31 August 2007

Bits - birds, the beach, noise, energy & green stuff

  • Two Gannets cutting through the air at North Head and diving. Wonderful sight, many disappear as 'by-kill' of human fishing, or plastics (pdf)
  • Yes, they did find the algae Noctiluca scintillans at Manly and many other northern beaches. It loves the 'nutrient-rich water' and does glow neon blue at night.
  • At Yamba, the Pacific turned to giant froth (images), not a word in the MSM here.
  • Leaf-blower rage in Perth. A man lost his cool over another unleashing the noise and pollution terror onto the neighbourhood. The dirt was blown (as usual) with the help of petrol fumes from the walkway on to the road and into the stormwater drain as is customary all over Manly.
  • Interesting reading on the short life of ducks, fish and turf workers on large tracks of 'nutrient-rich' land devoted to 'sport'. Elsewhere they use fewer pesticides and imaginative methods (video)
  • In five years there will be no more energy in Sydney for giant 'air-conditioners'. Lights go off..
  • And there are dogs regularly on Manly beach in the middle of the day now.
Image: 1. The Pacific, 2. Drains to Manly Beach, Pacific

30 August 2007

Consuming Manly - 'in the Lap of Luxury'

The Australian Conservation Foundation put Manly on the map as one of the greediest and most wasteful suburbs. Patterns of consumption are quantified in terms of greenhouse pollution, water usage and the ecological mega-fauna footprint (land/resources required to sustain a person's lifestyle). A mentality of 'more is better and big is best' is depleting the Earth's resources for generations to come.

The newest status symbol for the nation's most affluent families is fast becoming a big brood of kids.” 'Competitive birthing' is complementing the perpetual house-renovating/flipping, 2-3 cars, (mostly 4x4s) and packs of dogs (varying with fashion). Many home functions are outsourced such as food to Cafes and Eateries. Large amounts of food are being returned there, at home the waste economy continue
s. “ This report has highlighted the crucial relative importance of consumption of food and other consumer products, which far outweigh the direct impacts of energy and water use in the average Australian home...The eco-footprint of this volume of wasted food is greater than the footprint of all household expenditure on transport combined” (ACF report,pdf)

Sustainability, inter generational equity or consideration for other species are not on the mind of the 'I, me & myself'.

We are told, that everyone can do their bit..."facilitated and coordinated by an ambitious and effective framework of government regulation and support.”(ACF,pdf)
In a systemic deregulated and privatised civic and economic turbo environment that is pushing the hype of consumerism at every corner, it might just be a well-meaning bit of hot 'recommendation'.

As the basic fabric of this society is based on individual possessiveness and the private good, the concept of the public good and the idea of sharing goes against the grain of the acquisitive Homo economicus. Any form of regulation is seen as a restriction of the individual's neo-liberties. 'Education', dead-tree information & litany falls on sealed ears.

This affluent society is based on the exclusion of others from the national riches. Some take the prerogative to grab the 'lion's share'. In a stratified system members seek to privatise and maximise a chunk of the world's resources. The anti-products are shared generously. The jubilant victors' celebrations/parties over the gains do not tolerate being disrupted by 'restraints'. The 'top of the heap' does not believe in limiting its right to luxury and exclusiveness.

After “liquidating the planet's ecological resources” they sure will 'discover' another two to three spare planets to 'harvest'.
Images: 'Lap of Luxury' images, Manly Beach promenade

29 August 2007

On the Annexation of National Parks

A walk through Sydney Harbour National Park at Grotto Point Reserve. A beautiful place, bursting in Phebalium dentatum, Eriostemons, Caladenias and Lomandras at the moment. Black Cockatoos singing for more rain.

The new way of utilising National Parks as one's backyards revealed itself as the relative short walk progressed:

  • At dusk dog owners regularly bring their dogs there, off the leash of course. Today, one hunting dog was allowed to race freely though the bush at the time when wildlife starts its day. The other dog bathed at Castle Rock Beach and was then walked back through the National Park. I assume the 'user pays' principle is applied, if one does have to pay a small fine, maybe once a year, then it is like a cheap annual dog-pass to a beautiful dog loo.
  • Many of the beautiful old Angophora costata were vandalised by deep cuts from knives.
  • Somewhere, off the track 2 people were collecting many 'things' (under rocks?) and shoved them into plastic bags. Sad to see the N.P. so abused and native flora and fauna only being protected pro forma.

Air pollution caused by cars in Manly - consequences

Most carers of small children in Manly seem to drive 4x4s. The town and the suburbs are pedestrian-hostile environments. The 'pedestrian zone' and bike paths are usually parked on.

A study found that 4x4s pollute the air we breathe more than other cars, in carparks and in our shared urban environment. “Pedestrian exposure to high levels of these air toxics within parking garages is of concern because of the proximity and intensity of the vehicle activity within the semi-closed environment...These pollutants (carbon monoxide (CO), particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAH) and several volatile organic compounds (VOCs)) include known and suspected carcinogens (Science Daily)

Another project by Dr.B.Ritz found “Women who lived in regions with high carbon monoxide or fine-particle levels — pollution caused mainly by vehicle traffic — were approximately 10 to 25 percent more likely to have a preterm baby than women who lived in less polluted areas."

Update 300907 Elsewhere they outsource safety and emission tests together with pink slips to private garages.Where there is a will...

28 August 2007

On the Use of Water - Or the Creation of Dead Zones

Red tides, or more accurately harmful algal blooms (HABs) are produced by abusing the world waterways as a garbage dump (eutrophication). The resulting 'murking' up of the liquid of life is toxic for most living beings. Ancient, toxic bacteria thrive in these human produced conditions. Finally, the degraded environment collapses into a dead zone.

The Mash-up in Australia:
The water bodies of the Earth are being used as a cost-effective way to dump the unwanted. The picture for Australia in 2006 reads:

“The discharge of sewage and stormwater, land runoff, groundwater and river inputs of nutrients and sediments to estuaries and the coastal waters...
All capital cities discharge sewage and stormwater to estuarine and marine waters, and much of this receives only minimal treatment—stripped only of solids and rubbish, but not of nutrients, hormones, disinfectant breakdown products, nor of a range of resistant viruses. Stormwater from urban areas is discharged after minimal treatment to reduce large solids (such as plastics and industrial rubbish), but otherwise contains untreated road and garden runoff, with oils, rubber particles, fertiliser, nutrients and sediments. River catchments are major sources of nutrients, sediments and a range of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, all of which affect estuarine flora and fauna; where river inputs are large, coastal ecosystems are adversely affected.”

Runoff from agriculture and development, pollution from septic systems and sewers, and other human-related activities increase the flux of both inorganic nutrients and organic substances into terrestrial, aquatic, and coastal marine ecosystems (including coral reefs).” (Wikipedia)

This process of eutrophication is Australia-wide (14.7 million square kilometres of ocean and about 36 000 kilometres of mainland coastline.)

The Liquid of Life is lost, toxic organisms grow:
These human activities create favourable conditions for micro organisms, they changes the aquatic ecology. Water loses its translucent quality.

See, smell, use your senses:

A walk at the beach might reveal red-brown patches and a pungent hazardous smell ( HAB-laden aerosols) mingled in the salt spray. At night the sea is aglow in neon-blue surf. The drinking water smells.
Image by msauder at Flickr, CC "Bioluminescent dinoflagellates (Lingulodinium polyedrum) lighting a breaking wave at midnight. The blue light is a result of a luciferase enzyme ... Under the right conditions, the dinoflagellates become so numerous that the water takes on a muddy reddish color (hence the name "Red Tide"). The bioluminescence is only visible at night."

Dead Zones - No Life here:
The dumping of nutrients, solar irradiance and warmer temperatures are a sure recipe to increase the biomass of toxic phytoplankton.
There are 146 dead zones in the world already. The ecosystems have collapsed due to lack of oxygen and no life can take place in them.

The "Cost":
Most of these fossil bacteria are a toxic to humans and animals.
They affect the drinking water, food and yes beaches are closing. “... HAB events adversely affect commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, and valued habitats, creating a significant impact on local economies and the livelihood of coastal residents. “ It is not beneficial for the human economy.

Sydney's Drinking Water:
The recent find of blue-green algal bloom ('Microcystis aeruginosa' (image))in the Sydney region poses 'no public health risk ', but you might 'notice a change in taste and odour.' Elsewhere they are treated as a neurotoxin. In developing countries this harmful algal bloom causes the death of fish (pdf).

Keeping an eye on it:
The Australian 'state of the environment ' report of 2006 claims:
There is no systematic monitoring and reporting of algal blooms in Australia’s estuaries and coastal waters, so there is no way of knowing if eutrophication is increasing or decreasing as a national problem.

International bodies, such as UNESCO and The International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae aim to manage the problem.

The citizen-based group Red Tide Florida is not just combating red tides but also a 'government in denial'.

Keep an eye on that living water-body...

Drinking Water and Healthy Water Bodies Pt II
Video: Bioluminescent Bacteria in Oceans
NSW Algal Information

Update 210907 " We are dumping industrial waste in the ocean. Changes in ocean chemistry within the ranges predicted for the next decades and centuries present significant risks to marine biota. A large team of scientists state that human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will alter ocean chemistry to the point where it will violate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Quality Criteria [1976] by mid-century if emissions are not dramatically curtailed now."

27 August 2007

Long - Nosed Bandicoot struggling in Manly

It took 50 years before people in Dulwich Hill 'discovered' they were sharing their habitat with a rare Australian survivor, the Long-Nosed Bandicoot. (ABC)

A small, isolated population survives in Manly”, registered as endangered. It has - despite 'discovery' - been further reduced by speeding cars, cats and dogs and most of all the elimination of its habitat.
Image via DotAtelier

26 August 2007

Sustainable mobility as core value

New citizens to this place must answer such essential questions such as: Who is the Queen's representative in Australia? To merge into the dominant norms and values they have to do it in the local lingo (Professor Michael Clyne, Danger! Monolingual Australians in global job market: MP3) of course. (SMH)

In Denmark they are going beyond "fundamental norms and values“ and are teaching new-comers how to use the dominant mode of transport: the bicycle.

Maybe Australia should deliver 4x4 classes for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees for free.


A mature White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) soared over Manly Wharf (East Esplanade) this afternoon. A Currawong chased it away.Wood Ducks have been very vocal in the last weeks. A lot of Figbirds are busy in Manly town.

At the wharf private speed boats twirled up the shore.

Fire - The magic wand to create more habitat for people

Various fires consumed Sydney's bush recently and created a smoggy dome. Primarily this form of land management “..is designed to help protect homes... from bushfire.” Especially the ones that moved to live IN the bush and then eliminated most Australian flora and fauna.

At the moment Greece is burning, large chunks of forests have burnt down and so far at least 50 people have been killed. Human beings deliberately set these fires in various places, as is also often the case in Australia. The well-to-do houses in the 'bush' have been saved. “Throughout the summer, Greece was full of rumors that many of the fires had been set by arsonists hired by developers looking to build on valuable land inconveniently covered by trees...Because there are no official maps indicating the boundaries of forests, though, once the trees have been reduced to ash, developers come in to claim land.” (Spiegel) The 'lungs' of that city have been eliminated, but there might be a housing boom...
Image: After incinerating various parts of Sydney bush the 'fog' was everywhere for days.

Update: 270807
- The 400 open tips started to smoulder with the high temperatures of global warming.
- The carelessness of smokers starts many fires the world over.
- Negligent private fires to incinerate garbage are also a cause of these fires.
- Real Estate speculation 'fuels the fire', houses are erected and all is sanctioned by council. Forests cannot vote. (The Standard at) Many of these practices are common here too.

A Greek journalist: "We had a beautiful country but we are increasingly losing it to fires, rubbish and the illegal buildings [built on land cleared by blazes]." (The Guardian)

23 August 2007

Scents 'to die for'

Beauty is serious business. Many are nearly embalmed in perfumed goods. Like tobacco, the mainly synthetic fragrances are hard to dodge. Here are some of the scented products that are utilised from head to toes:

A lot of personal care products are not evaluated and do not declare their ingredients on labels (trade secrets) and regulating authorities can not advise on the toxicity of the product.Some can be poisons to offspring.

Make some informed choices for a toxic-free environment.

-Guide to Less Toxic Products
-Search the Cosmetic Safety Database
-Fragrances Products Information Network
-The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics :"Our goal is to protect the health of consumers and workers by requiring the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems, and replace them with safer alternatives."
-The Environmental Working Group aims 'to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment'
-Book: Get a Whiff of This: Perfumes (fragrances) - the Invisible Chemical Poisons

Water & Chemical Mashup Shot Over Suburbia

Obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses or Gateses the latest sub-urban competitive consumption race is to shoot chemical laced water at all hard surfaces for nearly a day. This process is called 'cleaning' in the driest inhabited continent. Like dominoes, each house in turn gets in the mobile 'pressure cleaners' to shoot the water/chemical cocktail (bleaches, alkali/degreasers, acids, detergents and other solvents, pdf ) at all hard external surfaces of the McMansion and the surrounding paved surfaces. The pumps provide noise and air pollution for many hours, the run off water (with chemicals) is socialised generously most of the time. Mobile dog washers follow and add their bit.

In a country 'as dry as a bone', this is a convenient way to buy oneself out of 'water restrictions', a perfectly legal way of privatising water in the small arena. Leave the liabilities to future generations and other species.
Update: forgot the car wash industry as a means to bypass 'restrictions'

22 August 2007

Dogs of Manly allowed to savage wildlife

A late walk at Marine Parade, ending at Shelly Beach Park usually ends up disappointing. The majority of dog owners display very anti-social behaviour. Despite signs all over to keep dogs on leashes, they are off the leash and even deliberately chased on to the beach or into the small fragments of bush. Today a dog chased a very small Bandicoot and 2 Possums. When asked to restrain the dog, the owner defended all and nearly assaulted the person pointing out the matter. This is not the exception, but the rule.

Let's have a wildlife day in Manly. People who live here because of its natural assets would like to see the native animals and plants protected - instead of 'going to the dogs'. Any industries to sponsor such an event ?

The M(a)nly Blog Map on Google

View Larger Map

19 August 2007

The Waratah - Gondwana plant and Wonga pigeon

The Proteaceae (images, DB) emerged 118 million years on Gondwanaland. The Australian variety developed 40 milion years ago when the continent separated from Africa. This is the time of the emergence of the Australian Waratah. The local Eora people gave the plant its name. The New South Wales Waratah (Telopea speciosissima) is the emblem of NSW today. It is extremely rare in gardens, but there are still pockets in National Parks, provided they do not get 'harvested' for their spectacular large and red flowers. Depicted in woodcuts of Margaret Preston, they finds their purpose today in the floral industry.

In The Stories of the Dreaming, Barry Moore shares the 'Red Waratah' (also as rich media). A central player in the story is the Wonga pigeon, now rare as they used to shoot this pigeon in the 40's and land clearing reduced its habitat drastically.
Both Waratah and Wonga might have co-existed in the Manly region once. Some of the Gondwana plants are still with us in the region (pdf).

Images: top, part of "Skygarden"
bottom, Strand Arcade window

Today's Fashion, Tomorrow's Weed Liability

Australian shoppers follow all sexy trendz around here, even if it is 'costing the Earth'. Whatever is the 'in-thing', usually originating top-down gets synchronised simulatenously over the 7,617,930 square kilometres (if possible). Mono-culture rejects its (Australian) environment. Despite the jingoism, and flag hoisting in their real estate, Australian animals and plants are not part of the 'proud' picture.

Toxic Thuja, noxious South African Agapanthus, Bromelias and Dracaena were planted in the last fad. The Dragon Tree from Madagascar usually grows too large and then is 'put out' close by the house with its developing elephant trunk.

The rage of the moment is plants from:

South Africa - This 'bird of paradise flower' pops up in gardens and council areas. Maybe they intend to keep Manly's dog population in check via this method?

Mexico – delivers this Agave (attenuata) spilling from most buildings in planters or generously lining house-fronts. The 3 m inflorescence will keep future weeding volunteers on their toes or the chemical industry in business.

The sexy mashup is 'to have and not care'.
Why not go all the way, as seen on the Corso: Agave plasticus. Spiky, to denote the privatised space, but no care is needed. Also makes exellent ash-trays.

Watch the new noxious weeds developing in this artifactual landscape. But then, why care - let future generations worry about that.

18 August 2007

Birds, Pests and Petrol Culture at Manly Beach

A day in Manly today, through the streets parked out with oozing boats. At the beach the spectacle of the day was staged by engineers 'fostering innovation'. A plane twirled in the blue sky, leaving behind thick black plumes of pollution. Greenhouse gas emissions rained on all the spectators. Apart from wasting fossil fuel, paper was thrown about on the beach as part of the 'family fun'.

AT Manly Village Public School Market, 4x4s parked out the bike path. In the playground a model rubber castle, hurling advertising was erected. Powered, as usual by petrol, exhausts of the motor, pumping non-stop into the playground. Carers did not seem to mind.The market ambiance was ruined by this noise pollution.

Manly 'lawn'- transplants looked yellow/white, despite the intensive petrol-watering.Thirsty foreign pansies in plastic planters were hanging out for their next shot of fossil-fuel powered water by Council.

At the walk from the beach to Shelly, more trees have disappeared, providing much better views. Weeds spill down the sandstone walls of the 'CABBAGE TREE BAY ECO-SCULPTURE WALK “. Never before have we sighted Indian Mynas there. The absence of trees and increase of weeds must have created the right environment for these pests. Being one of the 'World's 100 Worst Invasive Species' they kill native birds and even Ringtail Possums. Parts of Manly town
(Sydney Rd. etc) are already caked in their excrement which has ' the potential to spread disease to people and domestic animals.'

The next spectacle is planning to civilise dog owners of Manly. What a task! “The aim of the day.. (is) to promote responsible pet ownership and to encourage pet micro-chipping and registration.” It could be years before dogs, tearing Little Penguin chicks to death can be located in real time and their owners charged. Regular dogs on beaches and National Parks could be traced and fines collected. An instant cure for investment headaches. Wonderful possibilities.

In the afternoon rare visitors were at the rocky shores. Four Sooty Oystercatchers tried to feed in vain, but were repeatedly disturbed by humans until they finally gave up and flew out to the ocean. Even in protected areas, not many oysters have been left by very hungry and poor Australians. It takes some time for the bird to lever, prise or hammer open the shellfish.They are out of a habitat and are getting rare. In the image they are fleeing Manly.

13 August 2007

Manly library as a resource

Manly Library is a great resource, catering to all trends. Lately it does appear like an 'outsourced' free language lab of the English learning industry. If one does get a seat, one gets overwhelmed with 'English help' requests.
A novel business idea would be (to recoup Manly council's losses from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown ) to charge for tuition.

12 August 2007

The right to breathe while eating out in Manly

Despite the 'smoking ban' eating out in restaurants and other eateries in Manly still poses a health threat. Already many eateries are on high traffic areas, where fumes fill the establishment, additionally many places exclude non-smokers from their 'fresh air area' as they are lacking 'no smoking signs'. Additionally the outdoor spaces are where smokers produce their toxins which then blow into the so-called 'non-smoking area.' Both staff and customers are put at risk. The cyclopic 'blind eye' does not fine or withdraw licences. Till then consumers would have to make their own conscious-health choices.

We sampled some spaces:
Garfish has huge ashtrays in the small 'outdoor area', the smoke is permeating the place.
Ground Zero's outdoor area also has no non-smoking signs, hence all the smoke is entering the small space.
Le Kiosk comes out on top – indoor and outside NO SMOKING good food and toxins do not mix. Also a minimum of petrol fumes *****

Scoozime has many smokers outside and it is blowing in (along with the heavy traffic fumes)

White Water does not offer outdoor tables for nonsmokers, smoke fills the lower part of the restaurant. Traffic fumes add the rest.
The Bower now also has NO SMOKING inside and outdoors. (Update, 240907)

The following areas are supposed to be smoke-free in Manly. I assume that 'alfresco' refers to the leased footpaths and I wonder why they lack no-smoking signs.

  • All harbour and ocean beaches
  • Within 10 metres of all Council owned children’s play areas
  • On and around all Council sporting grounds and playing fields
  • Within 10 metres of all Council properties
  • At all alfresco dining areas on Council land
  • At all Council events.
  • In any leases, licences etc on Council owned and managed land or property.
  • In Council owned parking stations.
  • Within bus shelters.
More on Smoking in Manly

10 August 2007

Dolphins passing by Manly Beach

A minimum of 10 dolphins swam in tight formation along Manly Beach today around 5pm. They seemed to come from Queenscliff, going straight to Shelly Beach breaching occasionally. Not many people seem to notice.

09 August 2007

Lawn Transplants 'that cost the Earth' - Manly style

Transplanting turf on an o.g. basis that requires noisy and polluting watering via two stroke pumps and o.g. petrol intensive mowing is unsustainable.

Council workers, residents and visitors are exposed to the polluting out-fall of these ineffective maintenance machines.

As part of their 'duty of care' council should also disclose to the stakeholders what chemicals are contained in the imported turf transplants (at the beach and in the suburbs).Toddlers and adults roll on it.

The 'Ethical Standards' of Manly Council aim at:

Sustaining the environment - We will act with care and caution towards the environment, protecting the biosphere, its biodiversity, and using its resources sustainably for present and future generations.”

Although, they recommend native grasses, their practices set the example for a mono-culture of petrol and water intensive regime of foreign grasses (lawn), noise, air and soil pollution.

Chemicals in lawns and their health effects
National Toxic Network Australia

Water Quality at the Beach

Elsewheresewage and contaminated runoff from outdated, under-funded treatment systems” is polluting beaches that are increasingly being closed to the public.

“ ...Careless urban sprawl in coastal areas is devouring wetlands and other natural buffers such as dunes and beach grass that would otherwise help filter out dangerous pollution.“

Boat discharges and dog feaces increase the load.
The mash up of water, sewage and toxic industrial waste has a long history of “deceit and collusion”.Local beaches are ranked here for both faecal coliforms and enterococci. Some of the waterborne illnesses like gastroenteritis, dysentery, hepatitis, respiratory ailments etc. probably hit people 'out of the blue'. Toxic waste such as heavy metals etc also show their effects only after some time.
Manly beach mix
Suburbs draining toxins into Manly beach
More on Human Waste on Beach

08 August 2007

Manly Wildlife & Community Activism

Wildlife: 4 whales passed North Head going north in the morning. Terns have arrived weeks ago, bringing the heat. Fruit Bats getting very vocal at night sharing what suburbia has to offer. Figbirds chirping in the White Cedars.

Lack of Habitat: Due to the extreme tree 'lopping' and tree elimination in this tidy town, birds are running out of nesting materials and are resorting to “old wiring, twine and fishing line”. A Magpie build a nest out of this garbage and then entangled itself in the fishing line. (Manly Daily)

Fighting toxic neighbourhoods: In a neighbouring suburb MonaVale, “Pittwater Council (on Sydney's Northern Beaches) has requested that local sterilized medical equipment supplier Unomedical Pty Ltd cease emitting the dangerous chemical ethylene oxide into the atmosphere because of risks to local residents which they have been exposed to for many years.“ People are concerned about the health effects and are meeting and informing on this site: Mona Vale GAS

Motormania Manly style

Inefficient two stroke motors are ubiquitous in Manly (and all over Australia). High-powered and mostly handheld or mobile they are used on land and water 24/7:

People pollution” via "the old 2 cycle motors have been said to cause more pollution in two hours than a car running for an entire year.” These machines are a health hazard and an inefficient way of utilising energy. “Because fuel leaks through the exhaust port each time a new charge of air/fuel is loaded into the combustion chamber, oil pollution is a problem” on the water or the land.

Developing countries tackle two-stroke engines to make them more efficient. In Australia one just wants to 'get things done' – climate and all.

07 August 2007

Australian culture and its refugees

Found this plaque at Circular Quay today. I looked into her reasons why she does not live in (Manly) Australia.

She claimed that: Australia is a sports-obsessed suburban wasteland devoid of cerebral stimulation

"For the vast majority, life in Australia is neither urban nor rural, but suburban. The reality is not Uluru or the Sydney Opera House, but endless, ever-expanding replications of Ramsay Street that spread out as rapidly as oil stains on water, further and further from the tiny central business districts of the state capitals. Each street has a nature strip; each bungalow faces the same way, has a backyard and a front garden, all fenced, low at the front, high at the back. Somewhere nearby there’ll be a shopping centre with fast-food outlets and a supermarket.”

The country side:
"It’s different in the countryside - but nobody lives there except a few squatters and graziers, flitting hordes of British backpackers and some remnant populations of Aborigines.”

The CBD:
"Marooned in oceanic tracts of suburban doldrums, the downtown central business districts don’t expand at all. They still occupy the same tiny nucleus of streets that they did 100 years ago. Indeed, the Sydney commercial district has actually shrunk in the past 40 years.”Reasons for living o.s.:
“The pain of watching its relentless dilapidation by people too relaxed to give a damn is more than I can bear.”

All quotes via The Scotsman

04 August 2007

Powerboat racing in Manly or whales, dolphins and penguins?

Some of the natural assets of Manly are that Sydney Harbour is framed by two National Parks. Aquatic wildlife such as whales, dolphins, penguins and many others often show themselves to residents and visitors there.

These assets are under constant threat to be privatised or destroyed. This time the idea is to race “the world's fastest boats” (220 km/h) from Manly to the Harbour Bridge next March. “Exclusion zones”, or “ f r e e vantage points for spectators” will lock others out of the common ground. The National Park, alienated from its purpose, will have its vegetation massively trampled down.

Manly Mayor Peter Macdonald “ said the combination of an aquatic reserve, an environmentally sensitive area and a fairy penguin habitat “doesn't lend itself to large engines roaring through it''.

Similar events ran aground because of “the possible ecological damage.” “The noise from the engines would not be inconsequential for fish and marine mammals in the harbour'' ... "In fact, it would be quite dangerous for them, especially for marine mammals like dolphins and whales that would be disoriented by it.''

Increasingly less Harbour is visible as private motor boats appropriate it as parking. Fast roaring boats already hurl (mainly?) tourists across the Harbour, which is the habitat of the (often) surface floating Little Penguins. Authorities attempt to combat anti-social-behaviour of motorists in terms of noise and pollution. Injury and death are the hallmark of asphalt OR acquatic racing.

  • Do not turn Sydney Harbour into a (privatised) racing track
  • Do not turn National Parks into free 'show-grounds'
  • Do protect the unique terrestial and aquatic wildlife of Manly
  • Do consider sustainable options.
Via Manly Daily, Chelsea White and John Morecombe, Power struggle,sighted 04Aug07

03 August 2007

Of Toxic Toys, Plastics and the Foodchain

Toys are the objects given to small human beings to learn how to 'kill time' early on. A philosopher once said that the best thing they could do with these non functional replicas is to break them a.s.a.p. With the baby boom, replica prams, stoves, pink fairy dresses (for girls I assume) and tractors, cars and guns (for boys I assume) are emerging everywhere amongst other gadgets.

Most of these toys are produced in Eastern Asia (map) and massively imported by Western countries (map!) In Australia “ the importation of cheap and potentially dangerous toys has increased fivefold since 2000...” (S.M.H.)

Slipping under the authorities' radar” are lead painted toys for babies and toddler to fiddle with. Some have toxic paint, others are simply just plastic to chew on. The adverse health effects of lead and and other chemicals often in plastics reach from physical to mental problems.

Once chucked, the stuff ends up in land-fills and the ocean. Visible on Manly beach as plastics of all colours. “There is 6 times more plastic floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean than zooplankton by weight.” Like a boomerang, all comes back into the food chain and into our bodies.

Watch "Plastic Debris, Rivers to Sea" by the The Algalita Marine Research Foundation which claims that "80% of marine debris is land-based and 90% of floating marine debris is plastics."

02 August 2007

Manly suburbia, then and now - all in pink

This historical video of the 50s is soo(retro) Manly. As if nothing had changed in the 21 st Century, just the proportions. Still in the sprawl-and-mall age, happy families consuming (images) and producing more consumers. 'Stay-home-mums' and 'cafe mums' in a pink world of multiples. Theme-parks provide shopaholics with a break. Nature comes as 'pets', in poodle or pit bull variety. 'Footpath' is still a foreign word in a pedestrian-hostile asphalt & lawn land-scape. Kids are send out with bikes on non-existing bike-paths to challenge the three tonne 4x4s. Lawns and pink pansies command the 'infinite' water resources to frame the sub-urban 'property'.
Watch the insatiable appetite of an ever-growing population outstrip its finite resources.
This video is probably best viewed with the sound off and your local ambient sound on.