A selection of items of interest from other sources




The philosophical father of Australia's green movement addressed a packed Springwood Hub theatre on September 21 for the Mick Dark Talk for the Future. He heralded busloads of protesters arriving at the Carmichael mine site in Queensland and the vulnerable temperate rainforests of Tasmania's Tarkine. He promised that, in 2018, he will visit the Gardens of Stone together with Paul Thomas, his life partner and major contributor to the magnificent Australian odyssey publication, "Green Nomads".

BMCS President Madi Maclean and Membership Secretary and anti-airport campaigner Ross Coster took time before the talk to tell Bob Brown about the Society's current campaigns. Photo by Paul Vale.

Bob Brown's return to the region where he grew up (in Oberon and Trunkey Creek) should not be judged by the most dramatic possibilities he referred to. Bob is a determined old man much more than an angry old man. The audience was taken on a journey that carefully established the context of Bob's blunt analysis of the human species' choice between self extinction and remaining longer than a few more decades upon the earth. Bob referred to the views of the physicist Stephen Hawking, explaining that it was a virtual mathematical certainty that life has existed elsewhere in the universe. The reason Homo sapiens has detected no communication from alien life may be that "intelligent" life has destroyed its own habitat at other locations in the universe.

A most evocative image was that of a 21st century adult dreaming that their great grandchildren came to them and asked: "What did you do when the seasons began to change?" "What did you do when the species began to extinct?" Bob's rallying cry was: "Step off the footpath!" by which he meant "make a difference in any way you can".

This was the third Mick Dark Talk for the Future co-hosted by Varuna Writers Centre and Blue Mountains Conservation Society. The enthusiasm of Varuna spokesperson Amy Sambrooke and our president Madi Maclean underscored the momentum of this annual event. Former federal ministers Bob Debus and Neil Blewett were in attendance. As on previous occasions, Jill Dark was an inspiring presence. Jill is known as an intensely dedicated author, wildlife carer and conservationist as well as the widow of Mick, a conservation leader whose spirit will never leave us.

Towards the end of Bob Brown's talk, he played a performance of Earth Song, a mesmerising musical rendition by diva Claire Dawson with the music and lyrics composed by Bob himself over a stunning series of Australian nature photographs. Any of us who can contribute in any way to the causes dear to Bob will be left with the feeling that we are both saving the planet and marching with the most insightful and trustworthy comrade we could have in any political movement.

© Don Morison

[appears in the October Hut News]



Blue Mountains Koala Project

Help save our most treasured national icon

Science for Wildlife is working to find and map our koala populations in order to conserve them. Following the 2013 bushfires in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, koalas were spotted in parts of the Mountains in which they had not been seen for decades.




Pressure is mounting on the rare swamp habitats and endangered animals of the Newnes Plateau in central western New South Wales, two ecologists say. Swamps in the area are home to the endangered Blue Mountains Skink and the Giant Dragonfly ... MORE

An older item but still of interest

'increased by 40 per cent' between 2008 and 2013

2013 Bushfire from Mt Riverview
[image © Jim Low - Mount Riverview 2013]

The number of bushfires per week in Australia increased by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2013, according to a new study, but experts say it is too early to link this to climate change
... MORE





September 25, 2015

In the light of our Badgery's Creek Airport Campaign, the following study is of interest.

A leading James Cook University scientist is calling attention to the disturbing impact of road noise on wildlife.

JCU's Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate Fellow Bill Laurance said a new paper by US researchers in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA had disturbing implications. The researchers from Boise State University strung loudspeakers along half a kilometre of untouched Idaho forest and played noise at the level found on a suburban street.

They discovered bird abundance decreased 31 percent compared to a similar area without traffic noise and the condition of the birds remaining decreased significantly. The investigators said birds never became accustomed to road noise.

Professor Laurance said the phantom-road study suggests that the rapidly expanding footprint of roads and other structures may be degrading habitats for noise-sensitive species.

"Species such as cassowaries that use low-frequency sound for communication may be especially vulnerable, with roads blocking or impeding their calls," he said.

Professor Laurance said research showed even small dirt tracks reduced the abundance of bird species nearby, with major highways sometimes completely clearing areas of birdlife.

"Infrastructure is expanding at the fastest rate in human history. It's already established that roads bring hunting, encroachment, wildfires and land speculation to forests and produce road kill and pollution. The new study again emphasizes the need to limit new roads in protected areas and ameliorate road noise from existing highways."

Professor Laurance said there was no reason to think the findings would not also apply at sea and in the air. He said marine life may be disturbed by shipping lanes and high-intensity sonar, and birdlife distressed by aircraft noise and wind farms.