tales from urban dilettantia


Fröhliche Weihnachten

Dearest friends, family, nefarious internet buddies and so forth,

This year, as last year, I wanted to give a gift to the the collective you – the multitude of great people in my life who inspire, inform, support, love and entertain me.

Christmas Lights 2010

And so, as last year, I’ve given a little money to a number of the causes you’ve been most passionate and vocal about throughout the year.  (This year, you’ve been so passionate and vocal about so many things that it was more difficult than ever to come up with a shortlist.)  In no particular order:

The Refugee Council of Australia (refugee advocacy), Bibbulmun Track Foundation (maintaining the walking trail from Perth to Albany), Equal Love (marriage rights), Birds Australia (conservation & education), BeyondBlue (mental health), UNIFEM (violence against women), 350.org (climate change).

Thank you for everything you’ve done this year to make our planet a little healthier, happier, fairer or featherier.


I’m gradually catching up with my backlog of photographs (I’ll do the cricket next, alibaster, promise!) and have just put a whole lot of new birdwatching pics from the Maylands – East Perth river path up on Flickr.

Some of these are just trying to get a half-decent ID photo for my birding site and/or Wikipedia, others are trying to push my own abilities and the limits of the lens (70-300mm AFS) and the D70 a bit more.  I’m definitely getting more consistent shots out of it than I was a year ago, although I’m also starting to encounter its limitations under low-light/high-speed conditions.

In addition to the cricket (featuring a streaker – woohoo!) I still have a few more Rottnest Island photos to put up, and a whole lot of the slugs, spiders, butterflies and beetles I’ve seen around my garden.  Creepy crawlies are in good supply around here and are terribly interesting, with the exception of the hordes of inner-north Perth cockroaches who have started to piss me off to the extent that I was threatening Poison Spray Doom.  However, dried catnip saved the day and I haven’t seen a single roach in the kitchen since I scattered it around the bin. (That said, I do worry that an infestation of catnip-crack-addicts may follow.)

Fröhliche Weihnachten

My dear friends, family, internet peeps, gaming buddies, fellow crazy bicycle enthusiasts, colleagues and so forth,

I wanted to give you something this year that was about you – the collective you.  Throughout 2009, you’ve continued to inspire, inform and entertain me in so very many ways.  And so, in your honour, I’ve given a little money to four of the causes you’ve been most passionate about throughout the year.  These, in no particular order, are Electronic Frontiers Australia (internet filtering & censorship), BeyondBlue Depression Research (mental health), Community Midwifery Western Australia (birth choices) and 350.org (climate change).

Thank you for all you do to make my world, our world, a better place.

The Road to Copenhagen

07-18.12.09 Copenhagen

For all those in Perth, this is (at least in part) an information post about the events and Global Day of Action (12 December 2009) timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, 7-18 December 2009.

For anyone unaware of the significance of the conference, Copenhagen is arguably the most significant global climate change event since Kyoto in 1997. From the UNFCCC‘s website:

“The process leading to Copenhagen was launched in Bali, December 2007, when all Parties agreed on the Bali Action Plan – a two-year process leading to an agreed outcome on climate change action in Copenhagen.” http://unfccc.int/2860.php

Some of you (and here I’m thinking the wonderful [info]pokmcfee) will be there in an official capacity, but for those of us in Perth there are still things you can do. For my fellow bicycle lovers, the Global Day of Action kicks off with the Ride For Change, in affiliation with Perth Critical Mass groups:

Ride For Change
Link: Facebook Event
Blog: WordPress
Twitter: @rideforchange
Hashtag: #rideforchange
Date: 12 December 2009
Time: Starts 10am
Where: PICA (Perth Cultural Centre, James St, Northbridge)
What: There will be a short bike ride followed by a meetup with food and stalls in Russell Square.

The Ride For Change is scheduled to coincide up with the 2009 Walk Against Warming which also starts from the Cultural Centre:

Walk Against Warming

Link: Facebook Event
Website: Walk Against Warming
Organiser Website: Conservation Council WA
Date: 12 December 2009
Time: Starts 11am
Where: PICA (Perth Cultural Centre, James St, Northbridge)
What: A similar walk to previous years, from the Cultural Centre to the park at Russell Square followed by speakers (including the Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi) and stalls – in previous years the sustainability information at the stalls has been excellent, so make some time to check them out.

If you’re interested and looking for more resources and ways to contribute, check out some of the following links:

Climate Movement Australia:

Global Alliance for Climate Justice:
Facebook Group
TckTckTck viral campaign website
@TckTckTck on Twitter
TckTckTck FanPage on Facebook
Time For Climate Justice
An article on the TckTckTck campaign
TckTckTck – About The Deal We Need

Australia is only directly responsible for a small percentage of the world’s total carbon emissions. However, we are not only a high per capita emitter, but also punch far, far above our weight when it comes to climate change science. Our scientists are world-leaders in this stuff, and it’s critically important for our political representatives to back-up and endorse their work with appopriate policy on the global stage. Western Australian renewable-tech businesses (including the very impressive ASX-listed Carnegie Corporation) are taking their technology to national and international markets, and we have an extraordinary opportunity to develop other renewable baseload generators such as geothermal hot aquifers. This is far more than technology for Western Australia – it is technology we can export (particularly under the Clean Development Mechanism and its yet-to-be-decided successor) across the globe.

The 2007 results of the UN’s IPCC Fourth Assessment Report indicate that catastrophic environmental outcomes are probable, and indeed criticisms of the report indicate that it actually understates the situation. Bearing in mind that the IPCC is phenomenally conservative body, nothing we see out of Copenhagen is going to look better than this. In fact, it’s a fair bet that it’s going to look much worse.

With various factions within the Federal Opposition pushing increasingly hard against the introduction of the draft Emissions Trading Scheme, this is time for a call to arms. This issue needs to be presented as a no-brainer to all our political representatives, State and Federal, Government and Opposition – stalling tactics, refusal to act, blocking of critical legislation, these things must equate to political suicide. If this is an issue that matters to you, then this is the time to contribute what you can to bring it to the forefront of the public consciousness. Engage in non-violent civil disobedience, culture jamming, bring your friends and family along to the events, write to your Members of Parliament, write, photograph, document, lobby, and do whatever it is that you do. If you have a plan and need help to execute it, tell me what you are doing and I will fight with you.

Because this is our home.


A Node's Place is in the Home Tern, Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour Nudibranch, Arrawarra, NSW Sea Cucumber? Arrawarra, NSW Urchin, Arrawarra, NSW Starfish, Arrawarra, NSW Polychaete Worm, Arrawarra, NSW Shrimp, Arrawarra, NSW Shrimp, Arrawarra, NSW Mollusc, Arrawarra, NSW 

Creative Commons

All content published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.  Sharing is a beautiful thing.

Creative Commons License


@dilettantiquity is interested in an unreasonable number of things, including the wide and wonderful universe, happiness, well-being, wine, optimal human experience, non-violent communication, complex systems, existential nihilism, rationality, technology, grassroots organising, cacophony, music, creativity, learning and love.