From the Guardian.

Protecting nature is vital to escape ‘era of pandemics’ – report
Halting destruction of wild places could slow frequency of deadly outbreaks, say scientists.

The world is in an “era of pandemics” and unless the destruction of the natural world is halted they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more devastating impact than ever before, according to a report from some of the world’s leading scientists.

The emergence of diseases such as Covid-19, bird flu and HIV from animals was entirely driven by the razing of wild places for farming and the trade in wild species, which brought people into contact with the dangerous microbes, the experts said.

“The risk of pandemics is increasing rapidly, with more than five new diseases emerging in people every year, any one of which has the potential to become pandemic,” the report says.


When will our government catch up to climate reality?

This time last year the valley here was surrounded by fire. I am still not fully recovered but am relieved rain is spasmodic but regular, therefore easing the anxiety for the summer to come.

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Night Cap.

This photo shows where the fires came down to my new forest a year ago.

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Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists
Restoring degraded natural lands highly effective for carbon storage and avoiding species extinctions

In the Flow Country, Scotland, restoration of the blanket bog, a vast natural carbon sink, involves removing forestry plantations
Scientists note the importance of appropriate nature restoration to enhance biodiversity and beat climate change. In the Flow Country, Scotland, above, restoration of the blanket bog, a vast natural carbon sink, involves removing forestry plantations. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Thu 15 Oct 2020 04.19 AEDT

Restoring natural landscapes damaged by human exploitation can be one of the most effective and cheapest ways to combat the climate crisis while also boosting dwindling wildlife populations, a scientific study finds.

If a third of the planet’s most degraded areas were restored, and protection was thrown around areas still in good condition, that would store carbon equating to half of all human caused greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution.

The changes would prevent about 70% of predicted species extinctions, according to the research, which is published in the journal Nature.

Scientists from Brazil, Australia and Europe identified scores of places around the world where such interventions would be most effective, from tropical forests to coastal wetlands and upland peat. Many of them were in developing countries, but there were hotspots on every continent.

“We were surprised by the magnitude of what we found – the huge difference that restoration can make,” said Bernardo Strassburg, of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and the lead author of the study. “Most of the priority areas are concentrated in developing countries, which can be a challenge but also means they are often more cost-effective to restore.”

Rewild a quarter of UK to fight climate crisis, campaigners urge
Read more
Only about 1% of the finance devoted to the global climate crisis goes to nature restoration, but the study found that such “nature-based solutions” were among the cheapest ways of absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the additional benefits being the protection of wildlife.


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3 Kookaburras have always spent time viewing the gardens from a tree, diving down when a feed presents itself.

Last year when the fires raged in Night Cap National Park and began to creep down onto this land, the kookaburras were not to be seen or heard.

So it is with great delight when the 3  have resumed their residency here.

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Stats that will shock most Australians.

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Belinda Jeffery’s Soda Bread.


This dense dark loaf has a rich caraway flavour and just the faintest earthy hint of molasses. I love that it tastes and looks just like a loaf of ‘real’ rye bread but is remarkably quick to make. Just one thing with this, it’s important to be aware that batches of flour vary somewhat in the amount of moisture they absorb, so if the dough seems a bit too sticky when you bring it together, add a little extra plain or rye flour to it (but no more than ¼ cup.) 

Makes 1 small loaf (recipe can be doubled to make two loaves.)

Fine polenta, for dusting

160g stone-ground wholemeal flour

90g unbleached plain flour

80g rye flour (or more if needed)

60g fine polenta, (preferably organic stone-ground)

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarb soda

1 teaspoon sea salt, crushed

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, plus a little extra for sprinkling

1 ⅓ cups (330ml) buttermilk

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

A little extra flour, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 210C. Lay a sheet of baking paper onto a flat oven tray and dust the paper with a little polenta.

Tip all three flours, the polenta, baking powder, bicarb soda, sea salt and caraway seeds into a large bowl. Whisk them together for a minute or so with a balloon whisk. In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, honey and molasses. (If it’s a cold day and the honey is thick, you can gently warm the honey and molasses so they mix into the buttermilk easily.) Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix together with a wooden spoon – it will be very sticky. The one thing you don’t want to do is over-do the mixing, as this toughens the bread. Just bring the dough together so it’s soft and very tacky and then tip it out onto the prepared baking tray.

With floured hands, shape the dough into a little football, then with a serrated knife make 4 or 5 very shallow slashes diagonally across the loaf (if they’re too deep the loaf opens out a bit too much and is drier than it should be.) Sieve a fine dusting of flour over the top, and sprinkle with a few more caraway seeds if you like.

Bake the loaf for about 30-35 minutes or until the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it with your knuckles. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and leave it for about an hour before slicing (hard as it is, as it smells so good.) Unlike many soda breads leftovers keep well for a day or two in a sealed plastic bag.

Belinda Jeffery .com

Disturbing read ahead,

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Yellow breasted Robin nest.

BUSY harvesting the coffee with a bountiful harvest. After the fires ended here and our first rains i could see the growth over night. Like the planet now, speed rules. This nest had its 2 eggs drained and then a small carpet snake appeared above the nest. The robin comes and rests on a garden seat every morning.

Coffee processing takes many hours. Each bean is picked at its red ripeness. Then peeled and fermented before thorough washing and laid out to dry.



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Bob Dylan. Patti Smith.

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Stinging tree.


During my time here I have experienced the severe pain this amazing tree dishes out. My first encounter was when I was removing the introduced tobacco bush, mistaking the sting tree leaf with the tobacco leaf. The deep stinging pain lasted for weeks and I tried every recommended remedy with none providing the relief I desperately needed. It was years later I discovered the hair removing wax strips proved effective.


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Native bees.

The Problem: Herbicides and Pesticides

How does urban and agricultural weed and pest control impact bees? 

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticide used against pest insects. The chemical poisons the nervous system upon contact or ingestion resulting in death. This insecticide does not discriminate between pest species and vital pollinators such as honeybees and native bees and are extremely lethal to all.  Sub-lethal exposure results in behavioural disturbance and disorientation, which is ultimately fatal for beehives. Exposure to neonicotinoids reduces the capacity of the hive to establish new populations, meaning after their initial population decline from exposure, they struggle to re-establish their colony. Neonicotinoids are currently registered for use in Australia and are commonly used by farmers, growers and home gardeners.  The European Union has banned neonicotinoids in an attempt to protect bees from its devastating effects. 

Neonicotinoids are systemic, meaning they can be applied through sprays, seed treatment and soil application. This means buyers should be vigilant when purchasing seeds, seedlings and soil for their garden, not just rejecting neonicotinoids in sprays. Neonicotinoid seed coatings are commonly used in food production to protect farmers profits. Make sure to ask your local supplier if their seeds are free of treatment to ensure your food is giving bees the best chance of survival. 

Glyphosate is an herbicide commonly used by farmers, gardeners and in public areas such schools and golf courses, to kill weeds by preventing them from making vital proteins. It is the active ingredient in popular weed killer ‘RoundUp’ which is owned by Monsanto Bayer and is the world’s most popular weed killer. Its traces can now be detected in 70% of global hives. The herbicide is not directly lethal to bees, but instead indirectly interferes with many vital processes of the individual and hive. 

Glyphosate tampers with plants, including their pollen and nectar- which is bee food. This tampering affects the growth of micro-organisms in the bee’s gut. Weakening the gut micro biome makes bees more susceptible to opportunistic pathogens which can kill the individual.  Food that is feed to the bee’s larvae contaminated with glyphosate results in weaker larvae who are more susceptible to additional stressors. This results in a population decline, which is the global problem we are trying to prevent.

Large companies such as Monsanto Bayer and Syngenta use these insecticides and herbicides to increase their profit yields despite being lobbied and knowing the lethal effects on bees. Avoid supporting their products and sign our petitions to ban the use of Neonicotinoids and Glyphosate in Australia. 

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