Six years of Gippsland Climate Blogging

After a few initial mishaps I have been regularly posting twice a week on this blog since December 2012. It was conceived as a commentary on climate change related as closely as possible to Gippsland. The first posts, without images, were made by my sister in Canada who presented me with the website (and a twitter account) as a Xmas present in 2012. The first couple of posts were made by her from brief articles from a climate change newsletter I was producing at that time and done before I was aware the website or blog existed. It was a most pleasant surprise and the newsletter was quickly superseded.

Although concentrating on local content occasionally some of the more general posts have attracted international interest. One of these was a post I wrote almost two years ago on the threatening effects of high wet bulb temperatures – basically a measurement of both humidity and temperature. Many people are still surprised to know that wet bulb temperatures over 30 degrees are life threatening and at human body temperature will cause death in a short time. This post still has occasional visitors – six in the last month. Generally in a popular post the interest is overwhelming Australian with unique website visits over 80% of visits. Usually the Australian visitors figure hovers around the 60% mark with the remaining visitors from around the globe and all continents. It is an audience I have never had before.

Statistically the web site visits have grown and currently sits between 500 and just under 1000 unique visits per month with 971 visits a recent high.* So far there have been about 600 posts of 400 to 450 words on average – more than 250,000 words in total. Somewhere between 10 and 20% of the posts are from guest bloggers and others are republished online articles of local interest. This year Paul Treasure’s post on a pumped hydro proposal on the Thompson River was a high for guest posts which was also republished elsewhere and quite controversial.

As works of journalism the posts are sometimes hastily written for a deadline, so occasionally an inaccuracy or small error creeps in, though they are generally as accurate as possible. Where they are basically an opinion piece or some future projection no doubt there will be discrepancies – sometimes large – which will eventually become obvious with hindsight. The blog remains a political, but non-partisan, tool. It is politicised only to the extent that vested interests have, and continue, to overrule best science. Hopefully the blog is having some effect for this cause. To paraphrase Gandhi in one of my favourite quotes: “you may never know the results of your actions but if you do nothing there will be no result.”

*almost all these visitors are to the climate blog with occasional visitors to history articles on the publications page