Hunting in the NSW national parks

Sami and her new bow

Children may one day be licensed to own guns and bows for hunting in NSW.
Source: Flickr – Jenixlt ©

An approved deal struck between the State Government and the Shooters and Fishers Party  last year allows the hunting of feral animals in 79 NSW national parks commencing in March this year.

However, Game Council chairman John Mumford has requested that the government consider loosening the rules to allow children as young as 12 to hunt as well, with guns and bows and arrows.

Mumford proposed that children are to go through the same strict approval process adults go through when attaining shooting licenses.

This culling program has been met with outage from the Australian Workers Union and high level national park people.

Reference

ABC News, 2013. Call to let children hunt in NSW national parks. From http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-18/call-to-let-children-hunt-in-nsw-national-parks/4524640?section=nsw

Ecosystem well-‘bee’ing under threat

Bee close-up in yellow

Endangered species
Source: Flickr – Spangles44 Blinkagain Interesting join us!

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been explained as the collective decrease of bee species and colonies. Millions of bee colonies a year are simply flying off, never to return to their hives, abandoning and leaving their queens to die (Schiffman, 2012).

It should be noted that “this is the biggest general threat to the food supply,” according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program (Schiffman, 2012).

Albert Einstein (Watson, 2007) has also quoted that “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

It is evident then that saving the bees should be a priority for maintaining the ecosystem and humanity. The factors causing this issue must be addressed, some of these are:

  • Commercial breeding techniques and the resulting decline in bee genetic bio-diversity causing species collapses.
  • Monoculture agriculture, land development and habitat destruction affecting the ecosystem.
  • Toxins or chemicals sprayed on plants known as neonicotinoids and coumaphos reduces mites and other pathogens.
  • GM plants that contains insecticides in their genetic structure.

Scientists, bee keepers, environmentalists and news media give their account of this phenomenon based on their research, observations and evidence.

Pesticides produced by German chemical manufacturer Bayer known as neonicotinoids or ‘neonics’ for short have been used on over 142 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton seeds as well as being a common ingredient in home gardening products (Schiffman, 2012). Neonics absorbed by the plants contaminate the pollen and nectar which poison the bees’ and disrupt their nervous system and ability to navigate back to the hive. Symptoms include tremors, uncoordinated movement, convulsions, communication, learning and memory loss Another pesticide called coumaphos, used to treat mites, is increasing the bees’ chemical and toxin exposure and significantly worsening the impact of CCD (Schiffman, 2012; Ullrich, 2013).

Bio-tech company Monsanto is possibly another contributor to this issue of bee CCD and the loss of other insects. Their GMO corn is said to cause severe organ damage and other significant health concerns (Gucciardi, 2012; Schiffman, 2012), however studies of the correlations between Monsanto’s GM crops with CCD are well hidden from the mainstream sources. Additionally in 2011, Monsanto purchased ‘Beelogics’, a leading bee research firm recognised by the USDA, media and leading entomologists has stated on their website their primary goal is controlling bee CCD and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) infection crisis and “become the guardian of bee health worldwide (Gucciardi, 2012). This gives them free reign to publish biased research to approve Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed varieties.

Commercial breeding techniques involve artificially inseminating the queen bee to boost productivity of the specific species, but this human intervention decreases the bees’ genetic diversity. These bees have mostly replaced wild pollinators in agricultural areas, and due to the nature of these overcrowded commercial colonies, they are susceptible to mites and other pathogens, which must be controlled by dusting with coumaphos. Also, high-fructose corn syrup is used to feed these commercial bee colonies instead of their own nutrient-rich honey (Schiffman, 2012).

Monoculture agriculture, urbanisation and land development rob the pollinators of a natural and diverse habitat and food sources. From the few surviving bees, evidence shows that insecticides in GMO crops are causing collapsed immune system and were found to have all known viruses. The weakened intestine allows parasite infestation in the bees and the growth of fungi in the hives (Watson, 2007; Schiffman, 2012).

Other factors not studied in this article are the effects of mobile phones frequencies interfering with the bees’ communication and navigation ability, and the effect of airborne chemicals known as chemical trails.

References

Gucciadi, A. 2012, 23 rd April. Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm. Accessed on 2nd February 2013 from http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/11094-blamed-for-bee-collapse-monsanto-buys-leading-bee-research-firm

Schiffman, R. 2012, 9th April. Mystery of the disappearing bees: Solved!. Reuters. Accessed on 2nd February 2013 from http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/04/09/mystery-of-the-disappearing-bees-solved/

Ullrich, C. 2013, 13th February. Are Honeybees Losing Their Way?. Accessed on 2nd February 2013 from http://news.nationalgeographic.com.au/news/2013/13/130213-honeybee-pesticide-insect-behavior-science/

Watson, P.J. 2007, April, 10th. Ecological Apocalypse: Why Are All The Bees Dying?. Accessed on 2nd February 2013 from http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2007/100407beesdying.htm

Australians travelling the road less travelled

French Polynesian Hut

French Polynesia (including Tahiti) had the 3rd biggest increase of Australian travellers with 26 per cent. Source: http://www.andrewcroucher.com

A record of 8.2 million international trips made last year going up 5% from 2011 the Australian bureau of statistics reports.

The most visited places are New Zealand, Indonesia (Bali) and the United States, with the biggest growth in trips to Japan, Nepal and French Polynesia (Tahiti).

These are signs that the once conservative domestic travellers are now more confident and experienced globetrotters willing to visit lesser-known places.

”They are looking for adventure and a different experience so that’s why you’re seeing places like the Cook Islands, Nepal and Mexico becoming more popular.” says Flight Centre’s Colin Bowman.

References

Saurine, A. & Cornish, L. 2013. Aussie travellers seeking new directions. The Australian. Accessed on 2nd February 2013 from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/travel/news/australian-travellers-increasingly-choosing-off-the-beaten-track-holidays/story-e6frg8ro-1226571970761

Philosophies of Cloud Atlas

The broad philosophical topics in Cloud Atlas create an interesting experience that will entice the audience to watch or read it over and over to understand a little more each time. It’s great to analyse and one of my favourites!

Some topics (to my limited knowledge) are:

  • Inter-dependence and social contract theories (perhaps Thomas Hobbes’s “Leviathon”) from quote: “Our lives are not our own, we are bound to others, past and present and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future”.
  • Slavery
  • Ethics: Treating others of a different background
  • Re-incarnation

View more details from the links below.

 

This article is great for further reading on the story and philosophy

Cloud Atlas Quotes

Banned performance enhancing drugs in Australian football

After a year of investigation, the Australian Crime Commission [ACC] has reported “widespread” doping in professional and amateur athletes from Australia.

Multiple NRL clubs and 2 AFL clubs are suspected and will have to consult with the ACC and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority [ASADA] over the coming months.

Spokesperson of the report, federal  Justice Minister Jason Clare, stated “we’ve given the names of the clubs to both the NRL and AFL” and “it will be up to the clubs to put their hand up and say ‘yes, we are one of those clubs that are affected by the investigation’.”

 

References
Ransom, I. 2013. Australian football, rugby league clubs under drugs cloud. Reuters. Accessed on 11th February 2013 from http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/10/us-doping-australia-idUSBRE91902A20130210

ASIO invades your privacy

ASIO – Australia’s spy agency are awaiting approval for their plans to monitor suspected terrorist targets which require the utilization of commercial and criminal tactics.

The deployments of viruses or malwares to popular websites are to be uploaded to devices of suspects and innocent viewers to give the agency the ability to access the suspects directly, or through the innocent viewer’s computer devices.

Citizens are potentially third party conduits used to help ASIO monitor suspected targets, and pursue other security interests.

“They’re treating everyone like a terrorists as these infections ultimately allow back-door access” says a resident IT expert.

References

Bita, N. 2013. ASIO wants to hack you. Sunday Telegraph. p.3

Backlash for the Sutherland Woronora Cemetery bushland extension proposal

Woronora Cemetery has applied for an extension of 13 hectares into the Prince Edward park and is awaiting approval from the Sutherland Shire council and the community.

Feasibility studies currently conducted by the council, however in a local meeting, 23 of the 700 Woronora Valley residents had opposed the original plan for the extension into the bushland park.

Objections from the Resident Association’s mentioned that the land is an “unusual strip of ridge-top bushland ranging from dry forest to hanging swamp in a high-use fauna and birdlife corridor” and such development will disturb these species.

References

The Leader, 2013, January 3rd, Bushland under pressure, p.2