Tuesday, January 13, 2009

National Parks


My wife, my son and I spent the last 5 days in Far North Queensland. Wonderful country up there.

Spent time in the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation where I almost entangled myself in the largest spider web, complete with the largest spider - larger than my hand - that I'd EVER seen in the wild. Waded through crocodile infested creeks, swam in stinger-infested waters, snorkelled on the reef where I saw a huge sea turtle (the largest I'd seen in the wild - EVER), toured the Atherton Tablelands (named after England's finest test captain) and drank copious amounts of beer while sitting by a pool/in a bar/on the beach. Further it rained 400mm in 24 hours on our last day there. Amazing, amazing rain*. Had a lovely time, thanks very much.

While exploring the Daintree it occurred to me that it would be a hell of a shame if the average clown couldn't access Australia's (and the world's) very best national parks and finest scenery. And yet that's what the Daintree protesters were effectively campaigning against in 1983.

They had some great points. The rainforest absolutely should be protected from logging, mining, excessive tourism and associated infrastructure. But what if nobody could actually see the rainforest? Yes it's great to know it's there and that the ecology is being protected by national park and world heritage status but if the average citizen could never gain access, how could we possibly appreciate its beauty, significance and need for preservation? People need to see these pristine, virtually untouched slabs of nature so they can go back home, tell their friends about it and agree that they should be protected from destruction.

As it happened, some of the hippies' fears did rear their ugly heads. Some dodgy development has unfortunately occurred. That's why there needs to be a balance. There's nothing wrong with roads accessing national parks (yes, some forest must be cleared of course). There's nothing wrong with controlled 4WD tracks (by controlled I mean limited tracks, no 'off-track' driving, no camping, no fires etc) and nor is there anything wrong with tourists visiting these parks, as long as the road isn't lined with resorts, ice-cream shops and souvenir stands.

If Joe the Plumber sits at home in Craigieburn in front of his widescreen tv and never sees such environmental beauty, it's much easier for him to vote for chopping it down.

*Melbourne's average annual rainfall is 650mm.

55 comments:

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Good points Bob, despite the fact that nature brings me out in hives.

What I find alarming is this line from the hippies.

The final nemesis was had by the national newspaper

What does this mean?

Lewd Bob said...

Beats me. I read that several times and was forced to move on assuming a 'find/replace' had gone haywire.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I was at a school camp up in the mountains many, many years ago and my lips became swollen and sore.

Turns out I was allergic to fresh air.

Lewd Bob said...

I was in China in 2007. Perhaps you should relocate there: the chances of your allergy recurring there are zero.

Fad MD said...

I was in Beijing just before the Olympics. Apparently they'd cleaned up the air, but it was far, far worse than Manila.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Thanks for the tip Bob, but police states really don't appreciate my impish sense of humour.

As I discovered when I went to Cuba.

Boogeyman said...

They appeal much more when you work for said police state, rather than against it, Ramon.

You can let your impish sense of humour run amock with no fear of reprisals from your oppressed victims.

Louche said...

Aren't those orb spiders amazing?

My best friend used to have a lovely house in Cape Tribulation, Balinese style, surrounded by rainforest and looking out to the reef.

Bitch sold it, and there went our holiday house!

A few too many snakes up there for my liking though.

Mr E Discharge said...

Turns out I was allergic to fresh air.

One can only speculate as to what your future career would have been, had you been found to be allergic to hot air.

Lewd Bob said...

A few too many snakes up there for my liking though.

I'd much rather the snakes than the spiders, even though I know the spiders are harmless and I know the snakes are deadly.

Spiders are evil beings, always plotting new ways to crawl into our undies.

Mr E Discharge said...

According to Hindu Tradition, when Owls die, they come back as Spiders.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

That sounds about right, Mr E.

Perseus said...

Snakes and spiders have never worried me because I work on the assumption / cliche that they are more scared of me than I am of them.

Which is why I hate rats. Not only are they not particularly scared of me, they hate me and would eat me given half a chance.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Well, we know what to get Pers. for that trip to Room 101.

Perseus said...

Oh yeah, that book / scene resonated for sure. I've always hated those dirty evil little cunts and always will.

Same goes for people with pet rats. Punk? No, Cunt.

Lewd Bob said...

I work on the assumption / cliche that they are more scared of me than I am of them.

Oh how wrong you are. Spiders are biding their time. Just you wait until they rise up against us.

Perseus said...

I always capture the huntsmen and release them in the park across the road.

I do however kill the white-tails, but I feel guilty afterwards.

There are more daddy long-legs in my house than there are coffee cups, and I have a lot of coffee cups. I think daddy long-legs are cute.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I always capture the huntsmen and release them in the park across the road.

You fool!

That's just what they want you to do!!

I too fear the day when the spiders and their foul owl allies rise up against us!!!

patchouligirl said...

I hate leeches. I remember our English teacher got us all to write letters protesting the proposed damming of the Franklin river. I never got to visit it until 20 years later on my honeymoon. I'm very glad the protestors won that one. I can't believe they are still logging there - what they have is so unique and so marketable to tourists it is short sighted to do anything that will undermine that.

If no one can see the Daintree in order to preserve it this would be preferable to its destruction. An acceptable compromise has hopefully been negotiated.

eat my shorts said...

I had a dream about a massive spider last night. It was as big as a person's head. And my friend went to kill it by whacking it with a stick, but it bounced off the spider. Then the spider scuttled away.

I wonder what that means?

squib said...

The only creepy crawly things that make me freak out are cockroaches, to the extent that I can't even kill them because I am too revolted

I was annoyed some time ago about being charged to go into a forest. I know they have to pay rangers and whatever but to me a forest should be free like a beach

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

It means you should post here more, EMS.

Either that or you have issues with your father.

Lewd Bob said...

If no one can see the Daintree in order to preserve it this would be preferable to its destruction.

I certainly agree PG but surely there is an easy compromise. Just call it a national park (as was the case with the Daintree) and don't let sleazy developers get their filthy hands on any part of it.

Those foul, foul beings.

Throw them in a cage filled with spiders, leeches, snakes, owls, cockroaches and other miscellany I say!

eat my shorts said...

That's too easy, Ramon. Everyone has issues with their father.

I did kill a spider just before I went to sleep. It was a daddy long legs and it was heading straight for me. Those things can move fast when they want to.

And when I killed it, it's legs came off its body. Is that supposed to happen?

Perseus said...

I've always fancied myself as the ultimate dream interpreter. I really should do it for a living.

EMS: Your dream about being scared by a big spider that's hard to kill means that you are scared of big spiders that are hard to kill.

And to the chick last week who told me that she has a recurring dream about drowning and asked me what I thought that meant, I said, "You are scared of drowning."

And so on.

Boogeyman said...

EMS, you killed a Daddy Long Legs? You know they're harmless to us, but they catch and eat mosquitoes and redback spiders.

So now the consequences of your bloody Daddy Long Legs purge shall be revisited upon you, in the form of a plague of mosquitoes that drink your blood, before a horde of redbacks move in to finish you off.

Lewd Bob said...

Perseus.

I have a recurring dream that I'm playing golf with Lucy Liu. I'm wearing no pants. I can never hit the ball, there's always a distraction. Lucy Liu becomes the guy from the movie Sideways and grimaces at me, not noticing I have no pants. Even though I have no pants I make no attempt to find pants or anything else to cover my shame. My legs are suddenly like concrete as I try to cross the road in front of an oncoming car driven by the blonde chick from High Five. An aeroplane bears down towards me as my teeth fall out and somebody grabs my testicles as I fall from a bridge on top of Michael Parkinson who's eating a sandwich and wearing a trilby.

Please explain.

patchouligirl said...

I was annoyed some time ago about being charged to go into a forest

I'm annoyed right now about not only being charged to go over Sydney harbour bridge, (which was paid off over 20 years ago) but having to disclose my name, address, phone number and bank details for the privilege. I probably go over the bridge once or twice a year. The rigaramole involved in organising an etag is more than pulling over and taking off my number plates before going over. You have to give a deposit and have a balance in the account, $80 altogether, or arrange a 14 day temporary etag. To drive over a fucking bridge!!

WitchOne said...

Hasn't anyone seen Arachnophobia?? They aren't little fuckers, they're BIG fuckers!!

And Daddy Long Legs are the worst, most deadly, horrible little bastards ever, they just have tiny tiny teeth.

Don't kill one with your bare hands, it could kill you.

Boogeyman said...

Nonsense, Witchy. Their jaws are too small to grasp and pierce human skin, and no one has found them to possess venom of any significance, so even if they did bite you it would do nothing.

People assume Daddy Long Legs must be extremely venomous because they hunt and kill redbacks. But the real explanation there is that their longer legs allows them to chase down and spin a web around a redback before they can fight back.

WitchOne said...

Really??? And the poison (you know, the deadly bit??) has nothing to do with it?? Bad evil bad things.

Melba said...

I'm the biggest arachnaphobe, but even I can handle a daddy longlegs.

wari lasi said...

Please explain.

What sort of drugs do you take before you go to bed Bob?

And I have to say my favourite High 5 chick is the Asian one married to the non gay Savage Garden guy.

On spiders, I've a got a bird eating spider mounted in a frame. It's a scary looking dude.

Boogeyman said...

Daddy Long Legs have not been founds to have any significant poison, Witchy. It might be enough to temporarily stun another spider, but would do no harm to us.

Besides, if you can imagine trying to run away from another human with ten metre high legs and swinging a sticky lasso shooting from their arse, you'd appreciate the redback's predicimate when faced with a hungry Daddy LL.

squib said...

My pantry is full of daddy-long-legs. They have lovely soft legs and they do little pas de chat and pirouettes from one tomato tin to the next

wari lasi said...

In my house squib they would be frolicking from one tin of coconut milk to the next. I'm having a curry night tonight and checked the pantry to see if I needed to buy any. It turns out I have 12 tins of coconut milk and 5 of coconut cream.

Melba said...

So you need a couple more cans of each, Wari?

My daughter says "daddy long legs are one of the most poisonous spiders, or maybe the most poisonous spider like, there is, ah, except they are small and their teeth cannot break human skin, therefore they can't bite you, but if you were injected with daddy longleg venom, you would die."

Me: And what's your source?

P: Common knowledge.

Me: [Laugh]

P: Everybody knows that.

[quick check of internet, reveals it to be urban myth]

P: Fine, don't believe me then. It's just that I know. No offence to you dudes.

Lewd Bob said...

What sort of drugs do you take before you go to bed Bob?

Hot milo.

Alex said...

if you can imagine trying to run away from another human with ten metre high legs and swinging a sticky lasso shooting from their arse

Funnily enough, I have this strange recurring dream...

wari lasi said...

It's not that big a curry night Melba. I'm doing a Tom Yum and 3 different curries, a beef vindaloo, chicken thai green curry and my special fish curry.

And your P sounds as petulant as my Emma. We had an argument this morning about which way you are supposed to look first when crossing the road.

E: Well I don't care, I'm going to look left first.

W: Ok baby, but please don't step off the curb until you've looked right.

E: Ok Daddy, but I'm looking left first.

W: OK then.

I think the Daddy Long Legs thing was on Mythbusters, and I think the guy (not the Asian one or Jamie or Adam, the other one) actually managed to get bitten. And just quietly, I've got a thing for the girl, I can't remember her name though.

Melba said...

Hector said to look right first. Maybe you need to teach her the song?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I love curry but I can't eat it.

I sweat so much that waiters have come up to me in Indian restaurants, asking if I'm OK.

Mmm, this list of my health quirks is beginning to make me sound like Puss.

squib said...

I had a similar debate with my 14 year old, Melba. She said her health teacher and *'everyone' reckons that coffee stunts your growth

Rubbish said I, and on and on it went until I googled it. Old wive's tale

*in teenage-speak 'everyone' means one other kid at school

Alex said...

And just quietly, I've got a thing for the girl, I can't remember her name though.

If you mean Kari Byron then this might be up your alley.

Lewd Bob said...

Thank you Alex, thank you.

Boogeyman said...

Drinking coffee might not stunt your growth, but it could make you see dead people.

squib said...

cool!

Boogeyman said...

In fact, I'm seeing dead people right now.

No wait, they're just public service drones.

Easy mistake to make.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Un-dead public servant types are easy to spot, Boogey.

They lurch about, groaning "braaaaaains, cup of teaaaaaaa"

wari lasi said...

Thank you Alex, thank you.

You got it Bob, you got it.

I just reckon she's a flash looking girl, that's all.

eat my shorts said...

Perseus: You know what, your crazy interpretation does make sense on some level. Thank you for putting my mind to rest.

Boogey: Aye carumba. What a way to go. It might take a while for the redbacks though, I've never ever seen one of those creepy bastards other than on tv.

I think rats are worse than spiders. When we were little, my sister and I shared a room and one night when we were supposed to be asleep in bed, we were jumping on our beds (as you do) and a freaking massive rat ran across the room and hid under the dresser. Been terrified of them ever since.

Lewd Bob said...

My cat used to bring us rats as offerings. I was obliged to accept and then transport the half dead rat back to the street where it had no chance of survival. Fortunately my cat has since lost all of her teeth and kills no more.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Our cat hates us and gives us nothing.

Little furry cunt.

eat my shorts said...

Our farm cats would give us dead birds as presents (not owls, sorry Ramon), but wouldn't go near the giant rats.

You know the Rodents of Unusual Size from The Princess Bride? Well, they were smaller than that, but still big enough to give the cats the heebie-jeebies.

Inconceivable.

patchouligirl said...

coffee stunts your growth
it used to be cigarettes when I was 14. With a 5'11" mother, a 6'3" father and a 6'5" brother I decided smoking was probably the go. Luckily I ended up a more conventional 5'7" but found my boyfriends were always a little intimidated when I brought them home to 'land of the giants'.

My great grandmother was told by her doctor to give up coffee as she had a weak heart. She ignored him and lived to the age of 96, when she had a heart attack in the bathroom during a christmas party, at which she had, as was apparently often the case, drunk too much wine.

An example to be followed I feel, I want to go the same way. What style - to not interrupt the party by going off into the bathroom. No lingering illness, just knock back a few with friends and get it over with. Oh - and she outlived the doctor by 20 years.