As I walked out of the valley yesterday morning, the full moon was slumbering down in the western sky, looking so round and bright ( photos blurry ) and by the time I had walked the 6 ks light misty rain drifted over my face. After a searing heat week, sadness at the massive fires in South Australia where people died and 100s of animals, both farmed and native, severely burnt or killed, I felt so lucky to live at the end of a valley that surrounds me with a variety of bird-life and native fauna. I will do all I can in my remaining years to enhance and protect what is left.
But when I got to town I was confronted by two local environmental activists who berated our green mayor for crowd funding his trip to Paris to the Climate Change conference. For me climate change is not about ideology, its about the planets survival and walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Tomorrow the day of action will take place all over Australia.
So what do I see here in our Byron Shire after 10 years of green ideology? Vehicle Grid lock on the entry roads to Byron Bay, bike lanes that hardly anyone uses I am told. Herbicide use in our public parks and along side drains. Roads patched up with a spray of tar and a shovel full of loose gravel, soon dispersed with a shower of heavy rain for it then to flow into the drains and creeks. Road verges mowed rarely with sections still being poisoned to then grow back stronger than ever. Go out at night and I see roaming dogs and cats on the road. Millions spent on feral cat campaigns federally yet our tiny Shire just seems to turn a blind eye. Yet we see local campaigns for animals in other countries while the koala is dying out as we humans push more into their remaining habitat or are being killed by the introduced feral dog/cat/fox. And the true cost of our quick fixes is never truly accounted for as the bureaucracy in Council just keeps growing, thwarting progressives as it does.
And then there is land care ( land-scare as one person described it yesterday ) poisoning trees next to creeks which then fall into the running water, water that is used domestically. Other examples of wanton herbicide use I viewed, where spraying was visible beneath a growing canopy of rain forest trees. Some-one doesn’t think understory plants have value ??? Read the WHO’s directive on glyphosate, round-up. Also the new peer review science on why we are loosing our bees.
Then there are the hectares of mowed manicured lawns which could be growing clean Certified organic food, a huge growth area domestically in which this region has not taken advantage of and something our green elected reps make no mention of. With some of the finest growing soils for small diverse food plantings, we need a local organic certifier to assist and help the beginners, something a progressive environmental party could be leading. A wide range of vegetables and fruit can be grown here which are now imported into the Shire from far afield.
And then there are the new houses that are still being built, large enough to bed 10 people instead of 2 or 3. Plastic bags still littering our road-sides after years of pledges to replace them. No recycling bins in our town streets, to educate people on what is recyclable or not. Each urban house/unit now carry three garbage bins and the land fill site at Myocum just keeps expanding.
Feel good campaigns that spend public money to eradicate the cane toad that have huge fanfare and one day of action. After that nothing as we see in most of our feel good campaigns.
Our new PM and the hapless minister of the environment ( when being interviewed he twists facts and at the end of the non answers you forget what he is talking about ) along with our foreign minister are all there in Paris. I, along with a lot of Australians are waiting to see the outcome from this foray into the international environment confab. We have seen very little change in any policy following the Abbott days from the new PM. Except people, we are told, feel safer, because his smooth public relations rhetoric is in sharp contrast to the very ugly contemptuous tone we heard daily from Tony Abbott.
Fingers crossed, so we will have to wait and see the outcome from Paris and what our green mayor brings back from his junket. Lets hope its for real this time.
So lovely to be back in my cabin, dinner with Jayne and a dance after what was an intense day for me.