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Edition 63


Crossing the line

Unknown unknowns in a liminal, tropical world

IMAGINE AN AIRPLANE flying north from Brisbane to Cairns. In just over two hours, it will cover nearly 1,400 kilometres of Australia’s eastern coastline and add 340 kilograms of carbon dioxide to each of its passengers’ personal carbon footprints.

The view from the plane’s left shows the vast space of Queensland: bleached landscapes, tracks gouged through pink-dust earth, paddocks stippled with the shadows of thin trees. Further out, towards the state’s centre, lies the Galilee Basin and all its coal – a huge foetal shape that covers 247,000 square kilometres of complex physiography. The 4.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the largest mine planned for this place is equivalent to nine times Australia’s overall emissions in 2014.

Nine times.

The view from the plane’s right shows shapes beneath a palette of blues – aquamarine; turquoise; a thick, deep navy – with cays and islands breaking the water’s surface. This is part of the... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 63: Writing the Country © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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