Friday, 21 October 2011

Food for Thought

Brown Falcon
Hovering at Felton, Queensland, August 18, 2011

It seems that after centuries of gathering knowledge, we have decided to cut the planet into pieces and sell it.

When I was a school student I was ‘educated’ that the Darling Downs region west of Toowoomba was one of the most important agricultural regions in Australia. Nowdays however, farmers and communities are being removed for coal and gas mining. You can see signs of the battle in some farming areas, such as Felton south-west of Toowoomba (Queensland, Australia).

The Australian governments have a savage hunger to get money for Australian dirt.

I guess it's already more than 15 years ago now that I went to a talk about Australian forests. By then we'd cleared 90% of the forests in NSW. It was then claimed by the government that only 10% of the forests were being logged. What they didn't say is that they were logging 10% of the remaining 10% of forests. Interestingly most of the cleared land had become farmland.

I don’t know if the mining boom is related to the massive spending on the infrastructure of the state’s capital, Brisbane. It seems every time I have to visit things have been redeveloped. When I was there in August they opened a new billion dollar bus terminal that cuts 10 minutes off travel time to the local University. I guess that's the one the Queensland lawmakers come from.

A bit off the track, I want A brief WHINGE ABOUT BRISBANE: In 2009 after we travelled from Cairns to Brisbane by train we rented a car (in Brisbane), drove around south-east Queensland before eventually heading across the Gateway Bridge to get to Brisbane airport. It had been years since I crossed the bridge and I was delighted to find that the toll gates had been removed. Anyway once we crossed it we forgot about it, dropped off our rented car and flew to back to Cairns and on to Tokyo. Two months later we got a letter from the car rental company to tell us that our credit card had been docked thirty odd dollars due to our failure to pay for the bridges toll. Somehow we were supposed to know beforehand to call a phone number and pay via credit card for crossing the bridge. Outraged I researched the matter over the internet, tried to make calls from Japan and sent e-mails to several Brisbane City Council offices and received zip in response. Eventually I complained to the Brisbane car rental office that they should advise visitors to Brisbane of such a toll system. Even though they had taken our money and I was using my name in the e-mail, they needed my customer ID number to respond. I then had to ask my wife as she’s the one who manages such paper work and she told me to just forget about it.

My Japanese is terrible but I’ve never had such troubles in Tokyo (An urban area ten times bigger).

Brisbane must make buckets from unsuspecting visitors. I guess they just don’t think there are any overseas or bush visitors. 

There are no direct flights between Brisbane and Tokyo.

Spotted Harrier
Between Toowoomba and Wyreema
August 18, 2011

Black Falcon (above and below)
A few minutes after the harrier at Wyreema
August 18, 2011
....appears to have caught something.  I kind of find these often enough but I'm never quick enough or it's too cloudy to get good shots.

Australian Kestrel
Between Felton and Greenmount
August 18, 2011
and another below in the same area.

Brown Falcon
Almost at Greenmount
August 18, 2011

It was an Australian Prime Minister who said "Australia is the arse end of the world". 
Australia's biggest weakness has been its leaders. They just never had any respect for it.
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