WE often exhort ourselves and others to walk a mile in others' shoes in order to understand and empathise, something that is often missing in our society. With Australia Day rapidly approaching, can we try to see from First Nations people point of view that celebrating their National Day on the day of the commencement of the occupation of their country by a foreign power is an inappropriate day to honour Australia?
Australians like to be unique, but commemorating the occupation of your country as your national day occurs nowhere else in the world. Most national days celebrate their independence from other powers or their formation as an independent nation. Our current day really celebrates the beginning of offshore detention of convicts from the dominant world colonial power of that time. Please, can we establish a national day that is inclusive of all Australians?
Paul Sutcliffe, Fern Bay
Fight for feral animals off target
I'M generally a supporter of the Animal Justice Party, but on the issue of the Stockton breakwater cats they've lost me. The devastation wreaked by feral cats (including city ones) on Australian native wildlife is beyond argument, and to suggest any feral cat, neutered or not, be released after being caught is nonsense.
Animal-friendly people should be calling for the total removal of all feral cats, by humane means, such as catching and euthanasia. To suggest anything else is simply not friendly to Australia's wildlife, including that living in our cities.
Carl Boyd, Newcastle
Questions linger on breakwall cull
I BELIEVE there are questions that need answering by the investigation into the Stockton break wall bloodbath which is being conducted by the RSPCA. What is the purpose of the Port of Newcastle culling the Stockton break wall cats when the reduction of their population problem was already being successfully managed by the Stockton Stray Cats Project charity at absolutely no cost to the taxpayer? Based on what research was the cull instigated? Who suggested employing a shooter rather than a trapping process be used for the cull in a residential area? Solving one problem by complete annihilation has the potential to create a much bigger one. Once the cats are removed the feral rodent population will keep reproducing and attracting more snakes. Cats are superb snake catchers.
When is the result of the investigation to be presented to the public? I am not an activist, just an old lady who believes in fair play. Being physically unable and a long way from Stockton, I donated over a week's pension to the Stockton Stray Cats Project charity in commendation to volunteers for a job well done and to assist further work on the break wall, and will keep donating.
Bett Gleeson, Muswellbrook
Ship shape is certainly no gas
I WAS dismayed to read that gas-powered ships are being welcomed into our port by Port Waratah Coal Services, and that BHP are ordering more for their future fleet ('Gas-powered coal carrier in Newcastle, Newcastle Herald 14/1). A 30 per cent reduction in emissions may be something to celebrate for the first couple of years, but it is not a long-term solution to creating the zero emissions shipping industry that is required.
In 2018 the International Maritime Organisation committed to a 70 per cent reduction by 2050. I'd be interested to hear how BHP and Hyundai Samho feel they are working to achieve this target. There are other, more ambitious initiatives that should also in my opinion be given air time. Late last year the executive co-head of oil trading at Trafigura suggested a carbon levy of $250- $300 dollars per tonne of CO2 equivalent. Others in the industry and their financiers are investigating zero carbon fuels like biogas, e-methanol and green hydrogen or ammonia. The shipping industry is responsible for 90 per cent of the world's trade by volume and creates around 3 per cent of global emissions according to the World Economic Forum. Let's not celebrate new ships that are designed to run on fossil fuels. Instead, let's join in the global effort to transform the shipping industry to 100 per cent clean energy as soon as possible.
Charlotte McCabe, Tighes Hill
Comparison does no-one a favour
JOHN Ure (Letters, 15/1), lying politicians who can work a crowd and bluff voters are commonplace, but Hitler was unique. He has a few rivals in infamy, but I don't include Trump.
Trump's 'modus operandi' is different to Hitler's. There has been no 'Night of the Long Knives', no Kristallnacht, no Dachau and the Capitol building wasn't torched. Following the Reichstag fire in 1933, Hitler enacted an emergency law targeting his political opponents which included censorship. Shades of the Democrats, mainstream media and Big Tech in my opinion, not Trump. Unlike Hitler, Trump told his followers, albeit belatedly, to go home peacefully.
Trump has no equivalent of the Hitler Youth. He defended religious freedom. Hitler suppressed, indeed persecuted, religious belief. Anti-semitism was integral, not incidental, to Hitler's populism. Unlike Hitler, Trump has started no foreign wars.
I can't help but contrast Mr Ure's readiness to jump on the Orange Hitler bandwagon with his reticence (Letters, 23/12) to even criticise Chinese leaders, who represent a truly totalitarian regime, because they might lose face.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
We're leaving our kids work to do
I HAVE great concern over the world we are leaving for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Technology, which has given us much, leaves an indelible mark on the planet; a planet with limited resources and population capacity.
Since the advent of worldwide industrialisation in the 1850s, the level of CO2 has risen from less than 300 parts per million to 400. The normal carbon cycle is unbalanced. Excess carbon in the atmosphere warms the planet and makes oceans more acidic; putting marine life in danger.
Severe Climate change is predicted unless we stabilise emissions to 450ppm. The world is on the steep rise of the curve at 400pm and increasing.
All renewables have their own life cycle emissions due to embedded activities like mining, manufacture, use and waste recovery. Renewables reduce the amount of carbon we put in, but don't take carbon out. Even with 100 per cent renewable electrical energy generation we are not going to meet any target unless we take more carbon out of the atmosphere.
Carbon Capture from the air, using electrolysis to manufacture a replacement fuel for diesel, looks promising. Overall, the process still has residual added GHG emissions. Tree and plant numbers need to increase drastically.
Net zero emissions is simply not possible with current technologies, I believe. Optimistically, we will reduce emissions far enough to stall significant climate changes until our children or grandchildren find better technologies. In reality there may be economic and lifestyle adjustments in the interim. If still on planet earth by 2100, we have found solutions.
Paul Duggan, Garden Suburb
FOR some time now I have wondered why the US Republicans are called the GOP. Recently I became inquisitive enough to attempt to find out the meaning. It's an abbreviation of the words "Grand Old Party". I'm wondering just how grand the Republican Party members are feeling now.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
AUSTRALIA was formally constituted as a Nation on 1 January 1901. My hope is that next year Australia Day will be celebrated on New Year's Day so as to commemorate the start of the melding and joining together of Australia's shared Aboriginal and British history and heritage.
Clive Jensen, Merewether
DON Fraser (Short Takes, 15/1) obviously doesn't suffer fools gladly and I tend to agree with his distaste for the proposed Coon cheese name change. I wouldn't be surprised if Coonamble and Coonabarabran don't come under scrutiny as well sometime in the near future. Folks in those country towns are likely to be pretty cheesed off if they do.
David Stuart, Merewether
I AM disappointed to see articles claiming that the Barrington is a "raging torrent". This can only encourage the climate deniers among us who pigheadedly refuse to accept our fate of eternal drought because we refuse to de-coal and de-petrol.
Russell Watson, Hamilton
JOHN Hewson (Opinion, 15/1) should be compulsory reading for the Republicans in the senate in America. I know that won't happen but in politics I'm an optimist. Trump had to be impeached because he is dangerous.
Peter Selmeci, Murrays Beach
I FEEL the Stockton cats should have been collected by RSPCA, taken back to their shelters and that they should have tried to have them adopted to other families. That way those who couldn't be adopted would have been given a better way to die. In my opinion shooting a cat is very cruel.
Elaine Cullen, Wallsend
JOHN Arnold (Letters, 15/1) neatly avoids the challenge of defending other dud predictions of the former highly-paid climate commissioner Tim Flannery. In answering his question: I would run a mile from any doctor whose advice was as wide of the mark as Mr Flannery's. I believe our government is acting like a realist on the problem of climate warming while left-leaning alarmists prefer to instil unnecessary panic in the community.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
IF Labor shadow minister Chris Bowen doesn't like what Mr McCormack has to say, he should take his own advice and not vote for the Coalition. Now that's wise advice.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
THE trouble with Donald Trump's supporters is that they are still living in the shadow of the civil war that divided the country one hundred and fifty years ago. And just like the election results they still won't accept the fact that they lost the war.