good nature news and bad nature news

Bunnings has decided to stop selling Round Up and other pesticides containing neonicotinoids or glysophate.  Yay! A victory for environmental activists around the world.

from Friends of the Earth website
https://foe.org/neonicotinoids-glyphosate/


When I started gardening in the early 80s I knew of the dangers of using toxic chemicals against insect pests. But everyone thought Round Up was different, was safe. It was said to be a systemic spray that you sprayed on the leaves, went down to the roots and killed the plant by depriving it of necessary growth hormones. It wasn't supposed to be toxic to insects at all.

By the early 2000s reports about the toxicity of neonics had started to appear. Research showed that the worrying drop in bee populations could be attributed at least in part to these chemicals. This class of pesticide was shown to affect bees' navigation and immune systems, leading to colony death.

Sunday Age January 14, 2018

Research and political advocacy grew to a fever pitch, and now Bunnings has heard and acted. Bunnings seems to be such a responsible green corporation. It even said that the harm of these chemicals hadn't been scientifically proved, but it didn't want to take the risk. Yet the goal has been to remove the chemicals from the shelves by the end of 2018.

Is Bunnings giving us a dose of greenwashing? If it's such a risk, can't it done in less than a year? The European Union has been restricting use of pesticides harmful to bees since 2010. Here in Australia there are no such bans.


Now to the bad, sad news.

At the moment the Victorian government is financing some big infrastructure projects in Melbourne. It announced it was going to remove 223 mature trees to make way for the new underground railway line. There was an uproar and they worked out ways to reduce the number of trees cut down. But there are still a lot going - more than 70 trees.

To sweeten the pill they said at the end of the project they would plant twice the number of trees. As if it is possible to replace elm trees planted in the late 19th century and London Plane trees planted in the 1960s!


The city needs better public transport services, but the harm done to the environment by the loss of these trees is huge. Those trees provided habitat and food to support the wildlife in our city. They provided shade cover and filtered traffic fumes and noise. They improved our mental health.

There were other ways to design the tunnel in order to preserve these trees. They could have dug a deeper tunnel, or located the station in another place. These alternatives might have been less convenient and more expensive. This choice of design shows the government does not understand or value the tremendous benefits of these old established trees.

We nature advocates have got a tough job on our hands influencing government policies like these.


Comments

  1. Any time we can get rid of neonicinonoids it’s a victory for the environment, to say nothing about common sense. It is encouraging to see a pollinator in your picture.

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    1. It's scary what has happened to bees. Because Australia an island I think so far there's no virroa mite here.

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  2. Ugh! One hand giveth and the other taketh away. Australia's retailers are ahead of ours in the US on the Round-up issue, although many gardeners I know adamantly reject its use and use every opportunity to protest its sale. Meanwhile, the current resident of our White House shows absolutely no regard for the environment or preservation of the country's natural resources but at least California is fighting the federal government's intrusions in every way it can. Hopefully, US voters will take the trash out of Congress this year and clear out the White House in 2020.

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  3. Sigh. Our Northborne Avenue is a sad shadow of its self as ALL the trees were removed to make way for the tram line. We are told they will be replaced, but...
    I suspect Bunnings is slow because it has contracts with the suppliers of Roundup and similar poisons. I hope that is the reason for them dragging their size ten feet.

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    1. Makes sense, I shouldn't always be so cynical. Our St Kilda Road will be like your Northborne Avenue.

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  4. Oh, that is terribly sad about the upcoming loss of those mature trees! But good news about the company deciding to ban Round-Up. It seems like we're constantly taking two steps forward and one step back; or sometimes, two steps forward and three steps back. Aldo Leopold's quote speaks to me: “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

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    1. in a world of wounds, we were called trolls for whining about plastic when other people are worried about the real problem. Save water in the drought. Who cares about plastic in landfill or the ocean. We can worry about that later.

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    2. I remember reading about an indigenous group somewhere that referred to white people as children, because they were amazed at how they were unable to delay their gratification.

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  5. The removal of trees in Melbourne is similar to what happened in Sydney to make way for the new light rail to the Eastern Suburbs. In Sydney’s case, century old trees along Anzac Parade were to be removed. The transport minister stated that at least two trees would be planted to replace each tree felled....elsewhere one presumes. Such a tragedy.

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    1. such an avoidable tragedy - the fear is people will only realize what they've missed when it's too late. What happened in Sydney sounds similar to what is happening now in Melbourne.

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  6. I agree, it's a bad news cutting down adult trees to the detriment of the environment and the interests of the inhabitants.
    I believe that they can always find another solution. In our city tunnels were laid deep, although the soil is very bad.

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    1. Hi Nadezda, your city sounds very progressive in this respect.

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  7. OMG, and that is considering that Australian government is more responsible to the environment than ours! That is really sad. In this country, because heads of government always change, environment is always secondary to greed! And that happened just recently when an active environmentalist Gina Lopez as head of the environment and natural resources was rejected by the Commission on Appointment. It was rumored that the miners in government is against her. This is extremely sad for our country.

    Re-ur comment in my last post. Thank you very much. As for the specific bees visiting specific flowers, i guess it is the form and characteristics of their proboscis, as some flowers have very long neck that only very long proboscis can reach the bottom.

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    1. Yes - pollinators and pollinatees need to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle! What you said about the Phillipines is relevant to our country. Our so called Minister for the Environment seems more like the Minister against the Environment. Supports new coal mines and fracking!

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  8. Good news. If I go back a number of years ago bumble bees were a common site in the Scottish garde, very few of them these days. Bad news about the trees.

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  9. I often wonder whether the alternatives are less expensive. Has anyone ever calculated the benefits of trees? If not, they should.

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