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1.           This is how City of Sydney Council regards their street trees (my emphasis)

Banksia

Street trees are one of the City of Sydney’s most important assets. They make our city beautiful, improve air quality & provide cooling shade. The number of trees lining our streets has increased by 4,500 over the last five years, reaching 29,000.” They are currently reviewing their  Street Tree Master Plan & feedback is being asked of the community.  City of Sydney Council are working with the Australian Museum to develop an Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan that will be completed mid 2011. The project aims to conserve indigenous plant & animal species & to improve their habitats. “This important project recognises that biodiversity is a crucial part of the environmental, social & cultural health of a city.” http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/oldtime-residents-cast-eyes-over-a-changing-city-20101221-194gj.html

2.           Not trees, but very local. Last December, thousands of dead fish were found floating in a pond at Sydney Airport. The pond is fed by water from the Alexandra Canal & the Cooks River. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/dead-fish-clog-lake-at-airport-20101218-191ba.html

3.           Australian National University plans to cut down 33 native trees for a new a new public policy centre & car park. “More than 20 of the trees are yellow box, long-leaved box and Blakely’s red gum, all protected as critically endangered grassy box woodland remnants under federal environmental laws.” http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/green-group-anger-over-anu-move/2036974.aspx

4.           5 Weeping Lilly Pillies have been planted in King George Square Brisbane

Cone & branch

after a  public outcry over a lack of shade. The community continues to be sceptical about the benefit of 5 trees saying there needs to be more shade trees & reminding that the trees will take years to grow to any decent size where they are capable of producing shade.  “At the time tests revealed temperatures hit 56.3C in shadeless parts of the square in summer.” I predict we will see more of this.  The Sydney newspapers reported loudly about people waiting for 12 hours in the blazing sun at the Opera House Forecourt to have a good viewing place for the New Year’s Eve fireworks.  http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/king-george-square-tree-plantings-get-roast-for-inadequacy/story-e6freoof-1225995090907#sidebar-end

5.           The Mongarlowe Mallee, found in the Braidwood region is one of Australia’s rarest Eucalypts. The New South Wales Department of Environment & Climate Change has given the only survivor of 40 grafts to the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra. Hopefully, they can manage to grow this tree & save it from extinction.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/25/3121270.htm

6.           WIRES have pleaded with people to net their fruit trees carefully as many flying foxes have been caught in them, suffering gross injury such as broken bones & other injuries that require the bats to be euthanized.  http://macarthur-chronicle-wollondilly.whereilive.com.au/news/story/flying-foxes-getting-caught-in-wollondilly-fruit-tree-nets/

7.           Myrtle Rust, a deadly plant disease that originated in South America is heading towards the tea tree plantations of Tweed on the NSW north coast. Myrtle Rust has the potential to destroy tea tree plantations & the tea tree oil industry. http://www.tweednews.com.au/story/2011/01/24/tea-tree-tweed-myrtle-rust/

8.           Kingborough Council has dealt with the vandalism of trees for water views by erecting large signs. The Tasmanian Conservation Trust supported using the signs, but Paul Harriss, an Upper House MP didn’t, saying, “the signs are confrontational & unjustified.” I wonder how he would have felt about the shipping containers used by a council in Poole, England? http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/07/3108043.htm

9.          This is great article about the increased ground salinity in farmland across

Flowering Wattle (Acacia)

Western Australia caused by clearing the landscape for farming.  The article explains how salinity occurs & how to manage it. “…the National Land & Water Resources Audit recently indicated up to 6.3 million hectares of the state’s farmland could develop shallow, saline water tables by 2050.” Planting trees is one way to manage salinity, however, “It’s just not realistic to expect farmers to revegetate 50 – 80% of their productive cropping land with trees, because it basically becomes an unproductive block.” Salinity is a dreadful problem across many part of Australia that is seriously affecting food-production land & is expected to get far worse. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/28/3124109.htm

10.           The community presented Ballarat Council with a petition demanding the removal of pine plantations from the suburbs of Mount Clear & Mount Helen to prevent bushfires close to housing.  http://abc.gov.au/news/stories/2011/01/27/3122870.htm?site=news

11.          Community group, ‘Avenue Preservation Group’, won its fight to save 9 commemorative elm trees in the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour.  Moorabool Shire Council wanted to cut down the trees to allow for a roundabout to be built. The decision to refuse a permit to remove the trees was made by Heritage Victoria.  Moorabool Shire Mayor Pat Griffin has warned the council “will never give up” on the roundabout.  http://melton-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/heritage-victory-for-bacchus-marsh-avenue-of-honour/ Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy later considered overriding Heritage Victoria’s decision to refuse the permit.  As far as I know a decision has not been made.   http://melton-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/minister-may-intervene-over-bacchus-marsh-avenue-of-honour/

12.          The Attorney-General is currently deciding on a list of plants to be banned in Australia & one of them is the iconic Wattle, Australia’s national floral emblem. Why? Because Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) can be extracted from Wattle bark.  DMT is “a naturally-occurring hallucinogen traditionally consumed orally for healing, ceremonial or religious uses.” Not only will the loss of the Wattle affect Australia’s natural ecology, but also those legitimate industries that produce bush tucker of which Wattle seed is a component.  It’s unthinkable that the lovely Wattle flowers won’t be seen in spring.  http://www.northernstar.com.au/story/2011/01/26/outcry-over-ban-talk-wattle-floral-emblem/

Filled with bees & birds

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Cooks River Festival flags made the atmosphere festive

Today was the annual Cooks River Eco Festival & Ewen Park was filled with a few hundred people when we arrived.  The food was great & for the first time we ate off palm leaf plates. They looked so good I thought we were meant to return them, but this was not the case, as the food seller was not allowed to reuse them. He encouraged people to take them home & reuse. It was such a good idea.

The fantastic wildlife educator holding up her bat

I saw my first Long-nosed Bandicoot (it was stuffed & on loan from the Australian Museum – see photo at the end of this post) & realized just how easy they could be mistaken for rats. They are about the same size or just slightly larger, stand a little taller with long back legs & an exceptionally long nose & delicate face. It’s worth checking before you put out rat bait if you live in the areas Long-nosed Bandicoots are known to live especially along the Greenway & around St Vincent’s de Paul & all their buildings & houses in Lewisham. Long-nosed Bandicoots are on the critically endangered list, so it wouldn’t take much to make them extinct south of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

There were tree-people walking around on stilts & a very large Koala.  The kids had great entertainment with story telling, theatre & an amazing wild-life show while we were there.  A Wildlife Educator I presume was from the National Parks & Wildlife Service had a variety of animals, which she showed to the audience while teaching about their habitat & needs for survival.  We saw a bat, a very large tree frog, a snake & a Tawny Frogmouth & apparently there were other animals as well.  This is a particularly powerful way of educating children & adults as they can see the wildlife up close & get to realize that these are living, feeling creatures that need our protection.  Hers is a dream job.

A tree frog held by the wildlife educator

We did another solar power workshop while eating lunch because that’s what was on at the time & then went to look at all the stalls.  Represented were Stream Watch, Cooks River Valley Association, Mudcrabs, the Cooks River Sustainability Initiative  & the Greenway. They are all looking for more volunteers & their contact details can be found in the blogroll in the left-hand column.  Volunteers can work at their own speed for as long as they like so this type of volunteering is open to almost everyone.  So if the group is meeting for 2 hours work, but you are not well enough to do this long, you can join in & do easier jobs for a shorter length of time. Everyone is welcome.

There were also stalls from Canterbury Council educating about the environment, the Cooks River & recent environmental restoration work along the river. There were also stalls offering organic skin products & cleaning products & bikes that you could take for a ride along the Cooks River that were provided for free by Centennial Park.

I was told of a recently built wetland further up the Cooks River at Riverwood so we may go & have a look some time soon.  Let’s hope the Cook’s River Alliance gets off the ground with participation from all the Councils along the length of the Cooks River. This is one place where each section of the river impacts on the others so cooperation is vital.

The Greenway Festival lasts for another week. Details of other events are on their website – http://www.greenway.org.au/index.php?option=com_eventlist&view=eventlist&Itemid=107

The Long-nosed Bandicoot is critically endangered in Sydney south of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Cockatoos are part of what makes Sydney great

I don’t know what is happening to Sydney in regards to native wildlife. First we have the eviction of the flying-foxes from Sydney’s Botanical Gardens given to the go-ahead, now it seems that it’s okay as well to shoot Cockatoos in Broadway.

The National Parks & Wildlife Service have given permission for up to 20 Sulphur Crested cockatoos to be shot.  Why?  Well it’s because the birds are causing damage to the façade of the Sydney Campus Apartments in Broadway.

I say, Shame on you National Parks & Wildlife Service. You should have said no.  Shame on the owner of the Sydney Campus Apartments.  If you change the material on the façade, this will stop. The birds aren’t eating the rest of the buildings all over Sydney.

Thanks to the Inner West Courier for notifying the community about this disgusting, shameful decision. To read the full article – http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/outrage-over-cockatoo-cull/

Gloriously beautiful trees which are a huge asset to Newcastle

On Tuesday 17th August 2010 7 out of 12 Newcastle City Councillors went down in history as being the crew who voted to remove the 14 iconic, beautiful & very healthy Hills Figs outside the Newcastle Art Gallery along Laman Street Newcastle.

Why, because Newcastle Council says they are dangerous & are likely to fall. Except around 6 weeks ago, they had the NSW Governor Marie Bashir chauffeur-driven to the door of the Art Gallery & the official car remained parked under the killer trees for the evening.

Of course nothing happened. Nor did anything happen with the Pashar Bulka storm that produced incredibly high winds & caused much destruction throughout Newcastle. Nor did anything happen with the 2 recent bad storms & high winds that hit Newcastle.

If you want to read a story of intrigue, lack of transparency, weird ideas, healthy trees with no roots, a community being run rings around, I’d recommend spending the evening reading Save Our Figs & Other Trees of Newcastle – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/ & the post written on the night of Newcastle Council’s decision – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/i-know-where-you-can-get-some-good-mulch-17-8-2010/#more-2047

The very last option Newcastle Council gave the community was a single row of Liquid ambers. Really? A tree known to have large invasive roots that also grow near the surface. They are very large deciduous trees that not only drop a very large amount of leaves in Autumn, they also drop a large amount of round spiked seeds that do not decay well leaving ‘lumps’ under lawns. Liquid ambers are also known to drop branches easily in storms.

These trees will not provide food for the numerous flying-foxes & birds that used the Laman Street Figs as a home & source of food for many decades.

How will replacing the 14 Hills Figs with very large trees known to have large & invasive roots improve the situation? How would tons of leaves dropping outside the Art Gallery in Autumn improve the situation?  Wouldn’t the leaves & ball-like seeds create a public injury risk? Wouldn’t a tree known to drop branches during storms create a public injury risk?  This idea was a good as grinding the trees into stumps & carving them into famous Newcastle citizens. See – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-plan-to-turn-newcastles-laman-street-figs-into-sculpted-stumps/

Now they say they will replace the current Hills Figs with a single row of Hills Figs down the centre of the road, but don’t say when this will happen.

Newcastle City Council received 400 submissions about this Laman Street Figs from the community. 96% of those people said, “Keep the Figs.” They were ignored.  I predict the community is going to go ape about this & Newcastle City Council will get the lumber jacks in as fast as possible to end the matter for good, except people have long memories.

My original post about the Laman Street  Figs can be found here – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/newcastles-iconic-laman-street-fig-trees-at-risk/

You can read the follow-up post  written on 1st September 2010 about the Independent Arborist Report by clicking here – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/independent-arborist-report-for-newcastles-laman-street-figs/

winter trees along the Cooks River

Conservation group Bat Advocacy with funding from Humane Society International is taking Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens Trust to the Federal Court to contest Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s decision to allow the bats to be dispersed using noise. I had not realized that permission was given for the noise dispersion to occur for the next 20 years.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Trust recently announced that the relocation, expected to start in July, has been postponed until next year, because of the inability to tag enough flying foxes. Dr Tim Entwisle, the executive director of the Botanic Gardens Trust, said many of the bats were too underweight to tag. Bats are also starving all over Australia & leaving QLD & flying as far as Adelaide & Tasmania in the search for food. http://sydney-central.whereilive.com.au/news/story/group-to-challenge-bat-relocation-in-court/

Up to 7,000 grey-headed flying foxes, a threatened species in NSW, have moved in to Parramatta Park along the banks of Parramatta River. They have come to this location due to severe food shortages in their usual habitat.  I hope Parramatta Council don’t decide to use dispersion or chop the trees down.  http://parramatta-advertiser.whereilive.com.au/news/story/bats-put-residents-in-a-flap-over-fruit/

Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt & Sydney universities, Professor David Gloldney has been employed by Orange City Council to look at ways of preventing flying foxes returning to central western NSW. He says so far he has been looking at the legal implications of the recent arrival of the grey-headed flying foxes. “To look at the various acts under the National Parks and Wildlife and DECCW [the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water] & the Federal Government’s Endangered Species Act.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/29/2967437.htm

Yet more critically endangered Cumberland Plain & endangered shale transition forest woodland is at risk of development in Kellyville. Hills Shire Council wants to clear 10 hectares of its own woodland at Withers Rd Kellyville despite massive community opposition. They have applied for a State Government BioBanking Agreement that would allow it  the Council to clear this land in return for protecting land somewhere else.  The community met a fortnight ago as part of Council’s community consultation. http://hills-shire-times.whereilive.com.au/news/story/fight-to-save-woodland-at-kellyville/

Wyong Council has directed that all gardens around caravans & mobile homes be removed in all caravan parks in Budgewoi, Canton Beach, Norah Head & Toowoon Bay. Another win for the fans of concrete.  http://express-advocate-wyong.whereilive.com.au/news/story/anger-over-council-order-to-turn-beautified-caravan-sites-ugly/

Wolli Creek Valley - this is worth saving

Wolli Creek Valley is 50 hectares of natural bush along 13 kms from Bexley North to Turella & is the only bushland of any size left in the inner south-west Sydney. More than 260 plants have been identified in the Wolli Creek Valley & it is the home to many birds, animals, insects, flying- foxes, fish & frogs. It is very precious & a vital space for urban wildlife.

In 1998 the Carr Government announced the prospective establishment of a Wolli Creek Regional Park under the management of National Parks & Wildlife Service. 2010 is more than half way through & the Wolli Creek Regional Park remains nothing more than a promise almost 12 years later.

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society has an online petition as part of their campaign to have the Wolli Creek Regional Park established. It takes 1 minute to do something that will help keep a precious piece of historical bushland for future generations & for urban wildlife. Please sign.  http://www.wollicreek.org.au/petition/petition.htm

Music for Trees is a non-profit organisation & part of the UN’s Billion tree program, about which I have written in previous posts.  They are holding a free music event at Carriage Works Eveleigh this Saturday 17th July 2010. Playing will be Stiff Gins, Ray Mann, The Slowdowns, The Anon Anons & The Deroys.  $10 plants 50 trees. $200 starts a forest.  For information – http://www.musicfortrees.com/

Planet Ark has a competition for National Tree Day on 1st August 2010.  They are looking for the best tree tale.  The top stories will be added to their Australian Tree Stories campaign & the prize is a $1,000 green get-away.  This year’s National Tree Day, more than 2 million volunteers will plant 15 million native trees & shrubs.  I knew it could be done. treeday.planetark.org

Spring blossoms in winter

I was excited to read about a report commissioned by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water. The report, Connectivity Conservation & the Great Eastern Ranges Corridor, recommends the establishment of a conservation corridor spanning 2,800 km along the Great Eastern Ranges from the Australian Alps in Victoria to the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.

“To halt and reverse the biodiversity extinction crisis, we must counter the threats and reverse the trends. This means reconnecting habitat so native ecosystems don’t end up becoming isolated “islands”, buffering protected areas and protecting and restoring habitat on other land tenures.”

It’s a fantastic idea & will go a long way to helping wildlife. Hopefully it will also help the Koala who are seriously at risk of extinction from loss of habitat in Australia.

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/DecMedia10071402.htm

The Pew Environment Group did a recent study that found the area from the central west of NSW, up to Cape York, across the top end & down to the wheat belt in Western Australia, absorbs more than 9.5 billion tonnes of carbon. 

They say that if this area is managed properly, it could reduce carbon pollution by 5% by 2050, the equivalent of taking 7.5 a million cars off the road every year for the next 40 years.

Terrific changes seem to be happening in the way Australia is looking at the value & use of trees.  It will be wonderful to see land planted with trees & other plants rather than have the massive chain that pulls down everything in its path.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/14/2952894.htm

Researchers from the University of Sydney say all the world’s topsoil is set to vanish within 60-100 years “if current patterns do not change.” Current patterns mean;

  • overuse of plowing,
  • over-application of synthetic fertilizers,
  • poor erosion control &
  • unsustainable farming

In Australia, soil is being lost 5 times faster than it is regenerating through natural processes. In the United States, it is being lost 10 times faster. In Europe it is being lost 17 times faster, and in China, an astonishing 57 times faster.

Hopefully, farmers will take notice & the government will provide the funding to help them regenerate the natural vegetation without too much delay.

http://www.naturalnews.com/029176_topsoil_food_production.html

Lilly Pilly flower

I read 2 articles about Railcorp recently.  The first reported that Beecroft residents were furious at tree-lopping & removal at a site marked ‘environmentally sensitive’ along railway land near Beecroft Railway Station. It’s a shame because Gang Gang birds lived in those trees.

City Rail said, “The trees lopped were wattles which had become a safety hazard.  The trees we removed were predominantly wattles (Acacia) that had been planted by Railcorp around 10 years ago inside the rail corridor.” In response the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust employed a professional arborist to assess the tree removal. They found young Eucalypts & Acacias had been removed.

3 weeks later in an article about Railcorp’s plans to replant the stripped area, a RailCorp staff representative said, “the plants had to be removed because 95 per cent of them were noxious species.” Wattle a noxious species?  Railcorp intend to replant with native grasses & shrubs, but no trees.

Epping residents also complained that everything near the railway station has been stripped, including the grasses. Both communities complained about the lack of community consultation.  To my understanding, being government-owned land, they don’t need to notify the community. That the community expects that they do tells me that trees & habitat for urban wildlife are becoming important issues for the community.  I think this is a good thing.

http://northern-district-times.whereilive.com.au/news/story/visual-screen-felled-by-heavy-handed-city-rail-loppers-at-beecroft/

http://northern-district-times.whereilive.com.au/news/story/railcorp-workers-put-the-green-screen-back/

Lawrence Pope, the president of the Victorian Advocates for Animals wrote a fantastic letter to the Bendigo Advertiser about Grey-headed flying-foxes that I would love to post in full. Unfortunately copyright prevents me from doing so, but I sincerely hope that any readers who dislike bats, are afraid of them or have concerns about their presence around Sydney of late take the time to read this letter. It’s not a long letter as Mr Pope has the skill of writing succinctly.

The following are snippets: Grey-headed flying foxes are struggling to survive right down Australia’s east coast & now inland. Many are seriously underweight from lack of food.  This land is their home & has been for the past 2 million years. Being fair dinkum about conservation sometimes means putting the serious interests of other species ahead of your own less-serious ones….”  & “….species that has declined by more than 95%  in the past century & is listed as vulnerable to extinction.”

http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/opinion/letters/general/flying-foxes-pose-little-health-risk-to-humans/1878011.aspx

The Department of Environment & Resources reports that nearly 400 tonnes of seed has been dropped from planes on 5,000 hectares of exposed lakebed & more than 1.1 million native sedges have been planted on exposed lakebeds in South Australia by volunteers. On top of this, volunteers are also planting 130,000 shrub & tree seedlings on shorelines & wetlands in the Lower Murray River areas.  I am always impressed & heartened about our future when volunteers come together like this. http://www.landscapes.sa.gov.au/lsmain.jsp?xcid=187

Lastly, I missed Saving Our Tree’s birthday.  We were 1 year old on 16 June 2010.  Isn’t that lovely.  A very big thanks from me to everyone who has supported SoT by reading this blog, sending submissions & for all your ideas & words of encouragement. Don’t know what to say except the trees & the urban wildlife have hooked me & I couldn’t imagine not doing this.

Once I woke up to balloons on my bedroom ceiling

A selection of new garden beds in Robert Street Marrickville

We came across new footpath work in Robert Street Marrickville yesterday.  Marrickville Council has replaced the footpaths & created large garden beds around street trees planted on verges.   It’s happening in other streets so it appears to be a new trend.  I sincerely hope so.

The first time I saw this done was earlier this year in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville South & I was impressed.  The garden beds are twice as large in Robert Street because the footpaths are wider.

As well as the street trees on the verge, Robert Street has beautiful old Brush Box trees that were planted on the sides of the road around 80 years ago. Council has created garden beds on the verge next to many of these trees, which will allow these trees to be able to get a good drink when it rains.  These trees have suffered decades of bitumen almost to their trunks so they should respond well & live longer now they have better access to water.  Council have planted native grasses & Pig Face (I think) & in a year or so, they should look very pretty.

Unfortunately, works like these can cost many thousands of dollars (a tiled footpath outside a small group of shops can cost $60,000) so I would imagine that it would be a slow process creating these types of footpaths as the norm throughout the LGA.  However, it’s worth waiting for.

It is good that by creating these garden beds, the amount of cement coverage has lessened. Not only will the trees get more water & the streets look greener, but the street should be cooler during summer as well.

Is less cement an issue? I think it is & so do many experts.  Urban areas are much hotter than non-urban areas because cement & building surfaces can trap heat from the sun.  This is called the ‘heat island effect.’

The flying foxes that left Queensland to come & live in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens for the past 20 years or so have made their home there because the air temperature is to their liking.  The walls of the tall city buildings, roads, cement surfaces & roofs of the CBD have raised the air temperature & created a climate suitable for the bats. In the city it is called the urban canyon effect because the walls of tall buildings form canyons that capture & hold heat.

Air temperatures can be up to 12 degrees hotter in cemented areas during summer. I have read up to 50 degrees hotter, but this is probably in desert areas.  Much like a car parked in the sun with the windows closed, environments can become heat boxes keeping night temperatures warmer. A 2005 study showed urban air temperatures being up to 12 degrees warmer at night during summer than in rural areas.

Apart from the obvious increase use of power needed to cool houses & the associated costs, the heat island effect also impacts on air quality & health as it causes smog & ground level ozone. Ground level ozone causes respiratory problems like asthma, coughing & lung damage. It can also cause chest pain & heart problems.  This is why research shows that living within 500 metres of a main road can cause significant health problems.  See – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/living-close-to-a-main-road-is-bad-for-your-health/

Ground level ozone is also a factor in global warming.  The heat island effect can raise the temperature so much that it causes heat events where heat waves are exacerbated. These events can cause death, particularly in children, the ill & the elderly.

There is also another issue with the heat island effect & that is storm water runoff.  If the runoff is heated by pavements, gutters & roofs, it may be very warm by the time it reaches rivers, ponds & lakes & we have a few in Marrickville LGA.  This hot water can cause death to fish & other water life as well as increase the growth of blue-green algae that sucks all oxygen out of the water causing more fish death.

This is a very basic outline of the heat island effect & I will be writing about it in more depth in a later post. However, I hope what is written so far is enough to understand why our society’s love for cement is a problem.  Cement is easier, but it comes with it’s own problems & these problems follow us into our homes.

A couple of examples in Robert Street Marrickvillewhere residents created gardens to protect street trees. To me, they look great & are far better than bitumen up to the trunk.

It is my belief that we need to plant many more trees across Marrickville LGA.  We need larger trees that create shade, both on private property & as street trees. Street trees that grow straight upwards & have a canopy of no more than 2-3 metres are not a ‘shade tree.’  We also need less cement & bitumen, more gardens & pockets of green space outside of formal parks to keep the heat down, for our mental & physical health & for the health of the planet.

Sydney is getting bigger & bigger & with this urban sprawl comes more cement, more hard surfaces & fewer trees.  My fear is that, if climate change does happen in the way the scientific experts predict (& being a prediction, it has a 50% chance of being worse than what they think will occur), that we & our governing authorities will realise just how important trees & green spaces are, but the weather will be too hot & water in short supply that whatever is planted will have trouble surviving.  Bleak I know, but I have read a lot on this subject & none of it is heartening.

So getting back on subject, what Marrickville Council is doing when they are replacing footpaths is terrific & sensible action for the future.  It will allow people to get used to less cement & hopefully encourage them to be actively involved in the garden beds outside their property.

Prepare for big changes in Marrickville because this is just the start of high-rise

1.    The Environment Department has done aerial seeding of 1 million trees across nearly 6,000 hectares of exposed lakebeds in South Australia to ease soil acidification. “It is hoped the plants will stop a spread of toxic dust & add vital organic material to the soil, in a region which faced prolonged drought.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/28/2938871.htm

2.   Clarence Valley Council has done something amazing for the environment. Funded by the Department of Environment Climate Change & Water, they planted 300 rainforest trees for flying-fox habitat over an area of about 3,400 square metres in McLean to manage the bat population. Terrific & compassionate program, far better than the usual to just chuck the bats out or simply cut down the trees. Loud applause. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/DecMedia10061801.htm

3.   Yesterday I posted about Goondiwindi Regional Council chopping down Fig trees despite community opposition. Now the Council is going to spend $96,000 on floating footpaths made out of more than 80,000 recycled milk bottle caps. Using this type of footpath means they won’t have to cut the roots of trees or even worse, remove healthy trees because of roots affecting footpaths.  They said they were prepared to send this kind of money because they, “understand how important these trees are to residents.” http://www.goondiwindiargus.com.au/news/local/news/general/tree-choppers-are-really-tree-huggers/1872430.aspx

4.   Nine 150-year-old trees in Burdekin Park near Singleton are to be chopped down because bats classified as threatened species have destroyed them. Singleton Council has arranged to have a qualified bat handler assess & stay with the bats during the nights when their homes are being removed. http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/singleton-trees-cut-but-bats-guarded/1873363.aspx

5.   In NSW a research team from the science & research division of Industry & Investment NSW has managed to record thousands of calls of the Microbat for the first time, making it easier for scientists to identify & protect their habitats. Microbats consume up to 1.5 times their own body weight in one night & are a vital part of our ecosystem. They, like many other of our wildlife are threatened due to loss of habitat because of development. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/bat-man-bugs-hungry-wee-beasties-to-save-them-20100626-zavf.html

6.   Bats are thought of very differently in Italy where people have purchased more than 12,000 bat boxes at £25 each since April 2010 to combat the tiger mosquito that has infected hundreds with Chikungunya Fever. Each bat eats around 10,000 insects a night so they are a non-chemical organic approach to mosquito control. Everyone wins, except the mosquito. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/italians-recruit-bats-to-take-sting-out-of-summer-2006124.html

7.   Hornsby has a new community action group called Stop 20 who are opposed to Hornsby Council’s draft housing strategy, which includes 20-storey housing developments. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/stakes-are-high-for-new-action-group-stop-20/

8.    On 28 June at the Commonwealth Forestry Conference in Edinburgh UK, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said, “We need to show, financially, that trees are worth more alive than dead. Forests, we know, represent almost three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Cut them down, & they are responsible for almost a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions. Tackle deforestation, & we go a long way towards tacking climate change.” He also said in 20 years time 80% of the forests that covered the earth in 1947 will be gone.   As well as the loss of thousands of species, this will also “accelerate the climate changes that destroy our other natural environments, our glaciers, grassland & coral reefs.” http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/34580/34581/225538/280610forests.htm

9.   Chen Maoguo, a very brave man sat up in a Euclyptus tree in China for more than 3 months to protest the planned demolition of his home for the building of a shopping mall.  Mr Chen is being tried for disturbing public order. I hope he doesn’t get a gaol sentence. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/bird-man-faces-charges-in-china-for-sitting-in-a-tree/story-e6freuyi-1225885245007?from=public_rss

10.    A number of communities in the state of Massachusetts USA have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of street trees that have died as a result of underground gas leaks in degrading pipes in the National Grid. http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/quincy/2010/06/gas_leaks_are_killing_trees_in.html

11.   The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission in the US has approved $35.7 million for 6 million acres of wetlands & bird refuges across the US &  Canada. http://www.humanitariannews.org/20100617/wetlands-migratory-birds-get-357-conservation-grant-government

12.   Pavlovsk experimental station Russia, one of the world’s oldest seed banks is soon to be demolished to make way for housing.  The seed bank holds more than 4000 varieties of fruits & berries from which most modern commercially grown varieties are derived. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627663.500-vital-fruit-and-berry-collection-set-for-destruction.html

13.   8 turbines are to be put under the bridges crossing the river Seine in Paris to raise energy from the rivers currents. There is already an underwater turbine under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This article also mentions that Paris has a free bicycle scheme. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/28/paris-power-turbines-seine

14.   Chicago is going to do a census on its trees after doing one 17 years ago.  http://ht.ly/21Ht3

Watching the documentary Greatest Cities of the World on Tuesday night I learnt the finest honey in France is from a beehive on the roof of the Paris Opera House.  Not illegal, just using available good quality space.

lovely old tree in Dulwich Hill

Yesterday the Sydney Botanic Gardens Trusts announced they have decided to postpone the eviction of the flying foxes until next year.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/22/2933947.htm

http://sydney-central.whereilive.com.au/news/story/locals-notice-bats-despite-eviction-being-cancelled/

and the latest press release from the Humane Society International, WIRES & Bat Advocacy

http://www.hsi.org.au/editor/assets/admin/Flying%20foxes%20Media%20Release%20June%2022.pdf

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