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A week of change.

Internet down for a week…………phone lines hazy. Wondering if a deliberate strategy to get us land liners onto satellite. My phone lines run across the ground, I see sticky tape holding a little black box onto the wires?

With weather continuing its roller coaster , from cool to humid, a good week in the garden. The growth is super charged, over night a cougette/zucchini becomes a marrow. Corn 2 mitres high, a dwarf variety.

Green grocer cicadas ending their short three weeks of life, crash landing to the ground, kookaburras and the hens compete.

And with our valley seeing large scale camphor laurel tree poisoning it has been observed Koalas feasting on the camphor leaves. With ads continuously on TV about the dramatic decline of the koala population the poisoning of this habitat is contributing to the koala’s struggle to survive.

Surely wiser heads have to pull the plug on this wholesale destruction of an adapted habitat. It has been reported too that 3 butterflies, native pigeons, numerous insects depend on the camphor laurel for survival.

Another crime against the environment.



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More than 300 pesticides are permitted in conventional agriculture, and some may combine in a harmful cocktail effect. So for your sake and the planet’s, go organic. These are the UK statistics, Australia’s could be even more than 300.

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As herbicide poisoning creeps furthur into our valley.

Humidity and more rain which means less physical work. So with the camera I am enjoying photographing the stunning colours tree trunks present.

A visitor from further down the valley told me the difference in the sound of life here is a contrast to the relative silence further down the valley. Cicadas are still sounding off and the calls of frogs filter through.

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A reply to Mayor Simon Richardson’s message.

To Byron Shire’s mayor.

A reflection in your  message Simon.

I think you got more people off side when you spoke on radio about being out of the trench.

Many of us will remain in the trench until we see positive environmental leadership.

Hectares of camphor trees are being poisoned in our  Shire. Coral tree poisoning next to the road has created land slip potential. Drains along our country roads are still being privately sprayed in certain areas.

Road way pipe inlets are blocked therefore creating insufficient drainage which then impacts the road surface. A dangerous exposed pipe on Huonbrook Road has been reported many times and still not been safely cordoned off. As a local cyclist I have encountered a speeding vehicle as I cycled down the hill where the pipe is exposed. I was lucky as I was able to swerve into the grass before the breaking away road edge.

Huonbrook Herbicide Free ACTIVE volunteers are continuing hand weeding of the jump seed plant along with planting lomandras where appropriate. Chemical free volunteers are committed and follow independent science on herbicides in common use. We need people, not machines, to replant water inlets and outlets along our roads.

Environment awareness and education is the key as more cashed up people arrive from the cities. Enough evidence on herbicides in water, soil and our air has come to the fore and if Byron still calls itself Green we should be more proactive as land guardians.

Simon’s reply.

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. I guess my point was that we need to find a way forward to get good outcomes and I think your area is a case in point. Many many great environmentally dedicated people who are split between two camps. Perhaps I am being naive, however I think that if some way forward could be found to connect the groups the outcomes would be better. I was also speaking more broadly. Your particular issue is about a technique or strategy to solve a solution -and so yea, perhaps each strategy can be advocated for strongly. In the issue of the pipe, this is the first I have heard of it, I will get staff onto it.
Regards, Simon

Thank you Simon for your reply.

You say two camps with committed environmentalists in each ?  Herbicide free regenerators and ones with a spray pack or injector?

The Greens Charter is very clear when it states ‘ Ecology….to ensure that human activity respects the integrity of ecosystems. and does not impair biodiversity and the ecological resilience of life supporting systems.

With the Richmond River at Ballina presenting a F rating its on us to present the best ecological support for our rivers within our Shire. Coopers Creek begins in my property which I am proud to say it has not seen a herbicide in the 40 years I have been guardian here.

Since the wholesale poisoning of Coral trees and Camphor Laurels in our valley we are seeing an increasing number of nectar seeking birds (Coral ) finding their way to our end of the valley. Older residents down the valley tell me they are noticing a distinct decline in birds, cicadas, frogs ect.

Some of us hoped Byron Shire would have branded itself as a committed Organic Shire, a Shire which could be emulated by others as well.

I would like a transparent audit of the quantity of herbicides being put into our environment. I would also like to see the independent research, outside of the chemical companies own sales pitch, published whenever Land care or others spray or inject.

There seems to be a considerable contradiction in individual green members on GMOs and the terminator technology that GMOs present. Also the increasing use of herbicides in their cultivation. Have you a view on this?

Thanks for reading    Donald Drinkwater

PS   Great to see the steam weeding machine in action on Mullumbimby streets.


Recently stolen sign we placed at the entry to our valley. Someone is collecting them for their art value.

FROM the University of Canterbury. NZ.

The active ingredients found in common household weed killers such as Roundup and Yates can cause bacteria to develop a resistance to antibiotics, scientists have warned.
In a new study published in the scientific journal Microbiology, researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand found that three of the most commonly used herbicides – glyphosate (active ingredient in Roundup), dicamba (found in Yates), and 2,4-D – caused E.coli and salmonella to become less susceptible to antibiotics.
Jack Heinemann, a professor in molecular biology and genetics, and one of the authors of the study, said the findings show that “bacteria respond to exposure to the herbicides by changing how susceptible they are to antibiotics used in human and animal medicine”.
Antibiotic resistance is a phenomenon where bacteria become unresponsive to treatments that were once highly effective in killing them – making common infections and diseases harder to treat and, occasionally, lethal.
The research, which builds on a 2015 study conducted by the same group that first established the link between weed killers and antibiotic resistance (also known as antimicrobial resistance), found that both the active and inert ingredients in the chemicals can cause bacteria to adapt to the harsher environment and hence become more resistant against antibiotics.

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Rain ?

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next fortnightly working bee will be on Saturday, the 2nd of December, from 9 am to 1 pm, at Brunswick Heads Crown Land Reserve site. Meet at the end of South Beach Road fire track gate, not far from the Surf Club. Please wear boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water, rain coat  and some morning tea. Tools and first aid kit will be provided.
The task will be followup work of Bitou Bush and Tea tree seedlings , heading from the North to the South direction. We have covered up to the large Scribbly Gum on the centre of the site and will continuous to head south from there. If it is raining, I am still going to be there, however I won’t carry my mobile, so you will have to find us.
BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed
Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated

Nadia de Souza Pietramale
Project Coordinator
0478 272 300

December the first, summer rain in the garden.

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The death of a living habitat.

The significant camphor laurel forest poisoned along with the fauna that have evolved to depend from the tree.

Wilsons Creek runs at the downside.

A distinct relocation of nectar seeking birds as their Coral tree source were poisoned down our valley, has been obvious here with the flowers of my remaining Coral being a continual nectar source for lorikeets, king parrots, various honey eaters throughout their entire flowering period.

So yesterday, following an other ways very enjoyable town day, I transplanted 34 rain forest tree seedlings which had sprouted in the vegetable gardens. In between showers, I collected blue Quandong seeds to later scatter along a stream bank.

Two recent inspirations. MARIA TINCHER, interview with Fran Kelly on Radio National, the Lady with the Rose in her hair, Gold Coast identity whose book is called DAUGHTER OF A RAZOR. a true story from a survivor, not a victim.

And my first Christmas gift………..James Rebanks…THE SHEPHERD’S LIFE………with the rain set to continue today I am looking forward to the company of a fine writer.

A salad from the gardens.

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Guidelines for snake bites.

Snakes are on the move at the moment so its important I and my worker refreshes the updated Guidelines. Protected and revered by me.

Do NOT wash the area of the bite or try to suck out the venom. It is extremely important to retain traces of venom for use with venom identification kits.
Do NOT incise or cut the bite, or apply a high tourniquet. Cutting or incising the bite won’t help. High tourniquets are ineffective and can be fatal if released.
Do bandage firmly, splint and immobilise to stop the spread of venom. All the major medical associations recommend slowing the spread of venom by placing a folded pad over the bite area and then applying a firm bandage. It should not stop blood flow to the limb or congest the veins. Only remove the bandage in a medical facility, as the release of pressure will cause a rapid flow of venom through the bloodstream.
Do NOT allow the victim to walk or move their limbs. Use a splint or sling to minimise all limb movement. Put the patient on a stretcher or bring transportation to the patient.
Do seek medical help immediately as the venom can cause severe damage to health and even death within a few hours.

Local Mullumbimby Museum.

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