Friday, 15 June 2012

Wildlife; hunting; and CSG

This is a bit of a grab bag of issues but they are all connected more or less.

A couple of days ago Hazel from fnkykntr posted about seeing a kangaroo punch-up while walking.   This morning I watched something similar from my study,  That looks very like a Vulcan Death-grip being applied.
 Needless to say when I attempted to get closer for a better image they immediately struck the famous "butter wouldn't melt in my mouth" pose.
The roos here seem to move around through properties and generally be more or less in balance with their environment.  So we don't bother about them and they don't bother about us, only moving off slowly when the small dog suggests - from the end of her lead - that they should move on.

In some other environments, such as Canberra Nature Park, the 'roos are well above carrying capacity as the McMansions crowd in on their habitat.  Needless to say the ACT Government can only see one option - control the roo population rather than control the development lobby.  Said Government is also sub-optimal in the way they handle their decisions with the transparency of their processes being similar to that of a brick wall.   (Equally, the recent behaviour of some opponents of the control measures, in cutting fences, has been extremely anti-social allowing the Government to justify the secrecy of their decision making on the grounds of necessity.)

That leads on to the matter  of the NSW Government decision to allow hunters in to National Parks.  Rather than preventing the public accessing the Parks while shooting is going on the NSW approach is to allow bushwalkers to share the Parks with bullets!   I am reminded of the some famous folk songs:
  • one by Pete Seeger "Where have all the flowers gone?" which could have a new verse "Where have all the hikers gone?" to which the response would be "Shot by hunters everyone"; and
  • another by Bob Dylan "Blowing in the Wind".  That already includes the line "How many deaths will it take ..." to which the existing response "Too many people have died" seems appropriate.
On the subject of deaths from hunting this link is to an archetypal example.  As always the hunting lobby say that the killer in this case is not a "real hunter".   A recent post on the Nature of Robertson refers to this type of behaviour by NZ hunters as an example of 'buck fever', which seems very similar to predatory drift in dogs.

I will confess to having a small problem with this image from a protest about the hunters:
The sign has the emphasis totally on 'no hunting' rather than the key issue of not in National Parks and Nature Reserves.  This enables a ready response from the Shooters of "They're just extremists who want to ban all guns."

The other issue that is not getting covered in the current debate is why is the Shooters Party getting traction in the 21st Century?  From my view, at least part of this is that the process of getting a gun legally (eg to control rabbits on your own property) is so frustrating that a mob (sic) who offer to make that process more sensible can seem attractive to unwary, but otherwise reasonable, people.  Thus the Shooters underlying philosophy - demonstrated by this image - gets overlooked.  I have no problem with gun control, but when it is acting as a recruiting tool for a bunch of extreme right wingers (and not controlling illegal guns) the model needs to be improved.

Coal Seam Gas
This section of this post was stirred by an excellent post on the Parliamentary Library Flagpost blog about the processes associated with Coal Seam Gas extraction.

This took me back to 1981 when we lived in Denver.  Frances had an exchange posting there working as a librarian at Kearney Middle School in Commerce City, Adams County.  This was not an upper-class part of the State of Colorado: Commerce City is famous for meat works; railway yards and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
As can be seen from the image the school is a kilometre from the edge of the Arsenal.  On day at school Frances went to put her hand on a filing cabinet and it moved away from her.  This was not an hallucination but a Richter 4.5 earthquake.  According to residents of the Mile High City to whom we spoke, the cause of this was well known:

  • one of the functions of the Arsenal was the storage of chemical weapons that were past their use-by date.
  • the storage had been achieved by drilling very deep holes and putting the containers of chemicals down them.
  • unfortunately being in the flood plain of the South Platte River the very deep holes tended to fill with water - not real good when associated with very nasty chemicals.  So the water was pumped out.
  • it was then found that the water had been lubricating the gradual and smooth movement of rocks.  With no lubricant the rocks moved jerkily: this is called an earth tremor!
  • apparently there had never been an earth tremor in the area prior to the pumping,  After the pumping started they were getting many per year: the one I mention was a particularly severe example.

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