Tag Archives: banning glyphosate


Extraordinary week within Australian politics with the climate change deniers now in place to take over our Government.




Great news, however we already know it is danger, how are we going to convince locals that it is danger to use it, until it becomes prohibited?

BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed
Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated

Nadia de Souza Pietramale
Project Coordinator
0478 272 300

Tragedy is land-care and other Herbicide users still have not listened to the readily available science.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next fortnightly working bee will be on Saturday, the 25th of August, 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, and some morning tea. Tools and first aid kit will be provided.

The great news is that we have completed all Bitou Bush primary work. Well done and thank you all who have offered a hand for the last 8 years.

Although the south east corner was sprayed, a patch was left in the middle, so at our last working bee on Saturday the 11th of August the remaining plants were cut and crowned. Unfortunately we haven’t heard back from Crown Lands about who did the spraying.

Sadly we have documented the deaths of juvenile Coastal Banksias that were sprayed while the unknown contractors were spraying solitary Bitou seedlings. There was not many seedlings to spray as we do regular follow ups and the ones left would not produce seeds for another 2 years, so the spray was totally unnecessary, disrespectful, uneconomic, and inefficient.

Illegal camping is still our biggest challenge. One local camper, as I documented on Saturday the 11th, has just burnt a patch of regeneration to place his tent, a highly dangerous approach, as it is very dry and can lead to wild fires.

We already had 3 acres burnt recently, caused by illegal camping. I have asked several times for help from the police and Crown Lands regarding illegal camping, however we have been ignored. As if the fact that it is very costly to put a fire out isn’t enough, it is life threatening if it goes wild toward Brunswick or Tyagarah. So I need your help with letter writing. Can you write to Byron Shire Council, Police and Crown Lands requesting urgent action to better manage this matter. Our site is under Crown Lands management, Lot 428.

I have checked the New Brighton site and it is still too early for us to work there – we need to wait for the Bitou Bush to grow larger before we can start to pull all seedlings.

The next working bee task will be to follow up Bitou bush seedlings and Tea tree, starting from the North boundary and heading South.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday.

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Sun shining, rain needed.

Walking out through the valley at 7 am Sunday.

Weekend over with 4 ute loads of the flooded gum cut wood taken out for curing. Heavy work as we load the heavy logs.

Thank-you to Robyne and Noel.

Next Saturday, the dismantling of the caravan and a lesson from Noel on chain-saw maintenance.


Sunday, a visit to the ocean in Brunswick Heads where we viewed the Byron/Brunswick Chemical free work along the dunes.

Inspiring what a few volunteers can achieve.

With the Round-up/Monsanto verdict in the USA, the reaction here via e mail and phone calls has been constant.

Scores of mullet seen in the Brunswick river.




Below.  Australian farmers .







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2017 ??


New Years Day started for me at 6.

Cloudy and still humid with the chorus of the birds almost deafening. The searing heat of yesterday ( 38 here) has brought out many insects. Spangled drongos were darting and swooping on their breakfast.



Another year flown by.

Looking at my photos from last January and it felt like yesterday.

A busy and satisfying year here. A couple of wwoofers ( Simon and Yoko ) in January and February.  Great dinners prepared by new influences into my kitchen. More sea weed into my diet. Wide range of herbs and leaf from the gardens . The wonderful extra with some wwoofers is their food choices.


My regeneration continual work progressed well with Tim, Victor and others slashing, pulling and mulching. Continual light rain punctuated the days we could work. Leeches, windy days, when boughs of higher trees come darting down, and strong sun, even as early as August, lessened our working hours.

Thank-you to all my real physical workers….. Both the volunteers on the road verges and the paid workers here……great effort too with helping me prepare 500 kilos of turmeric for dispatch.

Overall it was with much satisfaction, as we climbed to our present work site,  through emerging rain forest canopy. From metres above, frogmouth owls watched, brown pigeons scattered to a higher branch, to watch us climb through. The odd yellow breasted robin escorted us through its territory.  Night Caps cliffs look down on us and the emergent bangalow palm forest is now clearly visible.

Surely one of the more beautiful working sites.


Through-out the year. Heather, my sister, came for a very happy laughing time with her. Others too so socially a very good year. My big night out highlight was thwarted by a flood, and I couldn’t attend Barb Jungr’s Byron Bay concert. She kindly sent us her CD singing Dylan and Cohen.  Thank-you Barb.


Politics left me depressed. From our elections here in Australia to the debacle we saw from the US.

Day by day from now on.

Greens take heed. Many of us are disillusioned.


My reading was restricted to those below…………….  THE NEW WILD………….  a positive reassurance in what I am doing here and my approach to regeneration.  With many facts on plants migration and the niches some fill, in a new land, as humans rampage through, this book by Fred Pearce has opened my eyes wider with hope. Anything that grows in our depleted soil is showing us the way is his thesis.

Galvanized my thinking to a satisfactory and comfortable  level and strengthened my approach against herbicides. As Peter Wohllenben says in THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES……………  we deaf and dumb our ecology with our lack of understanding that plants communicate. He was talking about modern whole sale farming practices and the use of herbicides on our food growing areas and hybrid seed. And essentially how that impacts all health, from the micro soil life to us at the top of the food chain.



Radio National is my daily back ground along with Bay FM.  I wait with hesitation, the new programming for Radio National in 2017.  Does not look promising for us old timers. Many programmes I follow when indoors going.

TV, flicked through the food programmes, always about over eating  with Come Dine With Me reflecting our disconnect with the food we take for granted. Food waste is now an epidemic.

SBS Food channel disappointing to the extreme with further encouragement for binge eating.

Reminds me of a Japanese saying ” one grain of rice left in your bowl is a bead of sweat on the brow of a rice farmer”.  Why not some vegetarian and vegan cooking programmes?

Land-line always informative. Science programme CATALYST axed. Why ?

Solar rebate ends today. Paying us 6 cents when the sun shines and selling it back to us for 36 plus cents. Time to off grid.


The renovation shows along with Grand Designs, reflect the status of home builders which is more than often dominated by the third bathroom and space large enough to house 10 instead of two or four.

How do we adapt to climate reality I ask?  AUSTRALIA’s carbon output is still rising. And no real debate or incentive to do anything to reduce it.

There is no real will and my thinking along that line is reinforced when high profile so called environmentalists fly off to another countries campaign while our koalas and many of our indigenous creatures are in rapid free fall in  numbers here. So few want to get involved on the ground.

And life style changes with-in the home, like turning off all standbys, is seen by many as pointless.

The Green party should have their feet on the ground as close to local ecological reality and inform the general population on very real environmental issues, like herbicides in our creeks and drains and on our food.

Advise and engage with what the individual can do. We have been talking about plastic bags in this Shire for over 10 years to finally see initiative from our local IGA and the Mullumbimby Music festival in 2016. Many of those ten years we had a Green dominated Council.

Climate change is about adaptation and softening our carbon and other outputs. Not wasting food, car pooling, growing where you can instead of mowing and encouraging local food self sufficiency.


Our leadership in our no herbicide approach to plants someone decides to poison, has gathered momentum and support. More non chemical company research is being published, after peer review, and its not finding most herbicides a plus for the planet.

A total of 80 hours I, along with Jayne, have put in each, to the hand removal of jump-seed from the public road’s verges. Our volunteer workers, Lou, Shea, Lil, Pav and Tim have had some enjoyable work mornings as we laughed and talked and sung as we mattock  out the beautiful jump-seed, with its soft green broad leaf centred with a dark red. Always a good feeling after we finish.


My projected hopes for 2017 ?

Continue our herbicide free Shire campaign, gather information on a setup for a Shire wide Organic Certifying body  through a public meeting. Publish peer reviewed fact on herbicides.

Will ask to contribute,  Nadia, Ellen and Mary Gardener, Geoff Dawe.



Continue the gardens and ready for a winter harvest of turmeric, ginger, galangal, yacons and yams.

And have a good steady slash, pull and mulch of lantana throughout the winter months here.


Happy New Year.

The year facts will overwhelm fiction.


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Putting real physical action ahead of Green rhetoric.

Working bee, Saturday 29th October at 7 15 am, parking first left after MILL road heading out towards Huonbrook.  We are racing against time due to the rapid growth of the JUMP-SEED we are removing. Some are already developing flower sets. We need two extra pair of hands.

Phone 66840104 or chemfreeregen@gmail.com for confirmation.

Gloves, hat, covering clothing, water and sturdy boots. We have mattocks and bags for removal.

This is an initiative from HUONBROOK HERBICIDE FREE volunteers, supported by Byron Shire Council.



Such a relief to work back slashing, pulling and mulching lantana.  Watching and listening to the media is not good for one’s mental health.

Unusually cool mornings have made work easier. Flocks of brown pigeons feasting on the tobacco bush with crimson rosellas darting all around.  Tobacco bush is a regular target for herbicide removal.  An important food source for many of our remaining birds which had their original food sources removed when humans advanced into their habitat.

In my observations here over the years is that tobacco is one of the first to colonize after we have removed and mulched lantana (pic below), along with scotch thistle – signifying a rich soil nitrogen content. We hoe around any emerging rain forest seedlings which soon flourish, over whelming the tobacco and any other grounded introduced so called weeds within three or four years. Another visual reality is the rapidity of the growth of plants now, reported as a result of the increased carbon in the atmosphere.


Clusters of red, white and pencil cedars are emerging throughout the earlier worked areas.  I will transplant out on the first wet week opportunity. There are 100s so if anyone wishes to pot any on, welcome to come and participate.

My pigeon companion keeping an eye on me as I work.




Watch The Drum   ABC TV 25th October  Sue HIgginson from the EDO plus 2 others with the Institute of Public Affairs.

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Broad Beans in flower.


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September 13, 2016 · 10:48 pm

Council Election, Saturday 10th September.

Chemical Free Byron Shire

Despite a courageous announcement by Mayor Richardson that the Shire will be chemical free in five years, there appears little has moved forward since it was announced in November 2013. Yet there is steam-weeding taking place now in children’s playgrounds and most Council-managed sports fields. Is this an area of interest to you and, if so, how will you facilitate Council moving towards this goal?

Group A – Our Sustainable Future

Recently Council supported my ‘small steps to healthier roadside vegetation’ initiative to actively replace weeds with self-sustaining native vegetation on rural roads, which will reduce chemical use as native plantings expand. Supporting residents and community groups who do this already is key to the program.

Group B – The Greens

Yes and we will continue to increase steam-weeding to replace the use of chemicals.

Group C – Country Labor

Yes, I believe where it is possible and effective steam-weeding should be pursued by Council.

Group D – The Middle Ground

While I recognise the mayor’s work on this issue, he has had eight years and a green majority in the previous term to progress it, in which little was done.  His past council actually approved aerial spraying of our dunes and beaches with glyphosate until I lobbied to have it halted.  Without my support this term and the unanimous support of all councillors, progress would not have been made. There is still much to do and I will be pressing to secure not only a chemical-free council but a chemical-free shire. This is the very reason I put my hand up for council four years ago and a strong motivation to run for mayor this coming election.

Group E – James Wright

Yes, it is. It is only common sense to progress the removal of destructive and harmful agents like these from our immediate environment. With only a limited understanding of the current initiative, I propose the combined use of GIS systems and soil analysis to determine the areas that are putting water and food-producing areas of the shire at the greatest risk from run-off and those public spaces at risk of direct exposure. These stats should identify the areas most needing immediate attention and change. From these a further wind-down process can be scheduled and indeed carried out toward this courageous goal.

Group F – Gail Fuller

I would support any attempts by council to look at chemical-free weed control. It must begin with ourselves first on our own land though.

Group G – Byron In Balance

Any attempt to reduce the chemicals used in daily life should be encouraged; however, the reality is that they will always be needed in some form. Steam-weeding in playgrounds, sportsfields and public spaces is a good start; however, how are macadamia farms going to be insecticide free? We need to be realistic with some of these initiatives and not use them as political point-scoring mechanisms.

Group H – Community Byron

I would encourage chemical-free weed maintenance but I’m no expert in this area. I imagine it is a big job and will take a lot of personnel and time to achieve. 

Independent – George Graham


Independent – Matthew Hartley

Actually I recall Richard Staples pushing this idea in the 90s, and I supported it then. Unlike Simon, I believe in a methodical process where you examine, step by step, where chemicals are used, then seek alternatives. Next you test, evaluate, and decide if an alternative is effective.  It needs a week-in, week-out steady process.

Independent mayoral candidate – Jack Sugarman

It is of interest to me as I myself am clearing grass on steep slopes to continue planting Big Scrub rainforest species on my property.

From the Echo.


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Don — 

The Baird government has now released its draft biodiversity package. If it becomes law, it will spell disaster for nature by enabling the return of broad-scale land clearing and habitat destruction across the state. Take a look at these upcoming events in Lismore to learn more and have your say:

Government Consultation – This Thursday 9th June
If you are concerned about the impact these changes will have on our wildlife, soils and climate, let your government know in person. Attend the government’s community consultation session in Lismore this Thursday, 9th June from 5pm-7.30pm. RSVP here to let us know you’re going.

EDO workshop – Next Thursday 16th June
Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) NSW will hold a free workshop in Lismore on Thursday 16th June explaining how the community can have their say about the proposed biodiversity legislative and policy package. Take a look here full event details.

The Biodiversity Conservation Bill and Local Land Services Amendment Bill, which will replace the Native Vegetation Act and Threatened Species Conservation Act, are currently on public exhibition and submissions close on 28 June.

Members of the community are invited to attend open community drop-in sessions to find out more about the proposed reforms.

Representatives from the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services and Department of Planning and Environment will be available to discuss the details of the reforms. There is also an opportunity to provide feedback and have your say.

This meeting is part of a series of information sessions being organised by the government. For a list of all upcoming events related to the new land clearing laws, visit the Stand Up For Nature website.


Corinne Fisher, on behalf of the Stand Up For Nature alliance.

P.S. Please share this event with your local networks.

P.P.S. If you’d like more information about the threat these laws pose, visit the Stand Up For Nature website or email cfisher@tec.org.au for more resources.


Climate change is galloping way ahead of us anaesthetized humans it seems.



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Wow, some progress by our actions.

We’ve got huge news for you! We just stopped the European Commission’s plans to approve glyphosate weedkiller for another 10 years — The Netherlands and Germany abstained from a crucial vote on the cancer-causing pesticide, causing the EU to cancel the vote entirely.

Both countries received hundreds of thousands of signatures from SumOfUs members just days before. Just a week ago people said our voices wouldn’t be heard over the noise from Monsanto and scientists with chemical industry ties — but we did it.

It goes to show that together we can stop some of the most powerful corporations out there.



Yesterday delayed approval of probable carcinogen . We’re wildlife-better protected w/ stricter controls on pesticides

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Myths of the Pristine………………Fred Pearce.

We live in what geologists are now calling the new Anthropocene, an epoch in which the planet is shaped primarily by humans. We need to get used to it. But we shouldn’t be depressed. For while one lesson of the Anthropocene is that nothing is pristine, another is that nature is resilient and resourceful. And while many endangered species are vulnerable to our activities, others like us. Humankind is not always bad news for nature. Some forests died, but others grew up to replace them. By breeding some species as crops and livestock, we increased the genetic diversity. And by moving species around the world ( as humans have been doing for thousands of years ) we have dramatically increased local biodiversity on a local level and which may have sometimes triggered a burst of evolution.



We have assaulted forests on a huge scale, yet where we have walked away, they have generally revived. This is especially true in the tropics, the area of our greatest current environmental concern. ” So called virgin forests have in fact undergone substantial prehistoric modification” says Kathy Willis. ” tropical forest eco systems are not as fragile as often potrayed, are in fact quite resilient. Left for long enough, forests will almost certainely regenerate”. There is, she says, no reason why that should not remain the case in the 21st century. The new forests won’t be pristine. But then, they never were.

From Myths of the Pristine.   THE NEW WILD      Fred Pearce.

In our present regeneration working site, as we unpeel the layers of lantana, tiny emerging rain forest are visible where a little light has been able to get through. In the site where we slashed, layered and pulled lantana last year, already a mass of scotch thistle, farmers friends and Giant devils claw ( remove the root of this one ) have flowered, and seeded, in the case of the thistle. I remove what ever maybe too close to an emerging rain forest tree and leave the rest for ground cover.  Next year, when the red, white and pencil cedars plus 10 more varieties of rain forest tree, have establish canopy ( yes, growth is incredibly fast ) another layer of introduced plants will colonize where the thistles ect grew. Within 5 years canopy shade will block out most introduced plants. Just as lantana filled the niche overgrazing and tree removal provided, now the thistle ect are the next plant stage which is nourishing and protecting our remaining soil.



And Denmark’s new tax.


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Power outages……..jump seed determined to survive and a lot more.

Jump-seed, a photo taken yesterday on the verge of the public road. Vigorous growth from seed and the sprayed site.


What an extraordinary determined plant this jump-seed is. I isolated one clump from our weeding effort 8 months ago, which had been sprayed with glyphosate. I placed it in a metal bowl and into the direct sun whenever I could. After forgetting to bring it under cover 2 weeks ago and the bowl filling with rain water,  I noticed 2 tiny buds sprouting this morning.

Below, the photo shows a poisoned Coral tree fallen into the running Wilson’s Creek.


A couple of years ago I read an article in NATURE that morning glory, the flower in the photo below, had important qualities as it was proven it had de contaminating properties. As it tends to grow well here in old tick dipping sites, it is doing the repair job for us.


My dinner and dance gathering was thwarted last night with another power failure. Luckily I had lots of candles so we still had a lovely dinner of cole slaw, stuffed mushrooms and lentil vegetable casserole.






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