Can we accept the message that Gaia is sending us about her state of health and what needs to be done if we ourselves are not to be shown as little more than a footnote in galactic archeology as the instigators of her death by poisoning and asphyxiation? Is this to be our legacy?
Last month I wrote about an optimistic project being carried out in the city of London England that can show the way to all other cities around the globe in the field of self sufficient energy production, small independent power/heat source production units scattered right through the city and eliminating altogether the need to be “hooked up to the grid”.
What I would like to talk about here in Australia is an urgent, critical need to start re-claiming all the neglected rail lines throughout our sprawling landscape to allow the freeways to gradually fall into neglect - except for those parts needed to carry future trolleybuses that must over time replace our cars and buses. One grand ambitious rail building project, completed just a few years ago, joined Adelaide to Darwin and is now forming an extremely important funnel for a large percentage of our exports and imports through the port of Darwin. Prior to this section of railway being completed there was nothing between the two cities except a military link of bitumen built by the Americans during WWII which actually finished at Alice Springs so that there were only dry desert tracks for several hundred kilometres till you reached Quorn (A small town just north of Adelaide) I well remember the trip I made on my trusty Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle in 1950. I completed the Darwin to Alice Springs leg of my journey of 1000 miles in exactly 13 hours - yes I was stupid young fool - I know.
Anyway enough of the reminiscing. I am convinced that the present oil shortage problem presents us all with some marvellous opportunities to start heading in the correct and most efficient direction as far as our transport situation is concerned. We must wean ourselves off oil as quickly and completely as is humanly possible if we are to save our planet from being choked to death. For our long distance haulage rail is the only sensible answer. Rail can also be used to help redistribute populations and industry more efficiently. For commuters in the cities light rail and trolley buses can greatly reduce our dependence on the car.
Reports in today’s press highlighted the lengthy delays encountered by commuters from the north west of Sydney - in some cases a one and one half hour trip from Castle Hill to Sydney centre which 4 years ago took only 45 minutes. A rail line linking Pennant Hills, Richmond, Penrith and Liverpool could eliminate inefficiency of the a bove and induce commerce and industry to re-locate out in these areas where the working population is already concentrated. Such action, however, requires vision and foresight on the part of the present State government and this unfortunately is a quality which seems to be sadly lacking among our present political incumbents.
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