Category Archives: Background

These articles on topics related to global warming and Steve’s trip may be of interest

Global warming – It’s time to act!

Global Warming
This problem is real and it is not going away. The words climate change and global warming are perhaps too soft. What we are talking about is severe atmospheric pollution.

It is all part of man’s inability to live sustainably. What will bite us first, polluting our atmosphere, using up our oil reserves, destroying our fisheries? The list is long. We need global action now. Targets for 2050 are ridiculous; it may be all over by then.

Recommended Reading
“The Last Generation” – Fred Pearce
“The Weather Makers” – Tim Flannery
“Climate Change – Turning Up the Heat” – Barrie Pittock
“Storms of My Grandchildren” – James Hansen

These books are about global warming and what it means. Barrie’s book is like a textbook. There are lots of facts which by themselves, coming from a person of Barrie’s calibre, are frightening. Tim Flannery’s book is excellent and well known but I think Fred Pearce’s is better and it is more recent. If you can take the science and want the absolute best and latest information then Storms of My Grandchildren is the best read.

To understand why we are at this point
“Scorcher” – Clive Hamilton
This is about Australia and the politics around global warming. It makes you understand why Australian policy has been what it has.

“The American Denial of Global Warming” – Naomi Oreskeshttp:
This is an hour long video. There are many ways to reach it but the above is a link. It details some history and makes many things clear.

What you can do
Many sites have a list of things that you can do. Our list is short.

1. Buy green power. Do whatever it takes to get your electricity supplier to provide electricity from renewable energy. Lobby your authority to make it easy for consumers to do this. Convince your friends to buy green power. If you don’t do anything else – do this.

2. Use less fuel. This means driving as little as possible and flying as little as possible.

3. Think about the word sustainable. Try to live your life in a sustainable way.

Sustainability: Forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs – World Commission on Environment and Development

Fossil fuels
There is no doubt. The pollution is caused by releasing energy captured over millions of years in the space of a few centuries.

Clean coal is like a healthy cigarette. It does not exist. Many things are bad. Coal is perhaps the worst of the worst. Instead of spending valuable research on capture and storage of the pollutant, which under best conditions is five times the volume of the original coal extracted, research should be directed to renewable energy.

Coal seam gas is not a transition fuel. It is a perpetuation of everything that is bad in relation to climate change. Additionally, we simply do not know the effect on groundwater despite confident assertions by “experts”.
The technology to solve global warming is available now. The will to do so is not.

Racing the moon

Steve and Denise in the outrigger
Standard OC2 with 2.5kg timber with spare paddle and dry bag.
Bag contains 10m of 8mm rope, nylon cord, sharp knife,
electrical tape, Elastoplast, scissors, sparehat and spare sun
glasses. Denise has a small porthole in front of her with phone,
a small toolkit, protein bars and duct tape. In my shirt with
Velcro pocket covers is my waterproof phone, sunscreen, lip
balm and insect repellent. Denise has a bum bag for drinks and
I have a 1.5L plastic bottle tied on under my leg.

It was 5.20am when we left Ballina.

The sun was still preparing to rise as we crossed the bar but with a 95% moon we could see the waves. The crossing was therefore exhilarating but uneventful. Heading south and with a significant swell coming over our left shoulders, we managed to catch many small runners barrelling along past the familiar beach.

Denise thought it was a good idea when I suggested it a few weeks beforehand. The rest of the club thought we were both stark raving mad. Although there have probably been people who have done the circumnavigation, we doubted anyone would have done it in one day.

The plan was to head south to Evans Head, up the Evans River, through the Tuckombil Canal, portage over the barrage at the Pacific Highway, connect to the Richmond River and then paddle down the Richmond to Ballina. The distance is 91km. The craft was to be an OC2 which is a two seat outrigger canoe. Canoe means paddling with a one blade paddle and after every 19 strokes we change sides. That means as the counter, I have to be able to count to 18. As an IQ test this does not seem too difficult but you would be surprised how hard it can be to get it right 2000 times in a row

Read the full story here.

Cry Me a River (the book)

Cry Me Book Cover

Cry Me A River is the account of one man’s journey to the heart of Australia’s water crisis. A lifetime engineer in the water industry and successful businessman, Steve Posselt put everything on the line to paddle or drag a kayak from Brisbane to Adelaide down the full length of the Darling and lower Murray so he could see, first hand, what is happening to Australia’s rivers.

Along the way he talked to school children, farmers and local councils about climate change, water management and sustainability, eliciting their visions for the future. He started out a water engineer with an open mind and some concerns. He ended up alarmed, ashamed and determined to change.

Cry Me Book CoverAccompany Steve every step of this 3,000 kilometre journey. Weigh up what he saw with what he was told. Experience the adventure with him; the highs, the lows and the occasional confusion. Enjoy the father and son relationship. Make up your own mind about the state of the rivers.

Steve Posselt calls himself a civil engineer who, he says, happens to be able to read the writing on the wall, telling us that our rivers are dying. And after his extraordinary journey paddling and walking thousands of kilometres along the Murray Darling river system which he so entertainingly chronicles here, he speaks with authority. While his journey is exhilarating as he sweeps us along in his personable style, the way he describes the beauty of our landscape and its devastation, becomes a wake up call to everyone in Australia.

We simply cannot continue as we have been – burning fossil fuels, putting in infrastructure to sell our resources to other countries, having questionable irrigation practices and simply taking and taking without heeding the laws of nature. Steve explains how wetlands serve a purpose, how our rivers are the arteries of our landscape and how we must share water wisely – with each other, the wildlife and the landscape and that long term management of the natural systems is a necessary condition of our survival.

Steve’s journey, his knowledge and experiences, are a beacon, a warning and, hopefully, the start of a solution. Join him on his travels through the pages of this book and learn, as I did, how close we are to midnight when our rivers will perish. Steve does not preach, but he is an acute and interesting observer who concludes. . .

“We all want build a way of life that benefits our children and our grandchildren. If what we build is not sustainable, then we have robbed them of their inheritance. From my observations that is exactly what we have done.
Our river systems are precious. If they die, we die. And they are dying.”

“Thank you, Steve – I hear you cry and I cry too”

Di Morrissey February 14 2009

“ This is a ‘must read’ for those interested in discovering how rivers really are the arteries of our country. Steve has chronicled his discovery of the current state of one of our greatest rivers and challenges us all to be a part of the remediation and protection of all rivers. It is a challenge that he has taken on with amazing courage.”
Mark PascoeCEO, International Water Centre

“One man’s amazing and selfless journey to highlight the plight of our major inlands river systems.
Queensland Canoeing wholly congratulates this effort to sustain the waterways for future users.
Mark PriestleyExecutive Officer, Queensland Canoeing Incorporated

“Steve Posselt is one of those amazing people that will risk all for an issue. He doesn’t just talk about the problems facing the planet, he goes and sells his business, gets out there amongst it, and draws attention to the crises that we face. In this easy to read camp fireside chat, Steve vividly highlights the dreadful damage that we have done to, and continue to inflict on our rivers. Highly recommended for anyone concerned about our environment.”
David A Hood, FIEAust CP Eng
Chairman of Australia’s College of Environmental Engineers
Chairman, Australian Green Infrastructure Council