Danger Cassowary

On the road up through Daintree Rainforest in far north Queensland there is an area where cassowaries may be found crossing the road. They are large, shy, solitary birds that have long blueish-purple, featherless necks and in some ways resemble an emu. There are endangered, and fastly approaching extinction, with only around 1200 left in the wild.

Of course when we travelled that road, even though we kept our eyes peeled, we weren’t lucky enough to spot any.

This road sign, warning of an approaching speed bump, had been masterfully changed! Unfortunately not only motorists are a problem to their survival. Habitat loss due to human settlement and attacks by dogs are a major problem.

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The Largest Living Structure on Earth

The Great Barrier Reef, Far North Queensland

Just below the surface lies a small part of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

I took this photo in November last year just before jumping off the tourist boat to go snorkelling. An hour later I was in shock. In the twenty or so years since I’d last dived here how could this have happened?

The Great Barrier Reef, in far North Queensland, is the largest living structure on Earth, and it’s visible from space. Most of us know of its outstanding beauty and biodiversity and many of us now know of the coral bleaching that has been so devastating over the past years.

Sir David Attenborough says, “It is one of the greatest, and most splendid natural treasures that the world possesses.”

So why are we doing nothing to protect it?

Why are we so complacent about climate change that we have ignored the science that could have prevented coral bleaching and the increase in extreme weather events?

Why does our government not only approve the biggest coal mine in Australia’s history to a foreign company, Adani, when pollution is killing our reef and fossil fuels are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but also offers Adani a billion dollars in incentives?

Do those of us who are educated and living in the developed world really believe that by ignoring climate change it will no longer be a problem?

One day our children will say, “What on earth were they thinking?”

Oh yes. And Happy Earth Day 2017 …

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/12/great-barrier-reef-dead-coral-bleaching-recover

https://www.barrierreef.org/the-reef/the-threats

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/i-saw-the-great-barrier-reef-die-last-weekend-and-i-wept-20170308-guu0r0.html

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Magical Moon

We had flights booked from Cairns to Sydney having briefly visited North Queensland.We realised too late that we’d be in the air when the supermoon rose. Still we’d been able to spend a day in the Daintree rainforest and another out snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, both amazing places despite the massive coral bleaching of the reef that I had known about but still shocked me. Last time I was at the reef was 30 years ago and it was a  myriad of colour. How man has changed our world in such a short time. Last time that there was a supermoon the Great Barrier Reef was truly Great. What will be left when the next supermoon appears?

We would have liked to have sat on one of the endless, empty beaches and watched the moon rise, but we were unable to change our plans so reluctantly we left our tropical haven and headed for Cairns to catch the flight. We had managed to change our seats to the left of the plane, but as we approached Cairns tropical storm clouds filled the sky. Even though we took off surrounded by dense clouds, soon patches of blue replaced the white and the sky cleared as if by magic …

 

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In Bali

In Bali recently, we went for a walk through the rice fields outside of Ubud. I first visited Ubud about twenty five years ago. In those days it was a quiet sleepy village surrounded by rice paddies and most of the tourists were day trippers from the beach resorts. Over the years is has grown and changed. I think the largest growth spurt was after the release of the book, ‘Eat Pray Love’; people went to ‘find’ themselves.

It’s still a special place, although for me some of the magic has gone. The walks closer to the burgeoning town are no longer through peaceful rice fields on narrow paths that crisscross and meander through vibrant seas of green, passing no one but the occasional farm worker. Instead the concrete paths, where you dodge the ever present mopeds, lead to dotted cafes, guest houses, massage cabanas and random upmarket hotels jutting out from the green landscape … and some strange chaotic piles of rubbish!

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Smoke and Water

It was just after dawn in the heat of the West Australian summer. The air was smoky and the earth parched and yellow. Bush fires raged within twenty kilometres of us and we nervously checked our phones for fire evacuation texts and updates on the wind direction.

I sat on the veranda nursing my mug of tea and trying to focus on the abundant birdlife in the green oasis of the garden rather than scan the sky for thicker smoke. A bird bath, dry and lifeless, stood in the flower bed in front of me.

I leapt up to get water. Within minutes of me filling it, birds fluttered about, darting in and out of the surrounding bushes and taking turns to bathe and drink. For a short while, at least, I was totally distracted.

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