Victoria can simultaneously solve Melbourne’s future sewerage crisis whilst building a sustainable carbon credits sector. A common sight for Melbourne’s residents in the 1850’s would have been carts full of “nightsoil” trundling down Flemington Road. Melbourne subsequently built one of the world’s best municipal water systems, supporting the quality of life its residents enjoy today.
The Royal Society’s Council seeks to sharpen the RSV’s role in promoting science-based decision-making in Victoria with the wider community, government and the corporate sector. To this end, we want to ensure our membership has an opportunity to contribute to the establishment of an agreed position on important issues and support new programs designed to engage and empower Victorian communities in plotting their course for the future, providing a science-based, critical resource for all sectors.
Human activities have released significant quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As a greenhouse gas, the more carbon dioxide emitted, the warmer our planet becomes. Partly mitigating these impacts, plants recover 30% of atmospheric carbon via photosynthesis. Using energy from the Sun, they combine carbon dioxide with water to form sugar and oxygen. When the chemical reaction is reversed, carbon returns to the atmosphere – either by cellular respiration in plants and animals, or the burning of coal, wood, or gasoline. Soil scientist Dr Samantha Grover explains that one way of preventing carbon dioxide from returning to the atmosphere is keeping it sequestered in the ground. In fact, there is two-to-three times more carbon in soil than in the atmosphere.
Warmest congratulations to Dr Samintha Perera, this year’s winner of the Phillip Law Postdoctoral Prize for the Physical Sciences!