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In pit of dissed pear, we should still give a fig

SO more than83 per cent of Herald poll respondents support the city plan for new trees including a “broad leaf plan to put to put green back into Newcastle streets” with Manchurian pear trees (“Newcastle’s figs will be weeded out and replaced by an unlikely pear” Herald 15/12).
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There’s the usual emotive photo of a fallen fig tree, even though the overwhelming majority of figs, despite decades of neglect and “trimming” near power lines, survived the recent April storms.

How many respondents have actually seen the planned replacement pear species?

They can beseen in King Street, east of Darby Street and in Scott Street.

They look like glorified poplars and will never achieve a “sustainable tree canopy” or indeed, any kind of genuine canopy.

Perhaps they mean economically sustainable, that is, cheaper to maintain and keep the insurers happy.

The choice of trees has been determined by the usual suspects: the insurance industry with its predictable threats, council risk managers and council arborists towing the council management line.

It’s another example of that awful local government disease, Newcastle Selective Risk Management Neurosis.

There will never be an urban forest with ornamental pear trees.

So sad. So third rate.

KeithParsons,NewcastleReady for nuclearCONGRATULATIONS to world leaders who have now signed a agreement to limit CO2 levels.

Now comes the hard part -the actual putting into practice of what has been agreed to in Paris.

We in this country are going to find it more difficult to reduce the use of fossil fuel for mostly political reasons.

We have a large vocal environmental lobby whocall for the abandonment of coalfor power generation with no replacement for our power needs.

Solar, windand tidal power cannot produce enough electricityfor our needsdue to two things.

Itcannot be stored and the output from all these systems is so small as to be laughable tomeet electricitydemands.

With China building 40 new nuclear power stations and supplying Britain with its newest nuclear station the elephant in the room for is nuclear.

However, our problem is political with the same environmental lobby making such a switch political suicide.

The question of disposal of nuclear waste can be overcome by the same innovationtouted by the environmental lobby.

John Reynolds,Mount Vincent$24 billion flies bySERIOUS questions have been raised about the capabilities of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and its suitability for n requirements.

Nonetheless, in April 2014 the Abbott Government committed to buy an additional 58 F-35s at a cost of more than $12billion plus another $12billion for lifetime maintenance.

Given the projected size of future budget deficits, can no longer afford the extravagant F-35 program.

At the very least, we should buy no more of these aircraft.Spend the savings on education and health.

Raoul Walsh, The JunctionCost of Free thinkingBROADSPECTRUM (formerly known as Transfield Services) runs the Nauru and Manus Island detention camps.

The University of Newcastle has signed a five-year, $88 million contract with Broadspectrum for local campus services.

Student activists have protested about the university’s links with Broadspectrum, a company being accused of alleged human rights abuses at detention camps.

Broadspectrum recentlyrevealed that it monitor theFacebook and Twitter profiles of refugee activists (SMH 2/12).

One wonders if Broadspectrum’s monitoring of activists’ social media profiles extends to students at the University of Newcastle.

It this is the case, students may be in the strange situation where part of their student fees are being used by a trans-national company to collect personal information about them.

Such a situation, if it is occurring, does little in my view to foster an atmosphere of free thinking and fresh ideas which should be the hallmark of any modern university.

David Whitson, Warners BayDeepening troubleWHERE does John Ferris get the incredible idea that “Greens, climate change activists and protesters” think that the only things that affect our health are coal and cigarettes? (Short Takes 15/12).

Evidence please.

By associating coal and cigarettes, he seems to be trying to say that coal is no more threatening than cigarettes, that both are less of a worry than vehicle emissions, and that the Greens, activists and protesters are simply nuisances, almost certainly unwashed, who should be ignored.

Of course, as well as ignoring these conscientious pests, climate change deniers need to thumb their nose at 97 per cent of the world’s top climate scientists who have no doubt that we are in deep, and deepening trouble.

That’s what the last two weeks in Paris were all about.

Glen Coulton,Marmong PointPAY LASTINGRESPECTI FIND it doubly sad for this young couple who lost their child early(“Parents fight for cemetery clean-up”Herald 15/12).

I feel for their grief andI also feel sad about their predicament.

They probably don’t about the concept ofDIY clean-ups of grave yards.

My wife and I are aged in our seventies.

We visit our parents once a fortnight in the summer, and once a month in the winter.

We take with us our whipper snipper and our mower and we do the whole street at the Belmont South Cemetery –we look afterabout 55 graves.

And we are not alone.

Many people tend the graves at the cemetery.

We know that Lake Macquarie Council employees are very busy and sometimes cannot get there to mow and to tend the graves, so a lot of people just do it themselves.

John Matthews, Belmont North TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: Newcastle will never have an urban forest with ornamental pear trees, such as the Manchurian, says Keith Parsons of Newcastle.

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