Are you listening to any of this John?


Here’s another thing from The Age. Some of these things are important and it’s a pity that the searchable archive on the paper’s site only runs to 8 days.

Learning the difficult lessons of global warming

By Tracee Hutchison
September 23, 2006

The inconvenient truth just isn’t cricket . . .

Hello, class. Today we have a special guest coming to show us a very important film. But before we meet him, let’s go over last night’s homework. Howard! Macfarlane! Put down your Biggles books, and eyes to the front. Johnny, can you come up to the blackboard and spell carbon-neutral please?

Sorry, Miss, I had cricket practice. I can’t spell it.

Seems like an early start to the season. Do you have a note from your parents?

Well, they said they’d never heard of carbo-nuisance. And they think what you teach isn’t factual, and I’ve got a better future as a spinner, anyway.

That’s disappointing, Johnny. There was a whole section about the school’s carbon-neutral ambitions in last month’s parent-teacher newsletter, after we all got inspired by the Melbourne City Council’s new ecologically sustainable green building. Carbon-neutral is the new black. Everyone’s talking about it. That’s why we’re having the tree-planting day. Aren’t they coming?

I’m not sure, Miss. I think Mum has carbo-ambitions, but I thought it was about Tim Tams. But she likes black. She says it makes her look thinner.

That’s a different concept, Johnny. What about you, Ian? Can you spell carbon-neutral?

No, Miss. I was at cricket too.

What about geothermal?

Is that like geo-sequestration? I think our dog had that when he was a puppy.

No, Ian, that’s a different concept again. How about global warming? Will either of you tackle that?

I’ll have a go at the first part, Miss. G.L.O.W.B.A.L.L

No, Ian, that’s actually a concept related to the factual question.

I don’t understand, Miss.

Well, it’s about the shape of the Earth, Ian, and it’s round, just like a cricket ball. And the early start to the hot weather might be great for a snarling pitch at the Boxing Day Test, but the groundsmen will be watering with recycled sewage because it doesn’t rain enough anymore.

What! You’re lying to us again, Miss! No one in their right mind would think of putting recycled wee and poo on the ‘G. It’s sacrilege. I’m going home to tell Mum on you.

Johnny, please, sit down. Our guest will be here soon. This is what we call a big-picture discussion. It’s very exciting and it’s all about your future. Its about changing the way we think about power and energy sources and water, and taking control of how much we use and when. And it’s a scary thought because some governments like to keep all the power themselves, but this is about everyone being responsible for our future by starting with the little things, even if they seem inconvenient.

My Dad says we don’t do things by halves in our family.

Well, little things make a difference over time, John. Little things, such as changing the flow-control on our taps and choosing renewable energy sources from the electricity company. It’s about having rainwater tanks on all our buildings and grey-water reticulation and solar panels like the ones the school is saving for from our annual snowball drive.

I hate snowballs.

Ian, please, snowballs are important! And many of them are disappearing faster than we can make them. And if the ones at the bottom and the top of the world keep disappearing at the current rate, then the famous pitch in Galle will be completely underwater before Murali’s kids are old enough to play.

That could be good for the game, Miss.

That’s not very sporting, Johnny. Of course it’s not good for the game. The pitch at Galle is part of cricket heritage and it’s only just recovering from the tsunami. But let’s talk more about it after we’ve watched the movie.

Class, can you bring your permission slips to see the film up the front? Ian? Johnny? Do you have your permission slips?

No, Miss. Our parents don’t want us to see that film. They said it’s just misleading entertainment and it says bad things about our Uncle George in America.

But really important Americans like the Murdochs, and even the Terminator, are on board with carbon-neutral. Have your parents seen the film?

No, Miss. They said that the guy who made it is a loser. And that he is just inventing stuff to make us scared.

What kind of stuff?

That one day the world will get so hot it will turn into an ice block and there wont be any central heating. Besides, Mum says people who talk about the weather are boring.

Well, it might be boring now, John, but wait until it’s too hot for cricket and the players want to call off the Ashes.

No! Stop! Youre lying again! I’m really telling on you now. Nothing will stop the cricket on Boxing Day. Nothing! N !

Tracee Hutchison is a Melbourne writer and broadcaster.

  • September 28, 2006