Archive:  Books / Publications

Last Updated  15/10/10



Apollo Bay Activist Puts It All In Print:  "The Great Ocean Gulf - The Story Of A Strategic Planning Fiasco" By John Spencer

(22/5/10 - C)  Excellent, brilliantly-written and thought-provoking book about the Apollo Bay "Great Ocean Green" proposal that saw Colac-Otway councillors sacked for not supporting the mega-development on the Barham River floodplain, written from a community perspective.  A must read for all activists.


You can buy a copy of the book by contacting John Spencer at PO Box 185, Apollo Bay, Victoria, 3233, or by email on  Cost is $27.50 plus $5.60 parcel post (total: $31.50).


MRRA Says:


We have a declaration to make because our secretary is quoted in the book.  MRRA did not however have any association with or role in its production.


That said, this is a sadly beautiful book, so wonderfully written it grabs you from the first paragraph. The sadness comes from the sheer idiocy of the Apollo Bay proposal, and the traction it somehow got which took it all the way up to the Minister for Planning before the gravy train was stopped.  Whither thou goest, common sense?  


The book also highlights the frustration, pain and cost to community when such unsound ideas move forward.  Many of you will be overly-familiar with these circumstances.  If you aren't, you can begin your initiation here.


The author describes the book as potentially being of use to individuals and groups who are fighting their own battles with developments. 


We second that, and heartily recommend this attractively packaged soft cover book as a community asset, not to mention a bloody good read. 


Congratulations John, for a superb effort, a deep compassion, and a valuable legacy.



Just Released Book "The Dominant Animal - Human Evolution And The Environment"

(11/12/09 - O)  Looks At Our Impact On The Planet   


The Dominant Animal
Human Evolution and the Environment
Paul R Ehrlich and Anne H Ehrlich

In humanity’s more than 100,000 year history, we have evolved from vulnerable creatures clawing sustenance from Earth to a sophisticated global society manipulating every inch of it. In short, we have become the dominant animal. Why, then, are we creating a world that threatens our own species? What can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease?

Renowned Stanford scientists Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich believe that intelligently addressing those questions depends on a clear understanding of how we evolved and how and why we’re changing the planet in ways that darken our descendants’ future. The Dominant Animal arms readers with that knowledge, tracing the interplay between environmental change and genetic and cultural evolution since the dawn of humanity. In lucid and engaging prose, they describe how Homo sapiens adapted to their surroundings, eventually developing the vibrant cultures, vast scientific knowledge, and technological wizardry we know today.

But the Ehrlichs also explore the flip side of this triumphant story of innovation and conquest. As we clear forests to raise crops and build cities, lace the continents with highways, and create chemicals never before seen in nature, we may be undermining our own supremacy. The threats of environmental damage are clear from the daily headlines, but the outcome is far from destined. Humanity can again adapt—if we learn from our evolutionary past.

Those lessons are crystallised in The Dominant Animal. Tackling the fundamental challenge of the human predicament, Paul and Anne Ehrlich offer a vivid and unique exploration of our origins, our evolution, and our future.

Check it out at the CSIRO Publishing website


New Book "A Blueprint For A Safer Planet"

(30/5/09 - E)  Economist Lord Nicholas Stern (of "Stern Report" fame) goes a step further.

Go to to find out more.


MRRA Says:


Once you've consumed Lord Stern's latest plea to the captains of the world economy, you might like to revisit the Blueprint For A Green Economy produced by the UK Conservative Party in 2007, and perhaps toss in Hell To Pay, Cities In The Age of Default and Revolt, produced by Brendan Gleeson of Griffith University.


Our thoughts are that all thinking politicians will want to read all of these.  Failing which, our recommended reading to unthinking politicians would be "On The Beach" by Neville Shute.




(28/7/08 - O)  Reviews from Candobetter 


Are we Future Ready?  "The Limits Of Growth" revisited...

July 23rd, 2008

In the early 1970's, a book titled "The Limits to Growth" was published, a report by the Club of Rome on the predicaments of mankind. Ultimately translated in 30 languages, it caused a furore, predicting that should civilisation continue on its present path, it would run out of every resource under the sun, causing a collapse of society and a major dieoff of human population.


Overloading Australia - new book about Australia's overpopulation problem

July 23rd, 2008

"To keep stable and just replace itself, a relatively young population like Australia’s would currently need something even lower than Western Europe’s rate of around 1.3 children per completed family. More like 0.93. And that’s without immigration!"  Mark O'Connor's and Bill Lines’ "Overloading Australia"




Ye Gods!  Is This Where Train Travel In Victoria Is Heading?

(1/5/08 - SG)  'Squeezy' and 'sardines' hardly rate - have a look at how too many people, not enough trains is "handled" in (we believe) China

Click here to see the show. (Note: 5mb file)



UK Conservative Party's "Blueprint for a Green Economy" Shoots Straight, Says It Like It Is

(17/9/07 - E)  AT LAST.  Someone's taking a realistic, if not brutal, look at climate change, social upheaval and the bleak future this world has if we don't start thinking - and acting - differently:  "we need to recognise that fossil energy was, in the words of writer Bill Mckibben, ‘a one-time gift that underwrote a one-time binge of growth.’"  Those times are over...


Liz Minchin, in today's Age says:


"John Howard and Kevin Rudd could learn much from Britain's Tories. SOMETHING extraordinary is happening in politics: conservatives are becoming the new world leaders on climate change. It's just a pity someone forgot to tell John Howard and Kevin Rudd.  Late last week, the British Conservative Party released a 523-page environmental policy document packed with ideas that put Australia's major parties to shame." 


To view the full Age article, click on:


You can read part 1.1 of Blueprint for a Green Economy by Clicking here, or go to to access the full (hefty) document.


MRRA Says:


We've only had time to skim through part 1.1 but it sure enough started us drooling. It's inspirational!  Even the headings say a lot: 


The case for change; Hitting the buffers?; Climate change: the canary in the coalmine; The problem with growth; How government has failed us.


It takes us right back to "Hell To Pay - Cities In The Age Of Default and Revolt", an eerily prophetic 2004 publication by Brendan Gleeson of Griffith University.


As for Blueprint for a Green Economy, the last comment in part 1.1 goes as follows:  "Sustained and inspirational political leadership is precisely what will be required of a future Conservative government.  It will be hard and often very challenging. There is, however, no serious alternative." 


Sustained and inspirational political leadership...  That's precisely what Australians should be demanding at all levels of government - people who think and act differently to those who got us in this mess in the first place.   We agree with Liz Minchin that John Howard and Kevin Rudd could learn a lot from the UK conservatives, but why stop there?  Has anyone given Mr. Brumby  - all State politicians - a copy?   And who's going to be first to send a copy to Macedon Ranges' Council? 


It's time for us all to take a long hard look at the fading future we are creating for ourselves and generations to come by what we thoughtlessly and greedily do today.  In short, there isn't going to be much of a future unless we change.  The warning signs are there already that it's going to be a long, hot summer in Australia, with potentially not enough or expensive food, water and electricity, and way too much fire.


It really is time we stopped thinking like grasshoppers, singing and dancing as if summer never ends, and thought more like the ant, by turning our minds to doing what it will take to survive the hard times ahead.  As a society, we don't actually have a choice - we do it, or we - and other living things - die.  This Blueprint recognizes that, so take a deep breath, and let's get on with it.



"Hell To Pay - Cities In The Age Of Default And Revolt" by Brendan Gleeson (24/9/06 - E)   Published in 2004, this paper pulls no punches about what could happen if we don't heed the warning signs.  More...