4X4 versus Birds

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Araminta
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4X4 versus Birds
Woko
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It's really unfortunate that our society constantly develops devices such as 4WDs, trail bikes, mountain bikes & jet skis which have severe impacts on our environment & its biodiversity. Exacerbating this situation is that the ever-increasing numbers of people who own these devices maintain strong rights to their use & fight tooth & nail to exert their so-called rights. And to make things even worse we have over population so that ever-increasing numbers of these environmentally destructive toys are out there. It's my strong impression that the environmental, on which we all ultimately depend, is usually compromised or completely ignored when these matters are up for negotiation. After all, we cannot afford to lock up the environment, can we?

The idea of treading gently on Earth is quite foreign to so many people. At the risk of repeating myself ad nauseum this attitude will come back to bite us all severely on the bum. In fact, it already is as attested to by the effects of human-induced climate change & over-fishing of the oceans among other recent phenomena.  

Araminta
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Thanks so much Woko, you are expressing my exact thoughts.

I’m not sure how much time there is to save the environment and with it all the species on this planet, including ourselves? All we can do is convince the people around us, our children and grandchildren, to appreciate and respect nature. To me, one of the most important things is to respect children and young people. Something that is missing in today’s daily life, and we are to blame for it. Most people proclaim that young people have no respect, not their fault in my view. We can’t expect anything from the next generation, if we don’t show them what respect is. We have to lead by example.

M-L

Woko
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Respect begets respect, Araminta.

greviousbh
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Woko wrote:

 mountain bikes

I think that ones a furphy... here's why.  I  ride mine all the time, we only have dirt roads all around us, nearest sealed rode is 10km away.  My parter riders hers to work, 10km down said dirt road.  What about hikers on trails in NP's, they disturb animals just as much as mountain bikers do and inevietably do worse damage than a moutain bike Why ? because mountain bikes stick to the trails and hikers often take short cuts (one just has to walk up Mt Warning to see the short cuts everywhere)  I think both activites are damaging, the hikers more so but you skipped the hikers having access to NP's, so I thought I would throw them upon the pile for you :)

Can I ask how you get around ? Do you drive a car somewhere to watch birds ? live in suburbia, flick the light switchs on, and commute in a car ? work in an office ? catch a plane ?

Predicted 40% species loss from just those sorts of activities, as Professor Kevin Anderson alludes to in this superb talk.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Hi greviousbh,

I want to make some remarks. I only want to speak for myself, but am interested in what others think. I , like most of us, have to live in the real world. I do care for the environment, but I know all of us do damage and harm to it. In my view it is almost unavoidable. I try very hard to minimise the impact I inflict, and make an effort to repair some of the damage I and others do.

One example would be that we shifted our business onto our property, so we don’t have to use the car during the week. But in order to earn a living ,my husband has to drive into Melbourne (70km) once or twice a week to pick up or deliver. And no, he can’t carry a hundred books or more on a mountain bike or on a train.

I just had a look around my house, in a few minutes I noticed many of the terrible things we do, most of them are an unavoidable necessity. (like the most harmful item, the computer)

 Although we live in a Mud brick house, generate some of our electricity by solar, don’t use chemicals or poisons of any kind and my husband (although he shouldn’t because of his Arthritis) right this moment is digging up a few non-native plants by hand, to replace them with native plants.

But back to what we do. Yes, we use a Ride on mover to slash the paddocks , yes, we use two Diesel pumps to fight fires should there be any. Yes we use electricity bought off the grid. We heat with bottled gas now, chopping down wood and burning it , is both polluting and using resources. On our property every time we lost a tree, we replanted 10 new ones. But sadly ,like most of us, we buy clothes that are made in third world countries, by exploiting poor people including children. There are countless items in all our houses that are unethical.

To me it’s all about minimising harm and repairing at least some of the damage, and educating the next generation.

M-L

Woko
Woko's picture

I guess my mention of mountain bikes as a damaging factor in the environment struck a raw nerve for you, grievousbh, since you ride one yourself. I note that you ride it on dirt roads in your area & this is to your credit in my opinion.

My concern about mountain bikes is that there are areas of native bushland set aside specifically for their use. Within these areas the erosion caused by mountain bikes is quite horrendous from what I've observed. However, I have no quarrel with people riding mountain bikes on made roads. In fact, I have an old one in my garage awaiting a new gear cable before I unleash it on unsuspecting motorists.

Like you, it grieves me to see the numerous tracks made by hikers & casual walkers in areas of native bushland. I'm confident that there is no need for the proliferation of these tracks. One or two tracks should surely suffice to enable these people to exercise while appreciating the marvellous natural Australian environment. However, as our population increases & the natural environment decreases the natural environment is coming under ever-increasing pressure, especially from those who consider it their right to use their technological toys wherever they see fit.

Ms Woko & I use a car to travel. The alternative would be a horse, perhaps, but I'm concerned about the erosion & weed spread caused by horses so our horse power needs to be of a different form. Our car's carbon dioxide pollution is well & truly offset by the ecological restoration we've been engaged in on our block. And rather than go overseas by plane we've invested our travel money in solar panels. We would have walked but we've already worn out our goody goody shoes.

I appreciate that not everyone is able or wants to do what Ms Woko & I have done but, if we're to protect & restore our natural environment, we all need to think about the actions we can take to tread more lightly on our planet & repair some of the damage we've wrought.

I like your implication that we should turn off the lights. An excellent idea as early to bed & early to rise would make us healthy, wealthy & wise.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get access to Professor Anderson's talk. Perhaps you could post the relevant link.

Besty
Besty's picture

Hi there...Seeing your talking about the enviroment, there has allways been something ive wondered about ... and that is solar pannels ,seeing a few of u have mentioned them...can anyone tell me the carbon footprint of a solar pannel .... ill try to explane what i mean ...if u take one average solar pannel it dont seem like much , times that by say a 1,000,000 sold just  in Australia in the last 12 month .... so now , how many trees were knocked down to get the steel ,copper lead glass and whatever else they use in them o and oil to make any plastics in them ... how much deisel petrol oil water gas and electricity [coal] was used digging them up ... then how much of that same stuff was used in producing the components ..... then how much oil was used in transporting them from overseas , those big ships use alot of fuel and so do trucks ... then finnly the insterlation... so how much power would a solar pannel have to produce to delete its carbon footprint ...... just wondering ....cheers

Woko
Woko's picture

Good questions, Besty, even if they are a little on the rhetorical side. But you highlight the fact that we don't take into account all the costs & benefits involved when we make decisions which affect the environment. Our national accounts need a good overhaul.

If I could add another question to your list: How many people would be employed in Australia now had not successive governments been cavalier in their attitudes towards climate change and sent a number of innovative alternative energy companies overseas for want of support?

Besty
Besty's picture

Yes Woko ,but they will give a car compony 300 million only to see them shut up shop ....I must admit i am a bit of a climate change skeptic and i say that because when i was a kid [51 now] goin to Sydney from the New England ,you couldnt see Newcastle or Sydney cause of smog, and apparently it was worse back in the 20s ,the cars and trucks are a hell of alot clearner now, u can see Sydney and Newcastle and it dosnt stink as much, so why didnt it happen 70 80 years ago ,my thinking is , and ive herd no one say this , that all the smog in the air was shading us from the sun and now that we are cleaning it up, more heat is getting to the earth , so the more heat the less ice the higher the seas ....so whats that equal " climate change" i think the last ice age 10,000 years ago was caused by alot of big volcanos going off at the same time blanketing the earth in dust and smoke .... so yes we might be causing climate change but opposite to what we think , by cleaning up the the air ...... more food for thought ....cheers

Araminta
Araminta's picture

O yes, Australia the “clever country” that sold the Solar Technology to Germany. They manufacture solar panels and we buy them back. We are the great inventors of so many things, but lacking the “vision for the future” and our short sightedness and the non-willingness to invest money in projects like “very fast trains”. Instead our government and people demanding more roads.

I have travelled through Europe many times. The Rail net of very fast trains runs all over Europe, connecting Cities in hours. Just one example, to take a TGV from Montpellier to Paris takes about 4 hours. If you take your car on the Freeway, where you can go at 170 km, it still takes double the time. Same in Germany, I always took their fast trains to go Cologne –Frankfurt, straight into the underground of the Airport, also checking in for your flight on the train (how clever is that?) Driving a car down the Autobahn takes at least double that time, not even talking about parking. Most people do not bother taking their cars. Those trains are super luxurious, whisper quiet and faaaast, just gliding through the landscape.

While you quietly glide along, you will pass enormous field of Wind turbines all the way up to the Holland, when you reach the North Sea , you will notice them standing in the water off the coast. Also generating power by using waves. Many of my friends in Germany now have built houses using the heat in the ground under their houses to keep the temperature inside at 18* all year round. Whole areas are heated like that, mind you, you will not find many (if any?) houses that don’t have double glazed windows either. None of this has to be invented, the technology is available now.

 Now, where are we? Our Government is still putting in more roads. Do you call that a plan for the future?

I call it “lack of vision” As for all the other “why” questions. Everything is determined by “money and greed”,is the  very simple answer.

M-L

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

I have found this discussion interesting. I am not in favour of letting 4x4's on beaches. I once went to a couple of meetings of a 4x4 drive club and found that the members were really only interested in their vehicles and testing their driving skills in the bush, rather than using the vehicles as a means of enjoying nature. And I feel sorry for the birds that are disposessed from the shoreline where they feed and nest. Some birds fly all the way from Siberia. They deserve some peace. Just south of the Daintree River there is a strip of beach that is a haven for many birds. There are "strict" environmental controls over the beach which prevent locals, including the caravan park, from cleaning the beach of wood debris or recontouring the sand to allow egress of coastal flood water. But there is no policing of the ratbags who use the beach as a drag strip for dirt bikes, many of whom are kids deliberately brought there by their parents.

Maybe I am wrong, but I don't put hikers in the same damage category as 4x4's and dirt bikes, although I can imagine they have their effect on the bushland, particularly careless ones.

I think Araminta sums it up well; we all do damage but we should try to tread as carefully as possible, take positive steps to enhance the environment and educate others to do the same. Educating others is no easy task. As Woko says, 4x4 clubs fight tooth and nail for their right not to have to worry about the environment. Those who do worry just have to fight harder.

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