is perth always going to be a good place to live?

no.  because it is becoming unsustainably big too quickly.  driven by an obsession with growth

i agree that growth of major regional hubs like perth is inevitable.  populations grow.  if organic growth is moderate it can be planned.  some real sustainability can get traction.  growth based on planning that takes into account all the important stuff is good.  our variety is bad, really terrible

what upsets me is the race to grow faster and become bigger than other cities.  just for the sake of growing.  faster growth than “competitors” has become an obsession, more important than anything else.  the mantra is “growth is good, it is the only thing that matters.”  things get rushed.  bad stuff happens

here are some of the problems that will bite us on the arse.  soon.  because our growth outstrips out ability our ability to think and cope

getting around.  the roads can’t cope.  it’s going to get worse.  our public transport is rubbish – that’s why nobody wants to use it.  perth sprawls over 100km n to s.  getting around on buses and too few train lines isn’t easy.  and it is so s-l-o-w.  get in the car.  i do.  everybody i know does.  there is no public transport master plan.  there should be.  transport investment decisions get put back.  they shouldn’t

water.  get used to water restrictions.  they are here to stay.  why do we keep encouraging people from everywhere to come live in perth?  and put even more pressure on the water supply.  i support water restrictions on a permanent basis.  we waste way too much.  we still use more than we should.  but water restrictions are not the answer in a drying climate.  wetlands are being drained due to ground water abstraction.  this is not good for the ecological balance.  birds suffer

violence.  as cities grow so does crime.  particularly person on person violence.  nobody knows why.  i reckon it is because big populations cause both our society to lose people and then offer anonymity to their subsequent criminal response.  it’s easier to be a stat on the wrong side of the line in a big place

environment.  what’s that?  good question.  it gets done over every time the mantra of growth is worshipped.  we have to have growth.  it’s good for everyone.  it’s needed to secure the future of our kids.  blah blah. it’s like a hampster on a wheel.  what does it bring?  gridlock, water shortage, violence, read on.  we need a healthy environment to survive.  one day we will pass the point of no return.  already the swan river is buggered.  the wetlands are drylands.  may as well fill them in for more urban development.  why not.  nothing lives there!

prices.  remember when perth was small and not booming?  the cost of stuff like houses, services, local foods etc. was pretty reasonable.  getting by is now on more people’s daily agenda.  stuff costs a heap here.  lots of different reasons.  none of them good.  profiteering cloaked in supply and demand arguments.  it’s all circular – gridlock, water shortages and environmental degradation help cause high prices, in turn feeding violence.  we have established our very own eco system.  not a good one.  i prefer the original

debt, charges and taxes.  the bigger the city, the higher the charges.  check anywhere in the world, it’s true.  join the dots.  the bigger we get, the more we will pay.  where have all the proceeds from the boom gone?  into feeding the growth machine.  the hampster will never reach its destination.  apparently this is good for everybody??

twenty q & a

i couldn’t think a subject to blog on, so i asked myself a few questions.  it’s always healthy to check who you are.  too often we concentrate on what we are

20 questions to the confounded birder

  1.  q are you in a regular job?  i am right now but stopping full time toil at the end of october 2013 to concentrate on more birding.  maybe do some consulting and/or a board position or two.  one job confirmed at this time.  i will also volunteer to something i believe in
  2. q when did you start birding, give us a background?  a when i was about 10, encouraged by my parents and cards in the weetbix box.  in 1st year high school a friend recently arrived from england turned out to be a birder.  the birdman – another boy birder in 1969!
  3. q what about the many years between 1967 and now?    a   i kept  birding during my single years.  averted my eyes in the early years of marriage and kids.  made a big comeback with the birdman around 10 years ago
  4. q favourite birding expedition as a kid?  a  birdman and me had a few days on the southern group of the abrolhos islands when we were about 14.  we had the run of the islands including pelsart in a tinny.  fantastic
  5. q do you get crook on pelagics?  a  never used to, but i have felt like gakking in recent times.  now i take my best friend travacalm (real stuff).  magic
  6. q do you believe in destiny?  a  only when i get something wrong.  that’s often.  but i prefer to believe in my free will. especially when things go right.
  7. q what do you feel strongly about?  a  conservation that is in-your-face absolutely necessary.  see my post in alarm calls
  8. q favourite food and drink?  a  fresh bbq atlantic salmon with lemon juice.  see my tips.  favourite drink is nature’s miracle beverage, choc milk (but not so great for me).  mostly mineral water con gas and pepsi max.  i don’t drink alcohol
  9. q anchovies on pizza?  a  yep, and then some
  10. q where would you live if not in western australia?  a   somewhere in southern patagonia, argentina
  11. q what porcelain bird do you covet most?  a  a nymphenburg raven figurine, real size.  if it can be found the price will be exy
  12. q will the dockers ever win a flag?  a  dockers supporters give no regard to trinkets and baubles
  13. q where is your next birding specific expedition?  a  tasmanian pelagic, sailing from eaglehawk.  in september 2013
  14. q birdwatcher or twitcher?  a  bitcher
  15. q what policies should government introduce to help save the planet?  a bwahaha, pollies and policies can’t save anything.  technology can
  16. q does that mean you are in favour of genetically modified foods?  a  my unscientific thoughts.  probs ok for humans, but probs bad for the natural ecology that has already been through disruptive adaptation.  If there are no bugs then birds and ecological stability will suffer.  can’t be good
  17. q speed cameras … revenue raisers or road safety devices?  a  cash registers.  i do agree with point to point speed enforcement cameras – which are not used in wa
  18. q what would happen if more people were birders?  a  the world would be a far better place
  19. q what is your bogey bird?  a  it used to be (male) Myiagra rubecula leaden flycatcher, got him in the never never country in jan 2013.  now it is Turnix velox little button-quail
  20. q do you have a favourite bird?  a  no, but the bird that stunned me speechless when I first spotted it was  Coracina lineata barred cuckoo-shrike.  really fab


sort of up and going …

getting closer to a working website.  two forward, one dot nine back.  no real plans for format or workings, just what comes to mind, either yours or mine.  most pages and posts will have something to do with birds in one loose way or another.  political comment is made for one of two reasons – either conservation or for the betterment of our natural history or birds.  no fear or favour here.  i don’t think greens are a viable answer.  because they have broadened their social platform.  loopy and out of their depth

i have a photo gallery under development – this does take a long time and then some.  my mission here – get much better photos, draw people in to take a look and have a think about what birds may mean to them or their surroundings.  that’s all

the fallacy of “seek wisdom”

images-1the university of western australia has as its credo ‘seek wisdom’, often accompanied by a tagline of “achieving international excellence”

let me say at this point i have a certain level of fondness for uwa.  i did my first degree there.  2 of my kids have studied at uwa.  it is in a beautiful location and the grounds and buildings for the most part are magnificent.  sandstone and exotic trees.  uwa has produced an enviable array of world class practitioners from its schools and has a notable alumni

but i have lost respect for uwa.  it has an apparent obsession with international rankings that falls well short of wisdom.  why?  because it causes the uni chiefs to lose sight of what is most important – that being a beacon of local knowledge and laying a pathway for other community members to follow.  rather than seeking local wisdom and demonstrating it in a real “touch it, feel it” sense to all western australians it is consumed by investment in infrastructure and ego development without giving thought to its consequences.  just to meet some formulaic requirement of various popular media and demonstrate ‘progress’ up the uni league tables.  for what decent purpose?

an example to all birders and avian students

MC900053207pegCalyptorhynchus latirostris (carnaby’s cockatoo) has this status

  • Endangered Schedule 1 – Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act

  • EndangeredFederal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act


Calyptorhynchus latirostris  is endemic to the south-west of wa.  the population of Calyptorhynchus latirostris has halved in the last 40 years


the major threat to the survival of Calyptorhynchus latirostris is habitat destruction on the swan coastal plain.  not even uwa disputes this


Calyptorhynchus latirostris is an active user of bushland located in shenton park (underwood avenue).  this bushland is owned by uwa


this patch of bushland is one of the last few remaining stands of native timber on the swan coastal plain suitable to the life history of Calyptorhynchus latirostris

MC900053207peguwa persisted in its efforts to sell/develop more than half of this land for housing

MC900053207pegits wisdom suggests this action will not harm the survival prospects of Calyptorhynchus latirostris.

such leadership and wisdom by uwa!  not.  why would supposedly enlightened people do this?  are they blindsided by ego and the clamour for better scores on the international league tables?  to what end?

uwa has let down the wa community rather than pave the way with wisdom.  it shamed its own credo.

as somebody remarked (i am not sure who), allowing Calyptorhynchus latirostris to become extinct in this century is a greater travesty than the elimination of the tasmanian tiger.  agreed.  shame uwa.

wisdom gets worse.  i pinched the following extract from the nedlands electors association (inc) website;

in 2008 premier colin barnett (then an opposition back bencher) pleaded with the labor government to save this ‘rare and significant’ site from development saying:

“[i have] come to appreciate the special significance of the underwood avenue site . . . the jarrah, banksias and tuart woodland which is without comparison on the swan coastal plain . . . may I suggest that the government negotiate with uwa, with a view to acquiring the site and paying reasonable compensation”

premier barnett now says the issue has “moved on” since he wrote the letter.  moved on by this much:

“the other issue is a lot of urban subdivisions are being caught up with federal legislation and i’m not shifting the blame but its all to do with carnaby’s black- cockatoos and its just becoming ridiculous.  if you go up high rise buildings in the city and look over the city it’s a green city there are trees, parks bushland areas everywhere and yet we are finding that property development and land subdivision are being restricted by issues of biodiversity and so called endangered species. i think its grossly exaggerated”  (transcript from Radio 6pr 1 april 2010)

good one colin, you must have driven past uwa and got some “seek wisdom”.  i don’t know about the labor party and mark mcgowan, probably more of the same.  i will do some checking and leave a post

 i don’t think much of the collected wisdom of our ‘leading’ university and politicians.  no real wisdom at all