Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Academia is the opiat of the educated!

Since I returned to School as a mature aged student I have come to learn some important lessons about the world of academia and bureaucracies. Having sat in on several significant lectures based on contemporary issues in society and to do with the environment, I am convinced that the single most important function of academia is: To take those people who actually have the intelligence to be able to articulate exactly what is wrong and are able to present believable and convincing arguments for sensible, changes that will prevent the wholesale pillaging and waste of the Earth and all that is sacred within it Locked in an endless cycle of publishing reports, presenting seminars, writing essays and basically keeping their noses out of the real world! After hanging around the University/TAFE for too many years I am completely convinced that it's all a crock of shit!
I've attended architecture and housing planning seminars full of experts and politicians giving detailed descriptions of the type of housing that is suitable for the tropics and will soon become the standard... while right down the road yet another gated estate full of concrete boxes was being constructed!
I've volunteered with scientists who were content to witness the destruction of critical habitat while they measured it's effect on the local wildlife! Important work of course that will end up at the back of a report that may or may not be glanced at by a policy maker somewhere down the track! It's all BULLSHIT!

Well here's another one for the list! And I mean no offense to the presenter of this seminar or any of his team... It's important information... but nobody is listening! And while you were collecting your data which I am sure will prove to advance what we know about stream diversity... All our streams are being filled in, concreted, poisoned or bled dry! Surely we need more activists!

Today the school for Environmental Research at Charles Darwin University hosted the following presentation:

Water, Wind, Wood and Trees: Their Role in Maintaining River Complexity in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

presented by
Wayne D. Erskine
According to the promotional info the presentation focused on the significance of riparian vegetation and the presence of wood (trees etc...) as a contributor to bank stability, and reducing scouring along rivers.

"...The roughness created by dense bank-side trees is responsible for low flow velocities along the channel margins and hence the measured zero bank erosion rates.." (Wayne D. Erskine)
I have read one or two papers on this subject and there's a fair bit of evidence available that suggests maintenance of riparian vegetation is "GOOD", clearing vegetation along streams is NOT GOOD!
Land and Water Australia (The Federal Gov shut them down last year!)
Rip Rap Magazine
Or if you don't mind stepping out from conventional science and reading something a bit more Out there Peter Andrews

So with all this 'knowledge' and with access to great research as I am sure Mr Erskin has provided. Why? Why do our Government Land Managers continue to ignore and contradict practical and sensible land management practices?

Why have they only this week chosen to obliterate one of Darwin's best examples of a well structured ephemoral-stream/drainage line?

Natural erosion prevention
Turning This (McMillans Rd Marara NT)

Into This! (a little further along McMillans Rd Marara NT)
Removing trees from watercourse

My conclusion is that our Government Land Managers couldn't give a stuff about the Land and no one who knows better is about to stand up and tell them because Academia is a farce! So long as the right jargon is used it's business as usual and let's get some guy down there with a spirit level and a grader before the greenies try to stop us...
Gov has naught to fear from the wealth of scientific evidence they are ignoring because nobody of any significance is really looking!
Academia is a Farce! The Academic world/universe is simply the means by which otherwise useful people are distracted from taking meaningful action on issues that truly deserve their attention. Keeping the worlds greatest minds occupied with intellectual celebrity while the the greedy and ignorant rule....!
Or is that a little harsh?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Long Grass Band - Neil Murray

Neil Murray has a new album out! I know it's been available for a quite a while but Nobody told ME! The album is called Witness

Neil will be back in Darwin this dry season and will perform a 'Solo acoustic concert' at The Groove Cafe in Nightcliff on 30 & 31st July 8:00PM.

The last time I saw him perform was at the Groove 6 years ago!
The Groove is an undercover but open walled cafe. It's not a huge space but gets a bit of passing traffic and is quite a nice place to sit and listen to music. Last time I saw Neil at The Groove he attracted quite a crowd of fans who watched from outside the venue and the mood was great. Of course, (as sometimes happens) there were some more vocal and rather intoxicated fans hanging around who kept humbugging him to play their favorite songs.
"Hey Neil.... Ppppllaaiii 'Islannb Hom!'...... "Hey you! You play 'My I-land HOM!' "HEY!!! when you gonna play my Song?" "That's my song it's lovely!" You sing it now!"

Anyway this went of for a little while so Neil just shouts back "Hey you can bloody well wait! I'm not a bloody Duke Box" or words to that effect! It was kind of funny but probably a pain in the arse for Neil. I've seen him perform only about 3 times and each time he has to compete with the audience. Another time at Mindil Markets also in Darwin a pretty good crowd was gathered around to hear him and a bunch of Thick head youths came through the crowd and let off firecrackers right beside the stage!

As a native born Australian trying to find where I belong in this place Neil Murray's writing describes exactly all those things that are right at the heart things for me but I have rarely heard expressed by anyone else! I hope he keeps writing and performing his truth for years to come!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tim Flannery - climate change talk @ NTL Darwin

Last Month the Northern Territory Library had a special guest speaker.
Mr Tim Flannery.

It was a great opportunity to hear the man speaking in person about the troubling situation our country is currently in. I was particularly interested in his opinion about how the PM Mr Rudd has completely backed down from making any meaningful commitment to reducing carbon emissions in this country.

After having read his Quarterly Essay - 'Now or Never' I was not quite so inspired as I thought I would be. In particular I felt that his vision for the future did not take into consideration the need to alter our personal behaviour, in particular reshaping Western Culture out of the consumer mentality. Basically although he claiming that we can't turn our back on the problem and hope that science can find an answer yet at the same time he seemed to be trying to reassure us that we could maintain close to the lifestyle that we are currently living without making major sacrifices. The proposal that the answers will come through large scale infrastructural adjustments does not seem entirely valid to me. He seemed to have overlooked the need for social change and the need for an adjustment of our general attitude toward the earth. Having gotten the ear of politicians and the High end of town it seemed to me that he had little concern for the views or contribution that could be made by regular citizens or the absolute imperative for us to be part of the solution...

After listening to Mr Flannery I have to say my opinion of his position is far better than it had been. At the beginning of his talk he made very clear the certainty of climate science as opposed to the guff put out trying to dispel it. He spoke appropriately scathingly of Kevin Rudd's betrayal of Australians and the planet with his lack of taking action to battle climate change, being completely contradictory to his rhetorical gushing about it being the single most important issue of our time... However I remain disappointed that Mr Flannery appeared to discount the roll of ordinary citizens in changing the World. Most surprising were his comments on population. I know that due to the tendency for people to turn against vulnerable members of our society when population control is mentioned I still believe there's no escaping the connection between the number of people on the planet and how much of the worlds resources we are using...
From a local perspective the way we deal with population doesn't have to mean we start treating people inhumanely but I could mean that we cease providing financial incentives to increase population... Surely policies designed to increase population are ideologically contradictory to our attempts to reduce the pressure we are putting on the planets (and ultimately people's) resources.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

It's a Kaufman kinda day

Ever feel like you're locked in the punch?

I've just watched about 20 clips of Andy Kaufman on Youtube... This version of Man on the Moon with R.E.M and The Boss hits right on the 'bean', that strange twilight zone feeling somewhere between a laugh and a cry!

The sounds of REM and Springsteen together are like two parallel worlds colliding!
Man! Sometimes it's just like that!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

We only want a little shade!

(Once a shady avenue)

If you ride your bicycle along McMillans Rd in Jingli/Moil NT. Then you've probably noticed that all the lovely shade trees have been knocked down. My ride home from work has been so much hotter thanks to the DPI's new landscaping project.

OBSTRUCTION: When I asked why, I was advised that the trees obstructed peoples vision... I mistakenly thought that they were referring to road safety and other traffic but as I ride by that way every day I know that there never was any such obstruction. However with the trees there the Bottle Shop/Hotel and motel were slightly hidden from the road... Is it possible they cut down the trees so that traffic can be directed to the drive through bottle shop more easily?

The form of these trees was quite uniform, narrow trunks with a spreading canopy of leaves above (kind of like big umbrellas). I'm not saying they weren't an obstruction at all because I believe they were blocking particular things. Firstly the row of tree trunks would have acted like bollards along a busy roadway... If a car had lost control and jumped the curb it is quite likely one of those trees would have stopped it from smashing into traffic, pedestrian, cyclists or property on the other side. The other obstruction the trees caused was far more likely to affect cyclists and pedestrians... The canopies of those trees obstructed the harsh rays of the afternoon sun from frying the skin and brains of those who traveled along the bike path. If you ask anyone who uses the shared bicycle/pedestrian path they will tell you how nice it is to have some shade... They will also tell you how pissed they are now that the shade they relied on has been removed!

The signs say 'landscaping in progress', I can't wait to see the end results of what they have done to our landscape! I can only imagine, greener grass and a manicured water intensive, 'Prettification' but NO Shade!. I wonder if they'll have to declare the amount of carbon they are releasing through the chipping of those trees?


(Marked for the Axe)

Thanks for nothing DPI. Please don't call the work you are doing 'improvement'.