Home | Michael Green

Smarter urban water

What happened to the fair go?

Little fox, big problem

After the drought, there's a quiet revolution in the pipelines.

This article was published by the Guardian UK

TWO blue glass boxes rise from the grass next to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. If you glance at them – on your way to an Aussie Rules game, of course – you’ll notice some pipes inside.

Nothing special, really. Only a sewer mineOr, as the officials prefer: the Yarra Park Water Recycling FacilityBelow ground, a large pipe snakes uphill, avoiding tree roots. It taps into the main vein below the snooty suburb of East Melbourne, and sneaks off with its shit.

THE room was already full at Trades Hall in Carlton on a cold Wednesday night in July, but the floors creaked with people still walking in. “I’m not Thomas Piketty,” said Mike Berry, emeritus professor at RMIT, with a wry smile. “I understand some of you were expecting him.”

Piketty, the French economist and author of the best-selling tome, ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, is in great demand – and short supply.

Translated from French this year, his 685-page book sold out all over the English-speaking world. It is already the all-time best selling book for its publisher, Harvard University Press, which ran 24-hour shifts at its warehouse to keep up with orders.

 

In some parts of the city, there are as many as 20 foxes per square kilometre. Are they friend or foe?

IN Melbourne, even foxes like footy. Or, rather, they like football grounds. Last year, the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology used GPS technology to track foxes from Melbourne’s outer east.

One pair lived at Lloyd Park, home of the Langwarrin Kanagroos, throughout the winter. The week after the grand final, the foxes moved on: there were no more sausage rolls to scavenge. “They were there on game days, within 50 metres of hundreds of people – and no one knew,” says the centre’s deputy director, Dr Rodney van der Ree.