"All the world's a stage we pass through." - R. Ayana

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are You Destroying Creation?

Are You Destroying Creation?
Are you or your family trashing the waters of life?
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Most people living in rural areas seem to have no idea they’re stealing their children’s future (and breaking laws) every day, and many just don’t care. People in cities and towns have little idea how badly the people entrusted with caring for everyone’s land and water are managing the planet’s resources. Most people are fairly ignorant about very basic matters and some just don’t give a damn about anything but money.
Landholders are custodians of the land; most aren’t aware that their property deeds give them the legal right to occupy the land, not to ‘own’ it. Individuals can never truly own something that will forever outlast them. Yet thoughtless acts by today’s temporary stewards destroy more of the common wealth – and everyone’s future– every livelong day.
It takes a few minutes to cut down a thousand year old tree with a modern chainsaw. The tree cutter’s great-great-great grandchildren can never know what their ancestor destroyed, or even know what they’ve missed out on. When an ancient tree or forest is gone it won’t grow back for millennia, if ever.
It’s amazingly easy to turn forests full of thousand year old trees into rocky moonscapes without enough soil to grow anything but noxious weeds, and it takes no talent at all to turn rivers teeming with fish and wildlife into dead, toxic drains. All it takes is heartless stupidity, and it’s plainly evident to anyone with eyes in their heads that plenty of people still suffer from that particular disease.
Most people seem unaware of the fact that there’s hardly a river left in the Land of Oz that’s safe to drink – or in the world, for that matter. This isn’t due to global warming. It’s literally sickening to dip your skin or expose your eyes to many streams, and this isn’t because of natural climate fluctuations. It’s because humans have used the rivers as sewers and chemical dumps and destroyed the banks that kept streams healthy and flowing in the places where they belong. And every day, people continue to trash dwindling fresh waterways even now that the damage – and its cause – is bleeding obvious.
Old time pioneers had excuses for their destructive behaviour; they didn’t know any better, and the world seemed all but limitless to the first farmers and tree cutters who built homes for their children in primeval places. We no longer have those excuses. Yet the destruction continues to accelerate every day even though we certainly know better than our forebears.
Humans have trashed almost everything they’ve touched, and the main reason anything is left is that some areas have been too uneconomical to exploit to death (yet), while some soils are deeper than others and will last a few years longer before they end up being washed out to sea, leaving rocks, sand or clay pans where life once flourished.
One short word explains all this destruction, and it isn’t ‘money’ – a destructive idea in itself. It’s simple GREED.
Now that the last vestiges of remote old forests are finally on track for preservation it’s time to tackle the problem of the hippopotamus in everyone’s lounge room; the river’s and streams we can no longer drink or even safely swim in.
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Let’s keep it simple. If you cut any vegetation on creeks or riverbanks – by brush-cutting, slashing, mowing, digging, bulldozing or grazing animals there – you’re committing a crime against nature and humanity. You’re also breaking laws which were put in place throughout Australia (for instance) way back in the 1840s, before the country was even an independent nation.
The knowledge that destroying trees and other plants on the banks of rivers is a stupid idea has been with us for a long time. It isn’t some novel invention of radical greenies. Socrates complained about it in ancient Attica.
In bygone times our ancestors knew that all they had to do to keep life sustainable was to preserve the water and soil for their children’s children. Yet greed overcame those selfsame grandchildren, who ignored the wisdom of their elders in pursuit of a little more cash in hand. Today many landholders believe the lie that the land is theirs to do what they will with, and the slack beurocrats who supposedly oversee the soil, forests, wildlife and waters from distant air conditioned offices have let greedy scum get away with murdering the landscape.
Trees and vegetation keep rivers in place. They stop so much evaporation from Sun and wind that streams with treed banks have almost twice as much water as those without. It’s been illegal, immoral and gluttonous to clear any vegetation within a ‘chain width’ (22 yards) of the upper banks of any river or stream, permanent or temporary, in the Great Southern Land – the driest continent on Earth – for the better part of the last two centuries. These days these ‘filter strips’ have been upgraded to a minimum of twenty metres in width. These strips need to be at least as wide as the height of the trees which grow there to do their job effectively – and to survive any trees that fall there.
It’s been illegal to graze animals in these riparian zones all this time, and it’s been illegal to place cattle fences – or allow any grazing animals – closer to the upper bank of any river or stream than this small distance for many generations. Cows, sheep, goats and other livestock all trample and eat everything that grows there – and they piss and shit in the flood zones and directly into the water used by people downstream. The riverbanks and rivers have been illegally trashed for a few measly extra quids or bucks – a good example of the old adage ‘penny wise and pound foolish’.
All it takes to preserve water depth, volume and quality – and fish, tortoises, platypuses, frogs and all other life that flourishes in fresh water – is to maintain this tiny strip of plant life. Yet a single glance at virtually every landholding in the country will show you that this simple law has been ignored and broken almost everywhere, creating a disaster that was far easier to avoid than it is to repair. Don’t take my word for it; take a look at the world beyond the screen, or just zoom in on Google Earth.
For the times they are a’changing.

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Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face
The rivers and banks are not private land, regardless of apparent property lines printed on survey maps. They belong to everyone. Convention and law dictate that when a fence is erected between neighbours each pays half the cost and effort to erect and maintain it.
As the public ‘owns’ (is responsible for) all the rivers, governments have allocated funds to pay half the costs for farmers to fence off their banks. Government usually provides the materials and the landholder provides the labour – an arrangement most people see as very equitable. Grants are available for landholders to repair and revegetate their banks. Yet even when the rivers are fenced off many graziers simply use them as an extra paddock in lean times and their hard-hoofed cattle and sheep destroy everything that attempts to grow there.
Many farmers even hack down any sapling that grows on the banks in the alarmingly false belief that ‘trees cause erosion’. Many have so few trees left beside ‘their’ rivers they’ve never seen how even small stands of forests maintain the banks. Whereas water can swirl around a single tree and tear away soil, a stand of trees, shrubs and wild clumping grasses – a diverse natural system – holds everything together. Filter strips even build up the banks, clean the water and protect land holdings downstream by catching soil and debris during floods.
Without these ‘filter strips’ untold millions of tons of topsoil are washed out to sea with every flood and rivers change course, destroying the most fertile croplands, meadows and paddocks farmers need to survive. These narrow strips also provide excellent (and necessary) wildlife corridors and seed banks that can relink most fragmented ecosystems and reknit the sundered and plundered web of life back together again.
They also rebuild swimming holes, fish breeding habitat and recreate untold amounts of the best naturally mineralised drinking water money can’t buy.
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What Can One Person Do?
In the new era of global water scarcity big fines now await those who destroy riverbanks. All it takes to bring expensive legal action against destructive landholders is a complaint to a government department – and governments no longer need to inspect on the ground or await a complaint. They have satellites that peek into all the nooks and crannies out of sight of roads or houses – yet they still won’t act until a member of the public makes a complaint, or unless directed to by their department heads or ministers.
Land rapists can no longer hide their crimes, but it still all comes down to you. Why not report a malefactor to your state environment or water management department today? That’s what they’re there for. Make those cozened public servants earn the money we’re all paying them. Make them enforce the laws that protect our lands and waters, by letting them know that a crime’s been committed by a crooked landholder – and insist that they take a look for themselves and act on any infringements.
Levying fines against poor landholders is a last resort, except in the most dire cases of obvious and major wilful destruction. The first step environment and water departments usually take is to simply hand ‘stop work’ or ‘remediation’ orders – demands to stop destroying the rivers or to repair the damage – to the landholder, along with economic assistance for dams, water troughs, pumps and fencing materials where necessary. It’s actually a very generous arrangement.
But in most places the beurocrats won’t act at all unless YOU pick up the phone or write a letter or email – and demand a reply. It isn’t a matter of dobbing in your neighbours to heartless cops. It’s about saving the future for your children’s children.
The Age of Aquarius is the age of the water bearer. If we act now our descendants may not have to carry heavy buckets of clean water around for the next two millennia. If we don’t act now we’ll learn how hard it is to replant life in a desert.
It’s actually up to you – the sovereign of the world – to bring back the balance between humans and nature.
Let’s keep it simple. If you cut any vegetation on creeks or riverbanks – by brush-cutting, slashing, mowing, digging, bulldozing or grazing animals there – you’re committing a crime against nature and humanity.
If you can see a river or stream from a distance it’s being desiccated by Sun and wind – and the law and lore of the land are being broken.
You’d have to be blind or ignorant not to see what’s happening – and now you can’t lay claim to the defence of ignorance. The future is in your hands. Do you have a phone? A computer? A pen? Help flood government departments with your complaint today – NOW.
And have a long drink of clean, pure, nourishing fresh water – if you can find any.
Time appears to flow onward…
- R. Ayana
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Images – author’s
For further enlightenment see –
The Her(m)etic Hermit – http://hermetic.blog.com
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From The Her(m)etic Hermit – http://hermetic.blog.com

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