In this issue

Issue 13


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Husbanding our coal resources
Like a flash of light in the cosmic darkness, this planet's fossil fuels will have disappeared — gone forever — within a few hundred revolutions around the sun: a mere fleeting event in its history.
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Domestic animals gone bush
Despised vermin to some of the graziers who live near them, the brumbies, scrubbers, wild pigs, and other livestock running free in Australia — our feral animals — have become part of our folklore. They break down fences, foul waterholes, entice valuable stock away into the bush, and could become a reservoir for disease. Some conservationists claim that they threaten wildlife habitats and ruin wilderness areas. Yet, apart from the tales of bushmen and a few general studies, we know very little about them.
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Greening up Sydney’s outer fringe
Sydney's western suburbs continue their inexorable spread over the flat plains, pushing closer each year to the foothills of the Blue Mountains. A tedium of roads, houses, and tiny backyards dominates the landscape — unrelieved by the native trees and shrubs that used to flourish there.
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Light in murky waters
One of the remarkable things about Australia is that it has so few natural lakes. And, except in Tasmania and the Australian Alps, most of those that we do have are salty and not permanent. Our generally low and erratic rainfall is partly to blame, so water is very important to us. We have therefore invested heavily in creating artificial fresh-water storages — both large reservoirs and farm dams.
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Cleaner effluents from wool-scouring mills
Wool-scouring—removing the grease and dirt from wool — yields a murky effluent. Not so long ago nobody worried too much. Scourers here and overseas were able to discharge their waste water cheaply into city sewer systems.
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Insect migrant seen in city trees
The oak leaf-miner, another insect immigrant, has arrived in Australia. It was first recorded in Canberra during the summer of 1975–76 after Mr C. Nazer of the Canberra City Gardens Administration submitted two adults to Dr Ian Common, a curator of the National Insect Collection at the CSIRO Division of Entomology in Canberra.
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Handling pesticides
Many pesticides are dangerous. But all can be handled safely if proper safety precautions are observed. With this in mind, CSIRO has produced ‘Code of Practice for Safe Use of Pesticides’.
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Keeping watch on the world’s air
In the last issue of ECOS we published an article about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. It cast doubt on the now widely accepted view that the world's carbon dioxide levels are rising because of the fossil fuels burnt in industrialized countries. Instead, it suggested, concentrations of this gas in the atmosphere pass naturally through long cycles in which the levels rise and fall considerably.
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Shrinking snow gums
If you are the skiing type, ponder the snow gum next time you indulge in your favourite pastime. Those little trees on the snow field are probably quite a bit thinner than they would be in warmer weather.
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