20 October 2007

Shelly Beach Palm Gully Creek

Walking along Marine Parade (Manly Beach to Shelly Beach) today. Wondering why most of the large figs are so sparse and losing their leaves. Herbicide? Better views? Dogs, off leashes chasing the few Eastern Water Dragons trying to rest on the hot sandstones. Bulging black (leaking) plastic bags of untreated! feces hanging around picnic-lawns, near the walkway and beach. Weeds spilling down the nice sand stonewalls from the properties above. On the Ocean side, at the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve huge boats parked right in the little bay, stirring up the bottom of the delicate “reserve”. Swimmers and divers risk their lives swimming near these motorised McMasions.

Finally at busy Shelly Beach, all seem to be unaware of the high pollution at the beach, mixing fecal bacteria with blue Pacific water. It is a mystery why Shelly Headland is not part of the National Park or a Reserve. Just handed over to car parking and as a dog loo. Middens and Stone tools mashed up as cement to bang in access for easy fishing. Cunningham's Skinks (pdf) are deserting the area and Bandicoots are living dangerously there at night with dogs hunting.

A state of shame in water management
The stairs
near the Kiosk lead up to a remnant of a creek that used to flow into the Palm cove of Shelly Beach in the old days. Today a walkway leads to Bower Street and the water management is a disgrace. Years ago a beautiful rainforest has been planted alog this creek, which has its origin on North Head. Most properties have weeds spilling into the (name-less?) 'reserve'. But the biggest shame are the many blatant PVC pipes directing their point source pollution INTO that water which flows into Shelly Beach. The point at the bridge, where most pipes discharge their private waste looked like oily smelly yuck. Surface runoff from building sites also just flows into the little gully. How can such a waterway and bushland be treated so carelessly?

But then there are many pipes flowing all along Marine Parade into the Aquatic Reserve. The thick green 'fur' on the rock testifies to this eutrophication which in turn causes harmful algae to grow.

Images: 1.Swimmers having to swim around a yacht on Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic RESERVE, 2 & 3 Creek Gully, stairs to Bower St. from Shelly Beach, re-vegetated wit run-off at many points.
Update:
Preventing red tides at Shelly Beach, 061008
Links:
Streamwatch
Managing Wastewater in Coastal Urban Areas

19 October 2007

Can Manly afford not to share North Head with Penguins?

Manly is fortunate to still have a population of the endangered Little Penguins. The 30 cm tall flightless seabird only weighs between 1000 and 1200 g . They are very social and like to live in some foreshore shelters, when they are not in the ocean/harbour hunting for fish and squid.

Humans are deciding at the moment whether they should have a right to a home or even a life. Habitat destruction/robbery, polluted water quality and unleashed dogs are the main threats to the existence of these little Fairy Penguins.

Some humans have already built a big building on top of a penguin colony in the National Park. That is not enough, they now would like to make it bigger and bring many more people to the place. They are willing to spend $21 million to turn the nice bush-land into an “eyesore”. There will be more cars, bright lights, noises and dogs – all of which the little fellows get scared of.

Other people think, that they should build the big buildings and roads where there is already infrastructure. They also would like their hunting ground, the water, protected and made into a Marine Reserve. That would mean, no more dirty runoff, noisy stinking boats, throwing fish corpses and plastic debris around, or even turning little penguins into bait. It is a tough struggle to give these unique creatures a right to exist.

Elsewhere the government has realised how these Penguins contribute to the economy and attract many visitors. They decided to invest many million dollars and buy them a big home: foreshore and ocean where they can live happily for a long time. No noisy, yucky building sites or dogs on the loose will threaten them in their new home there.


In such a place they can do what they naturally like doing, stay with their mates (cohorts), walk together in a ‘synchronized parade’, hunt for food and spend most of their time and life in that little in-group. Only disturbance, mostly from humans and dogs, makes them give up their normal social life.
Previous:
North Head Developments, before and after
Penguins or dogs
Leave some of Manly as Penguin Habitat
Links:
Penguin Images
Poisonous plankton blooms killing Fairy Penguins
Video animation: The plight of the Little Penguin, Animation Oz, Act now!
Images: 1. Street art Manly, 2. Sign on gutter, urging not to pour pollutants down the drain, then to the ocean, then to the fish, then in to penguins or humans.

17 October 2007

Drinking Water Security

Sydney Belly
Sydney Belly”, gastrointestinal illness and diarrhoea is probably as old as Sydney. As long as water and feces are being mashed up the winners are the pathogens. At the moment care facilities for the young and old are being hit by a norovirus (stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting) again.


Crypto in the drinking water
Bugs (“low levels of cryptospo
ridium”) found in Sydney's water supply it was reported yesterday are “not posing any threat to the city's drinking water supply“. A boggling check at Sydney Drinking Water Quality report claims that there are NO Cryptosporidium and Giardia found in the crystal clear water. Going a few days back, this seems to have been the case too.

Cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidium is a parasite resistant to most disinfectants. It is “ spread through feces of infected hosts and causes sometimes severe diarrhea in humans and animals.” Once it gets into the body via water, food or unhygienic pr
actices, the symptoms are usually gastrointestinal illness, diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting. "...It is the most common non-viral cause of diarrhoea worldwide... People can literally die of diarrhoea: they can lose over 13 litres of fluid a day.“

Some Crypto cases: Rapidly growing populations outstrip infrastructure
Galway, the fastest growing city in Ireland is the prototype “where rapid expansion of housing developments has not been matched by infrastructure upgrades...236 laboratory confirmed cases of Cryptosporidium infection had been identified, with at least 40 resulting in hospitalisation...sewage is the major source of contamination.” Many in the tourist industry have “installed their own water filtration systems to reassure guests.”

The cause of the Milwaukee Cryptosporidium epidemic in 1993 was "found to be sewage that passed through the filtration system of one of the city's drinking water plants.” “ 400,000 people became infected and 60 people" (or 100) "died as a result of drinking infected water”.

The 1998 Sydney Water Crisis requiring 3 million residents to 'boil water ' was memorable for residents and visitors. Two small bugs, Cryptosporidium and Giardia led to changes in Sydney Water Corporation. Years on in 2007 the two pathogens are still causing “severe gastrointestinal illness”. In SA too there were “ 228 cases of cryptosporidiosis this year, compared to 52 for the same period last year.” Sewage and water mix in Australia, South Africa and many other places.How many is ok?
In Milwaukee there are no more than one Cryptosporidium oocyst per 10 litres allowed. It is “now a criminal offence in the UK to supply drinking-water that has more than one Cryptosporidium oocyst per 10 litres”. The 1998 Sydney incident "has shown no evidence of any illness that could be attributed to drinking water contamination. Accordingly, law suits claiming for illness among consumers have recently been withdrawn from Australia's high court.

Wait- there is more than Crypto and Giardia
There are other pathogens, but there are chemicals that could have very adverse health effects on humans and animals. “Disinfection by-products (DBPs), endocrine disrupting chemicals, antibiotics, polymers and pesticides”. The question is no longer in a risk-society to aim for not having any harmful substances in the drinking water, but the “Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) ..which can be ingested for an entire lifetime (70 years) without appreciable health risk” Health and the possible cancer are a matter for probability/statistics. (Micropollutants, pdf)

Balancing burgeoning public needs for safe drinking water with dwindling supplies will be a major challenge for public works managers and regulators in the years to come.”

Previous:
More on Sydney Water, Health and Pollution
Drinking water security and sewage
Reducing Risks when eating out

Reading:
The Sydney Water Crisis, Another Lesson in Health Risk Communication Failure, Dr. Steve E.Hrudey (Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the Department of Public Health Sciences)
Organic Micropollutants in Water, pdf (www.waterquality.crc.org.au)
Galway Cryptosporidium Outbreak, Health Stream Article - Issue 46 - June 2007
Critical processes affecting Cryptosporidium oocyst survival in the environment, King, B.J. and Monis, P.T. (2007) Parasitology, 134 (Pt 3); 309-23.Health Stream Literature Summary - Issue 46 - June 2007
Waterquality, CRC, au
"Cryptosporidium"- tag, ABC

Image: Water sculpture for gathering clouds by Eora

16 October 2007

Halloween – it's kinda spooky

Manly Council is attempting to facilitate 'community' top down. The chosen event this time is Halloween. “Make your Street Spookier” goes the postcard-blurb. We should engage in a “creepy” orgy of consuming and line the streets with debris (plastics): “fake cobwebs, bats" etc., streamers and sugar/coloured lollies and spend big on costumes. Strange ideas for a council that purports minimising waste and has a sustainability statement. The promise is that the road will be closed, but no mention is made where the many spectators will park and what the increased traffic hazard means for wildlife and adjoining streets capes.

Halloween has its origin in the agricultural rites of death and renewal for a new sustainable year. Part of the produce had to be sacrificed to the land spirits and shared within the community. Dark forces had to be soothed with gifts and bonfires held darkness and death at bay. This renewal festival has long been co-opted and commercialised to flog off (mainly plastic) merchandise. Australia has just recently hopped on to this bandwagon.
The are a lot of spooky skeletons in the Australian closet. The plastic bats, spiders, owls, crows, skeletons, the cats, werewolves, haunted houses and zombies might be contemporary props to ward off the the inevitable hot dry future created by mischief-making adults. The horror is ususally projected onto the living native spiders and bats etc - till the ritual spray or habitat destruction puts an end to the spook. The defense mechanism must lay the blame on a sacrificial being, to heal the denial, the anxious state of being. Halloween is a welcomed purging as well as an economic healer now.

Children are very anxious about the future. A world without water and food , but permanent engulfing “bonfires does not fuel much optimism. Responsible elders not looking after our only common home make the decisions to heat it up unbearable for all, make the sea rise and melt the ice. Daily, many members of this common household have to go forever. The land, waterways and air are used as rubbish tips and all loose their health. Degraded land and toxic landscapes are part of the inheritance. This 'house of horrors' might well be less inhabitable than what their parents inherited and squandered. The disruptive nature of economic and ecological inter generational equity is creepy. Apart from these many “natural disasters” of a turbulent future, children go through horror scenarios of neglect and child abuse in Australia. Irresponsible use of cars, guns and dogs also sacrifices many young lives. Haunted human relationships propagate in a spooky Zombie culture. It is bewitched how young people are denied independence and maybe a future too.

Till then, put on the big magical denial party and celebrate...
Images: 1. Children at Manly Beach, 2 & 3 Street art Berlin

12 October 2007

Clothing and Manly Demographics

The immersive consumer market moved along with Manly's demographic trend. Mainly 20-39 year old Anglophones. Postindustrial society seems to provide few stay-at-work-incentives so a nation of 'stay-at-home moms and a few stay-at-home dads' is encouraged. The professional home-maker does not need work-clothes of course, instead a plethora of body-hack shops have sprung up. The make-over services range from blonding without an end, podiatrists' income generators, known as footwear and lots of 'scents to die for'. Internal bras are sure to come, plastic surgery for all is creeping in. Clothing is mainly synthetic and tends to look like life-long maternity wear.

In a post-factual world, lingerie fantasy-wear seems to be the new gear for hard yakka. No, it has nothing to do with the position of women in servitude submission or bondage. As undergarment or mainstream attire it is the uniform of many female 'success stories' that would 'make mum proud'. The drudgery of depressed motherhood is just part of this unsustainable fantasy game.

11 October 2007

Sydney Botanical Gardens

The Royal Botanic Garden is only 15 (nautical) minutes away from Manly. Pedestrians are the main obstacle to the flow of motorised traffic IN the park. A huge building site WITHIN the garden is very noisy. The industrial site-ambiance drives one to the sunny lawn areas (no plants).

It is a pity, how such a mid-city green gem could just turn into an extension of the noisy, dangerous city. It is not easy finding Australian flora, but maybe it is all locked up in the commercialised constructions. Plants seem secondary to the event spectacles that are drawing the paying crowds to the theme park.


The bats are running out of trees and the native Ibis, robbed of their wetlands are declared another "nuisance species". The chicks are just suffocated in a 'cheap' way.


And the restaurant!- better not go into detail.

The image via Google might show how the garden is eaten up in time, not from the outside, but from within.

Update: A decline in visitor numbers - what a surprise. abc 190509

Bogong migration incompatible with human society

As every year at this time the bright cities of NSW are swarming with Bogong moths. In the CBD of Sydney they were clinging in the crevises of old sandstone buildings, sheltering from the sun and resting. They did not go for the fauna-repelling cement/glass bunkers to hide. From Circular Quay to the CBD there was a frenzy of humans spraying poisons or sucking them in to industrial vacuum cleaners.

These creatures probably have migrated 'forever' on the same migratory routes. Growing up as a larvae in Queensland, they get a big dose of arsenic in the 'agricultural' fields. When it is time to hatch as a moth, it takes them 1000 km each year to fly to their cool Alpine granite caves. On the way they have to stop over for a rest in NSW, some just get attracted by all the light pollution.


The intolerance of humans to share the wildlife-urban interface in Australia with other creatures is high. In the struggle for control over space, the Australian an
imals are the ones for the extinction list. Termed by the MSM as “unskilled migrants” or even pest infestations, they are being eradicated. The concept of unique and 'protected' Australian fauna is for the zoo or emblems. After the arsenic, the pesticides generously sprayed around take their toll on the native birds. Appeals to reduce unnecessary light pollution, which attracts the swarms, also fall on clogged ears.
The ones that make it back to the Australian Alps are eagerly gobbled up by the threatened tiny Pygmy Possum. Both moth and mountain possum are also robbed of their habitat and food sources by human-induced climate change. Snow tourism, sprawl, climate change and grazing cattle illegally deprive these Australians of their habitat. Pygmy, (video) just 'discovered' in 1966 and already on the way out, has as its main diet Bogongs. The snow is melting and the (toxic) Bogongs are not so plentiful.

Maybe the sandstone caves at Circular Quay that were eradicated to make place for the British penal settlement belonged to the Bogongs traditional space/time to ensure sustainable food for fauna and indigenous people. It was also the beginning of the mash up of spring water and sewage, as is a tradition of this unsustainable culture. The growing population quickly outstripped the clear spring at Circular Quay. They filled in the source of the stream to produce more food. Many years on from this Tank Stream saga, the stench of sewage at the Quay and the unavailability of healthy (drinking) water testifies to this culture too poor to manage its resources mindfully.
Huntsman spiders are welcoming them in Manly and the CBD...
Previous:
Bogong clouds over Manly
Other Links:
Bogong Months and Parliament House

10 October 2007

Immersing in Manly's smells, sounds and...

Olfactory ambience: sewage stench, at Shelley Beach, at Manly Beach and North Head. Dense plumes of nicotine at every doorway and corner.

Auditory ambience: A frenzy of buildings noises overpowering the surf all along the beach and walkway. Have a nice holiday!

Walkability: All “pedestrian zones” were parked out with numerous vehicles all over. Air-pollution in your face when they throw the motors on to “warm er up”.

Bathing: Shelly Beach is a shit and water mash-up. What a waste for such a nice beach. Too poor to keep up infrastructure with population growth?

Garbage and Plastics pollution: Convenience food and drinks encouraged and the anti-products socialised.Image 2: Surfers against sewage
Previous:
On the use of water and the creation of dead zones
Drinking water, sewage and emerging bugs
Daily beach reports

08 October 2007

Tornado at Manly Beach

A small tornado shot out of a dense cloud and whipped up the ocean at 10.45 am today.Yes, you probably want some pics from the eye of the tornado, here are some big ones. More on tropical cyclones! in NSW. And the video:


Update:
280509 another tornado whirling along Manly beach.
300509 Three tornados breaking out of one mega dark cloud.At 10.30 am a very dark cloud formed over Manly Beach. It seemed to be reaching in long 'threads' for the ocean. In the north ( off Queenscliff) one developed a large waterspout, twisting the ocean for a long time. A small one at Manly beach and a third one behind North Head. The giant super-organism broke into heavy rain.

On Designing Community Life in Manly Sustainably

Manly already has an extreme density of pubs and other venues to consume alcohol in. Now the small lanes will be developed to 'entice' us to drink there as well. At night they “will become a buzzing lane way bar.“ To complement "The pub culture in Sydney" another adult shop is thrown in.

Alcohol-related incidents are “ the state's biggest single crime factor”, costing $50 million a year and contributing to “ violence, malicious damage, public disorder and road fatalities” The cost of negative health effects and social disintegration is probably not reflected by that sum.

A laissez-faire approach to urban 'planning' allows corporate culture to usurp increasingly more public space and intensify their commercial activities. A space/time environment is constructed primarily for rapid profit generation, which the 'consumer' is allowed to immerse themselves in.

In an accelerated globalised world the dominant lifestyle for all is to be 'on the go', drive-through & grab something, getting things done, getting it over with and maybe getting there. In this mobilised and intensified culture the dominant lifestyle for all is to be mobile and flexible. The 'fast world' of fast food, fast drinks, fast travel, fast relationships etc are part of the speedy packages offered by Big Business.


Our social practices take place in a specific space and time, they are place making and also the construction of who we are:

"A city isn’t just a place to live, to shop, to go out and have kids play. It’s a place that implicates how one derives one’s ethics, how one develops a sense of justice, how one learns to talk with and learn from people who are unlike oneself, which is how a human being becomes human."
"The Civitas of Seeing"(1989), Richard Sennet

One approach to culture the human within us and amongst us is mindful and slow living. This movement has been adopted in various cities. A (re) discovery of place-(making) gives distinctiveness and identity to a location. The Slow Cities movement has the following aims:
  • Preserving and maintaining the local natural and built environments;
  • Developing infrastructure in harmony with the natural landscape and its use;
  • Using technology to improve quality of life and the natural and urban environment;
  • Encouraging the use and production of local foodstuffs using eco-sensitive methods;
  • Supporting production based on cultural traditions in the local area;
  • Promote quality of local hospitality. CommunityBuilders NSW
Other features are that
  • The city centres are free of cars and have functional cycle paths and real pedestrian zones. Sustainable mobility, such as walking and biking is encouraged.
  • The use of sustainable energy, consideration of the natural and social ecology are integrative.
  • Air pollution, noise pollution and light pollution are kept in check.
  • Public places are inviting and free of ads (solid state spam) and neon lights.
  • New developments have to conform to an eco friendly architecture.
The designing of places in Europe that are rich and lasting, might not be appropriate for suburban conditions, favoured by Anglo-culture. Urbanity, diversity, difference, creativity and excitement are for 'the o.s. trip'. Back home the suburbanite wants the solid security of a mono-culture. A good place to bring up kids and dogs. Quickly do the lawn-mowing,hedge-clipping, tree poisoning, then flip the house and move on. Food comes from the mall or a fast-food outlet. Regional food? Most could not name one edible thing endemic to Australia. This “great Australian dream” slowly fades with the young who come to see the project as the “wasteland of the subs. Liberating themselves from tradition, they seek refuge in Berlin etc from “soul-less” Sydney.

Environments open to a participatory and open difference allow creative people to escape the self-sameness of iconic bland-burbia. Attempts to transplant 'the good bits' from cities in to the mall & sprawl burbs could only be cosmetic. The 'untidy' nature of un-'developed', teeming urban places and its productivity would be a night-mare in tidy town.

When corporate gaols and the aims of individuals seem to match in that both seek rapid gain before any consideration of civil society, then
sustainability is impossible. When the private mind-set does not need public spaces, but most 'life' takes place in one's own castle, the civic life beyond the BBQ or sport is a burden. The public space/arena and untidy/uncertain urban spaces not valorized are unthinkable in Australia. Berlin is open to differences, open to allow creative forces to find niche environments to flourish in. It encourages participatory co-construction of the urban interface by its residents. One can 'Get a Life' in the public ecology instead of in the private form only.
Links:
Monoculture or creative environments
LIQUID CITIES: BERLIN AND SYDNEY IN CONVERSATION
New Urbanism Charter
Creating Ordinary Places: Slow Cities in a Fast World,Paul L Knox, Journal of Urban Design, Vol. 10. No. 1, 1–11, February 2005
Jason Adams, Paul Virilio and the Phenomenology of the Political Body, 2003

05 October 2007

Dog-walking in Bushland Degrades Biodiversity

Operation suburban storm
Australia's growing population sprawls into 'nature', not because they like the 'bush', but it
is a cost-effective way 'to get away from it all'. They take their unsustainable cultural luggage with them to not miss out on that sub-urban feeling. The unpacking happens, but on a bigger scale. First they create tabula rasa in the 'wide open spaces'. After that, the packages of McMansions, hummers, pets and lawn monoculture gets unrolled. 'Operation suburban storm' is the annihilation of Australian animals and plants. Should any creature survive this invasion, then the next growing together of the frontier settlements would run them out of a home. In no time the human settlements take up all the land-scape and resources. Destroying what is unique about Australia
The refuges for wildlife are fast disappearing in Australia. But even the 'protected' areas are being conquered and annexed for suburbia with a vengeance. From Manly to Byron Bay to all-over the wildland-urban interface is a battle zone where Australian wildlife is eradicated. One main cause for the ecological vandalism is the anti-social behaviour of dog owners, walking their foreign animals in the last reserves for Australian creatures. There
is an abundance of signs, but very little enforcement is taking place all over NSW. It seems to be tolerated that the suburbs just annex 'their bush' as their dog loo.

Vested bestial Interests
Being one of the largest pet owning communities per capita with substantial commercial interests backing it, this is a veracious force. Americans spend $41 billion p.a. on their pets, “ more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world.” One could only guess, that Australia is not far behind. Locals consuming their 'annexed' “wilderness” hits a 'blind spot' with its guardians.


Some consume all the land-scape
Dog owners consume and degrade parks & reserves and deprive others of their enjoyment. It would be interesting to quantify the economics of this 'local consumption only' and compare it to the loss of the eco-tourism industry, even locals and visitors who would also like to immerse themselves in a green space, rich in bio-diversity. The canine community lobbies to not be 'restricted' from areas, where in fact it is them that deny the existence of wildlife or of visitors enjoying what they came for - wildlife.The loss of biodiversity is price-less (so far).
Study: Dog walkers degrade Australian Bush

New research has found that “Dog-walking in bushland significantly reduces bird diversity and abundance...We show that dog walking in woodland leads to a 35% reduction in bird diversity and 41% reduction in abundance, both in areas where dog walking is common and where dogs are prohibited...The effect occurs even in areas where dog-walking is common and where they are prohibited, indicating that birds don’t become accustomed to continued disturbance by dogs. This evidence clearly supports the long-term prohibition of dog-walking from sensitive conservation areas...Ground-dwellings birds appeared most affected: 50 percent of bird species observed in control sites were absent in dog-walked sites. The effect of dog-walking was most pronounced in the area immediately adjacent to the site where dogs were walked...There were 76 fewer birds within 10 metres of the trail when dog-walking occurred compared to control sites, suggesting birds were seeking refuge away from the immediate vicinity of threat." (Peter Banks and Jessica Bryant, Four-legged friend or foe? Dog walking displaces native birds from natural areas.)
Unchecked dog epidemic in Manly threatens rich biodiversity
The overabundance of dogs in Manly and the anti-social behaviour of their owners degrades the refuges of native animals (and plants), but also robs bushwalkers of their rights to experience these places unhassled.
Some of Manly's unique residents such as the Little Penguin, ground dwelling and flight-less, the Bandicoot and many others are too often killed by dogs.

Let's keep Manly special and unique, and effectively protect our rich green areas from irresponsible vandals.

Previous:
On the Annexation of National Parks on the Cheap
Extinction and a world full of poodles
Leave some of Manly as Penguin habitat
ASBO,Dogs allowed to savage
When Rangers knock off...
Links:
More interesting reading on Manly ecology by Dr. Banks et al
Do Australian small mammals respond to native and introduced predator odours? BENJAMIN G. RUSSELL, PETER B. BANKS (2007)
"Introduced predators such as foxes and cats are twice as deadly as native predators to Australia’s unique native animals."

03 October 2007

Sydney Harbour National Park - a Casino?

A walk at North Head NATIONAL PARK today, Lady Fairfax walk. Despite the annual ticket to the N.P., access was very restricted and hazardous. Numerous large trucks and trades vehicles were driving/parking on the WALK-WAY. At the cliff look-out, within the NATIONAL PARK a huge structure was being erected, dangling 90 m off the North Head Cliff. How could such a monstrosity serve to conserve the flora and fauna of Sydney Harbour National Park? " Sydney Harbour National Park protects various islands and foreshore areas around one of the world's most famous harbours." Yes,the spectacle Las Vegas-style poker will be staged there. Gambling IN the N.P.? The refuge for animals and birds turned into an over-run CASINO?
Where will the visitors go, that came for the 'nature', the uniqueness Manly has to offer.What will be the impact of such an event(traffic) on the wild-life.
Six endangered Bandicoots have been recorded killed on the road so far. What will happen to the trampled vegetation and the generous garbage left behind? How was the community consulted? Is this a further privatisation and commercialisation of spaces in Manly?

02 October 2007

Jellyfish wading and Noise pollution at Manly Beach

Jellies in a Hot Ocean
Manly Beach swim today was like wading in sago. Tiny translucent jellyfish filled up the surf and the beach. No they were not Bluebottles.

How to repel visitors to Manly
Council did its best to chase visitors away by blowing the sand off the many stairs with a very loud debris blower. Just months ago this work was done with a broom. Additionally, the 'green machine' stood on the walkway for ages with the loud motor running and not cleaning. Again - people fled the space. Both machines were causing pollution right on the beach promenade. In other places blowers are banned as a noise nuisance, some places restrict these inefficient gadgets
.The industrialisation of the beach is degrading a potentially beautiful and unique environment.

01 October 2007

Fire, the Mythical Wand to create more Habitat for Humans

Global Warming on the Dry Continent
The destructive nature of wildfires will be amplified through global warming. In the Dry Continent, Australia 'the fire weather' is ubiquitous in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). At the moment fires rage in various National Parks, especially near human settlements such as Bundeena, The Basin and 'scrubland' near Newcastle. Two houses were burnt in in “fairly rugged bushland “.

Urbanisation of bushland areas
With the human sprawl over 'bush-land' and coasts, choosing to settle in 'getting away-from-it-all” leafy locations increases the costs and health hazards. The 'non-developed' green spaces such as National Parks and Reserves adjacent to urban areas have to be regularly burnt-off.
Many private landholders incinerate their land in the good old slash & burn method. Cheaply cleared land still fetches higher prices.

Incinerating protected forests & making a killing
The recent inferno in Greece destroyed 2 % of the land of which some where Europe's richest nature reserves. 67 people were killed. Many species of animals and plants are gone or have lost their refuge. Fire, as the magic wand to create more habitat for human populations, seems to have done its trailblazing for fresh real estate. The Peloponnese, untouched by mass tourism and '10 miles of virgin coastline' are now cleansed of 'protected forests' and ready to be monetarised.

Evolving Technology

Our hominid relatives, Homo erectus or Homo ergaster used fire 790,000 ago. Homo sapiens refined the tool further for the use of slash & burn 'agriculture', and for causing violence against each other and the Earth: Firebombing, Napalm, Firestorms etc.Pandora's Box
Some mythology has it, that fire was stolen by Prometheus from the gods and given, along with meat to the humans he had created. The outwitted god Zeus went into a rage and had him chained on a rock and his liver picked daily by an eagle. The punishment for humanity was to create the first woman, Pandora, bearing a box/jar out of which all evil for human-kind could come foreward.

Boxed into her Oikos, then and now s/he is obsessed by (re) possessions, that are in smaller boxes. 'Unboxing ceremonies' are highlights of possessed consumer culture now, running out of private warehouses/boxes to store all the boxes which they fetch with their box-like internal-combustion tanks from the boxed in mall. Fire might enlarge the territory for MORE McMansions/boxes. In the end they all exit in boxes back into the fire.

In the meantime Pandora's Box is wide open...

Links:
Fire, the Magic Wand to create more Habitat for Humans, Pt I
World Fire Atlas, ESA
Prometheus, Lord Byron

Update, 021007 The Cost of Sprawl

Image 1: Part of Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin by Peter Eisenman