Marking time on environment
The names of trees
William Pettigrew (1825-1906) migrated from Scotland in the ship Fortitude, and arrived in Moreton Bay in 1849. He established the first sawmill in Brisbane in 1853, and was active in community and political affairs.
I have only recently discovered that he also recorded the names used by Yuggera, Gubbi Gubbi and Badtjala people for some of the trees in their country. This reflects the connections he developed with the traditional custodians of the land.
Putting “Swim for the reef” on the map
The Queensland Environmental Defenders Office should be pleased with its Swim for the Reef fundraiser on 23 January 2016. Teams of swimmers clocked up 5,700 laps (285 km)—that’s about a tenth of the length of the Great Barrier Reef itself.
Swimming for the reef
The Environmental Defenders Office is an independent community legal centre in Queensland. It does stalwart work to protect the environment. Among its many other activities, the EDO recently represented conservation groups in court cases about dredging and dumping of spoil in the Great Barrier Reef.
The EDO depends on community support to operate. Its latest fund-raiser is Swim for the Reef—an event in which teams of supporters swim as far as they can (in a swimming pool) between midday and midnight on 23 January 2016. I encourage you to sign up as a swimmer, and/or donate to the cause.
Bad business at Mowbray Park
This morning I spoke at a rally at the East Brisbane Croquet Club lawns in Mowbray Park, opposing the appalling plan by the Brisbane City Council to build two apartment towers in the park.
It looks like the citizens of East Brisbane will have to mobilize again, and stand up for the things they value.
Here’s something delightful—24 volumes of an Encyclopaedia Britannica transformed into a mountain landscape by the artist Guy Laramée. I have already admitted to a liking for the printed Britannica, but I know that’s outmoded. Thanks to the blog Colossal for revealing this work to me.
First thing in the morning. I’m on the verandah of the Assistant Lightkeeper’s quarters. I can hear waves lapping the shore, sea birds calling, the wind in the palm fronds. At a distance, just audible, repeated strokes of a rake on sand.
Keeping up appearances
My old push bike has started to look daggy parked outside the polished granite foyers of city offices. It rides well, but the frame is rusty and the back tyre is balding. Time for a makeover and spoke-polishing.»more»
Still at Kangaroo Island
Fire scars in the desert
I enjoyed the startling calligraphy of these fire scars in the Simpson Desert.
The fire scars were produced in a recent fire, probably within the last year. The image suggests a time sequence of events. Fires first advanced into the view from the lower left—parallel with the major dune trend and dominant wind direction. Then the wind shifted direction by about 90 degrees so that fires advanced across the dunes in a series of frond-like tendrils. Each frond starts at some point on the earlier fire scar, and sharp tips of the fronds show where the fires burned out naturally at the end of the episode. The sharp edges of the fire scars are due to steady but probably weak southwesterly winds—weaker winds reduced sparking of additional fires in adjacent scrub on either side of the main fire pathways. Over time, the scars will become less distinct as vegetation grows back.»more»
Okinawa Dugong v Rumsfeld
A judge has ruled that the US Defence Department must consider the fate of the dugong in plans to build a new airbase on a coral reef on the coast of Okinawa. She made the ruling under the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires US government agencies to conduct a full public process before undertaking activities outside the United States that might impact the cultural and natural resources of other nations.»more»
Health versus Roads
A Sydney newspaper article reveals a piece of single-minded planning.»more»
Among the many books in our temporary house I found L Cockayne’s New Zealand plants and their story. It’s the 4th edition (1967), but it still has the flavour of the 1st edition (1907). This passage, from the chapter about the vegetation of the high mountains, made me wonder: Had I really seen sheep on those mountainsides — or something else?»more»
Crocodiles in space
From a Queensland government media release dated 11 December 2003: Environment Minister Dean Wells today launched a new Environmental Protection Agency website to highlight research involving the tracking by satellite of six large estuarine crocodiles as part of a world-first research project.»more»
Today Margie and I took our daughters to visit the grave of their mother’s father’s mother’s father and mother. It’s in Dutton Park, the site of the proposed bus bridge that I have mentioned before.»more»
On the website of the American Bamboo Society is this piece by Steen Heinsen:»more»
Cuban bike revolution
From the culturechange.org website: A fresh wind from the south: Cuban bike revolution:
At a time where most third world countries are trying to hit the eight- lane highway of “automobilisation,” Cuba is presently undergoing a real revolution in the field of sustainable and efficient transport. For an island which had virtually no cyclist culture until 1990, bicycling is rapidly becoming a central tool of transport….
Good for the environment?
An item for the ‘no, I don’t think so’ file. A silly response to a proposal for a new river bridge for walkers, bikes and buses to link the University of Queensland St Lucia campus to Dutton Park:»more»
Reclaim the beach!
See Peter Spearitt’s piece on the Brisbane Institute website in which he reveals the liberties taken by beachside developers to lure potential customers, and why we don’t have to keep off the beach, just because they say so. Yes, assert your right to walk on the beach!»more»
The earth at night
See the earth at night by the light of its cities. The image is a composite of hundreds of pictures made by US Defense Meteorological Satellites.»more»
I spent last week out west — at Longreach, Ilfracombe, Isisford, Blackall, Barcaldine, Winton, Kynuna, and other places in the district. While I wait to get the photographs back from the lab I am sorting through my notes and impressions: the heat, the drought-struck land, the stoical people. And the flies.»more»
Saving black rhinos
I read about the work of the Save the Black Rhino Trust through the aus.photo newsgroup. I followed up, and received some more information:»more»
Waste management in Nevada
Steel cargo containers of solid transuranic waste are being stacked for above ground storage at the Nevada Test Site Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site. Each container holds up to 50 drums of transuranic waste.
This is a photograph made available by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Operations Office, Office of Public Affairs and Information.»more»