By Sara Dickon

I ABSOLUTELY agree with John Milnes' Conservation Comment last week on water quality. And there was an excellent article, from Neville Johnson on September 22 in the River City Press, on the proposed port. We do have a lot of very good people here in Whanganui ... Congratulations, too, to Chronicle Editor, Mark Dawson, for so many fine articles, and for organising the meetings of the council candidates. I hope that most will be encouraged to vote, it is too late to complain afterwards if you do not vote.

I hope that the instigators of the proposed port take note of climate change. The last storm on the Gold Coast in Australia had 8m -- yes that's metre, not centimetre -- waves dashing on the beach, over the dunes and through houses across the road.

We have had two severe storms here in the past five years, with considerable damage.

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I remember, I think in the 1980s, that the Greens came up with the proposal to install half a kilometre of native bush each side of every waterway: river, stream, lake, and pond in the country. This would have given us a much cleaner river. I know some farmers are planting trees every year on their farms without recognition from the Government for the carbon storage.

It is possible to study the rate of sea level rise on the internet. The latest I have been able to find shows a rise of 8cm from 1995 to 2000. At least it is not in metres. But the prediction graphs often show the hockey stick outline, and this does get into metres if the melting ice from Antarctica and Greenland is included. Perhaps the buildings at the Port should be elevated on poles? Whanganui is in an unusual position on the world stage, having facilities, resources and buildings for more than its present population. So I am hoping that the new port will go ahead as well as restoring and using many of the empty houses.

I have been checking the figures for world population: although the graph is still rising, from 3 billion in 1960, 7b now, to 9b in 2050.

There are many countries showing a decrease at that date. Many Russian and European countries, also Japan, Poland, Italy and Greece. India and the US show a downward curve until 2010. And UK from 2005 to 2010. Twenty countries on the growth scale are headed by Lebanon, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Jordan.

Current estimates of a sustainable population on the planet Earth are between 4b and 16b.

But the ability of the planet to feed the population is estimated to stop at about 10b.

Even the Pope is quoted as saying that South Africa should have available contraception, and pregnant women with the Zika virus should have access to abortion.

Sara Dickon is a committee member of UNANZ and NCWNZ