16.3 C
Byron Shire
October 3, 2022
Home Articles & Columns Tangle of Life

Tangle of Life

The tides of history on our sands

Clarkes Beach, like many other east Australian beaches, is much changed, again. The sand is swept away, exposing reefs and riffles of round rocks.

Time to act for all the people

Early afternoon on the 14 May, 2020 means this is a changing tide. The moon is in the last quarter. It is weeks into the pandemic lockdown, months since the last wildfire and drought here, and years into climate change.

Preserving our ecological jewels

Story & image Mary Gardner Remember, back before the pandemic, the long dry months during our Black Summer of wildfires? The Northern Rivers region was...

Time to change or expect a seven metre sea rise

Each of us is an individual world maintained within a larger collective world. So are all the other living things.

There is no life without water: time to save

Yes, the recent rain is wonderful, but acting on water use restrictions must become our usual way of life, at least until the drought is over.

Creating spaces for nature

With the closing of the Byron sewage treatment plant, people minimised their industrial presence. In these conditions, nature’s healing processes took over.

Another take on ticks: ’tis the season

Without my friend noticing, a creature smaller than a little fingernail was perched on a stem of grass and leapt to the safety of his sock.

What to do NOW after climate change march?

Children, teens and all their supporters, what do you do after the excitement of the recent climate change marches? There’s no quick fix.

The small fry in a world of baleen giants

Like others that day at the Cape Byron lighthouse, David Bryant saw this small whale ride a wave. Skilled photographer that he is, he had his camera to the ready and took this photo that has flashed its way through media around the world.

Protocols, process, and system failures

In the lagoon, the pace of winter life during the long dry seems pretty settled. The growth of small estuarine prawns slows down. Bream now five years old are grown up, itching for saltwater and their winter spawn.

Will the ‘Ozzie otter’ vanish along with the other 1,000,000 threatened species?

The Australian otter is not otter an at all and while there were once plenty, loss of habitat through development and roads means their numbers are falling.

A vision for the future of Byron’s wetlands

Could the future of West Byron lands lead the regeneration of seafood supply in the Belongil catchment and the sub-tropic region from the Richmond to the Brunswick?

Are there more sharks in our waters?

Are there more sharks or have we just become accustomed to vanishing species in our midst?

Long lost relative or ‘exotic’ plant?

The Heliconia started their spectacular annual display of red and gold in late November. What is so compelling about them?

Coastal squeeze and preparing for a future of climate change

Development in floodplains and on shores means walls, roads, residences, and every kind of construction are built. As the sea levels rise, the low-water mark marches landward to meet these barriers. The space between is shrinking or disappearing.

Should we feel free to pee in the sea?

As the holiday season gets underway, this toilet block, as does every other near the beach, becomes one of the busiest places in Byron Shire.

Bird’s eye view of our parklands

Although many municipal plans aim to cool off hot towns, improve waterways and protect human health, they can also support wildlife. Plans in Byron Shire can become exercises in empathy.

Trees or biotechnological genetic rescue?

We peered through the branches amazed to see this colourful bird, resting one wing awkwardly. By the next day it would be dead.

Death of a platypus leaves unanswered questions

We found it dead on the sand near the mouth of the Tallow’ the woman said. The corpse stunk a little but I hardly noticed. I was so astonished. What was this platypus doing here? Who knew there were any around this side of Byron Bay? How did it live? As importantly, how did it die?

The trouble with lichen

What lichens truly are is still startling. One apparently global species turns out to be made of one species of fungi with a different species of algae depending which hemisphere it finds itself.

Will species synchronicity lead to ecological collapse?

Parrots are often called the primates of the bird world. They are intelligent, playful and determined, grasping and changing their world using their feet and beaks like hands holding scissors.

Batting for bats: their vital role in forestry

Flying foxes live life large across the landscape. They are the chief pollinators and seed carriers for many species of forest trees.

Join the BioBlitz and discover aquatic mysteries

On the 12th of May take a few minutes and help track down the elusive mysterious highly prized wild shellfish reefs and beds somewhere near you.

Equinox signs from the bridge: How nature tells the future

I pause on the bridge over the Tallow. My senses are full of the changes with the recent equinox. The signs are all around.

It’s not over till the big trucks fill

It’s not a done deal. The swamplands that define Byron Bay are crippled but still alive. The NSW Joint Regional Planning Panel is still debating how mega-development of West Byron might harm the Cumbebin Nature Reserve and the Belongil waterway.

Ancient anger a potent symbol for modern times

This replica nawi, unlike the bark canoe at the Maritime Museum, is oversized and made of steel. It is moored at a cove at Barangaroo, the inner city place named after a Cammeraygal woman.

Explore the waterways and let curiosity lead

Where to go during the holidays? Try following waterways and discovering waterplaces. Start with a ramble down some path or an hour along a shore: curiosity will take over. Where did this water come from? What is it doing now? Where might it go? What does it mean?

It’s time to plan the urban forest: Let’s grow trees

In our town, from December to January, each Royal Poinciana Delonix regia blooms. The magnificent red flowers cascade over the soft green leaves.

Fly free from toxic chemical use

From the days of the dinosaurs, birds have been an integral part of our world. People have always watched and listened to them and members of a wise culture would also be learning from them. But are we?

What is in a true name?

By night, the nearby ICOLLs are creatures inhabiting my dreams. Intermittently Closed and Open Lake or Lagoon (ICOLL) is the proper name for the Richmond and the Brunswick, the Belongil and the Tallow waterways.

Stop and take a moment to smell the flowers

Though I am on my way to somewhere else, I pause at the mangroves. They are a steadfast shelter as the fierce winds shift. Their roots steady the muddy bank under my feet.

Being weather wise in the subtropics is smart

Living in the subtropics – even for a short while as a visitor – means becoming weather wise. Of course there’s a fire ban. No open fires, especially on the beach. No tossing of cigarettes either.

They dance across the the concrete heart of town

These very old trees in the Railway Park, Byron Bay, are a mystery. With camera in hand, I walk around this living sculpture. These native beach hibiscus (Hibiscus tilaceus) are locked in on three sides by the buildings, cars of a busy street and a rough parking lot.

Doomsday or recovery? Time to heed the whispers in the leaves

Neutinamu is Korean for elm tree. I saw this elder Zelkova in Seoul last month. It’s 1,300 years old, part of the Yonggungsa Temple founded in 650 AD. Around its base are roofing tiles with prayers and pleas written by devout Buddhists. Perhaps the chalk dust of these intentions mingle with the tree’s own perceptions. After all, trees sense through their leaves and roots.

Loving Byron to death

Let’s upskill ourselves as citizens, developers and council before we disturb another metre of these beautiful landscapes and wet ecosystems.

From Byron to Paris, history comes alive

From Byron Bay to Notre Dame, Paris! At the entrance, police openly tout heavy machine guns, casually monitoring the swarm of idle visitors and devout churchgoers in the great stone plaza.

Business as usual is not the path to sustainability

Sustainability is a powerful way of thinking about the impact of our activities. In spite of attempts to trivialise the idea, it has deep...

Tangle of Life: The buzz on repelling mosquitoes

Emergency resilience. My phrase for our knowledge and practices from year to year in response to great ecological cycles. One of these is water, turning from scarcity to deluge and back.

Fossil-fuel-promoting ‘criminals’ are killing the Reef

In the calm of 29 March, the three of us met at the beach in Byron Bay. As we soaked in the sea at low tide, we talked about preparing our houses and farms for the rainfall expected from the tail end of Cyclone Debbie.

‘Sad and distressing’: massive numbers of bird deaths in Australian heatwaves reveal a profound loss is looming

Heatwaves linked to climate change have already led to mass deaths of birds and other wildlife around the world. To stem the loss of biodiversity as the climate warms, we need to better understand how birds respond.

CWA push for improved maternity services

The W in CWA stands for Women and the CWA have been standing up for women yet again during their recent webinar and annual Awareness Week campaign.

Chris Minns visits Kingscliff to look at floodplain development risks

The potential future risks and costs of flooding to the community and government if approved, but yet to be built, housing is allowed to go ahead in floodplains was under the spotlight last week in Kingscliff.

The Tweed Artisan Food Festival is almost here

The sixth Tweed Artisan Food Festival will be held at the end of the month – the festival runs for 10 days with 20 curated events showcasing the people, the place and the produce of the Tweed.