"[1930 will be] a splendid employment year"
~ U.S. Dept of Labor, New Year's Forecast, December 1929
The above quote reminds me of our latest Federal election campaign slogan "Jobs and Growth". I would love to see everyone in our region enjoying gainful employment and having the satisfaction of building and strengthening our local community. I just can't see how it can be done in a globalised economy where resources are so very diminished. Perhaps the way forward for everyday people like myself is to develop a flourishing household economy and work with like-minded people in my local community to build a more resilient local economy. What do you think?
I was disappointed but not surprised recently to read this article regarding the axing of the British Climate Change Department. The BBC Horizon has done a really good documentary called Global Weirding, which discusses the very weird weather extremes we see happening all over the world. As part of my investigation into my local bio-region for my permaculture studies I had to report on weather extremes. Like many parts of the eastern coast of Australia the coastline of our bio-region is occasionally exposed to direct cyclone activity. The cyclone season starts November 1 and finishes on April 30. We also experience low pressure systems that cause gale force winds along the coast and heavy rains. October through April brings our “summer” storm season which bring strong winds, heavy rain, hail and repeated lightning strikes.
Our area reaches fire danger ratings of high, very high and at times extreme. This is usually during spring and early summer before the monsoonal rains begin.
We are experiencing more frequent heatwaves and this winter which is our dry season has seen the region receive unusually heavy rainfalls resulting in riverine flooding. In 2011 we had a one in 100 year flood, in 2013 we experienced a one in three hundred year flood as well as a number of tornado's . The flooding was mitigated to some extent by Paradise Dam.
Paradise Dam is just one of a number of dams in our region that service the local population. There are also large underground aquifers and the dams are supposed to prevent the aquifers being drawn upon too heavily. The water table is lowered when the aquifer is drawn on too much which results in salt water intrusion into the water table. The water use of the aquifer is now considered to be at safe levels and is managed to ensure salt water intrusion is prevented. Irrigators are issued licences to draw on the aquifer up to a certain maximum amount which depends on the rainfall rather than the amount stored in the aquifer. This means in dry years their allocation is reduced.
The Bio-regions indigenous vegetation include:
- Wallum Heath – flora rich heathland on poor acid soil, plants include banksia, eucalyptus, sundews, various wild flowers, tea trees, acacias, pea plants and paperbarks
- Costal Dunes – Vegetation in these areas are vulnerable due to being buffeted by coastal conditions. Common vegetation in these areas are; she oaks, pigface, and Ipomoea pes-caprae known as Beach Morning Glory (this looks a bit like Ipomoea batatas Sweet Potato)
- Mangroves and Saltmarshes – Grey Mangrove Avicennia marina, and the Stilted Mangrove Rhiszophora stylosa
- Closed wet heath- also rich in flora on poor soil with acid water in swamps and bogs. Common species include Swamp banksia, Banksia robur; Tea trees, Leptospermum; and wallum boronia, Boronia falcifolia
- Dry Sclerophyll Forest – species include Hickory Wattle, Acacia Aulacocarpa; Coast Banksia Banksia Integrifolia; White Cypress, Callitris Columellaris
- Remnant Rainforest - Vegetation includes Hoop pine, Isis Tamarind and Yellow boxwood, blood vine and wonga vine.
We have at least 15 separate recognised wetlands in the province.
Is it any wonder after studying permaculture I feel so much more deeply connected to my patch and the region in which it is situated? As I learn more about this wonderful region, it opens up to me in a deeper and more complex way allowing me to discover yet more on a continuing journey of growth and discovery. As I walk the earth I feel I am more a part of it than ever before.