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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rock Lilies, and Lily Rocks

After a day with the Southern Coalfields Inquiry hearings, today, at the Camden Civic Centre, I have come to Sydney with Kim, for an overnight stay, before going back for more, tomorrow. Kim and Peter have gone out to dinner, and I am working on their computer (wow, Broadband is sooo good!)

The hearing was very good, with some powerful presentations of how the rivers of the Woronora Plateau have been abused, and in fact killed. Speaker after speaker said the Upper Nepean River, the Cataract River and the Waratah Rivulet are DEAD.

See for yourself.

Iron Oxide sludge forms a poisonous,
de-oxygenated algal bloom over what was once a healthy river.

The Panel appeared to take this evidence seriously (and so they should). The photos and videos showed by representatives of Rivers SOS, the Nepean Action Group, and the Macarthur Branch of the National Parks Association spoke powerfully of polluted rivers and pools. And as for the Waratah Rivulet, a 2km stretch of the river was as dry as the pavement of George Street, Sydney.

No home for Platypuses here - not any more! Thanks to Peabody Mining.
Oh, did I mention that this ought be fresh drinking water?
Instead it looks like a crack in the pavement.
Nope, it is the dry bed of the Waratah Rivulet, inside the
Sydney Catchment Authority's "Special Areas" .

Those cracks caused by subsidence, caused by coal mining. Yet the SCA's Special Areas website states that the function of the Special Areas is to protect the water quality. How exactly, is that plan working, when mining companies can kill the rivers, as evidenced above?

For my own part, I spoke of the recent evidence (mentioned on this Blog a few days ago) that Orchids have been around on the planet for some 80 Million years (and other plants for probably 300 million years), and asked - what right does anyone have to put these plants and organisms at risk of extinction, for 20 years of profit?

I also mentioned that in some cases we are dealing with endangered species and Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) which are protected under Federal Environment Law (the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act). I even vowed to hold the members of the Panel accountable of they fail in their responsibility to protect these endangered species and EECs. Seeking to soften my comment slightly, I then pointed out to the Panel that it is not that I do not have faith in their good offices, but rather that they are the last 5 people on the planet with the power, at State Government level, to do anything about this preposterous position.

Many of the speakers also made the point that not only is coal mining bad for the local environment, it is also a major contributer to Global Warming, and Climate Change, which threaten the future of life on this planet, or at the very least the future of life, as we mere humans currently know, and enjoy it.

Anyway, after a fairly intense day with the Panel, I was happy to accept Kim's offer of accommodation over night.
Here are some photos of a Rock Lily (Rock Orchid is a truer name) (Dendrobium speciosum) which Kim says was at the front door of their house back in the 1920s, so it is an 80 year old Orchid. But we now know it has a tradition, a genetic inheritance, going back 80 million years. Just think, Kim was proud of it being 80 years old, without thinking of it being a million times older than that!And here is the lovely Lily, the much loved Black Labrador, who is snoring gently in her bag behind me, as I type this. She is a lovely dog.
Lily rocks, alongside the Rock Lily.

3 comments:

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hello Denis,

I admire the persistence and work that you and your friends and townsfolk are giving to this, and other, very worthwhile environmental protection project. These big companies that have no other interest than to make money at the expense of the environment and future of the Earth should be made accountable.

Well done.

Regards
Gaye

David Young said...

Hi Denis,

Thank you again for the work you do in making the issues of environmental damage public, and the many hours of work you do that is not seen - helping to bring about positive change. It is only through the tireless efforts of people, such as yourself, that any real change is made. My hat is off to you.

David

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks to you both, David and Gaye.
I was interviewed on the ABC Illawarra this morning, and that appears to have been well received, from a few comments I received tonight, at the CTC.
The hearings made it to the front page of the Illawarra Mercury this morning, which is why the ABC was interested. But for a cause like this, all publicity is good.

The damage to the rivers is appalling. Its in the same league as the sorts of reports we all heard about East Germany, back in the pre-reunification days. It makes one so angry to see what is going on.

Thanks for your support.

Denis