August 14, 2015: Ranch Life and Sustainable House Day

Wide open spaces in "Big Sky Country"

Wide open spaces in “Big Sky Country”

Montana is known locally as “Big Sky Country” and with good reason. It’s a land of open spaces, rolling plains, sunshine and lots of blue sky. I lived here on a ranch on the Tongue River east of Billings for many years. It’s a breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful place…. such a contrast to the noise, pollution, crime and claustrophobia of Sao Paulo which I described in our Newsletter two weeks ago.

It’s wonderful to be back here for a visit and to work with my son, Sam, fixing fences, riding horses and moving cattle. It makes a father’s heart swell with pride to see his son taking his place among the men of the world.

Sam with his horse "Brumby" by the old barn at Bones Brother's Ranch.

Sam with his horse “Brumby” by the old barn at Bones Brother’s Ranch in eastern Montana.

Sustainable House Day, September 13th

Last year we opened the Greeny Flat for Sustainable House Day 2014. We’re planning to open again this year although we are not listed on the Sustainable House Day Website yet due to technical difficulties. Last year there were three other excellent projects open in our area. They also are not listed yet but if “The Keep” in Buxton and/or Glenn and Lee Robinson’s House in Bundanoon decide to open again this year I HIGHLY recommend a visit to both of them.

I’ll keep you posted once we get our registration sorted out. If you live in other parts of Australia you can find out what homes will be open in your area by visiting the Sustainable House Day Website.

Abbott Cops More Stick

In our Newsletter two weeks ago I wrote about the international criticism that is being directed at Tony Abbott Government for his appalling climate change policies. I’m delighted to report that he continues to cop more of the same. As reported this week on the website, Australia’s clean energy industry has soundly condemned the government’s proposed emission reduction target saying,

‘These targets are vastly inadequate to protect Australians from the impacts of climate change and do not represent a fair contribution to the world effort to bring climate change under control.’

‘Australia has already attracted significant criticism from our trading partners, including China and the US, over concerns we’re free-riding on the backs of other countries’ efforts to tackle climate change. With these targets, we’re a leaner, not a lifter.’

I couldn’t agree more. I’m no political activist, in fact I detest politics and politicians, but I care about the environment and my son’s future. I can’t sit by and watch Abbott’s attempts to destroy the renewable energy industry, promote fossil fuels at all costs and set Australia on a course of local, national and global pollution and consumption without saying something.

NZ Shows The Way

So I was also delighted to read this week that New Zealand is plotting a VERY different course. According to this recent article from the Solar Quotes Blog, the kiwis have announced that they will close their last two coal mines by 2018 and aim to be 90% renewable by 2025.

That’s fantastic and stands in such stark contrast to Tony Abbott saying ‘Coal is the Future’ and ‘I hate renewable energy’. Hopefully some of that thinking will drift westwards over the Tasman before the next election.

‘By announcing that it will support renewable energy in such an emphatic fashion, New Zealand has assumed leadership on renewable energy amongst Pacific nations. This of course in contrast to the Australian policy of deliberately undermining clean energy whether by emasculating the Renewable Energy Target (RET) or gutting clean energy agencies that draw in millions of dollars of financing.’

Finally I can’t resist throwing in another photo from the ranch just for fun.

Sam leaves the barn after a long, hot ride.

Sam leaves the barn after a long, hot ride.

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