Book Review: A Million Wild Acres – Eric Rolls

Erica Nash, NPA Environmental Book Club Member

“A story of men and their passion for land; for occupation and settlement; of destruction and growth.”

The Pilliga Forest lies between the Warrumbungle Dark Sky National Park and the Nandewar Ranges and covers about 500,000 hectares. It constitutes the largest surviving stand of remnant native forest in what is known as the Brigalow Belt South Bioregion. It is also a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) for birds such as the Grey Crowned Babbler and the critically endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater to name but a few (NPA 2020).

Book Review: Dead in the Water – Richard Beasley

Dead in The Water: A Very Angry Book About Our Greatest Environmental Catastrophe … The Death of The Murray-Darling Basin, Richard Beasley

Reviewed by David Stead, NPA Book Club

This is the story of the demise of Australia’s largest water catchment system, the Murray Darling-Basin. It covers one seventh of Australia’s landmass, Australia’s two largest rivers and is about three times the size of Germany. At the heart of the story is the need to return to the water system, environmentally sustainable water levels, by clawing back over-allocation of water for agricultural and commercial uses.

The how and why will shock readers.  The current government catch cry of ‘making decisions based on the best scientific advice’ has no place in Murray Darling decision-making as described by Richard Beasley, particularly with respect to the volume of water required to comply with legislation and enable to environmentally sustainable water levels.

Richard is a former Senior Counsel Assisting at the Murray-Darling Royal Commission. He relies on Royal Commission submissions, evidence and proceedings to support many of his statements. Richard provides a quick sketch of the Basin’s history, since colonisation and current uses, before getting into the detail on implementation of the Water Act (2007) and various failed government approaches to preserve the environmental integrity of the Basin. The story is well laid out and written for the average person (not in legalese) although some found there was a bit of repetition and a few too many references to what happens later (or earlier) in the book.

Some will find the message is delivered with a sense of humour that will have you laughing, not about the topic but by the way Richard draws the reader into the story. One example; ‘my publisher has put every competent defamation barrister on retainer … anyone who feels aggrieved … [is] left with the morons’. Richard then goes on to bluntly call out what he terms fact-based negligence, illegality or maladministration by the Murray Darling Basin Authority, governments, some politicians and others.

Book Review: The Curious Life of Krill

Author: Stephen Nicol | Reviewer: NPA book club

‘The Curious Life of Krill’ by Stephen Nicol was the book we discussed at our zoom meeting in March. We were all quite fascinated and had greatly enjoyed reading the book. It is hugely informative, well written and a good size.

Below questions are only a tiny example of all the extraordinary facts about krill we learnt, and the book dives into other important areas such as the protection of Antarctica and associated politics.

Verdict: a must read. – Enjoy!

Book Review: Call of the Reed Warbler

A new agriculture, a new earth, by Charles Massy

Group review by NPA book group

The NPA book group had a very interesting discussion of this rich book on February 8. Members brought different perspectives. Some had farm backgrounds but most of us had not. One member had a family connection to the author. Another has a son considering farming as a career. A third found it valuable to read the book twice.

Book Review: Einstein’s Last Message

Author: Dr Rod O’Connor  

Review by Sam Garrett-Jones

In 1946 Einstein was worried. On the 23rd of June, he gave the New York Times his “message.” He warned, “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive.” Einstein was fearful of nuclear war and human nature. He thought we might destroy ourselves. Since then, our situation has become worse. We now have climate change and far-reaching destruction of the natural world.