5 degrees?

Every day the news is full of negative environmental news. Dire warnings then we are told to go out and consume more. No wonder the population is depressed with our leaders.


“This world
is a comedy to those who think,
a tragedy to those who feel.”

– Horace Walpole, English Historian.

From Pan.

History has proven time and again that herbicide-based weed management will inevitably fail. — Iowa State University, 2012 Herbicide Guide for Iowa Corn and Soybean Production
For decades, conventional farmers have been trapped on a “pesticide treadmill.” When persistent organochlorine pesticides like DDT were phased out for their health and environmental harms, a new fast-acting generation of organophosphates were phased in. And the pattern continues.

With the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) crops, the pesticide treadmill has shifted into high gear.

Patented GE seeds are designed for use with specific pesticides, leading to increased use of these chemicals. And widespread application of these pesticides leads to the emergence of herbicide-resistant “superweeds,” among other things.

Industry’s latest answer to this problem? More GE seeds, engineered to be used with even more drift-prone and dangerous chemicals.

Speeding up the treadmill
Superweeds now plague more than 60 million acres of U.S. farmland, thanks to widespread planting of Bayer’s (now merged with Monsanto) “RoundUp Ready” crops.

When RoundUp Ready seeds were originally released, Monsanto (now merged with Bayer) assured farmers and the public alike that weed resistance to glyphosate — RoundUp’s active ingredient — would be a non-issue. They were wrong.

And now, Dow and Bayer (Monsanto) are making the same case in support of the “new generation” of 2,4-D/dicamba-resistant GE seeds, but the facts are in. We cannot outwit evolution.

More of the same
Designed to “fix” the problem of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, new GE crops — some still in the USDA pipeline awaiting agency approval — have been engineered for use with antiquated, hazardous pesticides like 2,4-D and dicamba.

But what’s going to stop weeds from developing resistance to these herbicides, too? Nothing, according to weed scientists, who predict a new epidemic of herbicide-resistant superweeds.

Meanwhile, Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant corn, approved in late 2014, is expected to drive a 20-fold increase in the use of 2,4-D over the next six years — from an estimated 5.2 million pounds in 2014 to over 100 million pounds by 2020.

This 2,4-D corn, part of Dow’s “Enlist Duo” seed line, is designed to withstand a patented combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate — ensuring continued widespread use of that herbicide, too. So industry’s response to the widespread harms of RoundUp Ready crops? More of the same.

High stakes
The pesticide treadmill wreaks havoc on farmer livelihoods in several ways, from the expense of patented GE seed (and the accompanying chemicals) to the cost of managing superweeds in the fields to the constant risk of seed patent lawsuits.

Many herbicides also drift from where they’re applied to harm neighboring, non-GE crops. Broadleaf plants like tomatoes and grapes, in particular, are susceptible to damage from 2,4-D.

These drift-prone chemicals are often linked to health harms. The World Health Organization recently completed an assessment of independent studies and determined that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.”

And 2,4-D — the herbicide mixed with glyphosate in Dow’s recently approved “Enlist Duo” formulation — is a suspected endocrine disruptor that has been linked to cancer and reproductive harm. Children are particularly susceptible to its effects.

Use of these chemicals, driven up by GE crops, puts farmers, farmworkers and rural communities in harm’s way.

Taking a stand
In a 2015 poll, 90 percent of Iowa farmers reported feeling that “pest management is a never-ending technology treadmill.” And they are not pleased.

Recognizing the potential harm to their own crops and farmland across the country, conventional and organic farmers alike are speaking out loud and clear against Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant corn and soy. And many are nervous about potential drift damage from dicamba, when those crops come to market.

In the words of Iowa farmer Denise O’Brien:

The whole suite of new GE seeds is a bad idea for farmers and farm communities. The pesticide industry is introducing one troubling GE seed after another.”

With rules governing GE crops up for review, we have a collective opportunity to help farmers off the pesticide treadmill. Even if Bayer (Monsanto) doesn’t like it.

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In my own efforts here at Huonbrook I watch as some indigenous trees grow tall in a very short time, shading out the opportunity for under storey plants to survive.

The below article from the local weekly ( Echo) is quite depressing but as we are seeing here in our Shire as more and more camphor forests are being poisoned, regardless of the many insects, birds and even the last remaining koalas that have adapted to using, it is hard to keep perspective.

I am of the firm view that any plant, introduced or indigenous, growing and thriving is showing us that the environment is struggling to adapt…………..it is us humans that are the destroyers of our ecology.


Lead author Belén Fadrique, a Ph.D. candidate who designed and carried out the study with her advisor, Kenneth J. Feeley, the University of Miami’s Smathers Chair of Tropical Tree Biology. Credit: University of Miami
An international study led by University of Miami tropical biologists reveals that tropical trees are migrating upslope to escape climate change, but not fast enough.

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, an international team of scientists led by University of Miami biologists has found that tropical and subtropical forests across South America’s Andes Mountains are responding to warming temperatures by migrating to higher, cooler elevations, but probably not quickly enough to avoid the loss of their biodiversity, functional collapse, or even extinction.

Published November 14 in the journal Nature, the study confirmed for the first time that, like many other plant and animal species around the world, trees from across the Andean and Amazon forests of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Argentina have been moving upward. But unlike species from the world’s temperate or boreal forests, which are far more accustomed to dramatic seasonal shifts in temperature, tropical trees are running into environmental roadblocks at higher, cooler elevations that are thwarting their migration and threatening their survival.

“In the Andes, the ecosystems can change very fast and very dramatically, for example, from sunny and dry premontane forests to sopping-wet cloud forests. These changes, called ecotones, appear to be blocking species migrations,” said lead author Belén Fadrique, a Ph.D. candidate who designed and carried out the study with her advisor, Kenneth J. Feeley, UM’s Smathers Chair of Tropical Tree Biology. “These ecotone barriers make it hard for plants to relocate their populations—and if they can’t relocate, they will go extinct.”

For the Nature study, Fadrique and Feeley set out to answer a scientific call to include more tropical plants in studies that investigate and predict the effects of climate change—the very call that Feeley and his fellow tropical biologists have been issuing for years because, as he notes, “the tropics include most of the world’s species and we know next to nothing about what those species are doing or how they are responding to climate change.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-11-tropical-trees-andes-uptoward-extinction.html#jCp

When venturing into Mullumbimby on Wednesday I viewed a Grey Goshawk trying to lift a road kill bandicoot from the road. Unsuccessful and the dead bandicoot was still on the road when I came home.


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From the SMH

By Joseph Stiglitz
15 November 2018 — 12:00am

A remarkable trial is set to begin in Eugene, Oregon, on November 19. The Trump administration is being sued by 21 children on behalf of themselves and future generations. The claim is that the administration, through its climate change policies, is violating the children’s basic rights.
It should be obvious that the threat of climate change is putting at risk their future—it has been obvious for a long time. It’s not just the increase in temperature and the rising sea level, it’s the accompanying increase in extreme weather events, such as floods, hurricanes and droughts that can also devastate harvests and cause forest fires. The acidification of the ocean will destroy coral reefs, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. As habitats get destroyed, so will species. Those in more temperate zones are already facing new diseases.


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https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-11-09/neonicotinoid-insecticide-causes-bees-to-abandon-their-young/10477282Spying on bumblebees as they nest has revealed strange behaviour in those exposed to tiny amounts of a widely used pesticide.
Key points
Bumblebees exposed to neonicotinoid insecticide spent less time nursing
Research adds to the case that widely used pesticide adversely affects bees
Native bees could theoretically be at greater risk than honey bees, but experts say more research is needed
A study published in the journal Science found bees exposed to an insecticide called imidacloprid were less likely to feed and care for their larvae, and spent more time hanging out around the edges of the nest.
According to study lead author and Harvard University biologist James Crall, the most surprising and puzzling finding was that the effect on bee behaviour was strongest at night.
“If you look overnight, it’s totally striking,” Dr Crall said.
“Oftentimes the majority or all of a colony [affected by imidaclorprid] will be immobile — which you never see in healthy colonies.
“That means less nursing overnight.”


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November 11.

Walk out early this morning through the valley. A shower of rain at 5 am gave everything a glaze which enhanced all colours.

Mullumbimby was a buzz for a Sunday morning.  The Agricultural Show at the showgrounds, 11 November, 100 years since the end of the First World War with a service at Civic Hall. Lunch at the Yemeni Café, a delicious falafel dish with plenty of garlic and parsley.

Mullumbimby Music festival next weekend. The town is decorating with shop window displays and the written word appearing on footpaths.


Thanks too, the 5 rides that covered the 40 kilometres, great conversations and a delight to finally meet Hannah, the daughter of Louise.

I walked the last 5 kilometres back into the valley with the running Coopers Creek keeping me company. The kookaburras were keeping an eye on me as I passed through.

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Happy 75th Birthday to Joni Mitchell.


My favourite song writer and singer from the 1970s when I lived in the USA.

. Big Yellow Taxi (Ladies of the Canyon, 1970)

Probably her most famous song with arguably her most famous line (“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”), behind the sheer exuberance of “Big Yellow Taxi” lies a serious and prescient environmental warning. A surprise hit single in the UK peaking at number 11 in the early summer of 1970, Mitchell’s genius was to place such an important message within such a catchy song. The message is – don’t take nature for granted (“you don’t what you’ve got till it’s gone”) and is obviously even more relevant today as when she composed “Big Yellow Taxi” nearly five decades ago.

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Back to health.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next working bee will be on Saturday the 17th of November, from 9 am until 1 pm, at New Brighton chemical free site. We will be there removing Glory lily, Bitou bush and Ground asparagus seedlings. We are specially looking forward to meet Ocean Shores locals, that would like to help with this project. Please meet us at the first curve, on the left, at North Head Road. Park your car and walk into the beach. The site is towards the south directions and you will see us on the dunes. This is a short strip of land, between the ocean and the back of the houses. Please wear boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water. Tools and first aid kit will be provided, however if you have a serrated knife, that you don’t mind to be used on the sand, it will be great tool for the Asparagus removal.

BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed

Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated

Nadia de Souza Pietramale

Project Coordinator

0478 272 300


Worth a read.


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