Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Rain Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm

I am sitting at my computer procrastinating! Why? Because I have book work to do and it's not one of my favourite activities. However, it has to be done to keep my accountant happy and ultimately me too!
But, I thought...Oh it has been a week since I posted on my BLOG. I'll just take a break from entering figures into MYOB and write something on my BLOG. Problem is I think all the numbers have numbed my brain. But, here goes! I'll start with the weather.....

It is raining again here in Brisbane. I certainly hope we don't get a wet winter, then followed by a wet summer just like the one we've just had. The soil needs time to dry out a bit. Floods are not something we want to experience again! The painting above is called 'Rain'. I am actually very happy with this work as it almost exudes wetness. Indeed, it involved a lot of water splashed, sprayed and dribbled, plus some small brush markings.

Despite many areas of Australia being currently replete with water...water is still a major issue here and around the world. I have just finished an amazing book called 'Water: The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power, and Civilization' by Steven Solomon [Harper Collins, NY, 2010]. It is a meticulously researched world history of water from it earliest uses for irrigation in the ancient world, to our present day looming crisis. The latter is coupled with threats to food supply, as well our thirst for energy and climate change.  As Solomon says, The lesson of history is that in the tumultuous adjustment that surely lies ahead, those societies that find the most innovative responses to the crisis are most likely to come out as winners, while others fall behind. Civilization will be shaped as well by water's inextricable, deep dependencies with energy, food and climate change
The last paragraph of the book offers a profound call for people to take water very seriously, At the end of the day, how each member of the world community ultimately acts in response to the global freshwater crisis is not just a matter of economic and political history, but a judgement on our own humanity-and the ultimate fate of human civilization. As one scientist succinclty puts it: "Afer all, we are water."

In my own neck of the woods ie: South East Queensland, Australia we are seeing major potential threats to water, plus food supply and quality, with the burgeoning battle between mining and farming. Regular readers will know of my concerns for water quality, supply and the accompanying potential degradation of prime food producing farmlands on the Darling Downs and in the Bowen and Surat Basins. The increasing presence of open cut coal mining, plus the frenzied activity surrounding coal seam gas extraction, pose threats to above and below ground water quality and supply. These mining activites also threaten soils, efficient farming practices, community health and social fabric. Ultimately the threats will not be localised concerns, as food supply, costs and quality will affect everyone.

The one overarching message I received as a result of reading 'Water: The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power, and Civilization'  was that history has shown us that water management can make or break a civilization. This is followed and linked closely by food supply, which includes a plethora of issues from how food is grown, quality, cost and distribution. I am currently reading 'The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis And What We Can Do To Avoid It' by Julian Cribb [CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Victoria, 2010]. This is a great book to read just after Solomon's 'Water', because the linkages between water and  food with economic, cultural and social health, and thus political stability are clearly apparent.
As a history student [I studied Ancient History and Art History at University], plus  a reader of history books, I have learnt that history is the last and most critical judge. So, politically it may seem expedient to fill government coffers, depleted by the GFC, with the money gained from mining exploration and export, but if it ultimately means we have no, or vastly depleted, food producing capacity plus poor water quality and supply, the resultant human loss and civil unrest, will make the expediency seem inhumane and politically potentially worse. As Soloman wrote but a judgement on our own humanity.
'Damned' [below] says it all really don't you think!? Click on the image and you'll see I have created the dam with the repeated word 'damned'. Surely there is a way for mining and farming to co-exist? I am not anti mining per se, but a balanced and more scientific approach to analysis and risk needs to be undertaken.

Well, now that I have all of this off my chest, I'll return to my mate MYOB!

Damned Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm

More of my posts about water, food etc.


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