Saturday, November 24, 2007

Today is ELECTION DAY

Not much to say on the subject really...
Here's a Youtube video of a Choir in Melbourne called Flash Mob with their revolutionary recital of a song they call:


Vote the Bastards Out!



Vote the Bastards Out ~ by Flash Mob

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Impact Man 365 days!

The experiment called 'No Impact Man' is now officially over.
One year ago an guy in New York City by the name of Colin beavan set out to try and live for a whole year making a minimal impact on the environment and to reduce his families carbon emissions by as much as they possibly could.

For the duration of one year they vowed to refrain from some of the simplest modern conveniences in order to see if they could reduce their impact on the planet and therefore possible for ordinary people to prevent the catastrophe that awaits us if we continue to consume resources and pollute the planet as we have been.

Colin and his family found that although there were some inconveniences, their lives actually improved in many ways due to the opportunities they discovered as a result of the experiment. Because thy had no TV, they actually engaged in more family and social time. By using bicycles, and a three wheeled man powered family vehicle (Pedicab) they were able to interact more with their community and the environment. By eating local, fresh foods their diets became more wholesome.... The list of benefits goes on. By sacrificing some conveniences they appear to have gained a real sense of belonging and connectedness to the place where they live and the people around them.

Congratulations Colin and your family. I hope you are able to find a reasonable balance now that the experiment is over. I am particularly impressed with your partner for supporting this experiment! Personal choice is one thing but when you cohabit with others it is not easy to achieve all these lifestyle changes if the other/s don't share your view. At home we (my wife) recently installed air conditioning. We live in the sub-tropics and it gets pretty hot but having done so I feel like we're only going to be making things hotter in the long run! Now I'm looking for ways to reduce our consumption in order to off-set the air-con!

You have given us a fantastic example of what can be done if we really commit to change. Good on you all.


Here is a link to his summary of the experiment ~ Time to live in the gray

Monday, November 19, 2007

International day of action

Saturday 17th November was declared International day of action on the Federal Intervention into Indigenous communities.
At Raintree Park on Saturday a rather small group of citizens gathered to hear testimony of how the intervention is already affecting Indigenous Australians and interfering with their day to day living. The speakers were some of the best I've heard and the message was quite clear and personal to the speakers themselves. Speculation about the possible impacts of this intervention is no longer an academic pursuit. People are having to deal with the real problems of having their welfare payments quarantined and having to report exactly where they will spend their money! (Oh when I say people I mean Aboriginal people. Apparently Non-indigenous recipients of welfare will not be affected!) The double standards are amazing! While Indigenous people are being virtually banned from drinking alcohol or possessing adult movies with an X rating a glance at the front page of our Sunday Territorian would suggest that Beer is better for your health than water! (So long as your not a Blackfella!)

"Beam me up Scottie," this place is LOCO! If all these mixed messages are sending me off the beam I wonder how Indigenous people living in the NT are feeling. Their lives are constantly affected by arbitrary discrimination!

I'm out of blogging time now but thought I'd add a link to further commentary on this subject. See link below.

http://castironbalcony.media2.org/?p=443

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tropical heat and Coward's song

After recovering from our insane ride on Saturday a familiar tune came to mind and I just had to look it up on Youtube!


So here it is. Posted for your entertainment and to our dismay!

~ Mad dogs and Englishmen by Noel Coward ~



(Maybe we're just a bunch of mad cyclists?)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Walk against warming 2007

There are two weeks until the Australian Federal election. On Sunday 1,000's of citizen voters united around the country to send a clear message to our potential leaders.
Not all voters will be satisfied with gifts of lap top computers or tax rebates. People are demanding leadership and direct action on the urgent issue of climate change!








video

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mandorah ride in a nutshell

On Saturday 10th November in temperatures exceeding 36 degrees Celsius our group of 5 determined cyclists succeeded in an ambitious plan to cycle around Darwin Harbor.
We were hoping for cloud cover and more showers as were prevalent earlier in the week but a clear sky and lack of shade provided far from favorable conditions.

The early morning start made our first leg quite comfortable and we arrived at Berry Springs in pretty good shape. A lovely swim at Berry Springs reserve had the group in high spirits and ready to complete our journey on the Cox Peninsular Rd.

Unfortunately when we returned to the road heat and fatigue begun to take their toll. The temperature began to soar and our gear became hot to the touch. My panniers were close to melting! Thirsty and tired we tried to keep a reasonable pace.

We peddled on regardless of our discomfort but the pace slowed and many rest stops were required. We clocked up far more road hours than we ever intended but eventually reached our destination! Mandorah Hotel! Exhausted but relieved our celebration was subdued to a grateful swilling of multiple jugs of iced water and heads bowed in exhaustion!

I hope all the participants are rested and re-hydrated by now. Risk of dehydration was a real problem on the ride and we found ourselves needing more water than we/I'd prepared for.

Congratulations to you all! Completing this trip was an exceptional and heroic feet of endurance!

Congratulation:


Patricia

Patricia ~ You stuck with what must have felt like an impossible journey!
You managed to persist regardless of your physical exhaustion and the
unfortunate encounter with some rather unpleasant wildlife. You could have
quit but you persisted despite the pain

Chris
Chris on a road bike slightly smaller than required

Chris ~
What can I say. Chris you are a mad man! Taking that mountain bike
on such a long journey with a bunch of road bikes. Well done mate! I doubt
I could have managed to push that thing so far! And you said you'd do it
again!

Sue ~ On an oversized bike that you'd never ridden before was quite a feat!
But as I later found out you did it all in one gear! you are amazing! You
are the toughest grittiest rider I have met! Then to top it off after more
than 12 hours on the road Martin tells me you had a blow-out on the way
home from Cullen Bay! You could have got a lift home but you were
determined to make it under your own steam and pushed your bike the
remainder of the way! You are a bicycling legend!

Martin ~ Well done! This ride took it's toll on us all. Your energy is
astounding! Volunteering to ride the mountain bike probably allowed Chris
just enough energy to get over the line. Thanks for keeping the pace and
sticking with us all the way.

Mandorah Ferry
Grateful view of Mandorah from the Seacat voyage home!

Me somewhere hot!
Thanks to you all for coming!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A ride around Darwin Harbor

Finally it's time to get out on the road for a big ride. The Darwin Harbor Cruise!

This Saturday a small group of local cyclists, well actually me and a couple of others will ride from the Northern Suburbs of Darwin around Darwin Harbor, hopefully all the way to Mandorah. Then, if all goes well we'll chuck the bikes on the ferry and enjoy a ride back across the harbor to Cullen Bay and the final leg home.




View Larger Map
This rough map shows our planned rout.

Below is a link to the Google Map pedometer showing the distance of this trip
http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=1439378

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tracking 'The Intervention'

The Federal Government's intervention into Aboriginal communities is well under way now and people have begun to experience life under the new conditions in their communities.
Last night on the ABC program 4 Corners aired a special report by journalist Matthew Carney which looked into what effects these changes have brought about. What progress has 'The Intervention' made towards improving conditions and ensuring protection for children against abuse in their communities?

The ABC 4 Corners website has a full web page devoted to the program including podcasts, supporting documents and previous stories related to this topic.
See the link below to download and watch any of these programs.

**Tracking the Intervention**
(Mathew Carney ABC 4 Corners 5.11.07)


The report was very well put together and addressed many of the issues that have come about as a result of The Intervention. After showing various communities and seeing how aspects of The Intervention had affected them, the reporter raised an important question. Which was essentially this: In such a large country with a broad spectrum of established communities each with their own issues, how will a one size fits all approach be able to address the needs of all?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Viva la velorution (No need to excuse the French)

Did you know that in France they have begun a huge revolution in public transportation that will see 1,000's of bicycles on the streets and available for hire from just about any point in the city?
It's an amazing story. Living in Australia I sometimes wonder if the whole world is as ignorant and apathetic of environmental issues as we have become.
I am so glad to learn that No they are not. All around the world people and governments are taking action to remedy the harm we have done to our planet. Just because in my own country we are more concerned with interest rates and the value of our stock than in what we can do to improve the future for our children or prevent further degradation of our natural systems, doesn't mean the whole planet is dominated by greed and selfishness. (Is this a harsh exaggeration? Naaa!)

So anyway check the article:

Viva la velorution

(It's a bicycle revolution!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pedal power.... The natural way to move forward

My folks down in Melbourne just put me on to a great story about a guy down there who has devoted himself and his yard to the promoting cycling in his community.
Exactly what I'd be doing if I had a yard... the slightest amount of mechanical knowhow... a lot more spare time... and so on...

The guy's name is Bill Bretherton. Check the story in the Age:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/

Good on you Bill!


"Hybrid cars still hurt"
(Bill is the guy under the car)


This is bigger than one man!
Check the web site: HUMAN POWERED~Cycles


This is a brilliant idea! Actually it is something that is constantly on my mind! It's so Great to see someone contributing in this way. I have come across the same problems with giving/loaning bikes to people. They rarely appreciate or take care of something that given them for free. As mentioned in the article this approach only seems to turn bicycles into a devalued commodity (Not the desired effect). But sharing knowledge and providing help to those who are prepared to make an effort must be a more effective way of reaching out to ones community. This approach could actually help to create a situation where cooperative social networks are forged, materials renewed, resources appreciated and active, conscious, communities are grown!
All I can say now is That's so COOL!! GOOD ON YOU!

The beginnings of an artist

drawing on walls
A certain budding artist draws on the wall while wearing her Dad's sunglasses.


(No she is not smoking!)