Thursday, 28 August 2014

Knowledge is not enough

From the WorldWatch Institute

In “Ecoliteracy: Knowledge is Not Enough,” Hempel, Professor of Environmental Sciences at Redlands University, states that environmental education should restore nature-based attachment to place and go beyond teaching science—it should include ethical, cultural, and political dimensions.

“The fundamental sense of connection that people had with the natural world has disappeared in most places,” says Hempel. “Restoring ecoliteracy to this connective role and fortifying it with the power of science and widespread recognition of global interdependence is perhaps the greatest challenge of this century.”


Saturday, 23 August 2014

What Riddells Creek Landcare achieved last year/Options for this year

Here is my address as President to our recent AGM (the Minutes here, the Ppt here).  The Powerpoint has a visual reflection on three goals of our group, then what we achieved last year and some of the options for the coming year. Have a look! If anything catches your fancy, keep an eye out here for news on what we're doing on these possibilities.

Our first committee meeting of the new year is 26th August, and after that I'll post some of what we decided to concentrate on for the rest of this year.

We had a marvellous discussion of what envionmental philosophers (two in particular) have to bring to the question of what appreciating nature means, and how we might go about appreciating nature.  Here are the slides from that conversation. Thanks to Georgina Butterfield for being with us and stirring us up (gently) about some of our assumptions. 

Philosophy has the awkward job of raising questions about what we take for granted, to upset our assumptions and bring keener inquiry to important matters. If you are looking for the references to follow up our discussion, you will find them under a new project Environmental Philosophy.

In the same place, I'll post some of the pieces that you are a little harder to get on the web.

With Spring advancing in its slow waltz (here one day, gone the next), it's a wonderful time to be in the garden, or finishing off those planting jobs that you've been meaning to get done this winter.  I'm off to see how Steve my neighbour is going down at the old tip site next door to my place here at Riddells Creek Winery.

Ross Colliver
0411 226 519
President Riddells Creek Landcare,
RCL blog
Victorian Landcare Council,

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Late winter Barrm Birrm

Over the last few weeks I've been getting out amongst the wattles in Barrm Birrm, as they explode and fade like fireworks. I'm getting a better sense of what likes to go where.

Prickly Moses clearly doesn't mind having its feet damp, because here it is in the sag, a shallow valley, in the hillside just up from my place. And it seems to like company - many Prickly Moses all being prickly in the same locality, new cylindrical flowers on their fine limbs.

What I take to be Golden Wattle sends its flowers right up on tip-toes to its crown, dancing amongst the dark green crowns of surrounding trees. I love these trees, that gentle sway of gold against the blue sky.
Then there's a personal favourite, Cinnamon Wattle, such a sparse and elegant structure. It seems to like the mid-slopes, and a bit of dryness, and gathers a few companions, but not too many, around itself. Rush up and see it soon, it's fading a little now, because these started flowering in June.

I found this elegant arrangement at left on my morning walk and set about photographing it, the austerity of the grass tree beside the abundance of the wattle.

Its flowers are a total extravagance. It was only later, working my way through Russell's identification guide to Barrm Birrm wattles, that I found that it is the Sallow Wattle (Acacia longifolia) and definitely not a native of these parts.  Is it chainsaw time for the Sallow Wattle, I wonder?

 Talking of chainsaws, there's been a lot of that kind of noise coming out of Barrm Birrm this winter, more than last winter, on a steady rise since our State Premier, soon after the last election, announced an easing of restrictions on domestic frewood gathering in State forests. The message seems to have been taken up as "it's okay to take timber whereever you find it."

Barrm Birrm is private land, so it's strictly speaking illegal, but those legalities don't worry me, and I'm not bothered that much by people cutting the fire-worthy sections out of the many fallen trees, because there seem plenty of fallen trees to provide protection of the lizards and the like.

What worries me is cutting down standing trees, because that means birds lose any chance using the hollows of trees as nesting sites.

The other thing that gets me hot and bothered is that most firewood gatherers take their vehicle in over the grassland so they can park a metre from where they are cutting, makes it easier, doesn't it, and they bugger up the grassland in the process.

Just a little bit, mind, and you don't really notice it do you?

Well yes I do. Have a look below. You can feel there's been a 4WD in there. Doesn't look right.

Or here.

What is it about taking your vehicle anywhere you want? Get smart guys - you drive here once and it takes years for that bit of bush to go back to normal. Drive whereever you want and this place will soon look like any unsealed parking lot.

If you want to use your power for good, join the Mobile Landcare Group. Borrow the BLUE Streak, my completely adequate firewood moving device, anytime you want. Or give yourself a challenge and rough handle that cut timber 15 metres to the back of your machine on foot. There's just got to be bigger challenges that driving in.

Sorry I'm having a go at 4WDers, I'm leaving the 2WDers out. Below is a perfectly good hang out spot (sharp left just after Riddells Creek Winery), perfect for meeting up with the gals before a summer evening's events, or for sitting by a modest fire in winter, knocking back a few.

Being out in the bush, that's what it's all about. I can manage the fast food trash you drop, cleaning up after the children every few weeks isn't so hard.

What I don't get is why its necessary to push a new track out the other side of this spot, rather than just turning around and heading out the way you came in. 

So a note to drivers of all stripes, and I'm trying not to be moralistic here. Barrm Birrm is not there for you to tool around on.

It's here as a little reminder of what the bush was once like all the way around the ranges skirting the volcanic plains, the delicate web of green living its sweet life outside the bitumen bonanza of Riddells real estate.