Monthly Archives: January 2010

The High Cost of Paper

As an author, I am very concerned about how I source my paper. At home I use recycled paper and recycled envelopes.

I don’t try to obtain cheaper prices overseas as I fear that cheap prices means that the paper has been sourced from unsustainable sources – most probably rainforests in Indonesia.

However, the biggest timber producers in Australia  use poison 101 as a cheap and easy method of maintaining their plantations. Many of these timber plantations are cultivated in old growth forests in Tasmania. Wallabies, wombats and other native wildlife abound in these forests. Naturally, they see the baby saplings growing and will be inclined to nibble on them.

The forestry workers initially leave carrots around for the animals to eat. Then a little while later, after the animals have become used to eating the food, the carrots are drenched with poison 101. The death is horrendous. Every cell in their bodies shuts down and as they desperately try to reach water, the forestry workers have to stop them so they won’t contaminate the water supply.

However, Great Southern Plantations, who unfortunately have now closed down, developed a special shade cloth system which they used to protect their saplings, so such a system is commercially available.

My books are printed by Griffin Press who source their paper from sustainable plantations. The certification I have stamped on my books says ‘FSC promotes environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests’. The FSC is a European standard. They do not approve of plantation growth in old growth forests. Naturally, Australian timber companies do not much care for this certification as they say it impedes them. They much prefer the Australian standard which is more lax.

So, every time we use paper there is a big possibility that it comes at the cost of native animals being poisoned with one of the most deadly chemicals know to mankind.

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Wangari Maathai

In these posts I have been bemoaning the destruction of the jungles in South East Asia (to make way for palm oil plantations). The Amazon basin is still being razed although last year for the first time there was a reduction in the rate of clearing. Australia has cleared most of its original old growth forests too. It seems to myself and lots of people that developers will always be given preference in any trade off between development and preserving nature – and I don’t think that it matters what political party is in power.  Money always speaks louder than birds can tweet.
However, there is an amazing woman who speaks for the trees. Her name is Wangari Maathai from Kenya. As Sammy Cheboi wrote in the Daily Nation, December 24, 2009
She is the first woman in Central and Eastern Africa to hold a PhD; the first woman to head a university department in Kenya; the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize; and the 12th UN Messenger of Peace — with a special focus on the environment and climate change.
Wangari has devoted her life to saving trees and to this effect she has founded two movements –
The Green Belt Movement – Kenya and the Green Belt Movement International. These organisations are  focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights.
In October 1989, Maathai learned of a plan to construct the 60-storey Kenya Times Media Trust Complex in Uruhu Park in Kenya. Despite vehement opposition from the government, she was able to stop the development which she equated with building in the middle of Central Park, New York. Her name was subsequently placed on a list of high profile assassination targets in Kenya.
To read more about her go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wangari_Maathai.  There are many websites that laud her work.
I have previously said that a couple of dozen men with rifles can do a lot of damage, but in this case, one determined woman has also done much good.
Catskills Animal Sanctuary
I was pleased to read that the kind donor who had previously offered to match all donations made to 1st January,  2010 up to $1.5 million, has generously offered to extend the offer to the end of 2010. So please consider a small donation to the sanctuary as these people are really committed to helping farm animals http://www.casanctuary.org. I know that many people are distressed by the thought of horses being sent to the slaughter-house. Well, a donation to the Catskills Animal Sanctuary will certainly help save some horses, not to mention the fact that they have just rescued a huge number of goats which are now living in safety. You can see the animals they rescue on this link http://www.casanctuary.org/cas/animals.  I think they also have vegan cooking classes at the sanctuary.  If you live nearby you might like to contact them to find out.  They have just employed a vegan chef.
Talking about vegan food, have you ever eaten the delicious Japanese snack called mochi? This is pounded rice made into rice cakes and dried. If I eat two for breakfast I find that I am completely satisfied until lunch time and that’s saying something as I’m a greedy pig by nature. Mochi are absolutely luscious grilled – they puff up and are soft and creamy inside. Here is a description of mochi being made http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-make-mochi. If you get a chance, buy a bag of white mochi from a Japanese supermarket where it is much cheaper. Mochi from health food stores tends to be quite expensive.

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Victory for Lab Animals – Sadness for Elephants

A couple of years ago I read that preparations were in place for testing everyday chemicals on five million lab animals.  Apparently, plans were afoot to double-test up to 6,000 chemicals in the programme.

Well, I’ve just seen PETA’s Animal Times for this quarter and they advise that because of their intervention, the European Chemical’s Agency has announced the adoption of a process that will spare as many as 4,410,000 animals from the tests! Isn’t this wonderful?

Since the figure I originally read was 5 million were to be tested, I guess that means that 600,000 will still be tested, but it’s still fantastic that 4.4 milion animals won’t have bleach poured down their throats.

That’s wonderful news for laboratory animals and I will certainly be sending PETA a donation as they do fantastic work for animals.

Sadly, the news is not so bright for elephants.

According to the 7.30 Report on Channel 2 last night, 37,000 elephants were slaughtered last year in Africa for their tusks. The tusks are used in Chinese traditional medicine. 

Although 75 people have armed themselves to protect the elephants, they too have been shot and sometimes killed.  Apparently the killing has accelerated due to a huge increase of seasonal workers from China.

However, as a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) myself, I know that the TCM societies around the world have implemented protocols of not using animal products in their herbal medicines. Products in herbal medicines are selected according to their heating, cooling, blood moving properties etc. However, plant medicines have the same effect as ivory, bear bile, seahorse, tiger bone and all the other animal products which have been traditionally used.

Fortunately, most countries ban the importation of ivory and I was pleased to see that Ebay has banned the sale of ivory products on its website.

So, how can it be that this astonishing number of elephants are being exterminated on a daily basis?  Why is it that the Asian countries have not twigged to the fact that once they’ve wiped out all the elephants, bears, sharks, tuna, tigers directly and all the orangutans indirectly, that there just won’t be any wildlife left? The food chain will be broken into little pieces and our own demise will surely be not far off. 

Of course, it’s not just Asian countries that have been responsible for the plundering of these animals, every country in the world has been complicit. However, the sale of ivory and tiger bone is directly linked to the Chinese herbal market; the demand for shark fin soup in Asia has shown no signs of abatement; bears are caged in Asian farms and ‘milked’ via tubes to their livers, for bile which is used in herbal preparations; bear paw is used in Asian dishes; Asian countries recently refused to ratify an agreement to reduce tuna fishing by 50% so that the world stocks of tuna could be allowed time to restock; and South-East Asian jungles are being burnt down at an alarming rate to make way for palm oil plantations – thus killing every plant and animal inhabitant therein – including orangutans, monkies, snakes, birds and tigers.

It is blatantly apparent that there is no hope for any of the exotic animals on earth. Although there are many, many good people working to save animals, it only takes a couple of dozen determined people with matches (as in the case of burning down jungles); high powered fishing boats; or high powered rifles, to wipe out any number of species.

Unfortunately, those responsible won’t be reading this blog. However, the best we can do is to stop eating tuna; never, ever eat shark soup; never, ever use ivory; and take care when reading labels to make sure that there are no palm oil products in your biscuits, cosmetics, chocolate, toothpaste etc and also that there is no bile in herbal preparations you might buy.

Good luck! It won’t be easy!

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The Doofuzz Dudes go Japanese!

I’m thrilled to report that the first four Doofuzz Dudes books have been translated into Japanese!

Well that does make an approach to the Japanese market a bit easier. 

So maybe in the future we’ll have Doofuzz Dudes characters jumping off rooves and out of trees ninja style!

2010 should be very interesting for the Dudes. 

The Planet Zok will be released and hopefully by the end of the year, The Ozone Thief will be published.  A lot depends on the art work being finished in time. 

The Dudes are now in all states of Australia and this year we’ll be entering the New Zealand market. 

I look forward to visiting more schools in different states this year, particularly Victoria and Queensland as they are the closest.  I’ve already visited 15 schools right across Victoria and they are really receptive.

Here’s hoping that 2010 is a great year for us all!

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