Generic bogan bloke giving thumbs up istock
Generic bogan bloke giving thumbs up istock

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Is Rockhampton a ‘feral’ town?

It’s time to work on our image problem

THE latest horror bumper sticker to grace Rockhampton’s streets read “I’m not always a b*#@%, just kidding, go f#$& yourself”!

This was a reminder of my plan to one day write in about all of the disgusting ones I had seen over the years! Why are these people so angry that they need to offend strangers?

It started me thinking about why Rockhampton has difficulty attracting qualified people to work here and why the council has to work so hard to attract investors.

You don’t have to be a snob or a hipster to be turned off coming here. I know many decent and appropriately behaved people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, so that is not the problem.

One difficulty is that there are many local people whose feral behaviour leaves outsiders heading for the hills. I recall a letter to the editor some years ago outlining how two paediatricians changed their minds about coming to Rockhampton because they saw the TV reports of our floods and got a good look at the residents who were being ferried by boat from the Fitzroy Hotel!

Those locals who display decent standards need to support others they know to uphold similar standards.

Suggestions include smiling at people in the street, driving safely, using appropriate grooming and hygiene, providing excellent service, maintaining orderly behaviour in public, keeping premises in good condition, being well-mannered and considerate, helping those who need a hand and reacting in a friendly way when approached by people new to town.

Oh, and if you have false teeth it might be good to wear them! Readers could SMS the Bulletin with other suggestions.

I would encourage us all, including local media, to work on the local image. We have nothing to lose and it might help us improve the employment, health and morale of the community as well as stopping the ‘brain drain’. Now I’m off to take my own advice!

Karen Joncour Frenchville

We’re in the thick of an existential crisis

WAYNE Nutley’s letter of 23 January would have to be one of the most dangerous pieces of fiction I’ve read in a long while. Myopic, ill-informed but well enough written so as to appear reasoned and rational.

In the 1970’s terrariums were popular items of domestic décor. They were glass containers planted to look ‘natural’ with living plants growing in soil, provided with sufficient water and then sealed up to be a functionally sustainable ecosystem. They seemed so simple and easy to set up and then let run. Most of us quickly learned it was not that simple. Light, heat, water and all the micro-organisms needed to keep the system working were not so simple to balance after all.

We live in a natural terrarium called Earth. Overwhelmingly, evidence points to rising global temperatures, resulting climate change and deleterious impacts on just about everything that underpins our very existence. Lots of evidence across lots of disciplines is accumulating and it’s all pointing in one direction. Yes “our entire civilisation as it now exists depends critically upon fossil fuels” but fossil fuel use is undermining everything else that we depend on for life itself.

That’s why it’s an existential crisis. When crops fail and livestock die en masse, across vast global stretches of previously productive agricultural land, when we can no longer feed the unprecedented human population (8 billion and growing) no matter how efficient our supply and distribution systems, it’s an existential crisis. When the wild species that provide so many ecosystem services (that we don’t even know about) are going extinct in large numbers, it’s an existential crisis. When extreme weather events affect our major cities and wipe smaller towns off the map, it’s an existential crisis (it’s also an economic crisis and a trigger for mental health crises). These are not ‘post modern constructs’, these are actually “objective truth based on reason and evidence”.

It’s not about ‘saving the planet’ as the planet is a lump of rock on an orbit in space. The planet will go on. It probably isn’t even about saving ‘life on Earth’ because while many species and many ecosystems will die, others will rise to fill the voids. What will the planet be like then? And what life forms will inhabit it, once we’re gone?

Finally, most of us scientists aren’t funded to do research. Most of us are paid to do jobs, whether in private enterprise or the public service, as educators or in professional and technical roles. We don’t have “ready access to generous funding for research”. Most of us are also quite capable of critically reading the research that is published in our field – not just the results section but the background and the methods and materials. If the background information is wrong or the methods and materials faulty, we’ll be the first to identify it and call it out. We live on the planet Earth and hence for us global warming, climate change and the resulting existential threat is real and personal. Hence there are both personal and professional incentives to identify errors in the science. No credible evidence has yet been found to say the science is wrong.

Disclaimer: the views expressed are my personal views and not those of my employer.

Susan Cunningham Koongal