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Capture: Ans Westra - Ngā Tau ki Muri (Our Future)

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  • Lilith __,

    Great stuff. Look forward to seeing the book.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3438 posts Report Reply

  • Ethan Tucker,

    Was lucky to pick up Westra’s 1976 book with Noel Hilliard, Wellington: City Alive yesterday in a second-hand shop and it’s such a treat. From her photos its easy to see how the mid-70s in the capital and the rest of NZ were closer to D-Day than they are to today’s city life. Also features: a stray Aro Valley pony, plenty of beards.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    Hi Jackson, thanks for posting this. I had an emotional response to it as my sentiments are similar. It seems to me that we are a careless nation – “Insouciance” could well be our middle name, dragged low into complacency by having such a low population density and being surrounded by so much ocean. How such a large portion of us can smugly agree with the wildly erroneous statement that we are clean and green is beyond me – many can’t even put their own rubbish in the bins provided in our parks and public places. Above you can see what I gathered up at a nearby reserve one afternoon. I filled that rubbish bin nearly to the top (so as to leave room for others with rubbish to dispose of) and then carried the remainder to another bin nearby and half filled that... Ashamed of my fellow humans? Yes.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    The photo is of a young shag which was resting on our beach.

    Continuing on the theme of ecological ir/responsibility and the vexed question of what we each can do about it my response is that we can each Do a Great Deal. I've written a whole spread of articles about this many of which I have mentioned in my article Death by plastics ~ what are YOU doing about it?. I'm disappointed but not much surprised that it has not been much read. I was prompted to write it after seeing a trailer for a documentary about what is happening to the albatrosses on Midway Island, a very remote spot in the Pacific Ocean where these majestic birds are dying by their thousands of ingested plastics mistaken for food. It was the most upsetting footage I have seen in years. I thought: do we fold our hands and admit defeat, because we most certainly look to be? NO NO NO! Even if we are defeated we have to try, try hard, and continue trying ceaselessly, to stem the tide of our own waste products and gross stupidity...

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    Thanks for joining in Leigh. Last night's Campbell Live on the dumping of toxic waste by Petrochem in Taranaki, on farms grazed by milk producing cows, is yet another example of how reckless we can be with both the health of the land, and those living on it, through profit driven motives.

    There is a good, and frank, 12 Questions with Ans Westra in today's Herald, coincidentally.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2134 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell, in reply to JacksonP,

    Hi again Jackson, thanks for the links. I saw that the story about the grazing land was coming up and couldn't bear to watch it - so upsetting. Industry and its view of the natural world as a set of commodities makes me sick at heart. Very important to keep tabs on these happenings and to keep making a fuss about them.

    That's a nice window into Ans Westra's world in that article! :-)

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    I also have to post this photo. See if you can spot what is wrong in it. Fortunately I knew that duck well enough to catch it, pick it up and cut the damn thing off its neck. These plastic rings are a terrible hazard to wildlife. I have seen two other ducks who unfortunately I had no way of helping, with these wedged with one side in the back of their mouths and the other behind the back of their heads - utterly impossible for them to dislodge themselves. Ever since then I have been picking these things up where ever I find or come across them and cutting them open. Those innocuous looking plastic rings which fasten a six pack of beer together are also deadly. Cut them open before putting them in the rubbish. I've seen footage of sea life fatally entangled in these things. Plastic kills.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    I'm disappointed that this thread has not been taken up by other contributors as Ans book highlights such important subjects - as I understand it, our relationship with this beautiful land, and our plans for the future. Oh well, I'm going to go ahead and add some more photos of my own anyway since I feel so strongly about it.

    In my opinion polystyrene should be phased out starting immediately: it never breaks down - just progressively disintegrates as anyone will find who tries to pick it up from where it has been left lying out in the wild... The Midway Island trailer linked to above illustrates just how deadly minute pieces of plastic can be. Yes I did pick this up, and yes it did disintegrate as I did did so.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Leigh Russell,

    Hi Leigh. I could certainly add plenty of photos of human destruction of our earth, and I have put photos including large coal-fired power stations that kind of hint at that in other threads, but it just gets too depressing. I'm loving what you're posting, though, and thoroughly agree with the sentiments expressed. Keep them coming.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2053 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Leigh Russell,

    Plastic kills.

    Indeedy…

    Because I walk beaches a lot, I always carry on my person a tightly-folded plastic shopping bag (yeah, I know, the irony etc. etc.-)They fit into a 3cmx5cm
    resealable bag…air squished out, that'll fit the smallest pocket-

    And I pick up plastic of all kinds – from 6-pack rings to plastic bottles to plastic bags & bottletops…& polystyrene.

    Some walks there’s v. little to dispose of.

    Some walks I fill the shopping bag.

    But there’s always something…

    Not arduous, helps a tiny bit-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

    Hi Chris and Islander, nice to have some company here. Chris, I totally understand about the overwhelm. Islander, like you I see individual responsibility as being a large part of the solution to the problem.

    I have begun a long project to gradually rid my household of plastic objects, starting with the dreaded plastic bags. I've written a number of articles about this and plan more. It's a far more arduous undertaking than I had any idea of. I plan to eventually discard even my favourite recycled plastic containers which I mention here

    In the meantime I will add some photos about what I call tree carnage and some thoughts about valuing rather than destroying these very special members of our communities. Yes, to me trees are like people...

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    Look at this scrumptious apple - it's one of my favourite images. I picked it from the neglected tree of a former neighbour. It was as good as it looked!

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    That tree was loaded!

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    My sister and I picked and picked and picked. You can see a small portion of the wonderful harvest we reaped…

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    That tree had worked so hard. Here it is. Isn’t it beautiful! The owner of the property, an energetic man, didn't use the apples at all and was happy for us to take them all. If we hadn't taken them he would just have mowed over the top of them. He said his friends had suggested he take the tree out. "They what?" I spluttered. "You won't will you - you can't, surely?" No, he replied soothingly, but he would let a friend prune it. "Is he trained?" I quizzed him, trying not to look menacing. He assured me he was. And so it was. The tree didn't bear much fruit this year as a result, but in the long run the tree's health and well-being will be enhances I am sure. Trees need looking after - by people who know what they are doing.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    I can't tell you how many jars of preserves my sister and I made, and the number of bags full that we gave away. My recipe for preserving apples can be found here: Preserved apples ~ a good fruit sugar and water ratio Learn how to do it and enjoy the bounty! It's not difficult.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Leigh Russell,

    e meantime I will add some photos about what I call tree carnage and some thoughts about valuing rather than destroying these very special members of our communities. Yes, to me trees are like people…

    A loong time ago, a group was formed on the West Coast. It was called BFAC - beech forests action committee. I was one of the original members...BFAC eventually became NFAC and went on to a much more highly politicised role in ANZ...

    trees ARE beings.

    I dont think of them as personalities - but as entities? Certainly.

    Plastic has it's place (several of my immediate family are nurses/midwives/doctors, and, quite frankly, medical hygiene has been hugely enhanced by various forms of plastic...

    One of my hats is as a speculator in future ideas (it's also known as fantasy fiction) and one of the things that has intrigued me for decades is why we havent done more with glass...o, I'm pretty much up to speed with current
    developement & research but - it's almost as if there is a clash btwn. glass &
    plastic...and we wont even factor in spider silk!

    Report

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    And then there is this tree - another apple tree. I don't recall seeing fruit on it, but it was a very restful and pleasing concealer of a particularly ugly wall along the road not far from my place. The insects loved it, and I'm sure the birds did too (birds eat insects, remember).

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Leigh Russell,

    <q>earn how to do it and enjoy the bounty! It’s not difficult.

    And then I see your apple-tree/fruit pics!
    Cheers!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    I got some lovely close-up shots of it at the same time as I took the photograph above…

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    Some weeks or months later, I can’t remember exactly, I went for a walk to be confronted by the tree’s devastation – and the exposure of what must surely be one of the ugliest walls in creation. Yes, that's it dead centre - to coin a phrase...

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Leigh Russell,

    <q>m sure the birds did too (birds eat insects, remember).

    Um, last post for the night: I have loved birds and insects since I was conscious. Some birds eat insects: some insects eat birds. I know lots about ANZ clans of both.
    Part of the joy of being a human eh?

    And, aue! That last photo is so ....stark-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    I wanted to get the person who did this and bang their head against that wall. How could they be so stupid. They probably thought they were tidying the place up a bit. At the very least I hope they regretted it.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell, in reply to Islander,

    I know lots about ANZ clans of both.

    Yes indeed! And sleep well. :-)

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Russell,

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    And now for a little look at a place next to where I lived in Christchurch. It was a stream bank which the Council contractors occasionally cleared and which I decided to adopt. Over the space of a couple of years it changed from being a mass of weeds and overgrowth which included most of the plants on the Council's weed list, to being a small green sanctuary. In monetary terms it didn't cost me anything.

    It proved to be an inspiration to our neighbours, which I was delighted about - until they took their chainsaw to practically all the trees in the corresponding strip next to their place. I asked them what they planned instead. They had no plans but supposed the trees they had cut down would 'grow back'. Since then I have always been nervous of providing inspiration for anyone!

    I inspired myself to much better effect, I'm pleased to say, and the success of that project was a motivator in a lengthy set of articles I wrote about creating all sorts of gardens for next to nothing, which you can find listed here

    Anyway, the point I want to make is that it's possible to do wonderfully 'greening' things for next to nothing and which are then a joy to all.

    Otago • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

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