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Analysis and Comment (20)

Leader of the pack: Djalu Gurruwiwi of the Galpu clan leads younger performers at the 2013 Garma Festival in Arnhem Land. AAP Image/Youthu Yindi Foundation

Listen to your elders: inviting Aboriginal parents back to school

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
Australia has a strategy for abandoned mines - but it needs implementing. Caveman/Flickr

What should we do with Australia’s 50,000 abandoned mines?

Wandering around Australia, you might want to watch your step — the country currently has more than 50,000 abandoned mines. Some represent a significant threat from contamination; others may pose safety…
Stack ‘em high: big, health reefs take the sting out of stormy seas. Dennis M. Sabangan/EPA

Coral reefs work as nature’s sea walls – it pays to look after them

Coral reefs: fragile, delicate, and in danger? Actually coral reefs can be the first line in defence against incoming storms, reducing the power of incoming waves by 97%, even during hurricane-force winds…
Four out of five Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast – but expanding cities are taking a toll on our environment. Paul Boyce/Flickr

The state of Australia: our environment

In the lead-up to the budget, the story of crisis has been hammered home, but there’s more to a country than its structural deficit. So how is Australia doing overall? In this special series, ten writers…
Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

China can’t smother growing public demands to clear the air

Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse…
Sometimes the choice is to flood town or country. Sometimes it’s both. Ben Birchall/PA

Total flood defence is a myth: we must learn to live with the water

Floods happen. Rivers have always inundated their floodplains and the sea has always tried to reclaim land that has been taken from it. This is certainly true in Somerset, whose name derives from the Old…
After centuries of war, Japan’s well-attuned environmental practices spurred rapid growth. mharrsch/Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

Lessons from Edo Japan can help Fukushima recover

After two and a half years, the embattled Japanese government and Tepco, the company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear power plant, have sought the world’s assistance in tackling the three damaged…
China recognises environmental protection is good for the economy, and has gone all out to fund it. Dainis Matisons

Environmental protection industry a job creator

A very different approach is emerging between Australia and China’s treatment of jobs and industries providing goods and services for environmental protection. In Australia, major investors are reported…
Moves to increase protection of national parks have been voted down. Flickr/Marc Dalmulder

Why would the ALP vote against stronger environmental protection?

This week Greens Senator Larissa Waters proposed significant amendments to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Some sought to better protect farmers and water resources from…
National parks make up a lot of our landmass, but change is needed if they’re to protect it. Flickr/Paolo Rosa

Making national parks truly national

Australia boasts over 500 national parks covering 28 million hectares of land, or about 3.6% of Australia. You could be forgiven for thinking we’re doing well in the biodiversity-conservation game. But…
We shouldn’t assume hunting, logging or grazing will damage areas like Guy Fawkes River National Park. We also shouldn’t assume they won’t. Ian Sanderson

Stopping hunting, logging and grazing won’t save national parks

Countries create national parks to protect areas of biological, physical, cultural and spiritual significance. In Australia, we generally prefer national parks to be free from activities such as hunting…
The larval caterpillar of the oak processionary moth: I love the smell of pesticide in the morning. Forestry Commission/Crown Copyright

How to kill a very hungry caterpillar (and its invasive friends)

As thousands of people have descended on the Chelsea Flower Show this week, one exhibit has startled visitors by contrasting its beautiful sunken garden with a sinister avenue of dead trees. Designed by…
As a World Heritage Area, Springbrook National Park gets additional protection from the Commonwealth. What if Queensland were in charge of its future? Shaun Johnston

Commonwealth should keep final say on environment protection

Almost 30 years ago, the Australian High Court gave the Commonwealth Government constitutional authority to make laws protecting the national environment. Now, a Council of Australian Governments (CoAG…
All the study in the world can’t prepare students for the reality of experiencing a landscape like Lake Pinaroo in the Sturt National Park. Ric Raftis

Experiencing the landscape: essential training for environmental scientists

Science disciplines - physics, biology, geology and so on - are often treated as discrete from one another. But when it comes to environmental science, students - and the scientists that they become…
We are really just beginning to learn what’s gone wrong for native species like the Murray Cod. Biodiversity Heritage Library

Native fish - and recreational fishers - need native fish funding

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Native Fish Strategy (NFS) is at serious risk of winding up, after NSW announced it is cutting its financial contributions. This is a serious blow to the conservation…
Since 1739, David Hume has been telling us to take a look at our decision-making processes. Oscar Palmer

Don’t wait for science to ‘settle’; decide what society needs

If you listen to the debate between science and society in most of the West, you get one version or another of the linear model. Science comes first. When it is “settled”, society will know what to do…

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