Archive for April, 2010

Natives and Exotics

My friend Diana, who lives in New Zealand, has a wonderful piece in her journal today about the “exotic” species in her garden. It set me thinking about where I live. The English sparrows and starlings that forage in town don’t have much chance here at the edge of the forest, where the native birds are so dominant. Our resident Red-Shouldered Hawk argues noisily with the ravens, an American Robin sings his heart out from the top of the tallest fir. A dozen quail putter through the garden, and the returning Violet-Green Swallows inspect their nest site in the porch.

Of plants my garden is a mixture: some natives, but more Mediterranean and Australian dry-summer species. My little apple tree is in glorious blossom. But the tree I treasure is a young and flourishing Pohutukawa, a New Zealand native that reminds me of the beaches of my childhood.

Strip-mining New Zealand’s National Parks?

A disturbing mailing from my homeland. It seems the New Zealand government is considering a proposal to allow mining in some of the country’s high-value conservation land. Environmental organizations are horrified. Forest & Bird, one of the country’s major environmental organizations, noted in its online article:

Mining in any of these presently protected areas will further imperil our threatened species, destroy important habitat and leave us with contaminated waterways, scarred landscapes, subsidence and erosion problems and an almighty clean-up bill from ‘orphaned mines’.

Moreover, it will severely tarnish New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’ image.

The New Zealand Government has called for submissions from the public on its mining proposals. Submissions close at 5 pm (NZ time) on Tuesday, 4 May 2010. If you have visited New Zealand and seen what could be destroyed by mining, I urge you to learn more from Forest & Bird and other New Zealand environmental organization sites, and submit a protest. A good site for an overview of protest activity is 2precious2mine.

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