Monthly Archives: December 2011

Death of a Friend


I swim every day in our pond. The water’s like clear weak tea. Today as I prepared to dive in, a small golden snake  about a metre long with huge dark eyes, slowly undulated along the bank just under the surface of the water checking for food. There used to be a lizard—about thirty centimetres long—grey-blue, that climbed trees then, when I approached, he’d drop, sometimes ten metres, into the water with a great splash. If I disturbed him on the bank he’d race out onto the water, large feet flailing and could literally walk across the water to the middle, then he’d sink. They can swim like fishes and hold their breath for ages.

I hadn’t seen him for a few days, but noticed a terrible smell. I checked and a few metres away where my forest ends and the bare mown acres of my fat neighbour begin, there he was, one leg torn off, dead and stiff and stinking. Callously mown over by someone who doesn’t give a fig for nature. It’s hard not to wish a similar fate for him.

We’re losing lots of good things

12 years ago the evening sky would be darkened by hundreds—if not thousands of fruit bats winging their silent way from nesting places to feeding grounds. It is now eight years since we’ve seen any. Human population pressure and housing estates combined with electrification of bats by orchardists, and destruction of natural habitat have killed them. We had a dozen cute grey wallabies living on and around our property ten years ago but the human, dog and cat population has tripled and now there are no more wallabies or sugar gliders. Flocks of electric-blue and bright red fairy wrens used to bedazzle us. Now everyone has a ride-on mower so fields that used to grow seed heads are now acres and acres of seed-headless lawn. No more wrens.

There are also no blue butterflies that used to swarm in millions, fewer and fewer varieties and numbers of frogs. Haven’t seen a blue-tongued or dragon lizard for years—but they used to be common.  But we do have another large housing development a couple of kilometres down the road.

They’re going to Mars!

So, the U.S.A. Is off to Mars to see if there’s any life there.
The big question is, what’ll they do if they find any? I guess we’ll have to look at what humans have done on this planet that’s been teeming with life for millions of years to answer that. During the last couple of centuries, without any help from natural catastrophes, humans have managed to extinguish thousands and thousands of species, from the most minuscule life forms to the largest predators. In Australia alone in only two hundred years we’ve rendered extinct over a third of our mammalian species, hundreds of reptiles, birds and fishes and stuffed up every waterway, breeding ground and other habitat on which nature relies.
So I guess the answer to my question is, if humans find any vestige of life on Mars, they’ll snuff it out. Seems a bit of a waste of the billions of dollars that cash-strapped economy could surely put to better use, such as killing off at least half the remaining species on this planet. I guess we’ll just have to be patient and wait for that glorious time until we’ve ensured there’s no remaining life forms on the other planets.

Is it Fear of Nature or Stupidity?

Is it Fear of Nature or Stupidity?

A stream runs through my property and then into the neighbour’s few acres. I value all the natural plants and animals that have evolved here, and do my best to support them on the few acres I have by encouraging a forest of native plants. This is the stream as is passes through my place: [click on the photo to enlarge it.]

The photo next to it is the same stream as it leaves my property. All trees have been felled. All life except for mown grass is destroyed. All shelter and food for living creatures is removed and the banks of the stream are poisoned.

The man who did this is a schoolteacher. What hope for the planet is there when these sorts of people are teaching our children, spraying poisons and laying waste the planet? Why is his behaviour towards nature considered the respected norm, while people who wish to preserve nature are contemptuously considered insane?

Sugar and spice and slugs and snails – A Nursery Rhyme

A Nursery Rhyme.

Sugar and spice and all things nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.
Slugs and snails and puppy-dog’s tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.

With silly rhymes, tales and stories like the above, we indoctrinate our children with preconceived ideas about the opposite sex. Perhaps it is no wonder so many marriages and relationships end in violence, dissatisfaction and divorce. When the husband discovers his wife is not always sweetness and light he can’t cope with the destruction of his dreams and gets mad. When the wife discovers her husband is not just a big dumb tough guy but also has a soft, thoughtful side—she’s so disappointed she tells him he’s not a real man—and that makes him mad.  It’s such a shame we can’t let kids grow up without instilling our prejudices into their malleable brains.

Power, Persuasion, Politics

Power, Politics, Persuasion.

The media have convinced simple-minded politicians [99%] that they are ‘in power’, when of course they aren’t—they are ‘in office’ to serve their constituents. Imagining themselves to be powerful, they then try to tell citizens what to do and wonder why they have little success.

Take the Murray-Darling River system as a classic example. The sensible procedure would have been to send to all local authorities an information sheet containing all the facts about the parlous state of the whole system, admit there’s a dreadful problem, and ask their advice! 

The result would be pretty close to the desired outcome, because no local chairman or mayor wants to be seen as advocating the death of rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Instead, the minister treats them like imbeciles unable to think about difficult issues or to act generously, appoints an expert panel, and presents the results as a more or less fait accompli, What does he expect? That they’ll say, ‘Thanks for not asking our opinion first’?

It is time governments realised they are not experts, they have no real power—they are merely facilitators governing at the whim of their people, in whom they should have more trust.