Determined to share the pain of their recent humiliation with the rest of the country, the Morrison government finished the 2019 parliament with a spate of behaviour that was Grinch-worthy in its awfulness.
With the support of Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, they demolished the Medevac legislation pushed through by Dr Kerryn Phelps during her brief stint as the member for Wentworth.
This means decisions about urgent medical care for refugees in offshore detention will no longer be made by medical professionals, but by functionaries of the ever-growing, Kafka-esque empire of Peter Dutton.…READ MORE
The federal government’s attempt at a big finish to 2019 ended in shambles last week with their union-busting bill defeated by an unlikely coalition of Jacqui Lambie, Greens, ALP and One Nation senators.
In a very rare vote against the government, Pauline Hanson said she was motivated by the fallout from the Westpac debacle, in which the bank was found to have broken the law more than 27 million times; facilitating money laundering, terrorism financing and paedophilia amongst other conduct unbecoming a banking behemoth…READ MORE
Is it all too late? Is the end nigh? Has the fat lady sung? Is the human race run? If so, how should we live?
More than a few of us have jumped directly from saying ‘she’ll be right, there’s no need to do anything’, to ‘we’re all going to die, it’s too late to act.’
Both of these approaches to the climate crisis are passive, and play into the hands of those who have put life on earth into this precarious situation…READ MORE
By way of an apology to my children.
There are no words to express my sorrow toward all earthlings.
I wasn’t always a vegan.
I am happy to admit I was wrong.
Not many vegans have been a vegan all their life. Mind you, I have been speaking to some families who have happy healthy teenage children who have never consumed animal products – but, for the majority of us, being a vegan is something we have come to later in life.
Like ex-smokers or ex-alcoholics, ex-carnivores can be a little bit ‘militant’ when it comes to their food choices because we’ve seen the light, or maybe, we’ve seen too much of the dark…
Barnaby Joyce blamed the stress of worrying about his parents' place burning down for his erratic behaviour last week, but as the emergency worsened, it became clear that his burning pants and those of his leader needed more urgent attention.
The attempt to re-frame the bushfire catastrophe as something caused by dastardly tree-huggers and latte-sippers was spearheaded by Nationals leader Michael McCormack, who said in response to Adam Bandt that people 'don't need the ravings of some pure enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time when they are trying to save their homes'…READ MORE
Federal parliament isn't sitting at the moment, but lobbyists and spin doctors never sleep, which is why we've all been facing fresh assaults from our 'leaders' and would-be leaders this week.
In what at first appeared to be a scrap of good news, the Morrison government announced $1 billion for new clean energy projects, including extra money for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. They also appointed an expert panel to do something about greenhouse emissions.
But faster than you could say George Orwell, it was revealed clean energy – in the topsy-turvy world of the amusingly named Minister for Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor – actually meant gas, and the head of the expert panel was to be none other than Grant King, the former CEO of Origin Energy (aka the people who fracked Queensland and created a fiery spa bath in the Condamine River)…
When I headed down the Summerland Way last week, days after the Rappville bushfire, there was still a pall of smoke and strange light south of Casino.
The corner of Braemar State Forest remains miraculously unscathed, but then... miles of destruction. You can see where the fire leapt the highway. It’s hard to imagine how the firefighters stopped it. Saved houses are dotted here and there, surrounded by burned trees.
In what was to be the site of a major blockade to protect one of the North Coast’s last viable koala populations, the forest has turned orange, black, and silent…READ MORE
Last week a group of NSW ALP figures including the Labor leader Jodi McKay and Federal MP for Richmond, Justine Elliot, launched a petition calling for more police on the Far North Coast, citing rapid population growth and a ‘policing and crime crisis’ along with drugs issues.
The online petition reads: ‘The police numbers in our region have been slashed so severely that staffing levels are now in crisis...READ MORE
The buzz on bees
As I said in last month’s Being Vegan, one of the questions I get asked a lot is: why don’t vegans use eggs and honey?
Again, my personal reason for being a vegan is because I believe all the creatures on this planet are earthlings and as such we all deserve equal rights.
When it comes to consuming anything that belongs to another earthling, I ask myself: what was this ‘food’ item intended for? What was it created for?…READ MORE
Back in 2013, at the height of the coal seam gas (CSG) fight in NSW, the state government led by Barry O’Farrell commissioned the Chief Scientist, professor Mary O’Kane, to conduct a comprehensive review of CSG-related activities, focusing on the human health and environmental impacts of unconventional gas.
Late in 2014 she delivered her report, which included 16 recommendations to government.
Although gas companies and their allies immediately claimed the report gave a green light to their industry, O’Kane herself said that there was still much for government to do, and that ‘implementing the recommendations of the Review involves non-trivial tasks'…READ MORE
At Destination Byron’s recent Sustainability in Tourism event, held at the Byron Community Centre, a large audience listened to representatives from Council and the founder and CEO of EarthCheck, Stewart Moore, explore the possibilities of a sustainable future for tourism in our region, which now has over two million visitors annually.
Moore said there were 25 million travellers around the globe in 1950. Today there are 1.6 billion, and in 2030 there are expected to be 2 billion.Managing so many people without destroying the environments and communities that travellers are visiting is a major challenge.
EarthCheck assists this process by providing certification and advice to destinations as diverse as Iceland, Mexico, the Caribbean and New Zealand…READ MORE
Chickens are birds too!
One of the questions I get asked a lot is: Why don’t vegans use eggs and honey?
The answer is not complicated, but it does take a bit of explaining, and usually the short answer draws ‘yes, but what about?’ questions…READ MORE
The recent release of region by region statistics from Tourism Research Australia has sparked a flurry of responses from local stakeholders in the industry.
David Jones, President of Destination Byron, welcomes more data and science being added to the discussion. He says there are two very different tourism stories in the Shire, with 1.1 million day visitors and 1.1 million overnight visitors. ‘One thing that most folk in the town don’t comprehend is that 50 per cent of all visitors to our region are not staying overnight. That’s a phenomenal statistic,’ he said.
‘The science shows that people who visit for a day will stay overnight in the future, but realistically Byron has a strong over-reliance on what we call the short stay leisure market, and that’s one of the biggest Achilles heels of this town,’ said Jones…READ MORE
Koala advocates say they may end up blockading the Braemar State Forest if the NSW Forestry Corporation tries to start logging there soon.
Logging was due to start Friday 13 September but has been delayed after more than a hundred protestors gathered in the forest south of Casino.
Tim Watson came from Lawrence for the event, attending because of concerns both for the global extinction crisis and threats to his local koala population. 'They're going extinct at a massive rate because of land-clearing and forestry commission, loss of habitat, fires, roadkill,' he said. 'We're destroying all their homes'…READ MORE
The first thing that people usually say when the subject of my veganism comes up is ‘Where do you get your protein from?’.
Actually that’s not totally true – usually, the first thing people say is ‘but what about bacon?’, and to be totally honest, when I was an omnivore that was a question I asked.
The protein comment usually comes second and I could pretty much almost guarantee that just about every vegan has been asked this question.
I’m not going to acknowledge the first question which is more about hurting someone’s feelings than about the taste of charred pig flesh, but I can address the second.…READ MORE
Though the days are warm, the nights are still very cold and will be for a couple of months to come.
For people sleeping rough, this is a really hard time of year and services for the homeless and needy are stretched to their limits.
The problem of homelessness is not getting any closer to being solved; in fact the opposite is the case and it’s difficult to accurately gather statistics because of the nature of homelessness…
Veteran environmental campaigner Murray Muzz Drechsler has joined the Extinction Rebellion holacracy, in an effort to make governments at every level sit up and take notice as the climate crisis becomes the climate emergency.
Drechsler says that Extinction Rebellion (XR) will be holding the Byron Shire Council accountable for their actions.
‘They have declared a climate emergency but they haven’t acted upon it. Not only have they not acted on it, they are going to clear critically endangered wetland rainforest for a bypass. That’s not going to happen'…READ MORE
If you had to walk a kilometre to pump your water from a well, do you think you would be careful how many drops you used?
If you lived in Beijing would you value clean air, or in Brazil would you hug trees? What if your turnips grew in Chernobyl soil?
Across the globe people are suffering because of greed. It’s as simple as that. You can argue about progress all you want (if I hear one more person ask me if I type my stories on a computer)…
After last week’s news that the Federal Court recognised the Native Tile of the Bundjalung People of Byron Bay, the Arakwal-Bumberbin, many are wondering what this means in terms of day-to-day life in the Byron Shire.
Australian law has recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Native Title since the historic Mabo case in 1992.
Native title is the recognition by Australian law that the Indigenous people, who were the traditional owners of an area prior to 1788, have ongoing rights and interests in land, seas, and waters that derive from their traditional laws and customs…READ MORE
In a case of ‘oh, look over there’, while we are all focussed north to Adani and the Galilee Basin, a mining company is inching its way forward out west.
The Watermark Coal Project is a proposed coal mine in the Liverpool Plains near the village of Breeza and carried out by state-owned Chinese mining company Shenhua Group…READ MORE
A tiny baby goat, tied up in a hessian bag and left on a rubbish tip in Broken Hill to die, has done more for the lives of animals and the lives of humans than she could ever have imagined.
‘Sunshine’ as she was named by Kelly Nelder, the earthling who ended up with her, was nursed back to health and was soon joined by Sugars, a (not so) mini piglet from a failed mini pig breeding business.
Sugars and her family had been sold to a man who bought pigs to butcher for meat. She was separated from her family and when she arrived on Kelly’s doorstep, she was covered in lice, cold and stressed…READ MORE
I for one was beginning to think Bob Brown was wasting his time with the Stop Adani convoy. The plan is to leave Hobart for the Galilee Basin tomorrow, April 17.
I (stupidly) assumed, with the weight of science behind it, the argument against the Carmichael mine would see the venture stopped once and for all.
For starters, the name of the area is the clue – it’s the Galilee Basin – it’s a basin, it holds water. It encompasses the headwaters of seven major river basins and includes aquifers that are a part of the Great Artesian Basin.
What could be simpler?
We are the driest continent. There is precious water in the vicinity. Leave it alone…READ MORE
Native American tribes consider the presentation of an eagle feather to be one of their highest marks of respect. A recipient would earn the feather through selfless acts of courage and honour, or be gifted them in gratitude for their work or service to their tribe.
The medicinal use of cacao originated among the Olmec, Maya, and Mexica (Aztec) peoples. It is sacred.
Didgeridoo healing is an ancient method – very few today know its true secrets.
Cultural appropriation is not cool. No, it’s not cool to get pissed and wear a war bonnet to a music festival; unless you are the product of generations of Mexicans, and no, you cannot make cacao medicine; and unless all of your ancestors were born on this country, it is not your place to put a didgeridoo on someone’s chest…READ MORE
In September 1974, a young couple, Hugh and Nan Nicholson, bought an abandoned farm at the end of Terania Creek Road adjoining Whian Whian State Forest.
They didn’t know what lay ahead. Their plan was to start a specialist rainforest nursery.
They were pioneers in the propagation and extensive use of rainforest plants in gardens and in reforestation on degraded lands, and they had made The Channon their home…READ MORE
The thing is, when you have daughters, you spend the first 20 years or so trying to stop them getting pregnant, then you spend the next 20 years hoping that they will get pregnant.
It’s funny how as prospective grandparents we feel we have so much sovereignty over our offsprings’ bodies.
It’s also funny how when we have kids we don’t have enough time for them because we’re busy doing other things and then when we have all the time in the world, we look to the little people in our lives to somehow fill the void left by what we couldn’t provide for our own children.
My children are now in their 20s and I have watched as my friends one-by-one have become grandparents, and I must admit, there has been a little touch of envy for me. I can’t wait to pinch those chubby cheeks and nibble those wiggling toes.
But, something has happened to me in the last couple of years. A sad, terrible tragedy…READ MORE