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Crimes against nature

No such place as away. This children’s book offers an opportunity for children (and their adult readers) to observe and explore relationships in nature. It provides ways of discovering how these ‘things’ move and change and to find out that we are kidding ourselves when it comes to tossing stuff away, since there is really no such place – as away.

A to Z of Australian Plants is authored by Catherine Clowes and illustrated by: Rachel Gyan.   
Discover and identify native plants found in your local park, bushland, or in your own backyard.
Its a perfect balance of fun facts, activities, adventurous ideas and gorgeous illustrations.

Western democracy has always been anchored by the idea of a public space where people gather to share ideas, mediate difference and make sense of the world. When Facebook blocked Australian users from viewing or sharing news in 2021, it sounded the alarm on our growing reliance on global tech companies to fulfil this critical role in a digital world. Can we engender a civic platform built on facts and civility?  To promote the common good? The Public Square Project attempts to chart a path towards a public square worthy of the name.

For too long ordinary people have been singled out – their actions, and consumption habits, blamed for behaving badly towards nature. Instead, we should be pointing the finger at large corporations, and growth-based economics. Jeff Sparrow, in his book Crimes Against Nature, Scribe, argues that unless the economic system changes, no amount of recycling, or individual action, is likely to achieve much. He tells Paul Barclay (Big Ideas, ABC) that, he is optimistic, because he believes collective action can bring about real change.

Croak is a collection of delightful quotes and gorgeous photographs celebrating the underappreciated beauty of frogs. Many of the stunning images were taken by author Professor Phil Bishop. They show-case frogs in their natural habitats, paired with quotes from people such as Cameron Diaz and John Steinbeck.

Australia is the world centre of orchid biodiversity. Once thought to be just a few hundred, we now know of at least 1,300 species. Peter Bernhardt talks with Robyn Williams, ABC RN about  when a species should be split into two or more subspecies.  A Complete Guide to Native Orchids of Australia by David Jones.

Is there any such thing as a truly ‘wild’ animal anymore?

As human populations expand into what was once the territory of wild animals, we’ve drastically altered their natural environment and living conditions. The dilemma of how we should consider and treat wild animals, has never been more difficult than it is now. So how much should we intervene? 
Emma Marris, environmental journalist, and author of Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-Human World, talks with Hilary Harper, Life Matters, ABC RN 11221

Throwing away this valuable resource might not be such a good idea
Did we know that everybody passes about a pound of poo a day? What to do with it?

Some people, maybe a lot of people, start to squirm when the subject turns to what comes out the other end. But since it’s an extremely normal bodily function why are we so reluctant to talk about it?

Lina Zeldavich  says in The Other Dark Matter (on ABC RN) ancient cultures used it as manure for the soil. Should we be doing that now? Today ‘scientists are looking at excrement in the same way as our thriftier ancestors did centuries ago—as a resource, not as waste’.

MMM … Issue 26, 2022