my view of the natural world


Billy Connolly CBE


I’ll drink to that!

Originally posted on Silver of the Stars: Creative Learning Resource:

Billy drinks several cups of tea every day and enjoys them immensely although tea is only his second favourite beverage – his first choice would eb alcohol, which unfortunately he’s no longer allowed, as he drank his share all at once, not knowing it was supposed to last a lifetime. BC Photo Cosy Hi ResBilly would like to invite God round for tea as there are several issues that he feels should be brought to his attention, not least being the poor refereeing at Celtic games, but he guesses he’s busy in the Middle East right now and so alternatively he’d love to soend some time with Nelson Mandela or Keith Richards.

Billy Conolly 5 bf 005Billy has always felt it beneficial to have a code to live by to assist in avoiding life’s mosre treacherous pitfalls. His has always been to never trust a man, who, when he’s alone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn’t…

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Fallen Boys


I am aghast at Australia’s continued collusion with Israel allowing these atrocities to continue. Shame Abbott shame!

Originally posted on CollTales:

Where Children Are
Killed & No One Cares

The original, moving tribute to Ahed Atef Bakr, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, Mohamed Ramez Bakr, and Ismael Mohamed Bakr, ages 8 to 10, killed by Israel’s shells at Gaza, was done by Israeli artist Almir Shiby.
We took the liberty of including the heartbreaking picture of the grief stricken father of one of the boys, taken by Hosam Salem. If nothing is done to stop this carnage, we’re all guilty by association.

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Glyphosate + Wheat linked to gluten intolerance, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome


Considering the massive increase in people’s intolerances, this seems as good a place to look as any.

Originally posted on GMO Awareness:

Gluten Wheat Glyphosate RoundUp GMO

New evidence points to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp weedkiller, as the culprit in the rise of gluten intolerance, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

No, this isn’t coming from Monsanto’s test plots of wheat genetically engineered to resist RoundUp (yet). This is coming from a standard practice used on the vast majority of non-organic wheat grown in the United States and other countries…

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The little adventuring – Part 1

Three years ago I left the area I loved and moved from the Mid-North of South Australia to the Lower South East.  It was for the sake of my health, as the farming chemicals in the area were dramatically adversely affecting my daily life.  Coastal life held some reprive…..  and so I became an environmental refugee.  My heart has always remained in the North; no matter how much I tried to love this area, it never really spoke to me in the way that the north does, and in particular, the Flinder’s Ranges.  If there’s a place on this Earth that I feel at home, it is in the Flinders.

So I resolved to take a journey back, to see if it really was how I still felt, or if I was simply in love with the notion, and not the reality.  I was also looking forward to catching up with old friends.  A new friend from this area, and also relatively new to Australia, accompanied me on this trip, while Fred and the cats went into boarding.  Merriwether stayed at home, keeping the grass mowed.  The plan was to be away for about 10 days, with three days at Melrose, at the base of Mt. Remarkable, Southern Flinders Ranges.  It was a flexible timetable, to allow for happenstance, which incidently, did happen :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what I travelled hundreds of kilometers to see - Mt. Remarkable.  It really is quite amazing how it suddenly appears out of the plain.  All 960 metres of it.  For one who now lives at virtual sea level, it’s balm for the soul.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA While surfing the net for somewhere to stay, I came across Kookaburra Creek Bush Retreat, and thought it seemed worth a try.  So very glad I did!  Initially we booked in for three nights, then added an extra night for good measure.  The bus was within my budget, and it was great!  It bit like camping with an outdoor kitchen, but with more comfort for sleeping on cold nights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet and simply furnished, it fulfilled its role wonderfully.

I’ll write more about the Retreat in another post, as there’s far too much to talk about in this one, to do it full justice, but here’s a few bits to whet your appetite.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a couple of locals, enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnly in Australia out bush would you be likely to see a notice like this :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many old trucks strategically placed around the large property and yes, I took many many pictures of them.   Wallace the Blue Heeler, is resident guide dog, and takes all new visitors for a walk around the grounds.  Although still quite young, he was very well mannered and a real pleasure to have the company of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy companion also loved taking plenty of pictures of the trucks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA late afternoon view of the Northern Flinders Ranges.  I spent a decade living in them…. a long time ago….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReturning to the Mount at sunset, after a day out at Quorn.

Overall, we were very lucky with the weather, it being mid-winter Downunder, as rain didn’t dampen too many days.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One morning I rose before the sun and climbed up high to catch the sun as it rose over the tree tops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn this morning, the golden light was wonderful as were the birds singing to it. No crowds here to spoil it.

Of course, there were many other places and people I saw along the way, all of it memorable.  More on it later… I hear rumblings approaching from yet another storm – winter is well and truly arrived!


Do we exaggerate the dangers of conventional fabrics?


Dangers are not exaggerated. If anything, humans underestimate the damage being done to themselves and their environment.

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

We received a comment on one of our blog posts recently in which the reader chastised us for exaggerating issues which they believe are disproportionate to the facts. In their words: For instance formaldehyde… is a volatile chemical…no doubt it is used in the textile industry a great deal…but looking for this chemical in end products is an example chasing a ghost…. It has to be put in perspective. I do not know of any citation that a human developed cancer because they wore durable press finished clothing.

Please follow along as I itemize the reasons that we don’t feel the issues are exaggerated.

Textiles are full of chemicals. The chemicals found in fabrics have been deemed to be, even by conservative organizations such as the Swedish government, simply doing us no good – and even harming us in ways ranging from subtle to profound. But fabrics are just one…

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Stormy times

I have returned from my adventures, just in time to experience storms in my local area – storms that are travelling across most of South East Australia.   It seems somewhat reflective of my state of mind…..

I had a great time overall, took many pictures, did lots of exploring, all of which will be revealed later.  So far, I’ve not downloaded the images….

It’s not easy settling into life at sea level again.  Hmm….  not sure at this stage which is the best solution to that……

My four-legged family seem pleased to have me back again, although Fred may miss the extra attention he got on his other holiday.  It’s certainly  the weather to have a cat curled up on one’s lap :-)  and they are loving the warm hearth at night :-)

Inspiration from Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue.


Not all humanity is heartless, as this wonderful horsewoman shows through her actions. Please support her and others rescue efforts.

Originally posted on Horses |AnnaBlakeBlog | Equestrian:


Viking re-homed, Beryl still looking.

Some rescue groups prove their point by showing graphic photos of the very worst cases of abuse and neglect. These horrific images cower in a dark corner of my brain forever. Their torture leaves a mark on us, too. Maybe people think that the more blood-dried wounds, protruding bones and dull eyes I see, the more I will care.

I wonder how many of us get inspired by the gore, versus the number of us that just shut down. We look away because we are full to the top with pleading eyes and it just rubs salt in the wound, not that the wound was anywhere near healing in the first place.

“You can’t save them all!” That’s what my mother said when I was little and it still puts a lump in my throat. What a sorry excuse for inaction. What a petty reason…

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Household gas bills to increase by $162-00


Let the people be well informed and not duped by corporations and governments.

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

‘It’s a hard narrative to sell, to a community, to a government, that we are going to increase production of gas and we are going to export it, and in the meantime, domestic gas supplies will be diminished and domestic prices will go up. I’m a politician and I’m pretty good at selling a story, but I’d find that a tough one to sell’. Colin Barnett, Premier WA

Coal Seam Gas Will Cost YOU More
Fact Sheet: East Coast Gas Supply in Australia
Quick Facts
• The CSG export industry is causing domestic gas prices to rise by linking us to world prices
• In 2015 they will increase gas bills by up to $162/yr for households and $625/yr for businesses
• Wholesale gas prices will triple, causing up to 100,000 direct manufacturing jobs to be lost
• In total, rising prices will…

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The Anthropocene: It’s Not All About Us

Originally posted on Damn the Matrix:

heinbergA guest post from my friend Richard Heinberg, originally published as MuseLetter #264 in May 2014.  This is a long but important essay. I recommend a large cup of your favourite poison, and a biscuit or two….  Enjoy!

Download printable PDF version here (PDF, 126 KB)

Time to celebrate! Woo-hoo! It’s official: we humans have started a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene. Who’d have thought that just one species among millions might be capable of such an amazing accomplishment?

Let’s wait to stock up on party favours, though. After all, the Anthropocene could be rather bleak. The reason our epoch has acquired a new name is that future geologists will be able to spot a fundamental discontinuity in the rock strata that document our little slice of time in Earth’s multi-billion year pageant. This discontinuity will be traceable to the results of human presence. Think climate change, ocean acidification, and…

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Confession time


I sleep in organic bedding, it’s the least I can do to my long suffering body, but if only that could apply to all fabrics I have contact with.

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

Sometimes I wonder if I’m making too much fuss about organic fabrics. I mean, we live surrounded by textiles, and nobody – well, o.k., most people –  don’t have immediate reactions to the fabric. I can use towels and sheets and still wake up in the morning feeling just fine. Organic fabrics don’t look or feel any different from conventional fabrics. Just like organic food, the only difference seems to be in the price tag.

So it’s always with, I don’t know, relief perhaps, when I find support for the fact that textiles are filled with chemical substances that can gravely harm us. I just found a report by the Swedish Chemicals Agency which was asked by the Swedish government to develop proposals and principles for a piece of EU legislation on hazardous chemicals in textiles. (click here to read the entire report.). It was published in April 2013.


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Community Radio needs your help


Keep the voice of the community!

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:


by S Lowe 5THEFM newsonlinewattlerangenow

With just a few days to go to the Budget, we need you to put your voice behind 5THE FM and our fellow stations around Australia. Please click onto the link below and send you support to the treasurer.

The scrapping  of Community Radio removes community voice – your voice.

Please take the time to send your support.


S Lowe 5 THE FM Manager

Listeners please go to to email the Treasurer Joe Hockey.

We know how passionate listeners are about community broadcasting. Let’s turn that passion into action by emailing the Treasurer and call on him to make sure that cuts to community broadcasting funding aren’t included in the Federal Budget.

The more emails that are sent to the Treasurer (emails will also be copied to the Communications and Finance Ministers too), the greater chance we have of ensuring community broadcasting…

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Notes from the CSG blockades


Please spread this message – people need to be informed about what is ruining this country – greed!

Originally posted on Milkwood: homesteading skills for city & country:


Right now, multiple communities in NSW, QLD and beyond are in uproar and blockade mode against Coal Seam Gas (CSG) explortation – but you won’t see it on the news.

Why not? It’s hard to say – mainstream media is a many-horned creature. But there’s plenty of reporting going on about this citizens uprising all the same. Here’s some leads to look at… 

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Where Are The Gas Wells? Queensland, Australia


There are hundreds of these wells planned for SA’s Limestone Coast as well. I believe it’s time to kick out any governments who allow these atrocities to occur.

Originally posted on Damn the Matrix:

csg22This is scary as…….  worse, NONE of this gas is even produced for OUR consumption, it’s all headed overseas for profit, and even the profits aren’t staying here?  There’s NOTHING in it for us except destruction of our future on a grand scale….. and it MUST STOP.

Share widely please…..  the rest of Australia needs to wake up!

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Without the humble bee, the ecosystem and global food production will be doomed.

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It’s a problem the world over – but it needn’t be, if only humans changed THEIR behaviour.

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:

“Syngenta, Bayer and BASF’s bee-killing pesticides put global bee populations at risk. But without bees, the ecosystem and global food production will be doomed.”

− Francesco Panella, beekeeper and president of Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination.


Picture courtesy of


Syngenta, Bayer & BASF (“the bee-killers”) are giant multinational companies that produce and sell highly toxic pesticides, which are mass-killing bees and other pollinators essential for the environment, agriculture and global food production and don’t think for one minute we’re immune from this stupidity.

We indeed need to be vigilant here in Australia too and ask for the same bans – in fact I’ve noticed in the Southern Highlands a real decrease in bees down here in the last 10 years – please read the rest of this article and you’ll see the situation we could all find ourselves in.

The business with bee-killing pesticides generates a profit of…

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Another Open Letter to Tony Abbott


Let me say it again – I did NOT vote for this moron Abbott!

Originally posted on The Australian Independent Media Network:

TonyAbbottOpenLetterDear Tony Abbott

I’m writing to you again with the knowledge that you clearly haven’t read my previous correspondence, including this letter, this letter and this video. Since I wrote those letters, you have gone from my worst nightmare as an Opposition Leader, to an even worse nightmare of a Prime Minister. Yet, as I was reminded this week on Twitter, and as I would like to remind anyone who reads this letter, you aren’t a scary monster. Thinking of you has some scary creature underneath the bed is probably not very helpful because it gives you a status you don’t deserve (and I don’t like the idea of you being anywhere near my bed). But seriously Tony, to be scary and feared, you need to be successful. But when you look at your term as Prime Minister so far, it would be inaccurate to suggest you’ve been…

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Musos entertain protesters against unconventional mining


I used to say we haven’t had a civil war in this country, but it’s certainly getting closer to it now – those who are greedy and in favour of CSG, and those who believe in the right of everyone to have clean air and water.

Originally posted on WattleRangeNow:

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattle rangenow

 Fracking is on many peoples lips these day, since with the prospect of unconventional  mining in the South East becoming a possibility.  Information meetings have been held around the region in most communities. This article came across my desk today and I thought I’d pass it on to you. Musos including Dan Sultan (pictured) arrived to entertain protesters today.

It was first reported on Echonet daily.

Echonet Daily


Like a scene from a spy movie, seven cars pulled up at a guarded gate on Saturday afternoon, but instead of black suited secret agents, some of the north coast’s highest profile musos stepped out to surprise and support protectors at the Bentley Blockade which has now had people locked-on for six weeks.

Nick Hanlon and Amanda Shoebridge from Aussies Against Fracking organised the northern rivers super group that included Ash Grunwald, Kram from Spiderbait…

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What are we doing to the children?


Surely it’s time to take action against this atrocity?!

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

Americans live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet American children are less likely to live to age 5 than children in comparable nations – and I was shocked to find that America has the highest infant mortality rate in the industrialized world.[1]


Our children are especially vulnerable to the presence of toxic chemicals in their lives, and unfortunately this means that our children are sicker than we were as kids.

That is due to many different things, but one component can be found in changes to our environment. Since the middle of the last century, we have allowed a slew of chemicals (numbering now over 80,000) to be used in products – chemicals which were untested, many of which we now know to be harmful. In 2009, tests conducted by five laboratories in the U.S., Canada and Europe found up to 232 toxic chemicals in…

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Worm evolves to eat GM corn


A victory for Nature!

Originally posted on GMO Awareness:

worm eats corn After years of predicting it would happen — and after years of having their suggestions largely ignored by companies, farmers and regulators — scientists have documented the rapid evolution of corn rootworms that are resistant to Bt corn.

More here:

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This comical explaination really tells the true story of ME/CFS.

Announcing: David Holmgren & our Winter PDC


If I was 20 years younger I’d be right into this.

Originally posted on Milkwood: homesteading skills for city & country:


We are excited to announce that David Holmgren, co-originator of Permaculture, will be joining Nick as a special guest teacher on our Winter Permaculture Design Certificate course happening this July in Sydney.

Here’s why we think this is such a big deal:

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Telling Abbott the truth


At least one politician is speaking up…..

Originally posted on Café Whispers:

Green’s Senator Scott Ludlam welcomes Tony Abbott to Western Australia.

And Ludlam nails it. Seven minutes of hard-hitting truth.

Naturally, Tony Abbott won’t bother to listen to this speech. But thousands will.

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Groundwater in the Pilliga has now been poisoned with uranium, arsenic and other heavy metals as a result of CSG activities by Santos!

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Another horrendous situation that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 11.15.35 am
There was shocking news in the Sydney Morning Herald for the farmers of north-west NSW on Saturday – groundwater in the Pilliga had been poisoned with uranium, arsenic and other heavy metals as a result of CSG activities by Santos[1].After hearing the news on Saturday, farmers Mark and Cherie Robinson jumped into action, and today they will be at NSW Parliament in Sydney, demanding a halt to CSG drilling in NSW in the wake of the shocking confirmation of water impacts.

Mark and Cherie have a farm west of the Pilliga and they are completely dependent on groundwater.  They can’t survive without it. They’ve already shown incredible courage – both have been arrested stopping Santos drill rigs in the Pilliga over the last month – an extraordinary action for two hard-working, law-abiding farmers.

Will you stand with Mark and Cherie, and add your voice to their call to defend our…

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Our Prime Minister thinks logging companies are the “ultimate conservationists”. What do you think?

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Shame shame shame. Abbott seems determined to bring this country to its knees, by selling out to greedy businesses.

Originally posted on The 1910 Bottling Company Blog:

893581-dafd5462-8c95-11e3-873f-eea0d8e80762 event-3 d3s0906_rp034a

Here’s a man who thinks national parks are a commodity to be farmed and used. So tell me Tony, how do you you replace 2,000 year old trees and closed eco-systems that are hundreds and thousands of years old?? Surely tourism is a far longer and sustainable business proposition for the economy? Given the rest of the world appears set on bulldozing our forests for short term gains. Also you may not understand that tress absorb Carbon Dioxide and give us the Oxygen we in fact breath? The lungs of the world. Unfortunately trees can’t also absorb all the hot air from buffoons such as you – maybe this hot air released by countless twits in governments around the world is one of the major contributors to global warming?

The other night, Tony Abbott told the timber industry that too much native forest was “locked up” in national…

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How we’re protected from chemical exposures.


I certainly know from bitter experience, that the government in Australia failed and continues to fail to protect me from chemical damage. Governments have sold out to the multinational chemical companies.

Originally posted on O ECOTEXTILES:

I always thought I wouldn’t have to worry about some things – like, oh,  incoming missiles,  terrorist plots, and chemicals which could destroy me – because I thought my government would have something in place to protect me.  But the recent chemical spill in West Virginia changed that: for those of you who don’t know, that was a spill of  about 10,000 gallons of what is called a “coal cleaner”  into the Elk River, contaminating the water supply of 300,000 people.

When I first began looking into the chemicals used in fabrics, and finding out that the soft, luscious fabrics we surround ourselves with every day are filled with chemicals that can cause me grievous harm, I was stopped in my tracks when someone suggested that the government wouldn’t let those chemicals in products sold in the USA – so how could fabrics contain those chemicals?   I didn’t have an…

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