Dairying

The news is full of the problems caused by a few farmers who do not recognise the value of protecting the environment – for their community, the health of their stock and for their profits. 

Although effluent management is improving, you have to ask why it has taken decades to recognise the problems caused when effluent is allowed to flow into freshwater, whether from dairy sheds and drains or direct from the cows.  Yet a few old school farmers still treat flowing waterways as effluent ditches and allow their stock to stand, crap in and drink from polluted creeks. 

Imagine this: a tourist from a more enlightened country, visiting because of the 100% pure and clean green image NZ still manages to portray, participates in an ecotourism wildlife trip.  As they journey down the waterway, they pass dairy cows standing in and crapping in the creek.  Not a good look.  Those tourists are also likely to expect our treatment of stock to be to a high standard.  But they might be shocked to see stock huddled together up against a fence with no where else to go, bums to a cold and wet southerly, with no where to shelter. 

Looking after our freshwater and our animals to a high standard is long overdue.

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Proposed open cast coal mine on the Denniston plateau

A campaign is picking up to oppose this huge mine in a very special area of ecological values and natural beauty on public conservation land.  This precious area does not have the protection afforded to National Parks, so the Crown Minerals Act effectively trumps the Conservation Act.  Is that what the people of New Zealand want and expect? 

A huge coal mine that will destroy vast tracts of rare sandstone erosion pavement along with the rare native wildlife that depends on it, as well as significant archaeological features? 

And there remains the question mark over any further use of coal, let alone the opening up of new mines.  The advice from those who know is that the only chance for the planet to step back from the brink of irreversible climate change is to stop burning coal. 

But here, in clean green 100% pure New Zealand, landscape and habitat destruction and contribution to climate change appear to go hand in hand.

What can you do?  You can write to the Minister of Conservation and tell her what you think.

Have a look at the Forest & Bird website for more information: http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/branches/west-coast.

Marine Ecology

How important is it to choose the fish you eat?  Or perhaps should we stop eating fish while the ocean ecosystems recover?  I hope to find out as I embark upon a short course of study – Marine Ecology – with the Southern Institute of Technology.  

With my trusty feline companion beside me, we will go on a voyage of discovery and I want to share what I find out. 

Should we be avoiding all tuna as Greenpeace advocates?  Or is skipjack tuna OK as Forest & Bird suggest in their handy Best Fish Guide?  http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/-best-fish-guide

Is there hope that our oceans will provide food and livelihoods for future generations? 

Have we saturated the oceans with carbon dioxide and destroyed the natural balance?  Have we discarded too much plastic that is now in our seas?  What do these issues mean for us, marine life and the planet?

Too many questions! 

I hope to have a better understanding of the issues as well as a more personal blog site soon!