Renewed threat of cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park

Tawonga Hut, in the Alpine National Park, surrounded by cattle in 2004.

Tawonga Hut in the Alpine National Park, surrounded by cattle in 2004.

I’m fed up. The previous Labor government in Victoria stopped cattle grazing in the Alpine National Park in 2005. Now the current LNP coalition government wants to put them back.

They are introducing cattle back into parts of the national park, ostensibly as “scientific” trials. So we’ve become like the Japanese with their “scientific” harvesting of whales. The Federal Minister for the Environment is letting this go ahead. Why?? Time for another fight to save the fragile, pristine environment of the Alpine National Park.

What is the point of designating an area as a national park if cattle can graze there? Doesn’t the term “national park” mean anything any more? When are the LNP politicians and their cronies going to understand “no means no”?

If you want to learn more about this issue, go here. This link also gives you a chance to send an email to the Premier of Victoria, and donate to the cause.

Climate change action

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is running a campaign of letter writing and petitions to try and convince the Senators and MPs that our current climate change laws and the bodies (such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation) set up to combat climate change are working and should not be abandoned.

If you feel the same way as the ACF, go here to help them with their campaign. And spread the word if you can.

Ringtail possum

A very acrobatic ringtail possum.

A very acrobatic ringtail possum.

Last year I noticed a mother ringtail possum and her 2 kids using the balcony of my house as a walkway to get to the nearest trees. They were not living in my house at that time. For a while after that I lost sight of these possums.

Last night, while I was looking out of my kitchen window, a ringtail possum walked across the window sill carrying what looked like nest-building materials wrapped in its prehensile tail. Ringtail possums are almost never found nesting in houses – they much prefer trees, so I was curious.

Next morning, I went outside and examined the walls of my house, especially the space between the top of the wall and the roof. Sure enough, there is a possum nest on top of one wall. I took out the ladder and climbed up to have a better look. There were 2 possums living in it, possibly the juveniles I saw last year. Evidently they have decided the rolled up plastic lattices I put up to prevent blackbirds from nesting there make an ideal possum nest.

You can go here to see more pictures of these cute, furry animals.

The battle with environmental weeds

Sweet Pittosporum

Sweet Pittosporum trees growing along a street near my house. This tree is a major invasive weed in the nearby national park.

I belong to a group of crazy people who goes into a national park to remove environmental weeds. We cover an area slightly over 1,000 hectares. Weeds spread into the park from the surrounding suburban gardens, from abandoned house sites within the park, and from illegal rubbish dumping.

Weeds spreading from surrounding suburbs into the national park is a constant source of annoyance to us. The most invasive is a tree called Pittosporum undulatum, or sweet pittosporum, an Australian native prized for its sweet-smelling flowers and shady habit. BUT it does not belong in my local national park!

The local city council does offer cash payments for removal of weed trees, but there is very little publicity about it. Apathy and inaction abound. It’s heart-breaking to spend years removing pittosporum trees from the national park, only to find them growing profusely along the streets in my neighbourhood.

I think it’s time for a concerted campaign to rid the suburbs surrounding the national park of this highly invasive weed. Any ideas, anyone?

Do you feel like hugging some coal?

Photo courtesy of FreeFoto.com.

Photo courtesy of FreeFoto.com.

Things are getting weird. The mining industry has set up a website called Australians for Coal. It extols the virtues of the coal industry. The website also wants you to write to your local MPs showing how much you support the coal industry.

Really?

The coal industry appears to be living in an alternate universe.

Never mind, here is a way to fight back. Go to this website set up by the Australian Conservation Foundation. Have your say. Tell your MP how much you really love coal.