How Trev got into renewable energy

PLUS Trev’s Brisbane Forecast for next 7 Days from 14 September

I commenced mechanical engineering studies at Queensland Institute of Technology (now QUT) in 1970. It was a very conservative institution and I was becoming politicised (and educated) through the influence of my older brother, Peter, regarding both environmental and political problems. This included of course the Vietnam War. But there was no-one in my engineering classes who was active in protests in either of these areas. All the engineering students seem to want to do was get drunk and talk technology.

Environmental problems that were starting to concern me revolved around pollution from fossil fuels. So I started to read about “alternative energies”.  The first influential book that I read was  “Alternative Technology and the Politics of Technical Change” by David Dickson (1974), a British mathematician who become general secretary of the British Society for Responsibility in Science. This book made me aware that a specific technology was not politically and socially “neutral”, that it was created by people with specific underlying belief systems and values, with a purpose in mind. That technology could be put to social good or misdirected and produce poor environmental, social and political outcomes. Then I read the “Limits to Growth” report from the Club of Rome. I began to see that there were consequences of modern society’s trajectory of consumption of both energy and materials, and resulting pollution of our life supporting ecosystems.  As well, report that I read indicated a very unfair distribution in access to energy and resources, with 20 percent (the rich part) of the world’s population consuming 80 percent of these resources, a figure that continues to this day! 

With the encouragement of one of my lecturers, I entered a student essay competition in 1976, run by the Australian Institute of Energy, on “Energy Futures”. My essay was about a transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy to renewable energy. I came second in the competition. The winner wrote an essay about the continued expansion in the use of fossil fuels!! I was naïve to think that a transition to renewables would be taken seriously by an organisation dominated at that time by fossil fuel energy professionals. We are now clearly seeing the negative impacts from our continued use of fossil fuels on our climate and day to day weather!

The weatherBrisbane Forecast for next 7 Days from 14 September
Well we are seeing very repetitive weather patterns at this time of year. That’s not unusual. So this coming week will be similar to last week – warming up through to Saturday and Sunday as a northerly winds predominate to the east of another front and trough as they move across from the west.

Maximum temperatures will be around 25 degrees Celsius most days.

But the hottest days are always when the wind swings to the north-west and then west. This is predicted to happen by Monday with a maximum of around 33 degrees Celsius.

Nights should be clear and cool, ranging from around 11 to 15 degrees C. There may be a chance of a shower or storm cell by Monday as the front and trough system pass over us. Again make sure you have the sun cream if out and about.

See ya next week. Trev the Weatherman

Source: Bureau of Meteorology and

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