WHILE I understand the desire to complete Christ Church Cathedral to meet the original design ('Reaching for the heavens', Newcastle Herald 29/1), I believe the spire project ignores the realities of church life in the wider community. Ageing and dwindling congregations have seen the closure and sale of a number of Anglican churches across the Hunter. Locally, those sales have not benefited other parish churches. The money has gone to central funds, perhaps to assist payment of the millions of dollars in compensation to victims of abuse by clergy.
Meanwhile, local congregations are required to raise money for their priest's salary, maintenance of their church and rectory and the 101 other costs associated with the day-to-day work of their church.
In reality, this falls to a few members of their parish council, many of whom are in their 70s and 80s and showing signs of the increasing pressure to meet those costs.
In this climate, seeking grants to erect a spire is unnecessary, unconscionable and a pandering to the vanity of a select few.
A spire will not rejuvenate worship. It will not bring extra people to services.
I believe that if the Anglican Diocese cared about its community, they would ask their parishes about their needs and find ways of raising money to meet those needs.
Name and suburb withheld
ENVIRONMENT PUT TO TEST
I AM appalled that seismic testing has commenced in Lake Macquarie despite the established scientific evidence regarding the severe impact on marine life from underwater blasts. We depend on the natural environment for our recreation, our food, our water and our very lives.
Despite this obvious fact, there is no true value attached to our living environment in Australia. Nothing seems valued by our government unless it is dug up, cut down and shipped out.
The coal industry was not elected by the Australian people to govern our country. The guardianship of our natural environment - clean water, breathable air, arable land, and a healthy marine environment - is clearly not the agenda of the fossil fuel industry. Yet our government gives way to the demands of this industry at every turn.
Australia is renowned for our shocking species extinction record, the destruction of our environment, and for an irresponsible response to the climate crisis. Our contribution to global emissions has led to Australia being justifiably condemned by the international community. Such disregard of both scientific evidence, and community concern, is again evidenced in the decision to allow seismic testing in Lake Macquarie.
We, and all species on earth, depend on a healthy environment. With a government hellbent on extracting all it can from this environment, with no real assessment of the long term cost, the future looks grim. We must strongly oppose any further environmental destruction, because we are now truly in a fight for our lives.
Georgina Huxtable, Hamilton East
SAFETY MUST COME FIRST
I HAVE a boat, I fish and I am a local coal miner. Lake Macquarie is where I spend my leisure time and where my family enjoys our weekends. The lake is our backyard and our playground.
I also want to go to work each day knowing that I will be safe. I want to know there is a very safe distance between me and the bottom of the lake when I am working underground.
The last time Centennial did this type of survey work was perhaps ten years ago. I cannot remember any objections at the time, or impacts for that matter.
Helping to provide affordable energy to our local communities is important to me. However, assurance for me and for my family that my place of work is safe is far more important to me. So, please, leave us alone so we can just get on with our jobs safely.
Michael Cowan, Mirrabooka
CLIMATE'S NOT CHILD'S PLAY
NASA reports that the decade 2010-19 was the hottest in human experience, eclipsing the previous record which was the decade 2000-9. Earth's average surface temperature has risen 0.9 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century with most of the warming occurring in the past 35 years.
The annual global average surface temperature is now increasing at an average rate of about 0.18 degrees Celsius per decade. Leaders from nations around the world have vowed to try to limit the Earth's warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The IPCC reports concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides "have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years" and NASA finds that global greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in 2019. We can't just leave school children to pressure those in power we all need to demand immediate action.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
WEIGH UP ALL THE OPTIONS
I BELIEVE coastal erosion since 2014 could have been prevented if the government minister Greg Hunt and other officials were serious about the loss of infrastructure at Stockton ('Up and away', Herald 12/2) and in fact all north coast erosion hot spots.
In 2014, the NSW government test facility Manly Hydraulics tested a concrete seawall design to extreme conditions. My understanding is that results showed that it was indestructible in all tests. The design is permanent, maintenance free and cheaper to construct than a rock wall.
We have been lobbying politicians for six years now to finance a section of wall in a high-impact area to assess the suitability of using this design where infrastructure is threatened by erosion, but to date without success. The community is paying the price.
John Nelson, Port Macquarie
SUPPLY CAN'T END DEMAND
DR Ben Ewald's article on an orderly transition from coal ('No point delaying orderly retreat from coal', Opinion 11/2) is a good idea. We could see our country reduce our own coal use to nil in maybe a decade. The rest of his article, though, leaves me with more questions than answers.
One of the largest emitters, China, is still building new coal fired power stations. They must be sitting in their board rooms laughing at us. They burn it, and we get the blame for global warming and climate change.
I don't know the answer to stop China and other nations from burning coal. I do believe not supplying their coal is not the answer when they will instead get poor-quality coal from other countries, which will double their carbon dioxide emissions.
We in turn can hold our heads up high and say we have zero emissions because we did not supply their coal, and then stick our heads back in the sand. In my opinion, simply cutting off the supply is not the answer.
Phill Payne, Gateshead
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to Wendy Davidson for her letter on gardening and climate change.