Confessions of a Tree Hugger

Our whistle-stop tour of Tasmania (18 days) reminded me much of my teenage years in New Zealand as a fledgling Tree Hugger. Tasmania itself reminds Kiwis of the home country, with its hilly roads, sparse population and evidence of man’s attempts to harness the wilderness. Tassie’s north-west coast in particular looks like the rugged beech forests of the South Island’s west coast. (Photo: tall timbers at Heritage Point on the Gordon River.) There are other…

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Heatwaves and the Winter Solstice

As the Winter Solstice came and went and our wood heater consumed the last of 2020’s firewood, the US mid-west was  sweltering through an early summer heatwave. Australia is, hopefully, at least five months away from its first hot spell. But in the US mid-west states, which have been in the grip of the worst drought in 20 years, the mercury is rising. Cue Martha and the Vandellas.. Canadian relatives had already been posting photos…

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Rainwater tanks save the day Part II

I had so much correspondence on this topic last week I took up an offer from guest blogger and rainwater tank owner NEALE GENTNER. He writes about his water filtration adventures working in the PNG Highlands and the hard yakka maintaining concrete tanks and plumbing over a 30-year period. I totally agree with Bob’s piece last week on water tanks…except for paying extra rates to council for maintenance “compliance”. Theoretically, under various “Health Acts”, tank…

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Proposed Sun Tax Riles Solar Users

If you are one of the prudent people who installed solar panels over the last decade, you may end up being penalised by new energy market rules. The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has recommended that energy retailers be given the option to charge solar owners a fee to export surplus energy to the grid. Lobby group Solar Citizens wasted no time dubbing the proposal a ‘Sun Tax’ and it’s hard to see it any other…

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