2007 Ecological Society Conference

Scenarios through narrative by Rod Safstrom presented at the 2007 Ecological Society Conference Perth to presage presentation of a paper on scenarios and resilience.

Story 1

This from Brad

Hi everyone,

It is November 2030 and I am in Perth Australia. It has been quite a journey, fuel is short and travel expensive. Hey but I am here at last and it is a great place.

It is buzzing, local food markets, vibrant local communities. The public transport works really well. Because it is flat bicycles are everywhere – there are even special carriages on trains for people with bikes. Suits me really well. The real challenge for me is that it is summer and except for some sports grounds and the local vege plots there is little that is green.

Apparently back in 2010 the government put great strategies in place for dealing with the water crisis and looming energy crisis. I was chatting with a mate’s dad. He said some big decisions were made:

  • Sustainable use of groundwater and real emphasis on water for the environment. This allowed the gradual drying of lakes and this has been accepted as a natural process.
  • All possible waste water is recycled with lots used for growing food. Food growing areas were encouraged within urban areas.
  • Local power generation is encouraged and now people even generate enough for their own electric cars.
  • Wave and wind power are used for the desalination plants.

What I like is the vibrancy and sense of community. Its not a boom town now but a real down to earth society – they have to be self sufficient being so remote.

Story 2

This from Joy

Hello, its Joy here! They sent me to Perth Australia, all the way from the east on the train – a great journey.

But its grim here – dry, hot, few jobs, a fuel crisis, energy crisis and food crisis. All brought about by collapse of local markets due to fuel shortages and the drying climate has continued.

They tell me that Perth was mesmerized by the minerals boom in the early 2000’s – all growth and jobs, money flowing and skyrocketing house process. – a fantasy land!

But it kept getting drier, a run of very dry years coincided with energy crisis, the food areas had been pushed out by houses. Water restrictions are very severe as desalination plants were delayed/ no green, very barren and dead gardens. What was worse they kept pumping the groundwater and ecosystems collapsed and water acidification shut down many wells. There was suddenly little water for growing food and fuel, imports tough with fuel crisis.

So I am here to help people develop community gardens – it’s a great job, people are hungry, I am lucky. Lets hope we can turn this around.

Story 3

This is from John

Well what a place. Its 2030 and Perth Australia is an incredible place. Over 2m people and a big wow factor.

Green lawns, plenty of water, great food, lots of high rise buildings, a great coast. I was puzzled, how could this be – Perth is drier and hotter and fuel is scarce.

Well I hear that back in 2010 they decided that nuclear power was the way to go, lots of community resistance so they bought heaps of land in the dry uneconomic farming areas north of Perth to create a great buffer for the power plant. Now there is heaps of power for desalination. They even bring in water to maintain the wetlands.

Other good stuff too. They treat the waste water and kept food production close to the city.

And Perth is like a financial capital and an intellectual capital. The energy plus less globalization has reinvigorated local manufacture so there are plenty of jobs – a real entrepreneurial society.

All OK but down at the pub I was surprised at concern over power. People are saying that if something happened to the nuclear power plant there would be a crisis but government is gunho and not thinking about that.

But I am enjoying myself for now!

See ya!