Posts Tagged ‘biodiversity’

I will Jail you and Feed you

August 23, 2010

Koalas on the Tweed Coast, Northern New South Wales,  face possible further imprisonment behind fences, without opportunity to interact with surrounding wild populations. Other native animals, caught behind this proposed fencing will also be imprisoned.

More bluecray KOALA articles can be found on this link HERE. (bluecray.org- Environmental Advocacy for the Mt Warning Caldera Region of NE NSW and SE QLD.)

Bluecray.org BIODIVERSITY LINKS : –  some useful  links for Biodiversity, Flora, Fauna, Koalas, Ecology and Catchment Management – Tweed Shire, NSW, Australia

PLANNING GUIDELINES FOR KOALA CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY – C McAlpine – 2007:- search results bluecray environmental search engine

SEPP 44 koala plan of management -information and links at bluecray environmental search engine

Nature Conservation Council (NSW) and Koalas – June 2010 – Assessment of Koala’s eligibility for listing as a threatened species under EPBC Act

LEP’s and SEPP’s at EDO (Environmental Defenders Office) – Factsheets to help you understand State Environmental Planning Policies – NSW, Australia

Developers to Face Koala Conservation Test” – article at Daily Telegraph by Vikki Campion (August 20th, 2010).  “Biodiversity program leader Mark Kingston, on the new Tweed Coast Koala Advisory Group, said the study results so far painted a bleak picture.” In this article, there is reference to the idea that the North Coast Koalas could be fenced, imprisoned and locked up  in some type of “sanctuary”. The idea is highly incompetent, when it comes to regional habitat management and authentic Environmental Stewardship.

Whilst the colonial sentiment of imprisonment ( such as to restrict anti social behaviour involved in taking food to survive) combined with the “victorian” attitude of capture and keep may have worked in a bygone era, this is 2010. Koalas have disappeared from the Tweed Coast because no one listened to the Koala Advocates back in the 70’s, 80’s and ’90’s of last century. This is called lack of precaution, and is sometimes used as a reason in Courts of  Law to point out that those in power have acted without due caution and care to future, possible or likely foreseeable events.

Concreting the Coastal 2003 : Clearing and Development Pressures on the NSW Coast 2003 Total Environment Centre PDF – this compiled resource by the TOTAL ENVIRONMENT CENTRE show problematic development, land clearing activity, approvals and proposals in coastal nsw 2002 -2003. It looks at the larger, more controversial, uncompleted developments at that time – (not the smaller, under the radar ones, nor the already completed ones). This is an excellent recent historic resource.

The current mood of acceptance that Koala populations are in dire trouble shows to me, that those in Council, now admitting the issues, have previously been well informed of the Koalas’ plight, and previously did not take the due care and necessary actions to preserve Koala populations over the past decades. Only very recently they (NSW Government, Tweed Shire Council) approved developments amidst outcries that this  imminent localised Koala extinction was about to happen in the foreseeable future.

Old fashioned, the trend for Koala sanctuaries does little to help the habitats for wild Koala populations. It does not help the wild Koala populations interact and live stress free, secure lives.

It is one thing to save the last few marsupials of a particular species, creating a breeding program and investing in habitat restoration  where the marsupial came from and lived. This can help the marsupial regain a foothold back into a wild state.

The concept , as explained in the above news article is based on ignorance and something bordering a sociopathic  delusional sense of self righteousness. Imprisonment of wild animals is cruel, and not at all an answer. Habitats of Koalas can be fostered and sponsored by the Tweed Shire Council and any developer (that seeks to profit from developing and creating infrastructure along the Tweed Coast.) So far,  there has been this mass development, mass habitat FRAGMENTATION and mass habitat destruction.

I would think that it is against Native Wildlife Laws to fence in wild populations when they are endangered or at risk. Better to create an environment and educational agenda that allows the marsupials to thrive and move freely. Better to enhance habitat and desist from mass HABITAT DESTRUCTION. Better to fence the dogs, the people, the cars, the developers and the government contractors creating the infrastructures that have and intend, in the future,  to create more problems for the Koalas survival???? Better to actively engage in HABITAT RESTORATION and habitat education, on a scale never before seen on the NE NSW Coast.
The idea of a koala sanctuary will have no real impact on the surrounding Koalas who live nearby, yet are fenced out. Koalas who have travelled to the area, if they are fenced in, will be submitted to micro-chipping devices, which seems a little extreme, given that Koalas can probably be recognised individually by Koala spotters who are familiar with the animals.

I guess that to many Koala “scientists”, individual micro-chipping can give some measure of knowing who, where, what and when information, concerning individual koala movements. However, Australians, as a whole, have become obsessed with information, and information is useless, if it isn’t approached with wisdom.

The WISDOM, if I may be so bold to suggest, is that infrastructures and developments have created much of the KOALA ISSUES today, and more of the “same as it ever was” approach to growth and development will create the same old issues – at the expense to the KOALA.

Passive, gentle approach to HABITATS – leaving vegetation as is, or if it requires habitat enhancement, gentle weeding and planting/encouragement of local, endemic vegetation gives good results. If a developer should wish to build into and about Koala Habitat, then that developer should have covenents such as “NO DOGS”, strict laws about vegetation plantings, and a voluntary code of planting programs that are several years ahead of the development, so that vegetation to replace the removal of plant communities for building and infrastructure, is already in place, at a reasonably advanced state. People should be educated as to what constitutes KOALA friendly lifestyles, starting at pre-school level.

Bulldozers and Koalas, habitat clearing and Koalas, highly networked roadways and Koalas – these things do not work well together. Bikeways, small localised villages, small regional developments with gentle approaches to infrastructure building – these things, and more can help KOALA HABITAT. A Koala Corridor is not a static situation. Like Koalas, their habitat is a living breathing, ever changing “entity”. It is a healthy continuity of living breathing forests, woodlands, wetlands, hills, valleys, catchments and much much more. The concept of a Koala corridor has served its purpose in the past century to help some localised Koala populations and heighten awareness about Koalas and their plight. It is, however, very narrow in concept, as our very infrastructure, urbanisation and agrarian mindsets create “habitats” that are in direct conflict with “Koala Habitat and Corridors”.

It is now time for people to be more honest in their approach to the KOALA.  It is now time to consider the Koala in its REGIONAL contex and how the localised infrastructure/urban and rural development AND regional infrastructure/urban and rural development  in the Tweed Shire implicates on the SURVIVAL of this THREATENED SPECIES.

But, essentially, as is the problem that we face Australia, and WORLD WIDE – it is our frantic racing lifestyle based on “more and faster” that is at the base of the KOALA EXTINCTION. The dogs, the cars, the illnesses – all symptoms. What was it, about the previous land custodians’ lifestyles (indigenous Australians), that gave us pristine heritage 200 years ago?

Authentic Land and Water Custodianship. Honouring Country. Respecting nature. The question I pose here, is the same Question that was posed me over 15 years ago. “Why should the matter of Koala road kill, dog kill, disease and death be an issue.??” Look beyond, go beyond the symptoms to the real issues. It is there that you, we – us all, will see what is at the heart of the matter. The beautiful, wild Koala is telling us something about ourselves. Are we brave enough to really “hear” and “LEARN” that truth?

Growth, greed, profit taking, cargo and corporate cults – these cults have been destroying the habitats of the NE NSW and SE QLD Koalas for decades now. There IS a WAY, but imprisonment is not  it!  Shame on you, Tweed Shire Council and the NSW Government. Shame on you.

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Phantom Koala and the Australian National Reserve System Strategy 2009-2030

June 2, 2009
13-04-20091

Free F'all

The Australian National Reserve System holds some of the last great refuges in the world for Australian Flora and Fauna. The Mt Warning Caldera Region contains some of these Australian National Reserves.

Australia’s National Reserve System Strategy 2009-2030 has been announced as part of the Australian Government’s determination to safeguard the biodiversity of our precious native plants and animals.

The link to download the Australian National Reserve System Strategy 2009-2030 is HERE.

And how does the Australian National Reserve System help our friend, Phantom Koala?

Perhaps that is something you should look into for yourself!

Gold Coast City and Hinze Dam (top, middle) Springbrook, Mt Warning and Lamington Plateau (bottom), SE QLD, Australia

Gold Coast City and Hinze Dam (top, middle) Springbrook, Mt Warning - Numinbah Valley or "Devil's Country" is in the centre - and Lamington Plateau (bottom), SE QLD, Australia.

Australia’s drop in the Ocean – the Draft Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill is open for comment

March 13, 2009

History in the making!  Australia contributes their “drop” in the rising ocean….  Be quick!  The Australian Draft Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 is open for comments and submissions. You have just over one month to contribute your comments. 

Exposure Draft of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Legislation at Australian Government Department of Climate Change: 10th March 2009

The above LINK will give you information –  Fact Sheets,  How to Make a  Submission,  Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme White Paper, and the  Australian Treasury’s     Economics of Climate Change Mitigation for Australia’s Low Pollution Future .

I, for one, will not be commenting, (as I just don’t have the scientific & monetary policy intelligence  – but many other’s DO)  on this scheme. I do, however, wish to document this occasion on my webpages……

Why?

I reckon that this upcoming Legislation is another instance of creating alot of paperwork, ambiguity and brainfreeze over money, the economy and the environment.

It is another legislative form of sustaining the myth that we can, as an “enlightened nation” – buy our way out of anything.

My own feelings on this matter are:-

  • Environment and Economic education require intrinsic and deeply modified linking within ALL  Australian Educational Systems. 
  • Environmental understanding should be the basis for education, not economic outcomes (as is the current trend of modern mainstream Australian Society).
  • The Australian Environment, as a source for healthy economic balance is still largely forgotten.
  • Environmental understanding  is currently an appendage that is tacked onto the economic mindest of education policy custodians. 
  • Environment is life. The Market place and the Economy of the market place is a symptom of life. If  life is well, then the economy is well. 
  • If the Environment is well, then the economy is well. At present, the environment is not well. 

Australia could, in it’s government policy wisdom, create biodiverse forestry systems Australia-wide, that create

1. jobs and regional industries – Australia wide

2. biodiversity – Australia wide

3. timber for selective harvest and timber products – Australia wide

4. renewable resources for economic strength, trade and market well-being – Australia & world wide.

When, back in the early 1990’s, I talked with Queensland Forestry marketing and agroforestry workers, I was led to believe that the cost, back then, of producing timber was greatly subsidised, and that pricing of timber products did not fully reflect the cost of production of the timber itself. I was also told that the increase of the cost of hardwood would rise, and that over the coming few decades, the amount of hardwood timber that could be harvested in Australia would not be able to keep up with demand (and hence, the market price would rise). Of course, since then, many pine and hardwoord plantations have occurred. The biodiversity factors associated with these plantations? I will not comment on them here. Possibly some have high biodiversity, possibly other’s do not.  

Regarding Forests, Australia and Market solutions to the increase in Carbon? Well, other than individuals ceasing their compulsive obsessive, over the top consuming of  resources and associated thoughtless waste management – My simple solution is to create a massive, widespread  BIODIVERSE FORESTRY industry.

An industry that is fostered fully by the Australian Government(s) and the Education system(s).

Oh, yes, an one more thing – the knowledge for creating, sustaining an Australian wide forestry initiative, within a Regional Context is already with us. It just hasn’t been implemented at a grand level. 

 

Phantom Koala (PK) and Litoria decide it is safer to stay in the forest, than venture to the Australian Treasury and plead their case for more Biodiversity. They trust that Nature will teach Australians in the end, to care for the Land and it's "Balance of Faeries".

Phantom Koala (PK) and Litoria decide it is safer to stay in the forest, than venture to the Australian Treasury and plead their case for more Biodiversity. They trust that Nature will teach Australians in the end, to care for the Land and it's "Balance of Faeries".

 

 

There is a song that sums up how I feel about carbon trading and the Air Quality of this planet. The song may not have intended my interpretation, but I shall use it to illustrate my educational stance:-

The following is by David Byrne, the song AIR on the Talking Heads 1970′ s   Album Fear of Music

“Air…Air

Hit me in the face
I run faster
Faster into the air
(I say to myself)
What is happening to my skin?
Where is that protection that I needed?
Air can hurt you too
Air can hurt you too
Some people say not to worry about the air
Some people never had experience with…
Air…Air
It can break your heart
So remember when the weather gets rough
(You’ll say to yourself)
What is happening to my skin?
Where is that protection that I needed?
Air can hurt you too
Air can hurt you too
Some people say not to worry about the air
Some people don’t know shit about the…
Air…”

A Balance of Faeries – revisited

March 9, 2009

** before you read this article, have a quick look here – Story : Koalas in SE Queensland, Australia. Dec 2008**,  HERE  , and last of all HERE : Draft South East Queensland Koala State Planning Regulatory Provisions  .   

Faerie tales are stories of imagination, folklore and historical heresay. Many faerie stories can have deeper meanings behind their outer words. Now perhaps you do not believe in faeries . You may think that faeries are merely symbolic adornments in childhood books, movies and from cultures of a bygone age.

Now that you are grown up, you may be quite sure that faeries, santa clause and the easter bunny are not real. Or, you may have your own ideas about faeries, that no one else seems to have at all.

Well, all that aside, if you have some time to spare, have a read of my story below. It is a true story, and it has no faeries in it at all. Well… there is just one reference to faeries – right near the end.

My story takes place on the Marburg Range, some 35 kms west of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia. The year is 1989…..

Part One: The Afternoon

The afternoon was peaceful, broken only by the sounds of cicadas , and scrub birds , as they settled into their nesting trees for the evening ahead. A bulldozer came slowly up the dusty road. Grinding noisily, its metal tracks, and steel chains broke the quiet of the afternoon. The bulldozer stopped outside my little farmhouse, high up on the ridge.

Then the unthinkable happened.

The first large tree to go creaked mournfully, its roots loosening eerily from the soil, in passive opposition to the bulldozer’s strength.

The second large tree gave even less opposition, and the native bushes, herbs and grasses beneath were pushed into a tangled pile, flattening the unseen creatures that inhabited the narrow road verge. Birds’ nests fell. The koalas‘ food and roadside refuge was gone. Lizards, marsupials and baby birds of the understorey had little hope of survival.
The living wonder of the road verge was to be destroyed in 30 minutes, by over a million years honed into the diesal powered steel of the bulldozer.

My heart ached for the bush creatures and their homes.
Their lives, so cruelly flattened and trashed.

At first, my screaming thoughts wanted me to yell at the bulldozer driver “STOP!!! STOP!!- you are killing so many defenseless beautiful creatures and plants!!”
Instead, I stood transfixed in disbelief, watching the dozer fell the third tree then the fourth, fifth, sixth – on and on, up the road verge, heading to the top of the ridge.
Those brief moments of hearing that bulldozer do its work, they would change my life forever.

Spirit reeling, I tried to conceive how such a thing could be happening! No one else was watching – just me and the bulldozer driver. So much destruction of so much life taking place.

No one cared. No one cared at all. And if they did, well, what could they do?

This was not a large forest, protected by vigilant activists, prepared to chain themselves to trees. My heart began to ache, beyond this mindless act, to all the other places on earth that were silently witnessing the same destruction.
As a powerless observer, my anger and helplessness grew, and I did not know where to channel it.

The bulldozer driver did not realise. It was his job, and he had a family to feed. I could not be angry at him. But still my anger grew, threatening to consume me.

I needed a quick respite, a quick solution, to temper this anger – turning it into love.

Then a thought came suddenly to me. I could store this anger, transforming it with love, to hold deep in the base of my body, deep below my stomach. I could store this energy and use it, lovingly, thoughtfully, creatively, in future days, months, years and decades, as a power source. A power source dedicated to generating compassion and love, for nature’s bounties, gifted to humanity. What a big ask of myself! But then again, I could not deny this event.
I would remember this day for eternity. The day the grey boxes fell before the bulldozer.

As the bulldozer driver stopped to reconnect some chains, I went over to him, and asked of him ” Why do you clear this stretch of land? Do you realise that this soil is highly dispersive – it washes away so easily with rain that the land here is riddled with deep sub terranean holes? The aspect is so harsh, that without adjoining vegetation ( I pointed to the adjacent overgrazed paddock ) this road verge will not recover for many decades”.

He replied ” The owner of the property up the road wishes to put in electricity. Power lines are coming through. He is connecting power to that little quarter acre block, at the top of the ridge, so that he may sell it more easily”. And that was that. Legally ok!! Socially sanctioned.

After years of living on this range, I had grown to deeply respect the earth, and the natural balances that permeated through it. The harshness of the climate, at times, sent alternating flash flooding, and merciless drought. Fire could spring up quickly, within the badly managed vegetation and the lower valleys had became choked with salted soils and slow running creek water that resemble the sea in it’s saltiness.

The Eucalypts, with their long roots sunk deep into the earth, drew the water that lay in the rocky aquifers beneath. This was third generation regenerated bushland (from the clearing of the past 150 years) giving homes to many native animals. Beneath the box and red gums, grew all manner of remnant dry vine scrub plants, interspersed with the wildy spreading, naturalised weeds, that had arrived with agrarian settlement.
Silvereyes and double-barred finches nested in the hoop pines, blue wrens frequented the scrubby understoreys, koalas clamboured lazily tree to tree, goannas and snakes made frequent appearances, and after the rains, the frogs sounded in the dams and gullies along the side of the ridge.

Part Two: The evening

That evening, I suffered a disquiet that I had never known before. Falling asleep, my tears for the defenceless roadside homes turned into a dream. This dream eventually woke me. Such forces in a dream I had never experienced before.

I dreamt that I was in my little farm house, with my family. Suddenly a great wind tore through the house, ripping doors from hinges, hurling furniture to the walls. Our lives were in peril. The house was being destroyed by something so great, and invisible, that in the dream, my husband called to me, “Get the children, we must escape – we shall be killed!!”.

Now, in our dreams, we can be a hero, that in waking life, seems absurd.

Holding my husband back with one arm, I cried “NO! I can see what is happening – it is all coming from the bookcase” . I ran to our bookcase, which spanned the length of the living room wall, high to the ceiling, crammed with books, all tightly packed together, against the entire wall.

The wind was now of tornadic proportions, as I fought desperately to get near the bookshelf. I searched frantically for the source of the wind. There it was! Funneling through a small gap, on the bottom shelf. This was the only gap in the bookshelf that lined the wall and the wind was howling out of it, tearing past me and ripping my home apart.

“I know what to do” I cried, and kneeling down, desperately searched the floor for the missing book, that had fallen from the bookshelf, to stop this gap , and block the fierce wind.

The gap was so small, and the wind coming through it seemed to have no end. My hands felt about, on the floor. THERE it was, the book!!

I held it in my right hand, and pushed it back into the hole in the bookshelf. The strain was enormous, the wind so strong. I summoned all my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength to push that book back in, and suddenly there it was, back in place.

The wind stopped. But I was utterly spent – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The effort woke me from the nightmare, worn and exhausted. As I awoke, I knew that the name of this book must be remembered, this little book that held so much force at bay. In my waking, lucid moments, I frantically tried to decipher the tiny print on the cover. Oh, it was so hard to read, and I was waking fast. But YES, there it was! I could see it written on the cover – “A Balance of Faeries”.

I woke up, exhausted.

Part Three: The morning

There is not much more to say now. The dream has been recorded.

This dream has had a profound influence on how I view the world and share my view with others.

My place, within the natural processes that the world has gifted me, seems very small, insignificant. But, like that tiny book, in that great big bookshelf of my dream, small, seemingly insignificant parts of a much greater collective can have far reaching consequences.

The tiny, “non- significant” parcels within our delicately balanced environment can have an critical part to play in survival of all living things on earth.

The collective knowledge of mankind (the bookshelf) holds such power behind it, that should the knowledge not be complete, the power that is held can escape, creating havoc and untold destruction.

Part four: The return

I have since returned to visit the Marburg Range, some months back, before the 2008 summer rains drenched it once again, and after many years of drought, harsh winds and relentless sun. The road verge leading to the top of the ridge is bare, no trees have grown back yet, and no koalas, birds or marsupials could be seen on the narrow strip that was cleared so suddenly, 20 years ago.

With biodiversity comes the ability for our ecological systems to withstand the greater forces of nature – wind, sun, rain, fire, cold, heat. With knowledge and understanding of the smaller, delicate portions of nature, comes an ability to hold back the greater forces that great knowledge exposes us to.

It is time to wake up.

Links:

Queensland State of the Environment 2007 download at the Qld Government Environmental Protection Agency website

New South Wales State of the Environment Report 2006 download at the NSW Department of Environment & Climate Change website

  • Download the Soil Conservation Act 1986 – This Queensland Act for Soil Conservation has been in place since 1986 – yet the SE Queensland Region is still undergoing landclearing, ecological degradation and water pollution at unsustainable levels for the future population’s well being.

Roadsides, Powerlines & Stock Routes:

a few more interesting links:

  • North East Rainforest Alliance NEFA – homepage –

Some historical reading about Forests in NE NSW:

  • old NEFA site ? try the NEFA homepage

and finally, some more Blue Crayfish Links from bluecray.org :-

Bluecrays, Crayfish, Blue Crayfish Links

18-06-2008

PK, Litoria & Chin Ting have a look at the big picture, along with the Python, Spangled Drongos & other Wildlife that live by the roads in the Mt Warning Caldera Region, Australia.

Logan and Albert Conservation Association : KOALAS  

Follow candobetter.org for information about KOALAS – they have compiled  great info, links, articles, and brief recent history concerning KOALAS and the QUEENSLAND Government and DEVELOPMENT trends 

Kings Forest, Koalas and NSW Planning Laws

March 1, 2009

The Kings Forest Residential Development, (Tweed shire, NE NSW, Australia), as seen by the developer (Leda) planning documents, is extremely inappropriate and threatening to already threatened species. The Kings Forest Residential Development, as stands, IS indeed potentially very damaging. 21 threatened species, their restricted and already fragmented habitats, their vulnerability, their capacity to survive intense non sustainable development practices testify to this.

The humble Australian Koala is only one of these species.

The Kings Forest Development (Leda Group) shows us some interesting facts about the “perceived right of way” by developers concerning inappropriate development of sensitive areas on the Far North Coast of New South Wales.

The EDO (Environmental Defenders)  has highlighted that  Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979   has resulted in “The limited capacity for members of the community, or even other environmental agencies, to have their voice heard and the reduced rights to seek justice in the Land and Environment Court also suggest that the NSW Government considers that development ranks ahead of the environment, whether that development is sustainable or not“.

The Australian Government, in its wisdom, chose to not list the Koala as a threatened species, although documents show that the Koala is increasingly under pressure within the North Coast region of NSW.  Why did Australia chose to be part of the Agenda 21?

Kings Forest is  a powerful place. Generations of spiritual  guardians, and land custodians have held this place in a natural heritage beauty and sustainable biodiverse capacity and resilience for  thousands of years.  The taking away of even small biodiverse components from an area, so fragmented and isolated now, and, as other developments increase within and about it, will result in an immediate lack of biodiversity and cultural heritage significance.

However, I suspect, that bigger wheels are in play here. And while the big wheels of government and money turn powerfully, the biggest wheel of all is nature.

Kings Forest Kingscliff  Tweed Development Planning Documents for perusal and comment ( due 2nd March 2009) 

Development project threatens second largest Koala Colony in Tweed Shire – candobetter.org ** this is a good article to help you understand this development, with contact details for the project and some great Koala info

Kings Forest – public submissions conclude tomorrow (2nd March 2009)– bluecray.org  – article and links

The   Caldera Environment Centre  in NE NSW, Australia shows insights,  in their submission to the NSW Government and objection to the planned Kings Forest and Cobakai Lakes Development , summing up  the King’s Forest Project situation very clearly. You should have a read of this Submission HERE.  

Kings Forest Development threatens 21 species of THREATENED FAUNA – bluecray.org – article and more links

Kings Forest Development ( by Leda ), The NSW State Government, and Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 – will it cause a change in NSW Environmental Planning Laws? – full article at bluecray.org

Little Bat finds NE NSW Coast Lifestyle, near Kings Forest to much to survive in

Little Bat finds NE NSW Coast Lifestyle, near Kings Forest to much to survive in

This little Bat in the above photo is a consequence of development – dead on the doorstep of a duplex in the housing development west of Pottsville, Tweed Shire. With 21 threatened fauna species threatened even more byLeda and the development proposed, what will be the costs, if all that stands between them, and survival, is documents written, verbal provisions made and “intentions”  outlined, when the bulldozers and engineering machinery move into Kings Forest and further develop this area?

“A preliminary investigation of the distribution of koalas and their potential habitat in the Tweed Shire, and implications for management”  by Judy Faulks . Find article at – Australian Zoologist, June 1991 Vol. 27(1 & 2)

Organic Gardening and Growing the Biosphere

February 22, 2009

Organic Gardening , growing food with love and respect for the environment, dates back further than the history of writing. Once the different cultures of the world became agrarian, they began to settle and accumulate wealth. This wealth took on differing forms, and today, much of this wealth supports entire sections of our society.

Running through this history is the legacy of growing food organically. This legacy is extremely old, sustainable and healthy. It is based on living with biodiversity, water conservation and practical plant breeding and cultivation. Scientific knowledge has enhanced Organic Growing on many levels, however, it has also unwittingly caused the demise of much organic growing throughout the world.

I have just been for a short journey up to the Beechmont Plateau (Mt Warning Caldera Region), in the hinterland of the Gold Coast, Queensland. There are quite a few Organic Growers around Beechmont, and in the surrounding area.The Beech Mountain General Store has a nice range of Quality Organic food, and dotted along the roadside are a number of produce outlets.  Some practice Permaculture principles, some simple organics, some sell the food to the public on the Beechmont Plateau and others grow and collect seed for the industry.

pk_goes_to_beechmont_markets1PK on his way to the Beechmont Markets – across roadways, fences, cleared land and new developments – he finally makes it!!!

The organics industry is not only for food. It is also for textiles, beauty products, herbs and medicines, fodder crops, land restoration and habitat management to mention a few things.

Back in the 1980’s, I was lucky enought to meet with the Brisbane Organic Growers. Their founding members were an inspiration to me, full of knowledge, sharing and practical stories. Before, and since that time, many other organic groups have started up.  About the same time, I started meeting permaculture enthusiasts and bio-dynamic growers. All growers echoed similar principles of respect, love and natural increase for the land they worked with.  Permaculture offers a wider range of sustainable options to just organic growing –Permaculture is about sustainable lifestyle and much much more.

From then, I have watched the evolution of the Organic Standards across Australia, the melding into mainstream society of organic growing and the contrasting, very mainstream “traditional growing” of the Agricultural Chemical Industry, high energy input, monoculture, water intensive farming practices that still make up the mainstay of Australian agricultural and horticultural industries.

The more natural, time proven method of growing “organically” helps create more life force in the biosphere, by building up the soil and it’s humus, the natural systems about the growing area and keeping networked people close in the natural system

The less natural method – by far the most common type practiced in Australia, helps destroy the life force in the biosphere, based on extensive machinery cultivation, soil destruction, weed & pest chemical warfare, genetic modification and alientation from the smaller natural systems closeby.

It is easy to be trapped by the latter system – decades of education have sustained it.  Easy wealth and pride have championed it.  Science has condoned it and further been made rich by it.  There are many farmers (corporate, community, family, individual and small scale) who are trapped by it’s methods, beliefs, quick fix mentality and prestige.

 

It is not hard to change from one method to the other. Nature backs the organic way. Nature leads us back to the organic way.  Urbanised social systems and leaders (economics etc)back the other way. Now, I know who I would put my money on, in this regard. 

Yes, I would back nature over urbanised social economics any day for best practice sustainable outcomes.  There is a growing population of people supporting Organics and the Industries that support Organic Farming.

Each time you buy a spray, run a machine, over irrigate, and consume, consume, you are eating away at nature:-

  • by subsidising chemical companies and their stranglehold on non biodiverse seed crops:
  • by subsidising a petrochemical industry that has a history of environmental degradation that is almost unsurpassed;
  • by using water that is stored and diverted for irrigation purposes, thus justifying more and more large dams;
  • by giving your money and power to giant industries that control genetic manipulation, you support constant release of new and often dangerous new chemicals into the food chains of earth;

These above practices are furthering the myth of prestige through large industry, machine and landholdings.

 You are, in short, giving your money to the people who are not very well educated in sustainable ways and land custodianship, and expecting them to take care of you, in return.

With organics, you are subsidising nature, often subsiding local community, creating a healthier planet and showing by example that it can be done this way. You are helping nature in growing the biosphere.

Now, don’t get me wrong – Science has alot to offer – valuable learnings, recipes, methods, machines : HOWEVER……..I shall back nature over the monocultured/genetically modified/irrigation , chemical and machine intensive system any day! 

Some useful LINKS:

Seed Savers Network 

Select Organic – seeds for home gardeners

Organic Food Directory : Regional Organic Groups

Gold Coast Organic Farmers Market : location, times, articles, information

Threeworlds Organic Pizza Mermaid Beach Gold Coast, Qld Australia

Biological Farmers of Australia – Australia’s largest representative Organic Body: increasing consumer awareness of organic food and supporting  growth of local food economies

Demeter Bio-Dynamic Agriculture in Australia – 

  • The Bio-Dynamic Agricultural Association of Australia (BDAAA) : farmer based advisory organisation for commercial producers 
  • The Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI) : Organic and Bio-Dynamic Certification Organisation responsible for the DEMETER Trademark (Australian Accredited).
  • Biodynamic Marketing Co. Ltd. (BDMC) : Distributes Bio-Dynamic produce to Australian consumers and facilitates export

National Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Australia  -Australian and International Organic Certifier : resources, networks, links, steps to organic certification

Organic Research Group -Links for Organic Research ( University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia)

Organic Growers of Australia  – links and more

You Pick It – Farms & Roadside stalls at Organic Food Directory – Australia – find food by location, learn more about Organics and reasons to become Organic or support the Organic Industry 

EcoDirectory : food, farming, blogging, organics and alot more

USA : National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service : Market Gardening – A Start Up Guide . Although in USA, this site still offers relevent info for starting up a market garden

Finding a market in Mt Warning Caldera Region (NE NSW & SE QLD) : you can try some of the following links to locate a market in this region-

Qld Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries 

NSW Department of Primary Industries and Associated Agencies

Australia’s Bushfire Legacy : An Ash Oracle

February 15, 2009

The Victorian Bushfires and Australia’s Bushfire Legacy highlight Australia’s environmental future regarding Urban and Rural Planning within an Australian Fire Prone Landscape.  Stephen J. Pyne,  (professor at Arizona State University and author of two FIRE books – “Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia” 1991 and “The Still-Burning Bush”  2006), wrote a ‘must read’ article in The Australian’s Opinion column on January 10th 2009.  

Professor Pyne’s article  ” Bushfire leader becomes laggard”   highlights the need for Australians to look beyond the ARSON and GLOBAL WARMING perspective to what is right under our Aussie sunscreened noses and our romantic virgin green environmental mindsets:

1. The Australian Bush is a complex, diverse and dynamic feature  – critically important to our sustainable future. Fire is an integral part of this dynamic environmental heritage across the vast and diverse regional forest, woodland and grassland habitats of Australia.

2. Global Warming and Arson consequences underline our urgent need to properly understand and manage fire in our urban and rural landscapes. However, fire storms in many parts of Australia can, and will still occur regardless of Global Warming and Arson.

3. Urban and Rural Planning play a critical role in Fire Storm defense as Germaine Greer so aptly and forcefully suggests in her recent article in The Times online .

Urban & Rural and Regional Planning roles should include above and beyond what is already current (**see links below):

  • Clear, practical, easy to access and understand guidelines for regional and local  fire management strategies
  • Pro-active support of trained Rural Fire Authorities by all levels of government via technology and substantially increased capital inputs and educational outreach centres 
  • Building and infrastructure design guidelines, including shelters and building & infrastructure industry codes 
  • Development design guidelines geared to Biodiversity & Fire Regimes
  • Biodiversity maintenance based on sound local knowledge and not hypothetical “money talks”  nature disassociated  engineering principles
  • Community education
  • Consultation with local indigenous peoples who carry with them oral instruction on local fire management, 
  • AND, above all, taking the emotional response out of fire management and placing it back into the hands of those that understand the nature of fire, instead of misguided political movers and shakers

4. Each and every child in Australia should have, at the core of their education syllabus:-

  • Environmental Education on equitable terms with Economic Education (something that was not created by the 2020 Summit) : including Fire Education and Land Stewardship  
  • Fire understanding, from pre-school level, that goes beyond how to put out a small fire or survival when the smoke alarm rings in the school ground  
  • National syllabus should include starting, controlling  and putting out fires, understanding the nature of the different types of fires that our future will present to them and how to LIVE with FIRE 
  • Understanding the role of fire in Australian Vegetation Landscapes and Habitats, the dynamics & cycles of Vegetation Communities and the history of Fire Management in Australia
  • Recognising fire prone landscapes, situations and seasons
  • Knowledge of fire defense (back burning, burning off, fuel management in landscapes), community fire warnings and emergency procedures    

pk_ponders_a_big_fire_in_mt_warning_caldera_region

Phantom Koala ponders a big fire in the Mt Warning Caldera Region! Chin Ting says: “Don’t worry PK, if the fires come – You can run into the surrounding bushland….. that is….. if the PLANNING LAWS promote sensible prescribed burning and keep enough safe places for you to run to”

**Links: 

Searching for Fire Management Guidelines in the NSW Government Department of Planning – Planning Guidelines for Hazardous Development appears to still be in the pipeline?  (Hazardous Industry Planning Advisory Paper No2. : Fire Safety Study Guidelines Consultation Draft July 2008 )  

Bushfire Guidelines : NSW Government Department of Planning

NSW Rural Fire Service 

Searching for Fire Management Guidelines in the Qld Department of Infrastructure & Planning  – here is the Current Qld Government’s Planning & Development Laws list

Qld Government : Department of Infrastructure and Planning :- Planning and Growth

Qld Government State Planning Policies : including Guideline for SPP1/03 Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of  Flood, Bushfire and Landslide 1.0

Qld Rural Fire Service

http://fhsarchives.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/historian-stephen-j-pyne-on-the-australian-fires/

Nature Conservation Council of NSW : 25th July 2008 Re: National Koala Conservation Strategy Review – Nature Conservation Council Submission  

COAG 2003 Bushfire Enquiry  ” The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference … issues related to bushfire mitigation and management that are of national significance;  opportunities for enhanced cooperation and the adoption of national best practice. The Inquiry took account of the work and findings of other bushfire inquiries.” findings released 24th Jan 2005.  Find the report here at Report of the National Inquiry into Bushfire Mitigation and Management  at the COAG website

“a review of current knowledge and literatue assist in determining ecologically sustainable fire regimes for the southeast queensland region” 2000 at Cuong Tran Southeast Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium page on the COAG website

Bluecray.org FIRE links