Concrete is causing the world's demise

Concrete is causing the world's demise


Opinion
John Carter says nobody will acknowledge that humans are the cause of the extinction of species, as they cover the planet with houses, roads and runways.

John Carter says nobody will acknowledge that humans are the cause of the extinction of species, as they cover the planet with houses, roads and runways.

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John Carter believes our built environment is fast outgrowing our natural environment.

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In the 1980s I agisted cattle in Kellyville, St Marys, Camden and Campbelltown. That grass is now all under houses. Cattle can't graze on either iron or tile roofs.

"Typical one-eyed farmer" the Greens will say "cattle, farming and land clearing is the problem." I respond with "have you had a look outside your suburban home or down from your concrete and steel unit tower?"

I winced as I watched about 1500 square metres of rich, basalt soil in Crookwell go under concrete for a garage outlet. The soil could grow anything. Australia has so little good soil with a decent rainfall.

Concrete is the greatest single threat to the environment. Our built environment is fast outgrowing our natural environment. The Guardian's environment editor, Jonathon Watts, has done great research into the disaster.

The world's annual production of concrete, if spread at patio depth, would now cover all of England - every field, forest, golf course and garden - in one year. This needs repeating - all of England in one year!

Production has gone from one billion tonnes to four billion tonnes a year over the past 30 years and is increasing. The new runway at London's Heathrow Airport took one million tonnes. Every wind power turbine needs 300 tonnes underneath it to anchor it. Solar farms cover big areas and increase heat.

If compared to a nation's emissions, concrete rates third behind China and the US. It accounts for 8 per cent of the world's emissions and uses 10 per cent of its industrial water.

Covering soil with concrete increases runoff and flooding. It increases heat by up to 10 degrees.

Concrete has been used for more than 3000 years, with the Romans perfecting the art with the Colosseum and the Pantheon requiring no steel reinforcement and still standing after 2000 years. Their cement was based on volcanic ash, whereas we now we use lime.

China is now creating half the world's cement and its government is concerned at the breaking of the people's millennia-old relationship with the soil in the growth/GDP/population growth race to oblivion.

This should be obvious to any farmer with his or her finite boundary fence, but not to the world's financiers, developers and their bought politicians. Not to school children and some teachers protesting on climate change. Not to those wanting more immigration to lift our GDP.

The Japanese rebuilt after WWII with huge concrete use, the US followed, now China and Brazil are exploding.

We have numerous international committees pointing to the galloping extinction of species. No one seems to acknowledge that humans are the cause, as they cover the planet with houses, roads and runways.

China did try with its one child policy, but the rest of us refuse to look at the reality. Current population growth is unsustainable.

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