMF has called for a price on carbon.
Shutterstock

An unexpected turn

The IMF has long been a cheerleader for neoliberalism – a belief in free markets, free trade and small government.

But in this case it’s calling for market interventions: a new tax and government subsidies for certain industries. It’s not the first time the IMF has looked to be questioning its own neoliberal agenda, but it’s a twist nonetheless.

The IMF’s calls contrast starkly with the approach of the Coalition government. It dismantled the Gillard government’s carbon price in 2014, and has remained opposed to the measure ever since.




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The Morrison government has refused to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, nor will it target any further increases in renewable energy beyond this year.

Most recently, it is pushing for a “gas-led” recovery from the pandemic. This month’s federal budget included A$52.9 million to support the gas industry – including opening up five new gas basins.

It also allocated money to refurbish the Vales Point coal-fired power station in New South Wales, and A$50 million for carbon capture and storage technologies. Investment in renewable energy was scarce.

PM Scott Mlorrison
The Morrison government’s federal budget included money for gas and coal.
Lukas Coch/AAP

Australia adrift

As the IMF notes, limiting global temperatures will require a global effort. Calls to address climate change though a global green-led recovery have come from far and wide, including banks and investors.

South Korea has seizing the opportunity presented by the pandemic recovery, through a US$61.9 billion green plan aiming to create 659,000 jobs by 2025. China recently committed to net-zero emissions by 2060, and the European Union’s new climate target may see it exit the coal industry by 2030.

Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden, the election favourite, is running on a highly ambitious US$2 trillion climate platform, leaving Scott Morrison exposed.

It’s clear Australia is being left on the wrong side of history. And when even the IMF starts calling for dramatic climate action, Australia starts looking more isolated than ever.




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The Conversation


John Hawkins, Senior Lecturer, Canberra School of Politics, Economics and Society, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Krakatoa is still active, and we are not ready for the tsunamis another eruption would generate



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Ravindra Jayaratne, University of East London

The August 1883 eruption of Krakatoa was one of the deadliest volcanic explosions in modern history. The volcano, found in the middle of the Sunda Strait in between two of Indonesia’s largest islands, was on a small island which disappeared almost overnight. The eruption was so loud it could be heard in Reunion, some 3,000 miles away.

As the volcano collapsed into the sea, it generated a tsunami 37m high – tall enough to submerge a six-storey building. And as the wave raced along the shoreline of the Sunda Strait, it destroyed 300 towns and villages, and killed more than 36,000 people.

Nearly 45 years later, in 1927, a series of sporadic underwater eruptions meant part of the original volcano once again emerged above the sea, forming a new island named Anak Krakatoa, which means “Child of Krakatoa”. In December 2018, during another small eruption, one of Anak Krakatoa’s flanks collapsed into the ocean and the region’s shorelines were once again hit by a major tsunami. This time, 437 were left dead, nearly 32,000 were injured and more than 16,000 people were displaced.

Map of Krakatoa.
Krakatoa is in the middle of a narrow strait between Java and Sumatra. Indonesia’s capital Jakarta is about 100 miles to the east.
ChrisO wiki / CIA World Factbook / Demis

Even though Anak Krakatoa had been active since June that year, local residents received no warning that a huge wave was about to hit. This is because Indonesia’s early warning system is based on ocean buoys that detect tsunamis induced by submarine earthquakes, such as those that struck on Boxing Day in 2004, in one of the most deadly natural disasters of all time.

But tsunamis caused by volcanic eruptions are rather different and, as they aren’t very common, scientists still don’t fully understand them. And Indonesia has no advanced early warning system in place for volcano-generated tsunamis.

At some point in the future, Anak Krakatoa will erupt again, generating more tsunamis. Since it is difficult to predict exactly which areas of the Sunda Strait will be affected, it is of paramount importance that residents in coastal villages are well aware of the danger.

Damaged buildings on a seafront, tropical forest background.
The tsunami badly damaged buildings on Legundi island, 20 miles from Krakatoa.
Ravindra Jayaratne, Author provided

An advanced early warning system could be installed. It would involve tide gauges to detect an increase in water levels, satellite imagery and drone mapping, and a tsunami numerical model run in real time. When this system triggered a warning, it would be fed direct to residents who live in the coastal belt. Until such a system is in place, it will be vital to get the local community involved in disaster risk management and education.

We need to tell people about the risks

But preparing for future disasters isn’t just about building breakwaters or seawalls, though these defensive structures are clearly vital for preserving beaches for tourism and local businesses like fishing. It is also about educating people so that they feel psychologically healthier, more resilient and less anxious about facing the mega tsunamis of the future.

I have previously highlighted two examples of proactive community participation in disaster-prone villages in the UK and Japan. In both cases, residents know how to act in case of a natural disaster without depending on the authorities. It is certain that the decimation of the land and deaths could be reduced if the local communities are well prepared for natural disasters like tsunamis.

Three men hold up a tsunami evacuation route sign.
Head to the hills.
Ravindra Jayaratne, Author provided

Following the December 2018 Anak Krakatoa tsunami, local researchers and I conducted a detailed field survey of the coastline of Lampung province, on the north side of the strait, and some of the smaller nearby islands. We found a lack of proper tsunami defence structures or any early warning system, and houses and businesses built very close to the coast with no buffer zone. We identified high ground where residents could run to in case of a tsunami and put up signs with evacuation routes.

During this survey, I conducted a series of focus group meetings with local residents and businesses in order to make the communities more resilient and reduce their anxiety about future mega tsunamis in the area. I developed a tsunami wave propagation model to replicate the 2018 tsunami and most plausible future tsunami events, and to identify the most vulnerable coastal stretches, such as the village of Kunjir on the Lampung mainland.

I also combined field survey results, numerical model outputs and published information to make some recommendations for local communities. I suggested active collaboration between government departments and local institutions on the issue, and the formation of disaster preparedness teams for every village in Southern Lampung. The planning criteria for development of infrastructure along the coasts should also be put under review, and there should be a trauma healing programme for the victims of the 2018 Krakatoa tsunami.

We don’t know exactly when Krakatoa will next erupt, or if any future eruptions will match those of 1883 or even 2018. That’s a question for volcanologists. But we should do what we can to prepare for the worst.The Conversation

Ravindra Jayaratne, Reader in Coastal Engineering, University of East London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.