Monthly Archives: November 2010

Help! Where is the closest rubbish dump planet?

Sometimes I wonder why God made humans.

Really, we are the only creature on earth that makes a mess that is not biodegradable.

We have scattered nuclear waste all over the planet where it is probably leaking into water tables here, there and everywhere.  We have created a plastic soup in the Pacific Ocean which is bigger than America.

Go to Kerala, India and see the rubbish strewn on the sides of the road with goats rifling through it – not a pretty sight. I saw an ABC  programme on Mumbai the other day which featured endless dumped garbage. India doesn’t seem to have a very efficient garbage collection system if in fact it has one at all.

The ocean is awash with our garbage and garbage tips are chockers.

What can we do with all the rubbish that billions of people create every day? Everything we buy in the supermarket is double wrapped in plastic wrap.  There is no such thing anymore as a tub of onions or potatoes from which we fill our paper bags. No, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, apples and capsicums all come pre packed in plastic bags.

What happens to all that plastic?

If you buy take away food it comes in a plastic container with plastic knives, forks and spoons.

Anyway, not content with destroying earth, we have now turned our attention to outer space. According to the US Secretary of State, there are 500,000 pieces of space junk floating around in orbit. And guess what? We put them there.

What we really need is a planet where we can send space junk vehicles to throw all our plastic bags and nuclear waste.

We are really quite a disgusting lot. We have destroyed the water ways for marine life by flushing chemical contaminants in the water. Just two weeks ago the Sydney Morning Herald warned us not to eat fish caught west of Sydney Harbour due to contaminants in the water from the old Union Carbide factory.  Apparently the damage to the water will not be easily rectified and the powers that be expect that the water will remain contaminated for decades to come.

Of course the same senario is being played out all over the world.

And let’s not start talking about oil spills! I’m surprised that there is a clean square metre of water out there – anywhere.

I wonder how much oil and plastic we are all consuming on a yearly basis via our sea food. I’m sure there is also a fair wad of chopped up plastic that gets fed to animals in their feed too.

I suppose the best we can do is make sure we reduce our litter but it’s a losing battle. I mean, how can we reduce our space rubbish?

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Dealing with Locusts and Other Native Pests

We do so love native animals, don’t we?

Well, as long as they don’t take the fruit off the trees in our garden; steal from our veggie patch; land in our swimming pool; pooh on the clothes on our clothesline; sit on our roof; nest in our roof or trees; or chew on our houses.

Let’s face it. Native animals are a pest. They can exist as long as they don’t bother us in any way at all.

I read today that a flock of 20 sulphur-crested cockatoos has been nibbling on the Sydney Campus Apartments, private student accommodation on the corner of Broadway and Bay Street, Ultimo. This has raised the ire of the City of Sydney Council and rather than work out a solution, they have brought in the big guns. Two have already been shot and now the remaining 18 are living on borrowed time, with a permit already taken out to kill them too.

There has been a public outcry and the cull has been temporarily suspended but I don’t like their chances.

All this and Cr Doutney from the Sydney City Council has attended a conference in Japan to discuss ways to encourage wildlife back to cities.

It is obvious that most people are so selfish that if they are in any way inconvenienced then they don’t care what measures are taken to relieve their irritation, as long as their stress is immediately reduced in the cheapest possible manner.

I think we could all agree that humans have one character trait that truly differentiates them from all the animals on earth – they are big hypocrites! But does that make us superior?


There is currently a lot of hysteria in Australia regarding the threat of a predicted locust plague.

Heavy rains have triggered a surge in locust activity and there are fears NSW could be facing its worst locust plague since 2004.

The government is tackling this by compulsory spraying which is proving controversial. The question is, how harmful are the chemicals being used?

According to  Banned US neurotoxic insecticides Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos and others are about to be unleashed over South Australia to protect crops from locusts with a possible assistance scheme for farmers who choose to use these chemicals.

According to…/locusts/the-australian-plaguelocust-landholder- control-strategies-for-nsw Fenitrothion is another recommended chemical. Fenitrothion degrades rapidly in the environment, but is extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic life and also to bees. Therefore, buffer zones must be observed. Withholding periods for grazing, cutting for stock feed, harvesting and slaughter must also be observed to avoid residues.

Concerns are that farmers and pastoralists may not have evaluated the impact on public health, that using toxins previously banned in other countries, may have on their own health, that of their families and the wider communities including ecological impacts.

So these chemicals will not only kill locusts but also every other insect within cooee (sorry but we do need spiders, ants, bees etc) and no doubt birds, lizards and whatever else eats the sprayed leaves or is rained down upon by the chemicals.

Furthermore, there are questions being raised about what the locusts really eat. They apparently aren’t that fond of wheat and when faced with a crop of wheat will only trim the edges before moving on. To see more about that, have a look at this very interesting programme

If humans are so advanced, why is everything they do an over reaction? And then they always turn to something that causes many more problems down the line than the thing they were trying to control. This is never so apparent as in medicine where a pill to cure one problem causes an even worse problem somewhere else in the body (arthritis medication that damages the stomach/ headache pills that damage the kidneys).

According to the above article –

The US Pesticide Action Network (PANNA) report in 2002 says that banned insecticides, diazinon is particularly hazardous to children. Where studies have been done, evidence from laboratory animals shows that early-life exposure to low doses of this class of chemicals reduces development of neural connections……  High exposures thus remain likely for those living in or near agricultural communities.

So our wheat will be now laced with dangerous chemicals which will contaminate the bread and flour products we all buy. The diazinon will sink through to the water table and disperse through water. Native animals will die, children will become ill and our health will be endangered.

It’s a pity that our intelligence is so underdeveloped that we can’t think of solutions that don’t have worse consequences than the problem we are trying to solve.

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Be Quick to See the Seahorse!


The fantastical sea horse in the 1st Edition of Black Pearl of Laramoth

In the Doofuzz Dudes and the Black Pearl of Laramoth the Doofuzz Dudes ride under the sea on seahorses.

The seahorse is actually a tiny creature and would not provide much off a ride. The fictitious variety that live under the Sea of Laramoth are much bigger.

Unfortunately the sea horse might sadly be relegated to the realms of fiction very soon as they are now right on the verge of annihilation.

Once again we can thank the Chinese. Is there anything that is not in their herbal brews? I’m sure that at some time or other they’ve also popped parts of people in them!

Well, sea horses are one of the ingredients in Chinese herbal medicine.  This has sealed their fate. To cure a cough or whatever, these delightful creatures have been fished to the brink of extinction.

Still, there are some in the sea at Port Stephens.

They are fascinating creatures.  Seahorses are unique in the animal kingdom because the male carries the embryos and then gives birth to hundreds of tiny, fully developed babies.  It’s the only animal in the world where the male actually gives birth.

According to  although seahorses are protected in Australian waters, there are no longer many seahorses remaining in the water at Port Stephens. It was speculated that there is not adequate food for them there. Of course, it’s all very well to protect a species, but if their food sources or habitat is not protected then there’s not much hope for them is there?

In ‘Last Chance to See’ on the weekend, Steven Fry featured the Seahorse.

They also featured the chimpanzee. I did not realize that the chimp is also under threat of extinction. According to   Chimpanzees in Uganda are under threat because of the bushmeat trade; habitat loss and fragmentation due to agriculture and human settlement; and conflicts with farmers.  Their habitat has been lost to agriculture and human settlements. At the heart of this problem is the attitude of most farmers that chimpanzees and the conservation of forest habitats are a threat to their own livelihoods.

 The International Institute for Environment and Development project team is working with smallholder farmers in a participatory process to determine the forest management practices needed to conserve chimpanzee habitats in the corridor area and the payment packages of cash and in-kind support measures which will provide incentives for conservation.

Chimpanzees have been stolen for zoos for a hundred years and also used extensively in medical research. It is unfortunate that chimpanzees are remarkably like humans, which is not necessarily a good thing. Just like humans they can be violent, jealous, vengeful and hold grudges. But unlike humans, they can’t speak up for themselves and they don’t have finances to save themselves.

Misguided people (think Michael Jackon and his Bubbles) think that chimpanzees make delightful pets. No doubt they are cute when they are babies. However they grow up to be very strong and could easily kill their owner. Also, like any human, they reach puberty and want a mate. Behavioural changes then can make them very dangerous to humans and their fate is usually to be locked alone in a cage when that day arrives. I have previously written about the sad story of monkey babies…/dont-monkey-around-with-the-monkeys.

I am always thinking how sad it is for monkeys that so many of them are locked alone in cages for the satisfaction of humans. I am proud to say that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) rescued one monkey that I recently saw alone in a cage in a silly private zoo in Turkey.

What would we say if aliens captured humans and kept them in cages in their zoos? It was serve us all jolly well right if they did.

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