Written by Geoff Dawe.

Perhaps the main argument
proffered for chemical bush
regeneration, is that it is
quicker than chemical-free
bush regeneration.
However, there is not enough
scientific data of long term
effects. In Byron shire at
the present moment, the
National Parks and Wildlife
Service wishes to carry out
extensive spraying of Bitou
even though their poison of
choice, Metsulphuron-methyl
is advised not to be used near
bulbous plants. It can be
expected that the bulbous,
threatened Pink nodding
orchid is in there somewhere
because a chemical free group
working nearby, has so far
uncovered 40. The presence
of the Bitou makes them
difficult to find. The NP&WS
will not spray if they can
find an orchid in the spray
zone, but since none has been
found they intend to spray.
It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Spraying will potentially make
the orchid less likely to appear
in future, which provides the
NP&WS with self-permission
to keep spraying.
Since our grandparents
caused a major environmental
catastrophe in the clearing of
Australia, it is mostly ego that
thinks it should be repaired
quickly with technologies;
with the use of long term
safety-unproven, synthesised
chemicals, when there is
argument that the camphors,
lantana and other successful
biomass producing plants, are
raw materials for efficient use
of energy for extensive repair.
This repair is not particularly
in seeing to the comparative
short term increase of native
species, but of the long term:
of air, water and soil; the
three bases of life. All to some
extent begin healing with
sequestration of soil organic
carbon from plants, often
“weeds”, that are particularly
successful with the production
of biomass.
The need to see koalas and
parrots return in our lifetimes
rather than say, over 200
or 500 years or whatever, is
an issue of concern for the
comparatively short life-spans
and individual mortality
of humans, combined
with conscience-prodded
materialistic lifestyles that
have compromised habitat.
The comparative short term of
human lifetimes is currently
matched by a short term view
of nature that wishes to be
able to see the return of native
species in a human’s lifetime.
The view appears to not notice
that methods of short term
technological recovery of
species, inefficiently provides
for the less able to be seen
improvement, and long term
recovery, of soil, water and
air. Poisonous sprays, for
example, can be readily seen
to potentially threaten all
three of the bases of life. This
is easily seen for example,
where continual spraying of
the understorey herbaceous
layer bares and mobilises
soil. Moreover, in terms of
efficiency of energy use, and
given the current tendency of
the society to ravage energy
sources, the means by which
energy is conserved and
provided by nature itself, as
opposed to human-produced
technologies, is more
important than ever.
The use of biomass-efficient
immigrant species for long-term environmental repair
is an example of nature
delivering repair services
cheaper than technologies.
Professor David Lindenmayer,
in his book On Borrowed
Time writes, “While the
neoclassical economist will
argue that everything has a
price, ecological economists
are revealing that ecosystem
services are in fact almost
priceless and that nature
itself can deliver them far
more cheaply than human
interventionist technology.”
It is not as if nature cannot
provide earth healing services
comparatively cheaply.
It is that humans have
disorganised themselves in
urban dependency, in hanging
onto an economic system
that cannot understand that
nature is finite, in attempting
to fix symptoms of habitat
loss, rather than causes, and
in a refusal to use the unique
human ability to consider
the long term rather than the
The implication by Paul
Roberts and Julian Cribb with
their books, respectively The
End of Food and The Coming
Famine , is that industrialised
agriculture cannot supply
long term food security.
There is a positive side to this.
Individual humans can shift
their focus from an emphasis
on attempts to directly supply
other animal’s needs by
negating weeds, to an attempt
to supply their own with a
comprehensively populated
gardening culture that makes
use of “weeds”. In doing that,
habitat as a side effect, begins
its healing.

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