Life is frustrating me with newspaper reports of Australia running out of petrol in a month if our supply is cut off by world events.
It would be so simple to make electric cars and batteries in Australia, make electricity by solar or coal and be self-sufficient transport-wise as a country. We waste about $18 billion a year buying fuel from overseas, so why not spend that money to create the domestic electric transport system in house? China has done this and is on its way to moving its transport system from imported crude oil-dependency to domestically produced electricity.
National Science Week, on again across Australia, annually highlights the fact that we have the smarts to invent solutions. If only our political parties were smart enough to see it. National Science Week is your chance to marvel at discoveries, to relive the old favourites of nature and to enjoy the robots and coding - the new kids on the block - to understand the way of the future. Come to Bots, Beers and Wine at the Ben Ean vineyard in the Hunter Valley, to tinker with a range of cool STEM equipment including virtual and augmented reality, robotic and 3D printing technology.
Attend a creative coding workshop and learn to program for spacecraft and to create music based on astronomy at the Newcastle Museum. Visit UON's Callaghan Campus for a full program of electric vehicle workshops, and a series of four-minute cutting edge presentations that outline how science is changing our world. At Heatherbrae Kevin MacDonald is busy at the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens organising this year's presentation for National Science Week that puts the emphasis on visitors actually trying out plant-related experiments that reveal the complexity and mightiness of evolution to produce our precious, but fragile, biodiversity. I hope that the take home message from National Science Week for you and our politicians will be a better understanding of the importance of science in our daily lives and in our future.
Australia needs a plan in place, based on science, that will see us right for the next 100 years, not just nugatory promises for the next election.
Emeritus Professor Tim Roberts is from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle.