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Lowe Tech

Lowe Tech column

The War on Plastic

Credit:501room/Adobe

Credit:501room/Adobe

By Ian Lowe

Our present epoch has been called the Anthropocene because of the dominance of human activity, but perhaps it should be called the Plasticine.

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If a Taxonomist Falls in the Forest...

By Ian Lowe

Taxonomists are so under-resourced it would take them 400 years to describe all of Australia’s species, which means that species are going extinct before we even know about them.

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Investment in Renewables Is Burying Coal

By Ian Lowe

Politicians lobbying for more coal-fired power stations are defying the preference for renewables by both consumers and investors.

Last year the Australian government announced it had support for its proposed policy for the national electricity system. The package was clearly driven by political and economic issues. It did not respond adequately to climate change, but it was at least a coherent approach.

A Second Warning to Humanity

By Ian Lowe

Fifteen thousand scientists have issued a warning to humanity that “many current life forms could be annihilated or committed to extinction by the end of this century”.

Forty-five years ago, the first report to the Club of Rome was published. The Limits to Growth was a fundamental challenge to conventional politics and economics, which presume that endless growth is possible. It used the first global systems model to show that limits would be reached this century, with the most likely outcome a catastrophic decline in the capacity of natural systems to support human needs.

Lift-off for Space Agency

By Ian Lowe

The re-establishment of an Australian space agency is expected to generate billions of dollars after decades of neglect of the sector.

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Recycling Efforts Wasted

By Ian Lowe

Householders might decide it’s not worth the trouble sorting their waste.

A recent ABC Four Corners investigation raised serious questions about the management of waste in Australia. We generate much more domestic waste than most countries. In fact, we are among the worst of all advanced nations on that indicator, so managing that waste stream is important. As most local authorities now support kerbside recycling, it takes little effort from the individual to separate waste. However, the ABC report identified problems after collection.

Thirty Year Warning

By Ian Lowe

CSIRO predicted the increasing severity of cyclones 30 years ago.

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Keeping All the Lights On

By Ian Lowe

A 100% renewable energy system using pumped hydro can store enough power for peak demand at a competitive price to fossil fuels.

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Yes, Science Minister

By Ian Lowe

The merry-go-round of science ministers raises concerns about instability.

Australia has a new science minister, the fourth in the past 18 months. The Academy of Science’s secretary for science policy, Prof Les Field, noted: “This is the kind of instability that would typically raise a red flag, especially for a sector like science where training, work programs, infrastructure requirements and outcomes all have timeframes much longer than election cycles”.

The Eye of the Renewable Energy Storm

By Ian Lowe

Political foes have united in their condemnation of fear-mongering about renewable energy.

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