Moving Planet 2011

A lot’s happened since my last post. I’ve moved house, for one thing. I’m also writing my first proposal to use a genuinely world-class (8-meter diameter) telescope, about which more later… maybe. I’m thinking about travel for the southern-hemisphere summer — it would be really nice to go home to the States for Christmas this year, since I missed it last year. The SkyMapper imager has been having some technical difficulties and has been in the instrument clean room at Mt. Stromlo for the last few weeks… as with other things, more later.

What I want to write about today is Moving Planet, the international day of climate-change activism that happened this past Saturday, September 24. Anyone who’s donated to the usual organizations (1sky.org, 350.org, and so on, they’ve all sort of joined forces these days) should have heard about it. Pick a city, there was some kind of demonstration going on. Some of them back in the States seemed like crazy good times — one of my favorites is the one that happened back in New Haven, where they held a bicycle-powered screening of WALL-E that evening in New Haven. This struck me as fantastically cool, since you have a topical movie being powered by people who are at the same time continuing to demonstrate and show their commitment to the cause. Sweet!

The Canberra event was smaller, about 60 people at my estimate — a function, perhaps, both of Canberra’s relatively small size and of the weather, which was cold and drizzly. I picked up a Pedal Power membership form (which I’d been meaning to do), exchanged pleasantries with the organizers, waved a sign saying FUND CLEAN ENERGY around while listening to appropriately hippie-style music (Joni Mitchell covers?) and inspirational speakers (sometimes I think it wouldn’t hurt the environmental movement to be a little more image-conscious, but I like Joni Mitchell as much as the next tree-hugging, latte-swilling New England liberal) and then joined the cycling convoy towards Parliament House.

Once we were there, much chit-chat and standing around ensued, until eventually we all laid down our bikes in the shape of “350” (a la 350.org) and joined hands in a circle around, waiting for the passenger(s) of a plane flying overhead to take our collective picture. Here’s how it turned out (can’t figure out how to include it inline, oh well).

A sequence of photos from the event itself:

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In related news, I made the mistake of reading comments on an article emailed to me claiming that local, organic food was “bad for the world’s poor”. The proponents of this point of view appear to be, not surprisingly, free-market conservatives a la Tea Party. I’ll post more about this — yes — some other time. :)

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About Richard

I'm an American scientist who is building a new life in Australia. This space will contain words about science and math, but also philosophy, policy, literature, my travels, occasional rants, all sorts of things I find strange and awesome. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer at the time (currently University of Sydney), though personally, I think they should.
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