Topics re-surface: Year in review from Tasmania | OPINION

Topics re-surface: A year in review from Tasmania | OPINION


Tasmanian columnist Dr Mike Walker looks back at the year that was.



TOPICS: Climate change, Chinese medicine and seaweed were three of the prominent topics Dr Mike Walker tackled within his column throughout 2020.

TOPICS: Climate change, Chinese medicine and seaweed were three of the prominent topics Dr Mike Walker tackled within his column throughout 2020.

IT'S come again. The annual request from the editor to review the year from my perspective.

This request seems to be coming round more rapidly, but that's a fact of life.

When you're 10 years old, a year is obviously one tenth of your age.

When you're 70, it's only one seventieth.

It's quite enlightening to read again what I've submitted this year.

I was asked to review what I'd written in previous years, for the 30th anniversary edition in June.

I mentioned two themes then and they have continued this year - climate change/global warming and seaweed.

I will try very hard to keep away from the first next year, as I freely admit I'm too emotionally involved.

I raised this in January in my column: "Is it wrong to be a climate change sceptic?"

I quoted Barry Jones: "There is a retreat from evidence, rational argument, analysis and the use of statistics. In controversial areas, such as climate change ... feeling carries more clout than evidence."


"Meanwhile, expert opinion is denounced as 'elitist'. Politicians are no longer constrained by a moral obligation to tell the truth, and the quality of political debate on climate change has been abysmal for the past decade."

I also quoted "The real Global Warming Disaster", in which Christopher Booker concludes that the hype is being generated by those with shares in companies producing "renewable" products.

You may remember me saying in a previous column that when I was at school in the chilly Cotswolds, we were taken to a nearby terrace, where the teacher explained that this had been a vineyard in mediaeval times. It has taken till now for this to be repeated.

These cycles have been going on for thousands of years.

Seaweed is a totally different theme. I wrote this up in my October column, when I featured the activities of Kelpomix Pty Ltd and Chis Russell.

Tasmania is ideally located to become the centre of new enterprises which emphasise the benefits of seaweed.

As I recalled then, seaweed has not always been the "flavour of the month" (mixing my metaphors) - it now looks as though it will be a dynamic growth centre.

I'll keep an eye on this in future columns. A third theme is rapidly emerging - Chinese medicine.

Most of the plants used in this could be grown in Tasmania.

I mentioned this in my February column on Ginseng.

This was followed up in July, with an interview with Professor Dugald Close at UTAS.

He said: "This is an exciting opportunity to develop a potential export sector and further diversify Tasmania's export sector.

Our two main objectives are to identify herb crops of interest to Chinese markets that match Tasmania's growing condition, and to develop agronomic production systems and post-harvest processing approaches and techniques for product development."

My fun column was last month, which was about wine labelling.

I still chuckle when I recall the comment by the Professor about the wine he had just sampled.

I look forward to another (often) fun year.

  • Dr Walker welcomes feedback:

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