Water theft a sign of crumbling civilisation

As communities across drought-paralysed Australia patiently wait for rain, reports of water theft, ranging from relatively trivial incidents to a 25,000-litre heist, are troubling. Can we be far from outright anarchy when dishonest (and sometimes honest but desperate), people help themselves to other people’s water? There are precedents for this – just think back to Cape Town‘s ‘Day Zero’ crisis in 2018 when a city of 3.74 million was set to run out of reticulated…

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Resolution: we all want to save the world

Blame it not on the Bossa Nova but on the ancient Babylonians, who, 4,000 years ago, invented the dubious practice of making New Year resolutions. The Babylonians were the first to hold New Year celebrations, although held in March (when crops were sown). The Babylonians pledged to pay their debts and return any borrowed objects (thinks: whoever borrowed Murakami’s ‘IQ84’ and Cohen’s ‘Beautiful Losers’, give them back!). An article in <history.com> cites these rituals as…

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When a church is not a church

The motel manager in Cambridge, New Zealand, told me I could get something to eat ‘at the old church across the road’. It was 8pm on a cool November evening and I was tired and hungry after driving direct from Auckland airport. The old church across the road was hosting a lively Monday night crowd, eating and drinking indoors and outdoors in a trendy bar and restaurant. A waitress, who knew a tired, hungry tourist…

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The budget that forgot climate change

‘The budget that forgot climate change’ may be a slightly misleading headline, even though Greens Leader Richard Di Natale essentially said as much when interviewed on 2GB. He was elaborating on a press release issued on Budget night which castigated the Federal Coalition for virtually ignoring climate change. “(Treasurer) Josh Frydenberg said in his speech that we owe our children budget discipline,” Di Natale said. We owe our children a plan for their future, and…

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