Need for Peoples' Commission into bushfires & climate

As elections are one of the only times governments and oppositions take notice of public issues, do you think the potential of Natural Sequence Farming should become an issue.

Over the last years billions of dollars have gone into so called 'fixes' for our problems and now more billions are being poured down possibly another deep hole.

Do you think NSF should be given adequate funds to either prove or disprove it's theories?

Let us know your thoughts here.

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Need for Peoples' Commission into bushfires & climate

Postby sheilan » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:27 am

Need for a Peoples' Commission into Bushfires using Climate change activism

I am Posting this to NSF and other places in hope of raising some interest.
This post draws attention to the fact that the Climate Change movement has marshalled a lot of people who are potential activists but they seem to be chasing their tails on global abstractions and ignoring urgent tasks on the ground - notably to do with preventing deforestation, land-clearing, rehabilitating soil and soil cover - and preventing drying of forests by rehydrating them and protecting them and thus Victoria (and other parts of Australia) from increasing bushfire danger and the prospect of turning into lifeless ovens.

As some of you know by now, I edit and write at Today I wrote that candobetter needs a writer who is actually attending and reporting on the Royal Commission into the Bushfires.

At the time of the bushfires in Victoria, a lot of people interacting on candobetter felt that the Royal Commission would be yet another media manipulation and we felt that perhaps the best way to deal with the problem would be to hold a Peoples' Commission outside (and film it) and discuss what really happened, notably which parts burned the most badly (i.e. the most cleared and managed forests) and how more burning off (loudly called for) ultimately meant total destruction.

The need to do this has not gone away.

Victoria already has climate change refugees huddled in tents and caravans in the harsh winter cold. You would think that Anti-Climate Change activists would seize on the danger of Victoria becoming an even worse furnace this summer and embrace the concept of rehydrating forests and using aircraft to immediately arrest fires at their ignition spots.

Is there anyone out there in NSF or anywhere who is tuned into this problem and active in the Anti-Climate Change movement?

Background to my above comments is cut and pasted below:

Commission - a token minimum to quell reactive public dissent
On August 8th, 2009 Tigerquoll says:

Brumby's Royal Commission is a political bandaid and distraction to pacify an understandably angry Victorian public, some of whom have lost everything from the fires. But it is hollow. It will seek and assign blame. It will suggest one size fits all solutions. Its terms of reference fail to require a scientific root causse analysis. It will not recommend funding to get what needs to prevent a reoccurrence. It will not commission a permanent investigative unit of bush arson criminologists.

Brumby will use it as a political tool that like the enquiries before it in Victorian and interstate will have done the token minimum to quell reactive public dissent.
There will be no investment into 'state-of-the-art' bushfire detection, no military speed respond and suppression with the best available airborne and ground resources.

Don't be silly. This would cost too much! It is all about maintaining the convenient status quo with a bit of rebranding, spin and throwing money at window dressing

Watch! As soon as the Commission's final report is released, Brumby’s government will pacify the crowd and announce this window dressing, then within days his governent's media spin machine will shift the public's attention on to some 'critically important' issue deliberately to assign the bushfire chapter to history. Perhaps Brumby could use his obscenely wasteful desal extravagance. he does have to think positively about the next election. Perhaps he may declare war on New South Wales. War has always served to distract the populous from the important issues of the day - look at George W!

In the end, the archaic and grossly under-resourced volunteer-dependent fire fighting agencies that we entrust to put out bushfires will push the propaganda that if the more the bush is burned it won't burn.

So thin the entire bush! Destroy all the thick undergrowth because it is dangerous 'fuel'. It is evil! It will mean that when a wildfire comes through there will be less to burn and so more manageable. Bugger flora not fire resistant, bugger the ground dwelling wildlife that depends on thick undergrowth for food, habitat, refuge and escape from feral predators.

But what do the firefighters know about native zoology? Squat!

Try finding a forest rich ecosystem exclude by fire! It will be home to species that are rare and threatened. Forest microclimates (relative hydration, coolness, age and thickness of trees and lack of flammability) are critical for certain species). Translate this into human terms. Try getting the average urban family to live in an exposed caravan under strong sunlight, poor insulation, in a windy area and measure their health and life expectancy and of their new born. If only government departments charged the conservation duties did this for wildlife?

The diversion of bushfire management attention and funding to prescribe burning is defeatist. It translates as - 'we the bushfire authorities confess we are not equipped to detect, respond and suppress ignitions to guarantee the safety of people, property or ecology from bushfires so the only option we have to offer improved safety is to destroy the bush - eliminate the 'fuel'.

I agree with you that if the Royal Commission is seeking the root cause of the problem, then it ought to identify which areas indeed were prescribed burnt and assess whether this provided any benefit over those areas that were not.

One problem is the dominant media attention being given to Dr Kevin Tolhurst who is leading a self-perpetuating lobbying effort for massive broad scale prescribed burning as the only panacea for mitigating bushfire risk. He is probably the most dangerous threatening process facing Victorian wildlife and may be the catalyst for accelerated local extinctions of our disappearing wildlife.

flammability important as well as cause of ignition because ...
On August 8th, 2009 Sheila Newman says:

Hi Tigerquoll,

I don't doubt the validity of your approach. The ignition is very important yes.
BUT so is the fact that the thick old growth forest hardly burned compared to the managed and thinned forests.

This forest thickness and age is important because the people who want to do 'controlled burns' on more and more land are basing their approach on the opposite and erroneous assumption that managed forest burned less than natural forest including old growth.

Where I came in on the whole fire thing was to report on information that came to me from people in the Department of Sustainability and the CFA who could not publish it because of fear of losing their jobs and incurring very harsh treatment. So I wrote what they told me in these articles here:

plus a couple of others of my own.

I would also suggest that the thickness and naturalness of forests is important in their relative hydration, coolness, age and thickness of trees and lack of flammability.

I repeat that I don't doubt the validity of your insistence on recognition of causes of ignition.

But when you write, "Prior lead up prescribed burning may have been effective in low gauge localised bushfires, but given the extremes and the wide distances covered by multiple fires, it is likely that any amount of prescribed burning would have made no difference to the devastation. This should be up to the Commission to assess and conclude."

Most land burned was interfered with - thinned, managed, and criss-crossed with fire tracks, in my understanding - and it burned faster, much, much faster than the old growth forest. So that quantity of area had to impact in the equation. I don't believe that, even in those extreme temperatures, if the whole place had been thick old growth, it would have burned at that rate - going by what I had reported to me and which formed the substance of my articles.

You also say, "This should be up to the Commission to assess and conclude." Yes. I have so little confidence in the Victorian Government to take truth rather than favorite-expert opinion into account. It's depressing. I hope someone out there is following the Enquiry and can tell us.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Postby duane » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:09 am

After the Black Friday bushfires the result of the enquiry found that barriers of fire retadant species were needed to protect communities.


THE Victorian Government are ON trial here. They are guilty on all counts of doing NOTHING. And 28yrs later they will still be condemened for doing nothing.

Victoria is drying out and dieing out. The continuing resistance to replant fire retardant plants and continue to allow Eucalpts and other fire resistant plants to regrow and plant MEANS only one thing.

The next BIG fire holocaust will take out the whole state. And where will Brumby and his cronies be then???

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Request permission to reproduce your comment

Postby sheilan » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:36 pm

Could I reproduce your comment on in the discussion there please?

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Postby duane » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:05 pm


Sure thing and at the same time tell Premier Brumby to watch this video ... orest.html if he and his cronies don't believe that fire protection can be done by planting fire resistant plants.

The peat fires in Borneo could burn for years.

Remember fire begets fire. It is only a way to manage fire by continually burning, back burning and encouraging more and more fire resistant and fire promoting scenarios.

Remember the story: a RFB person bought 2 copies of Saturdays SMH. He read one and soaked the other in the bath overnight.

Next day it was hot and he took both papers out into the backyard. He laid them out in the Sun for a few hours and then took a cigarette ligther to both papers.

Guess which one burned??

The soaked one represents the hydrated landscape with fire resistant plants....the dry paper represents the landscape today, full of gums and fire resistant plants in an ever drying, dieing landscape.

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Postby duane » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:56 pm

This is off the Permaculture Forum

by Jana » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:24 am

There needs to be a study of the effect of the massive quantities of volitile particulates in the upper atmosphere over Australia...their effect on rain condensation, cloud charge, wind patterns and even on the effect on the soil and microbial life as they fall with the rain.

In saving Australia from permanent drought we are talking an extended turn around period. You cannot work on the desert itself, you have to focus on reforesting all the rivers from the ocean to the tributaries in non eucalypt species...this will stop the encroachment of the desert and send it back. Then ocean air will be "attracted" up into reforested river systems such that the entire continent can be reforested. But if we lose the river systems before we do this, we will not be able to reforest the continents and modify climate. This is a way that nature herself uses to turn the tide of rainfall inland keeping continents forested.

I am not advocating eradication of the eucalyptus genus, but to ensure that future plantations be of rain attracting/generating species, and that river systems be regenerated in rainforest trees and broad canopy soil-fertility enhancing trees like acacia, moringa and neem. Re-establishment of the river-forest systems is essential to terra-forming the Australian continent, holding the soil on the land and creating a more balanced, life-enhancing climate with less extremes so the desertification can be halted and returned to savanna.

Here is an NCAR scientist responding to my eucalyptus emissions desertification theory:
‘It is an interesting idea. Eucalypts have one of the highest volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates of any plant species. Trees can control clouds/rain through these VOC because they form cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) that provide a starting point for all cloud droplets (i.e. a surface for water to condense on). We typically think of forests increasing CCN and thus more clouds/rain. But at some point a large number of CCN will actually decrease rain because you have many surfaces and not enough water- so the result is many small droplets that are too small to fall to the surface.”
Alex Guenther

Alex Guenther along with Thomas Karl are working on the alarm chemical emissions: —Aspirin-like chemical given off by stressed trees. Plant to plant communication occurs on the ecosystem level through emissions of volatile organic substances like methyl salicylates which act like immune system communication to prepare the plants for the stress of drought, fluctuations in temperature, insect attack or disease. A stressed plant gives off these threat chemicals and consequently warn others of the danger, thereby helping them resist and recover. Alex Guenther, NCAR Scientist 303-497-1447

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Postby ColinJEly » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:48 pm

Can you please give me the names of ten of these 'climate change' refugees you allude to?

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names of climate change refugees

Postby sheilan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:52 am

I sense some sarcasm in this post and a recent one about yaorts in Frankston.
It is really not necessary.
Please tell me what the problem is in a straightforward way.
Is it to do with the concept of climate change or causes of climate change?
Is it to do with forestry?
Or something else.

With regards to names of climate change refugees:
Assuming that the temperatures accompanying the recent bushfires in Victoria were indicators of climate change (due to deforestation or due to CO2 emissions or due to something else) then I am referring to the people who have been reported in the news as still living in tents and caravans around the areas which were incinerated, due to their not having homes any more.

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Postby Shirley Henderson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:04 pm

Depression is a very bad thing. Don't let it get a hold of you. I agree, it is very depressing that politicians are not doing anything significant about stopping fires. They have no idea and they do not really care. It is their aim to have a large income and to to keep anything of real significance at bay (unless there is a large profit to be made of course).
It is our aim to fix the problem of land clearing, over production, rape of the land, salinity, lack of water and the preservation and good management of our natural resources. Asking the government to do anything about this is a waste of time. We have to find better ways and then drum up real people to advocate them. Look at Martin Stapper with his reintroduction of micoorganisms to the soil, the tree planters that refuse to plant Eucalyptus and the farmers that will implement NSF. There are and will be many other inovative people prepared to get on board. Look to the people that can take a stand and say NO MORE TOXINS for weed control and NO MORE EXPERT OPINIONS for profit only, look to the mulchers and the growers that will say NO to export and create local marketing of local products. We have to turn our backs on the politicians and their administration as they have turned their backs on our countries needs. All that dept they just put us into guess where the money is coming from to pay it back with interest. Our labour, our childrens labour and oh yeah! our natural resources that will be bought cheaply to pay back our dept. Don't let the depression get hold of you beacuse we can create positive solutions and put them to work because by the time the pollies read a letter, talk about it, discuss it with someone else, hold a meeting, send it to their boss, get a reply, table it for further discussion, sits on someones desk for a while, gets lost, then found again, put on hold, and believe me this goes on and on and on until no-one knows who started it and they decide its too late as the forest has grown back and is now a protected habitat or another disaster has occurred elsewhere that they need to discuss. We just have to get on with the job and stand up for our ways when we are questioned or threatened with breaking the law for wanting to really look after our country, our families and the environment.

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