Monthly Archives: December 2009

Avatar Rules

I have just come home from seeing Avatar and Wow and double Wow! What  a movie!

James Cameron has done what the Doofuzz Dudes have been trying to do since book one in the series – alert the world to what mankind has become – so far removed from nature that all that matters to it is money, profit and more money and profit. 

In the back of the Blood Tree  I wrote about how King Charlemagne chopped down the sacred tree of the pagans all those years ago thus severing man’s link to nature.  I was knocked out to see how the humans in Avatar had brought a tonne of dynamite to blow up the sacred tree of the inhabitants (the Na’vi) of  the planet Pandora  because under the tree’s roots was an extremely valuable metal. 

But then, even as we watched the movie, hundreds of hectares of rainforest in Indonesia, the Amazon and probably Australia, had been burnt down, logged or blasted.

When did we decide that everything would be all right as long as we had heaps of money and possessions? When did we decide that the lives of animals were worthless?  When did we lose our bond with nature?

And are we happier for it? Apparently not. There were quite a few suicides related to the current financial crisis – people who couldn’t go on due to their monetary losses. People feel empty inside – they are stuffing a big hole inside themselves with more and more money and ‘things’. 

But how happy were the inhabitants of the planet Pandora?  The joy of sitting in front of a computer in an office for eight hours of every day or the joy of battling to get on board an overcrowded train twice a day could hardly be compared with the joy they experienced in their daily lives, flying on wonderous birds, riding amazing horse-like animals and running through the jungle. 

And was the audience barracking for the humans? Were they hoping that the humans would be able to chop down the sacred tree and get their mineral quota?

I don’t think so! Could this be because deep inside of all of us is the memory of Irminsul, the sacred tree of the pagans? Somewhere in our genetic memories is our connection to that tree and to nature.  If only we could find that bond with nature again. Maybe then we could be kind to the animals who share the earth with us and also to the last vestiges of greenery that still stand.

However, it is exhilarating that people like James Cameron in Avatar and Dr.Seuss in The Lorax are making us aware that there are choices. And maybe it’s still not too late.

Post Script – Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with my sentiments.  Miranda Devine in the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/hit-by-the-leftie-sledgehammer-20100101-llpp.html has quite a different view. She sees the movie as an attack on the US military and on humans in general. Actually, I don’t think that it is at all improbable that a company searching for a valuable mineral would employ soldiers to travel to another planet and instruct them to employ force to overcome the  inhabitants of the planet (‘savages’) and destroy their ‘flaky pagan’ religious artefacts if they stood in the way of the goal.  I suppose that if natives or aliens for that matter, have a religion which doesn’t have the right credentials in Miss Devine’s eyes, then they jolly well deserve to get what’s coming to them.

New Guinea is hardly another planet, but mining companies have dumped contaminated waste in the rivers which is destroying the environment, killing fish and natives.

See http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/mining/our-mining-ombudsman-project/tolukuma-papua-new-guinea

River of poison

Each year, Tolukuma Gold Mine – formerly owned by Australian-based Emperor Mines Ltd – dumps more than 230,000 tonnes of mine waste into the Auga-Angabanga river system.

It’s a mining practice that’s illegal in Australia, but companies can get away with it in Papua New Guinea, and it’s destroying people’s lives.

“Please don’t do it to us … what you do not do in your own countries,” says local resident and Oxfam partner Matilda Koma.

This is why.

Communities living downstream from the mine report that:

  • People have become sick or died from drinking and washing in the river
  • Fish have died and food gardens have been destroyed, threatening their food supply
  • Changes in the river flow have caused flash flooding, making it difficult for locals to cross the river and access their market gardens

In 1996 the following was written on http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P1-2272355.html

Pratap Chatterjee
Inter Press Service English News Wire
05-14-1996
LONDON, May 13 (IPS) — The mining of minerals from coal to
uranium has transformed mountains into craters and turned rivers
the color of blood, said representatives of indigenous peoples from
some 50 communities around the world, gathered in London this week.
From Namibia in southern Africa to Siberia near the Arctic
circle, from French Guyana on the north-eastern shoulder of South
America to Fiji in the South Pacific, speakers are in London for
the 6-16 May Consultation on Indigenous People and Mining,
organized by the World …Pratap Chatterjee
Inter Press Service English News Wire
05-14-1996 
 

So, Miranda Devine, if mining companies do that on earth, do you really think they would act ethically on other planets?

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Foie Gross

Sir Roger Moore was, I always thought, one of the best James Bonds. I also still watch reruns of The Saint. He was debonnaire and cool.  I like Sir Roger Moore. But I particularly love geese and ducks as I have raised both.  I had two geese – Lazarus and Gasper – and when I used to come home from work I would call loudly to them from the corner of the street. They would honk back to me to welcome me home. I have raised many ducks and I watched sadly as Daphne duck who had sustained a leg injury and was unable to walk, was cared for by her partner Loulie until she died.  After her death Loulie lost interest in life and soon he too was unable to walk and  passed away.

So I am thrilled to hear that Sir Roger Moore is fighting a most abominable practice – the production of foie gras.

In case you don’t know about foie gras, it is otherwise known as fatty liver. Geese and ducks are force fed for hours each day until their livers burst.  Can you imagine the way these poor animals suffer so that some  ‘privileged’ people may eat a gourmet pate on their crackers? How do you feel when you’ve eaten too much at Christmas? It certainly hurts. Imagine feeling that way all the time. The funny thing is, animals only eat when they’re hungry and birds know that when they eat too much they are too heavy to fly. It’s only people who stuff themselves silly on a regular basis.

The best way to stop this appauling practice is to discourage demand. PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals) has been fighting to stop Selfridges in the UK from selling foie gras.

When Sir Roger Moore heard about this, he wrote a letter to Selfridges offering to buy their entire stock of foie gras provided that Selfridges never sold it again. When he didn’t receive a reply, he took to the press and airwaves in a campaign to create public aweness of the cruelty involved in producing foie gras.

You can read all about it at PETA.org.uk.

If you’d like to ask the owner of Selfridges to stop selling foie gras, write to the following address:

Mr. Galen Weston,

Selfridges, London,

400 Oxford Street,

London W1A 1AB

United Kingdom.

Good on you, Sir Roger! It’s wonderful to see someone in the public eye drawing attention to ghastly practices and fighting to end them.

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Catskills Animal Sanctuary

I can’t help but think at Christmas that although we have a jolly good time, animals – especially farm animals – don’t!

Christmas is not the best time of the year if you’re a pig, duck, goose, hen or a turkey. 

So I’d like to mention the Catskills Animal Sanctuary. The wonderful people who run this sanctuary rescue abandoned and mistreated farm animals and give them a warm and caring home for the rest of their lives. 

It’s not inexpensive to run such a place and funds are always short. However, this year a very caring and generous benefactor has made a kind offer.  They have said that they will match every donation made up to 1st January, 2010 up to $1.5 million!

This is a fantastic opportunity for the sanctuary to raise the funds they need to build new barns and to rescue more abandoned animals.

There are now only 6 days to go before the offer expires so even if you could only manage $10, that immediately becomes $20! 

This is your best opportunity ever to double your money in one week!!!

Go to http://www.casanctuary.org/challenge-grant 

And give abused farm animals a chance to finish their sad lives in a state of happiness!

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HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

I hope that you all have a wonderful day today!

I’ve already had a major drama. I was going to my mum’s for lunch and it was just going to be the two of us having lunch in front of the tellie as we were going to the nursing home to visit my dad afterwards.

Then unexpectedly, a good friend from interstate rang to say that she was now part of the crew of a huge ship which had just sailed into Sydney Harbour!

What to do? She couldn’t come to a restaurant with us on Christmas Eve as she had to be on the ship for rehearsals for a show they were putting on, so all that was left was Christmas Day. However, I didn’t think she’d be impressed with our knees up in front of the tellie.

I scanned the internet for restaurants but they were all booked out.

Yikes!

Luckily, my mum rang the local leagues club and they’d just had a cancellation and we got in there. It might not be what my friend has in mind but well, we’ll have heaps of company and we won’t have to do any cooking!

Just goes to show that you can make all the plans you like but things can change in an instant!

Hope your plans work out better than mine today! Actually, the real loser today is my dog Indy who would have gone to my mum’s but I don’t think they’ll appreciate her presence at the leagues club!

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Bear Tales

I was overjoyed to read that the last dancing bear in India has just been released into a bear sanctuary and that there will no more dancing bears in India.
What a horrible life they must have lived!
Furthermore, so many bear cubs were stolen for the dancing bear trade that sloth bears are now an endangered species in India. It is only because of the marvellous work of WSPA,  Save the Bear (a Western Australian organisation) and other animal conservation organisations that this has been accomplished.

Sadly, the brown spectacled bear (the inspiration for Paddington Bear) in South America is now under threat. Only a couple of thousand bears now survive in the jungles and farmers and their cattle have encroached on their territory so much that the bears have started to supplement their traditional diet of berries and insects with meat from cattle they have killed. Of course this has enraged the farmers who are shooting the bears. There are caring scientists who are trying to work out a strategy to appease the farmers – hopefully with cash restitution.

It is definitely not an easy life for bears now that we have encroached so far into their territory.
Even the black bears in Yellowstone National Park are having a hard time of it. Their reduced territory now overlaps with the territory of the Grisly Bear and scientists have for the first time ever, found the bodies of three black bears who who were killed in separate brutal attacks by Grislys. Grislys lead a solitary existance and do not take kindly to other bears in their territory. However, the Grisly Bear territory has been so reduced that they have been entering people territory and have been shot. In fact, Grisly Bears are also now endangered.

Hard days for bears!

On a more cheerful note, these are the last few days for you to make a donation to the Catskills Animal Sanctuary which rescues abandoned farm animals.
A most generous benefactor has offered to match up to $1.5 million, any donation made before 1st January, 2010. So, for the sake of donkeys, hens, horses, cows, pigs and goats who have suffered so much at the hands of brutal humans, please give a donation so they can have new sheds and plenty of food!
http://www.casanctuary.org/challenge-grant

In my next post I will tell you about a wonderful entomologist I met yesterday who is saving endangered species on Lord Howe Island.

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End of Year Wrap Up

Phew! What a year it’s been!
However, it was also very exciting and I’ve achieved more than I dreamed possible.
Firstly, Rescue Moondar was shortlisted in the Koala and Yabba Awards.

Secondly, book number seven, The Blood Tree, was released and has been very successful.
Thirdly, I visited dozens of schools in NSW and many schools in Victoria from Melbourne to Echuca. Also I visited a few schools in Brisbane.
It’s been very hard work but well worth it. It’s also great fun travelling around visiting different schools and meeting lots of new people. The books are now in over one thousand schools right across every state in Australia so it looks like I’ll be doing more travelling next year!
This week I presented awards at the end of year presentations at Harcourt Primary School at Campsie and Telopea Primary School. Actually, at Harcourt PS I just thought I was going to give out prizes when I glanced at the programme and saw that I had to give a speech! I got quite a shock. After I stopped shaking I had ten minutes to think of something meaningful. I pulled through it all right but it was a close call!
Now it’s the time of year when I visit bookshops and last weekend I did a book signing at the new bookstore at Angus and Robertson, Top Ryde.
This Sunday I’m signing books at Angus and Robertson, Macarthur Square, Campbelltown and all next week I’ll be at Angus and Robertson, Camden.
I hope to see some familiar faces, especially at Camden.
Well, I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy and happy 2010!
Next year I’ll tell you about the adventure I’ll be having in January.
Vasey Tove,
Roslyn

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