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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nearly knowing John Clarke

    • Brian Matthews
    • 13 June 2017
    2 Comments

    One of the 30 comedians, satirists, cartoonists and writers they interviewed was John Clarke. 'I first met John Clarke five years ago,' Murray recalls in his 1992 introduction to the interview, 'even though we grew up in the same town in New Zealand and for a while went to the same school. My claim to fame is that I nearly knew John Clarke. Recently when we looked though his school photos we realised that we knew every kid in Palmerston North in 1960 except each other.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    On Aboriginal land: seeking a place at the table

    • Frank Brennan
    • 31 May 2017
    6 Comments

    Indigenous leaders this last week have called for the creation of two new legal entities. They want a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission set up by legislation. The Makarrata Commission would supervise agreement making between governments and First Nations and engage in truth telling about history. The envisaged destination is a national Makarrata (or treaty). So the immediate constitutional issue is the creation of the First Nations Voice. There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of Indigenous Australia. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the voting public.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding my grandfather

    • Wally Swist
    • 29 May 2017
    2 Comments

    There is the photograph of my father's father in military uniform, an Austrian, serving in the Polish cavalry in WWI, standing ramrod straight. It is he whom I think of when I find myself dowsing my genome for answers regarding my origin, the deep pull that draws me to the late symphonies of Mozart, Rilke's angelic mysticism, and, as a child, to Krapfen and Apfelstrudel ... That grandfather died shortly after returning to his farm from the results of having been a victim of a mustard gas attack in the war.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    If you vote for me

    • Bill Rush, Marlene Marburg, Maureen O'Brien, John Cranmer
    • 22 May 2017
    3 Comments

    Cars will be turned into flutes; sheep graze in public parks. Trams will be lined with books; prisons, wisteria-walled. Politicians will sing in choirs; accountants taught to tango. The old will have honour and cake and a licence for practical jokes. The middle-aged will lie on grass and watch the procession of clouds. The young will be loved and learn that to live is to be slowly born.

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  • RELIGION

    Becoming a church for mission 2030

    • Frank Brennan
    • 17 May 2017

    As the Church of 2030, we need to be more attentive to the contemplation of believers and our experience of spiritual realities, as well as the preaching of the church. Pope Francis has no time whatever for the notion of the Church as a perfect society. But, there is no way that Francis wants to abandon the ideals and the commitment to truth and justice so well exemplified by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate change is the elephant in the budget room

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 11 May 2017
    7 Comments

    When Scott Morrison announced the 2017-18 Budget this week there was one phrase he didn't dare to utter in his meticulously written and rehearsed speech. It's just two short words, climate change, but when used together they conjure a public debate even our minister for the environment gets tongued tied over. Morrison's omission of climate change in the federal budget has set a tone of ignorance to improving energy policy in a meaningful way.

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  • RELIGION

    Finding meaning in a chaotic/changing world

    • Frank Brennan
    • 08 May 2017
    1 Comment

    Our Church is presently a strained, outdated social institution with an exclusively male hierarchy and clergy. But it is also the privileged locus for us to be called to the banquet of the Lord sharing theology and sacrament which have sustained the hearts and minds of similar pilgrims for two millennia. Thank God for Pope Francis who is showing us the way, helping us to find meaning in our changing and chaotic world, putting a fresh spring in the step of all those Catholics holding in tension the prophetic and the practical, the theological and the humanist, the tradition and the contemporary reality.

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  • RELIGION

    Easter illuminates Anzac Day rhetoric

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 24 April 2017
    3 Comments

    The transition from Easter to Anzac Day in Australia can be a strange one, particularly when the two celebrations come in the space of two weeks as they do this year. At Easter, we move from the terrible desolation of Good Friday to the joy of Easter Sunday. It's the foundation story for the Christian faith, and speaks of the arrival of new life and hope for the world. Anzac Day forces Christians to confront a different reality - that this new hope has yet to be fully realised.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The wondrous life and death of Japanese cherry blossoms

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 20 April 2017
    4 Comments

    Cherry blossom season in Japan is anticipated all winter long but when it arrives it is nothing more than a tease. It is a kind of new year, a starting over, a washing clean of the slate and beginning afresh. But these blossoms hold in their being the promise of death. 'With cherry blossoms, we start things over,' translates my guide, from a haiku. 'And we find beauty not only in the cherry blossoms but also in how they flutter to the ground.' It's from that fluttering that we derive the most valuable of lessons.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate pipe dreams

    • Greg Foyster
    • 31 March 2017
    5 Comments

    About 40km from Warrnambool in south-western Victoria is Australia's first demonstration site for storing carbon dioxide pollution deep underground. In photos, it doesn't look like much - a few water tanks, sheds and pipes in a brown paddock - and yet plans to meet the internationally agreed climate change target are betting on the success of projects like this. This isn't a fringe strategy anymore. It is a big part of the mainstream, politically preferred approach to address global warming.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    People power the solar revolution

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 27 March 2017
    14 Comments

    Earlier this month Tesla launched the Powerwall 2. In the transition to renewable energy, it may be the biggest disruption to hit traditional energy companies yet. In fact, it's probably their worst nightmare. Our role in energy under this innovation has changed from us being consumers to possibly all being providers. Just as Uber disrupted taxis and Airbnb disrupted traditional hotel chains, so too will the Tesla battery change our relationships and transactions with energy.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Daniel Berrigan's rebel spirit

    • Juan Garrido-Salgado
    • 27 March 2017
    1 Comment

    Pain is a cold food like garbage left, no compassion ... Compassion, bread and old wine, waste in a temple to worship money and power. Mankind has lost its root system thirst for happiness. Our bread is autumn leaf tossed into the branches as the bird dies. They make wine from the waters of these rivers suffering bloodied by the blood of Syrian children. Wine is the blood of indifference on the streets of Palestine. The wine is the blood of cruelty in Nauru ... why are you silent?

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