Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Would you lock the gate if they came for your town?

Here's a u-tube video from the town of Acland that didn't manage to lock the gates in time .... I wrote "up the road from where I live" about that story.

This poignant video shows Acland on Anzac Day this year... the town no longer operational. If thats not sobering... bear a thought for the great many towns in this region and beyond facing the same demise! And the land, farms and natural habitat, the water tables and riverways.

 I'm going up the road soon for this exhibition of Nicki Law's textile art. She's been told her farm is at risk... and so it is a very close to home story for her. In 2011 being a guardian for biodiversity has become extremely personal for many... people who were once at loggerheads are now joining forces as the fight grows louder between those wanting guardianship on land and water use and Govt allocations to Big Industry.

Nicki's exhibition runs five weeks... so if you live in the region please google for more info... I'll find links and pop back when I can!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

a new book from the botanical alchemist...

I was putting together a post on textiles at my other blog and of course had to include something from  the fabulously clever Botanical alchemist India Flint (from South Australia)  .... so popped over to her wonderful blog and found something definitely share-worthy to tell you about!

INdia Flint - Eco colour

Read this post from the fabulous India on her writing and books: felt like telling stories at her excellent blog Not all those who wander are lost .

I cant wait to see India's second book...

SECOND SKIN by India Flint -click on title 

Almost from the moment of our birth, clothing acts as our second skin, yet we rarely consider where our clothes have come from and the effects they might have on the environment and ourselves. This heartfelt, practical and topical book is about easily achievable ways in which we can care for our planet by living simpler lives and using fewer resources, specifically those to do with cloth and clothing. Beautifully photographed and illustrated by the author, it presents information and inspiration on selecting, acquiring, wearing, caring for, making and repurposing textiles and clothing.
I think you'd best go see India's blog to find out if the book is in the stores quite yet... or very soon.

Cant wait to see this book.. know it will be fabulous!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Source

When visiting Sharmon Davidson's blog "True adventures of an art addict" the other day I noticed an earlier post from April 19th that intrigued me. I wrote to Sharmon seeking permission to reblog this post in its entirety ... which she kindly gave.
Homage to the Seed intentionly covers a broad spectrum of matters pertaining to seeds - from Science to the cultural/political to the  poetic interpretation .... and this art work had a fine symbolic quality to it which is akin to the way in which ideas around seeds, life cycles, growth long worked on my thinking. So here is the post in her own words and images. Thank you Sharmon!

The Source

"What's up with all the round things?"  This question was put to me some years ago by a guest critic in one of my classes at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  I think he (whose name I don't remember) was an art professor at the University of Cincinnati, and of course he didn't exactly say, "What's up...".  But he noticed that my work was full of 'round things', and advised me to consider what they symbolized.  Because they obviously did have a personal meaning for me, a meaning I couldn't articulate, floating just below the surface of my consciousness.

Kalachakra Matrix

It took a while.  In fact, I forgot about his question entirely.  Until one day, years later, while taking a bit of an inventory of my work (like the piece above),  it just hit me out of the blue.  Seeds!  Yes, that was it- what it all grew from, what it all came back to.

 Secret Garden

Of course, this is only one layer of meaning, and there are many others closely intertwined.  But that was the foundation, the inception of the idea- the source.

 Seed Mandala 10

 Seed Mandala 23

 Seed Mandala 16

 Well, there are many, many more examples, but for now I'll show you the one I just completed.

 Where the Seed Goes
 Ingredients:  monotype fragments, silk tissue, acetate, acrylic ink, Caran D'Ache crayons, cheesecloth, watercolor pencils.
11.5" x 9.5"

Thank you again Sharmon!

Also I wanted to say I've had many wonderful visitors read the previous post I did on the story "up the road from where I live" ... a story on how Mining is shaking up long-established farming traditions. I will tell more in a couple of weeks... my friend up there was totally amazed at some  feedback she got after we sent around her organisation's newsletter.

Its not always about money ... there is much to be said for making voices heard and giving moral support to those working for an important cause. 

Also I have some interesting communications on the issue of herbs as medicine to add very soon. Happily I managed to freshen up my website last night... it was looking rather neglected! Camera problems have also interferred with putting up images of my recent paintings... I'm sure I 'll get there soon!
bye for now,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Up the road from where I live...

   Up the road from where I live

are farms like this...

I live at Brisbane... Toowomba - due west- is the centre of the Darling Downs region

I mean up the highway actually!

I live in the city
 and its an hour 
or more due west 
to go see this kind of view.

Quite a lot of our weekly 
food supplies
travel down that road 
and into our city stores.

One day some people from those farms came to the city.
They had a problem on their hands and wondered if anyone
was listening ... especially us in the city!

they felt that as they were growing our food
 we might want to hear what was happening
 to the land where they farmed.

 protest meetings

blasting at Acland Mine
New Acland Mine flooded in January

All these images
 with stories attached
 come from this site set up by 
community members of 
Felton on the Darling Downs. 

There are some wonderful people I got to know last year whilst at the Botanic Gardens who live up in the Darling Downs in areas dealing with harsh issues re land use. In their front and back yards, in their towns and surrounding areas the land that has been long been hailed as "the food bowl of Australia" is being signed over to mining interests.
And the longer we stall on viable alternatives to Coal and Gas the longer this issue over Energy will continue. 

One friend lives nearby the community of Acland, a township abandoned for a coal mine. The Local Towoomba newspaper The Chronicle  printed this brief tribute below on Anzac Day this year:

Record turnout for Acland service

THE Darling Downs township of Acland, now abandoned for a coal mine with the exception of one loyal resident who has refused to sell, had a record turnout for its annual Anzac Day commemoration today.
About 300 former residents and friends showed up for the ceremony at the local Anzac monument and park.
"The Queensland Greens were proud to participate again in this moving country ceremony," Queensland Greens spokesperson Libby Connors said after the service.
"Everyone’s emotions were heightened by an awareness that it could be the last service in the township as the park and memorial are threatened with demolition if New Hope Coal’s stage 3 mine expansion plans are approved."
Dr Connors said she believed support for the service had increased as more residents on the Darling Downs became aware of the threat that coal and coal seam gas posed to rural communities even those on prime agricultural lands.
"All the talk over smoko afterwards revolved around the issue of strategic cropping lands, their lack of legislative protection and the haste with which new coal mines were approved.
"With mines planned to the north, south, east and west of Acland, all the sad pride in past defence of country left many feeling anxious about protection of their homelands into the future."

So ... this afternoon ... when my friend wrote from her land near Acland I was saddened ... but more than that ... troubled to read the implications of her network's letter. 

Here is the letter that came with her email:

"Fellow Queenslanders, we desperately need your help.

Please circulate this to everyone you know – this has come from prominent Environmental Activists who know how to find where the permits have been granted.

You should be aware – and deeply concerned - that these stories are NOT being reported in the Queensland media – and Regional Councils like Toowoomba are not even telling their residents.

Mining of this magnitude will destroy our great state of Queensland as we know it – all to save two broken and busted Governments.

In 20 years we will be a slag heap, our waters will be polluted, our Artesian Basin sucked dry – and we will have nothing left to feed our people.

Please LOCK THE GATE and prepare to stand up and fight – our farmland and our way of life is worth it.

LOCK THE GATE campaign
Virtually the entire Darling Downs is now covered by coal permits of one form or another.
The South Burnett will be next, as well as the Brisbane Valley.

  • Ambre Energy has a mining lease application over 2000 ha of Felton Valley, as well as around 70,000 ha under exploration permits all the way from Toowoomba to Warwick.

  • Newmont has a mineral development license over 13000 ha south of Felton.

  • Acland (New Hope mine) is currently in Stage One which covers 2,2000 ha. By Stage Three – with the Environmental Impact Study now awaiting rubber-stamp approval – it will include an additional 5,400 ha, giving the mine a total area of 7,400 ha. New Hope Coal owns all the farmland almost to Oakey showground, and east out to Goombungee.

  • Other mining leases in the East Acland area amount to an area around 40 sq km.
·         Haystack Plain: 13,000 ha of iconic Darling Downs farmland. Tarong Energy – which is wholly owned by the Queensland Government – owns the Mineral Development Licence for the coal deposit under the Haystack Plain.
Tarong Energy representatives have stated that they have more than enough coal to service the Tarong Power Station for its entire operating life (25years+) without using the Haystack coal deposit.
They are, however, now reviewing the asset with the intention to sell the Mineral Development Licence to another company. The Haystack coal deposit is export quality coal and is likely to be exported.’
  • There are exploration leases or applications for leases over the entire towns of Warwick, Highfields, Meringandan, Gowrie, Kingsthorpe, Pittsworth, Oakey, Gowrie Mountain, Hodgson Vale and Cabarlah.

  • There are also applications for bauxite mines near Crows Nest and nearby Geham.

  • There are bauxite exploration permits for 7,000sq kms of Qld, focused around Kingaroy and Pittsworth in particular.

  • There is a permit granted for a coal mine in the Brisbane Valley only 5 kms upstream from Somerset Dam –Brisbane’s major water catchment area.

  • The Qld State Government, the Toowoomba Regional Shire Council and a local developer are currently forcing throughthe biggest noxious and dangerous toxic industrial estate ever seen in regional Australia on the famous old grain and thoroughbred farm Wellcamp Downs – only ten minutes from the centre of the city.

  • At 600ha, it is double the size of the heavy industrial area for the entire city of Brisbane. The site – a famous grain farm – is an old koala habitat crossed by a creek that flows into the Murray-Darling. When the south-westerly winds blow in winter, noxious fumes will settle on the roofs of Toowoomba – and straight into rainwater tanks.

  • Despite the fact that Toowoomba is a Garden City with an economy based on farming, tourism, education and retirees, there have been no environmental studies on the site or buffering to protect nearby farms. One of Australia’s leading Urban Planners has described the proposal as ‘simply unbelievable - a blight on the landscape”.

  • There are now exploration leases or applications for leases over almost every major grain farm, thoroughbred farm and beef farm on the Darling Downs."

I know many reading this will think of a similar situation somewhere close to your home... you may be pondering as I do... thinking its not one fight, one issue... but many.
Im posting this story here at Homage to the Seed as a reminder of the habitat loss that that image of the Koala symbolises. Loss of fauna and flora... loss of intact habitats as well as farming lands. Threats to water supplies and so much more.

Of course we need energy ...  but eco-solutions will not be found if we allow things to continue as usual. Pressure on Govts leads to different goals and undertakings... no pressure... no change ... no change... well you know the rest.

 If you live in this region, or wish to help ... please reblog, retweet, add to facebook or email this to a friend today!!!
Or perhaps you could share your story with us!

Save a species

These wonderful images, and many more, come from Black Diamond Images :
           This set is Seeds/Fruit of the Australian Rainforest

Cut seed of Micromelum minutum - Cluster Berry, Lime Berry
Syzygium moorei -  Coolamon, Durobby
Rhysotoechia robertsonii - Robertson's Tuckeroo - Capsule showing mature black seed taken under dissecting microscope
Persoonia amaliae - Amalie's Geebung - seedling
Mallotus philippensis - Red Kamala - capsules as viewed by dissecting microscope
Wollemia nobilis - Wollemi Pine
Elaeocarpus grandis - Blue Quandong, Blue Fig
Ficus leptoclada - Atherton Fig
Ficus leptoclada - Atherton Fig
Ficus leptoclada - Atherton Fig
Electron Microscope Image - Clausena smyrelliana - Smyrell's Clausena
Light Microscope Image - Cut seed of Persoonia adenantha - Coastal Geebung
Alpinia caerulea - Native Ginger
see more images here  
Mackinlaya macrosciadia - Mackinlaya
Mackinlaya macrosciadia - Mackinlaya

Do yourself a favour and go see the wonderful sets of images at the sites above or here at Black Diamond images - Zenfolio.


Black Diamond Images

Castanospermum australe - Black Bean, Morton Bay Chestnut

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT  All Rights Reserved.  Contact -bdimages(at)wc.net.au

Family : Fabaceae    The seeds should be regarded as poisonous and not eaten as there are numerous well documented cases of poisoning. Aborigines have been reported as eating the seeds but only after careful preparation involving leaching in water and roasting. Everist (1974). More info here.
A great collections page is here at Australian Rainforest Plants, Trees and Funghi.

The wonderful people at Wild Mob whom I wrote about in last week's post: sent me this link to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney website today where there are some excellent plant science programs in place.  Thanks Randall!

Having spent a large part of my life living in NSW I've some familiarity with species from that State. That said ... the northern NSW coastal area where I grew up is sub-tropical and somewhat similar to the south-east Qld region where I am now. Borders dont count for much in one sense... in other ways they do.
Last year, based at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, I was interested to discover that during World War II the Qld State Govt's funding pressures were such that they handed over the running of the Gardens to the City Council... an unusual arrangement for such a large institution. An obvious resulting challenge is the Gardens have not exactly been the funding priority of State Govt in the way they might have been. Where the Herbarium is State Govt run and located on the grounds of Mt Coot-tha alongside the Garden's Administration buildings ... its a completely separate entity.  Facilities and programs a Govt might undertake differ to those a Council will determine necessary nor have the capacity to fund. The Qld Seeds for Life project and Seed Lab would be an obvious area that could benefit greatly from  Government involvement...  especially as the collections come from across Queensland and are shared between the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK and the Qld Seed bank.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is where I will focus this post. It appears to be an excellent facility on many levels... not the least of which is the extensively well-developed programs for Plant Science - if you click on the categories listed above under the Science heading you can read more on what is taking place there.

This is a lively and important campaign from the RBG in Sydney:
Save a Species

Telopea-speciosissima©Anne GeddesPycnosorus-globosus©Anne GeddesActinotus-helianthi©Anne Geddes

It is estimated that worldwide up to 50% of plant species face extinction.

That's a significant threat to our planet. Every plant performs vital functions that make life on 
earth possible. 

How you can help

Donations will help us to protect an endangered plant species. By joining the Save a Species 
campaign today, you will help us protect our planet.
Get sponsored for a challenge or activity and raise funds with friends and family or donate now 
and give a gift to someone special.
However you decide to get involved, you will be helping to preserve plants and the important 
roles they perform.

How does it work?

Save a Species is supporting the NSW Seedbank - an amazing way of storing seeds and plant
 DNA to prevent the loss of plant species from ecological habitats.
The NSW Seedbank is part of the Millennium Seed Bank project described by Sir 
David Attenborough as 'perhaps the most important conservation initiative ever.'
Through this network the NSW Seedbank has helped bank 10% of the world's plant species and 
is committed to reaching 25% by 2020.
Our Seedbank is targeting plants most at risk from climate change and human activities to 
ensure the powerful blueprints contained in plant DNA aren't lost forever.
Eremophila maculata©Anne Geddes
Eremophila maculata, Spotted Emu Bush
       Acacia salicina©Anne Geddes        
    Acacia salicina, Native Willow 

The Royal Botanic Gardens,  Domain Trust would like to thank the Geddes Group for their 
support of the NSW Seedbank and the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation. Anne Geddes' latest 
book is Beginnings - an exploration of new life.
Images: Anne Geddes

To read more about one of the conservation adventure programs from Wild Mob click here and see what they invite you to join in with! Image below is a group who have volunteered with Wild Mob...
invasive weed removal on Brampton Island

snorkelling along Brampton island's reefs

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