Tag Archives: herbicide free bio-diversity

Easter Rain.

Easter rain which saw 75 mls fall here. 

Visitors yesterday left early before the access out became flooded. Other ways a quiet restful few days.




My visual Sunday treat.


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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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Working Bee.

Hi all,
Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next working bee will be on Saturday, the 11th 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 task will be to remove the last of the large Bitou bush south of the horse access track. We would have had this completed before the end of June but somebody (?) sprayed some of it, leaving a large central core of live bitou! This illustrates some of the failures of chemical techniques.

We have some easy seedlings to do as well.

Enter the fire trial gate, walk along (300 m) until you get to the second gate. Turn left and you will see us on the right side, towards the beach.

Looking forward to seeing you there






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Working Bee in Brunswick.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare
12:07 PM (14 minutes ago)

to bcc: me

Hi all,

Just to notify everyone that the following event ‘Are Farmers the New Environmentalists?’ will be at Bangalow Hall on August 14th from 6-9pm. Information about the speakers is available at http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/are-farmers-the-new-environmentalists-tickets-47986022485. Regenerative Agricultural practices are definitely taking off with wins for both the environment and producers.

We had a great day at Brunswick Heads yesterday. Almost completed the primary work. It would have been completed before the end of June but unfortunately was sprayed by person or persons unknown so we couldn’t enter the area to do manual work. The spray was not entirely successful with a large area centrally which was blooming with health. Thanks to all the new faces. It is lovely to continue meeting people here who are the faces of the future.

I had a look at the area burnt by campers this month. It was through the Bladey Grass but appeared contained by adjacent couch grass. It covered the area where dozens of the Threatened Species Pink Nodding Orchid were found. It may not affect them since they are quiescent at this time of year.

We have had a lot of difficulty with managing camping with Crown Lands and the police generally taking no action when notified of belligerent and destructive campers. We have also had to carry out tons of abandoned camps and rubbish.

We believe it is such a beautiful area and responds so well to care. We are very proud of our results. Thanks to all participants who have contributed.

For the Land

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

Nadia de Souza Pietramale
Project Coordinator
0478 272 300






Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare next working bee will be on Saturday, the 28th of July, 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 task will be to remove dead Bitou bush south of the horse access track. Enter the fire trial gate, walk along (300 m) until you get to the second gate. Turn left and you will see us on the right side, towards the beach.

We also need to talk about ‘where to from here’

Hope to see you there,



A goanna after raiding the hen nest for eggs.

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Before and after.

A photo of my first lantana slash, layer and mulch.

20 years later.


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A working weekend.

Cooler mornings make physical work a pleasure. Lantana flowers amass with brown butterflies feasting on the nectar.

Progressing up the valley as we walk over previously mulched lantana. Counted 6 varieties of rain forest seedlings emerging through the dried lantana. Exciting as the regeneration is so quick, 4 months after the slash.

Following a 2 hour lantana slash, a besan flour base pizza.





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Press release
Brunswick Chemical-free site poisoned

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare volunteers came across an unpleasant and disappointing surprise, on Saturday May 19th. They arrived for their working bee at the chemical-free site in Brunswick Heads Crown Land. Ready to chop Bitou Bush with their loppers in their hands, they noticed that the small remaining patch of Bitou Bush, in the far South East of the area, where it meets Tyagarah Nature Reserve, had been poisoned with synthetic herbicides. Any information from the public that has witness the spray will be really appreciate.

BSCFL volunteers have been working on the Brunswick chemical free site, with permission of Crown Lands for the past 8 years, clearing and following up an area of 5 hectares of very dense Bitou bush, a weed of national significance. We have done this voluntarily with no cost to the taxpayer. We have also spent much time removing large amounts of rubbish, reporting camping etc.

After 8 years we were so close to finishing – we would have done so by the end of June (a requirement from Rous County Council for the Bitou Containment Zone). We also noticed that the pesticide application had not been highly successful. With our method the Bitou is gone! It was so disappointing!

Under the NSW Pesticide act, anyone spraying on public land is required to give notification of use. “We received no notification. You would think that through Duty of Care, the volunteers would be informed because we come into direct contact with the pesticide on the Bitou Bush as we work. Although we are there fortnightly, we also come at other times and we could be there the next day for example, when the dying-back signs are not yet present.” explained Ellen White. “Luckily some of us knew the first signs of spray die-back and stopped working”.

Who sprayed the site is unknown at this stage. BSCF coordinator, Nadia de Souza Pietramale was informed by Andrew Petroeschevsky, Dept. Industry, Crown Lands and Water Division, “I haven’t requested any contractor to spray lot 428 as far I can remember, and I will investigate the matter. However it could be a communication error as I have two contractors spraying in the area at moment: Rhonda James (Bushland Restoration Services) in Toraquina Park and the South Rock Wall, and Madhima Gulgan in the Belongil area.” He commended our work on the site.

We also contacted Rous County Council, the state government authority that enforces the Biosecurity Act In our region. They have been notifying private and public land owners North of the Byron Cape that all Bitou Bush needs to be exterminated by the 30 of June. When BSCF coordinator spoke with the organisation’s Education Officer Kim Curtis regarding the spraying on our site and our concerns with the exposure of volunteers to the herbicide she said, “It wouldn’t hurt them” illustrating a cavalier attitude to pesticide use. We asked Kim what research she had to back up her comments. No answer.

Until we know exactly which chemical was used we will stay away from Brunswick and work on the New Brighton site. However BSCFL have requested from Crown Lands that no further pesticide is used on this site, as we don’t need any assistance to meet the 30th June target.

Nadia stressed the fact that our work is free of charge to the taxpayer – there is no need to pay contractors from the public purse to spray on this site. However we do need assistance with illegal camping, a serious risk to the threaten species Pink Nodding Orchid, as our site holds the largest concentration in the Shire. “Before this species was protect by the Bitou Bush but the whole site is open now, become very attractive to illegal camping”, said Nadia.

We will be at the New Brighton site on 26th of May and 2nd and 3rd of June. 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 and you will see us on the dunes. This is a short strip of land, between the ocean and the back of the houses. Wear boots, long sleeve shirt, long pants, a hat, gloves, and bring water. Tools and first aid kit will be provided.


After the deep disappointment felt by ALL herbicide free Active Volunteers.


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Brush hook in hand.

I wasn’t smiling 5 minutes after this photo was taken. I brushed a stinging tree……… my bare arms and my ear. I waiting a couple of minutes and continued the lantana slash, pull and mulch. Sweat soon eased the prickly burning and when I returned home I used a hair removal wax patch. That pain was 5 times more intense than the stinging trees fine silicone  hairs. But the stinging has stopped.

The leaf.

The large leaves of the stinging tree.


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Autumn winter work schedule underway.

Busy 3 days with lantana slash pull, layer and mulch.

Its exciting as we head further up the steep banks and discover emerging rain forest seedlings as we go.

Yacon flower…………….Andes Apple……………..delicious eaten direct from the soil. Roasted or chopped into stir fry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yac%C3%B3n

I have kilos available? Also turmeric, ginger, galangal and arrowroot. Message me.



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My nomination for Byron Shire’s Woman of the Year.

BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed
Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated
Nadia de Souza Pietramale
Project Coordinator
0478 272 300




March 7, 2018 · 10:27 pm