Greenfest, Eidfest, multicultural fest.

Last weekend it was the Love Earth Gathering. This weekend it’s the bigger and broader Greenfest, being held at Brisbane’s Southbank – starting at noon on Friday afternoon with world renowned ecologist Dr Jane Goodall.  The Piazza at Southbank will also be host to a series of other speakers across the entire weekend, covering issues from housing to energy to transport to business.  I’ll be chairing a session on the Sunday morning from 9.30 – 11.00 on the topic that is the one most in our faces every day of the week – Food!

For a bit of variety, this weekend in Brisbane also sees a couple of major multicultural events.  On Saturday at the Mount Gravatt showgrounds, it’s EidFest, celebrating Queensland’s Muslim communities and cultures. Pakistani politician and former test cricket captain Imran Khan is appearing as a speaker.  On the Sunday, the Roma Street parklands will host the Queensland Multicultural Festival.

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  1. Jane Goodall, bought one of her books years ago,and developed for awhile an interest in all things animal behaviour.Then went on to Darcy Thompson and all the mathematics expressions in animals and growth patterns in horns to shells.Finished my serious reading on that accept in Science magazines on minuscule shrimp,who push out the same smarties type shape without variation generation to generation in highly saline conditions,now a standard biological testing ground for toxic stuff, all starting really from some books on monkeys and similar species.Still find that fascinating and many more people would love to make a income that was productive observing nature.Noticed a site with monkey bar assistant in Japan,ugly lock around its neck,but seemed very human like in behaviour.Ah! If only robots and animals became heroic and self sufficient in the human habitat,and didnt need to be locked up or down and no disease transferred in any directions. The Pakistani cricketer at the other event worries me a bit,not that I think so called extremist are in Australia,but,we probably wouldn’t know if Israeli agents or U.S.A. ones would create an upset.

  2. Phil:

    You have recently expressed concern about genetically modified (GM) foods.

    When I was watching “Landline” on Sunday, they said they were going to spray crops (in this case, corn) with Roundup to kill weeds. At first I thought I had misheard, but no, they want to spray our food supply with deadly chemicals which can remain active in the soil for up to 12 months.

    It also seems that the same people selling the GM corn kernels which are Roundup-resistant are also selling the Roundup. Talk about a captive market.

    Anyone for a cyanide sandwich? How about cyanide on the cob?

    No wonder people want to feed corn to their cars.

  3. Lorikeet, that’s a bit rich. A quick fact check is in order….

    I’m no fan of Roundup-resistant GM crops, but there is no chemical relationship between Roundup and any of the cyanides. Further, Roundup rapidly breaks down in the presence of clay particles, so that it has very little persistence in all except the sandiest of soils.

    The active ingredient in Roundup – glyphosate – is one of the least toxic herbicides currently used in agricultural. In fact, it appears that the detergent in Roundup’s formulation may cause more problems than the glyphosate.

  4. Hi, Feral.

    Roundup is in the same product group as Zero Weed Spray. Some products only contain glyphosate, but some also contain ammonium thiocyanate (cyanide compound).

    We are told to “glove up” before using any of these products. What if farmers harvest the crop while glyphosate still persists in our food? Products used to kill weeds can also kill us.

    Apparently some glyphosate formulations can be purchased from overseas countries. What happens if they don’t contain what’s stated on the label?

    Some scientists have expressed concern that Roundup (glyphosate) will eventually toxify the soil, rendering it completely unproductive.

    Do you know if glyphosate is an anticholinergic compound?

    To my knowledge, if cyanide compounds are ingested, they can damage the central nervous system in lesser doses and, in higher doses, cause death very rapidly.

  5. Hi Lorikeet.

    A few questions there…

    Yes, ammonium thiocyanate is definitely poisonous, but you’d need to ingest a non-trivial amount of concentrate to make yourself sick. On the other hand, it is far less dangerous than the hydrogen, potassium or sodium cyanides, which are far more chemically active and whose primary mode of action is to severely disrupt cellular-level respiration.

    Ammonium thiocyanate is used in some aminotriazole herbicide formulations for its synergistic properties, though I don’t know that it is of any value as a herbicide in its own right.

    You will find the admonition to ‘glove up’ on the label of almost every household chemical. It’s good common-sense practise, and helps train people to always take precautions (which reduces the accident rate for more potent substances).

    AFAIK glyphosate is not an anticholinergic – if it was it might have applications as an insecticide, much like the anticholinesterases. I’m aware of the concerns re the possible effects of glyphosate on soil microbial communities, but from my limited reading I had the impression that there was still a fair deal of uncertainty around the circumstances under which this might occur. I hadn’t come across any research suggesting soil toxification or complete loss of productivity: do you have links?

    All in all, I’d still say glyphosate-based herbicides are the lesser of evils.

  6. Hi Feral:

    Sorry I have to rush off. Try this link for starters.

    It suggests glyphosate can cause Non-Hodgin’s Lymphoma (close relative of leukaemia) and Multiple Myeloma (bone cancer). The first is generally terminal within 10 years, and the second within 5 years.

    Other links can be found by searching Roundup glyphosate.

  7. As you’ve told us many times, Lorikeet, I thought these diseases were herediary and or due to the lack of proper Darwinisnm getting rid of the low life genes pool that medicine is keeping alive.

    Methinks the old red crab continues to show us his wisodm by suggesting for some its the argument that’s the issue.

  8. Ken:

    Yes, I do think those diseases are hereditary, but I was quoting from the linked source. Exposure to glyphosate might have negative effects on the immune system, which could easily cause cancer cells to multiply rapidly. We all have mutant cells in our bodies at any given time.

    I have a friend with Multiple Myeloma. His mother died of ovarian cancer and one of his brothers died from another kind of bone cancer.

    How about providing some positive input instead of the criticism?

    The argument is never the issue, but if that’s the way you want to construe it, you will need to take responsibility for it yourself.

  9. Well that is the point Lorikeet – I don’t have anything to contribute because I am not knowledgeable enough to do so on this particular topic. Although I can point out apparent inconsistencies in posts.

    Fortunately you have this mensarian (or for some older posters Dorrie Evans like) ability to be all knowing on every issue raised on this blog and subsequently dominate all debate, generally hijacking almost all comments, until most commentators, even the indomitable Naomi, can’t be bothered to continue.

    Quite frankly I am surprised Andrew is continuing with this blog, given the predictable progress of most posts and lack of fresh debate.

  10. Ken:

    You just don’t like losing an argument.

    If you read up a bit on the topics, I’m sure you could come up with some reasonable input.

    Dorrie Evans was not an intelligent woman.

    Last night I was talking at length with my daughter-in-law who is a scientist working for the TGA. She and I discussed numerous possibilities relating to cancer, GM crops, my grandsons’ learning ability etc.

    When people discuss topics, it is known as brainstorming. We can learn from one another and discover alternative possibilities and opinions.

    I think it would be nice if more of those reading here would contribute their thoughts and experiences.

    I think we can live without your sour grapes. Those are pretty stale. Your latest post again contributes NOTHING of value to the debate.

    Do you not care that we might all end up dying of starvation (or poisoning) due to the use of GM crops which could become transgenic?

    If the debate was not fresh, why would someone such as Feral be asking for links?

  11. Lorikeet – I asked for links on the effects of glyphosate on soil biota for two reasons. 1) to see whether I’d missed anything important, 2) to see what you knew, and 3) for the sheer ferality of asking.

    Despite numerous subsequent posts, you haven’t provided any links on this topic, so I conclude 1) you cannot tell me anything about the effects of glyphosate on soil biota that I don’t already know, 2) your understanding of the topic is limited, and 3) we share no feral ancestry (thank your lucky stars – my ancestry is weird).

    Re your solitary link of Oct 21st, didn’t any of the doctors & research scientists you’ve worked with caution you about the perils of cherry-picking the grey literature? Have you checked the sources cited in that link? Have you checked the subsequent literature that refer to those papers? Did you look at Google Scholar?

    You claim on another thread that you understand the pros and cons of the scientific method ie how scientists collect evidence and draw conclusions. Yet you consistently embrace the logical pitfalls that almost all scientists strenuously avoid. This suggests to me that your grasp of the scientific method is rather less profound than you claim, and gives weight to the Red Crab-ken hypothesis regarding argumentative commenters.

  12. Feral:

    I think it’s more the case that men like to pick on intelligent women. I raised a serious issue with GM crops which goes well beyond soil toxicity.

    I think you are quite capable of finding your own links, without expecting me to do it for you. I found one for you very quickly before I had to rush off, when I could easily have ignored your request, knowing you could easily do it yourself.

    It seems to me that you like to view and insult other people’s (to you, unknown) capabilities in a very negative fashion whenever it suits you.

    Intelligent men who know me well certainly don’t treat me with the same lack of respect as Ken or you do sometimes – some women do it as well.

    I have recently had quite a lot of middle-aged men encouraging me to run against Peter Dutton at the next federal election. They think I have a very logical and common sense approach to most issues, to which many people will listen and go away to evaluate.

    I don’t think it’s me who “cherry picks” literature of any colour. It’s the very fact I’ve worked with scientists which has put me in touch with the fact that they often don’t “strenuously avoid logical pitfalls”.

    Some scientists are paid by drug companies to find any “findings” that will continue to fill their pay packets. They sometimes eliminate from drug trials anybody whose response doesn’t fit in with the preferred findings.

    Didn’t you know that “The CSIRO Diet” was sponsored by the Meat and Livestock Corporation?

    Dorrie Evans was an elderly pensioner on a soapie called: “Number 96”. I find comparisons with that particular character both insulting and inaccurate.

    It seems to me that some people just want to waste all of our time picking on other posters, thereby contributing nothing to the debate.

  13. Nothing so exotic feral, try no 96 back in the mid 70’s – classic caricature of the noesy neighbour, started most phrases with a loudish squawk -“Well I never…..tsk tsk” as some dastardly young even GAY person sauntered by.

  14. Ken:

    I think this topic is relatively fresh. You’re still trying to make this blog stale with your personal attacks and lack of any kind of positive input.

    Others, including me, have tried to keep it moving along. If you think someone is dominating a blog, it’s because other people are too lazy to come up with new ideas or commentary. Needless to say, it doesn’t need sexist crap like yours.

    I am at least 25 years younger than Dorrie Evans. She was married to little hen-pecked Herbie. I was married to an Australian Judo and GPS champion.

    Dorrie went around saying, “Why wasn’t I told?!”

    And just so you’re aware, I don’t stick my nose into ANY neighbours’ business unless it’s seriously affecting the whole neighbourhood. It’s generally me who has to do something about it , because others are too gutless, incapable or lazy. Often people come and ask me for help.

    Unless you have some interesting link or opinion, I won’t waste my time answering you any more. Other bloggers can easily see you for the kind of poster you are.

  15. LORIKEET – From what I’ve heard about GM foods, I’m not in favour of it at all. I also understand, that there’s been legal cases in the US and Canada, where people who DIDN’T grow GM crops were accused of ‘stealing’ the seeds? The wind took them, and those other farmers were innocent. I heard them interviewed on PM when NSW and Vic? announced that they were giving the go ahead for growing GM cronola?

    I’ve also learned, that the same amount of corn required to fill my car with fuel (1.8 motor, 4 cylinder) would feed a child for a year. In fact, there’s been rallies in Mexico recently, as their corn flour has drastically increased in price. These are very poor people, and farmers can get higher prices to grow corn for fuel than food. I read an article a few years ago by Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) on this very fact. I also believe, that Ethanol in fuel is not very efficient, as you need more of it; there’s little if any investigation of the process used for manufacturing ethanol and other biofuels – pollution caused during production, and how much energy is required? Is it a solution against global warming, or just another problem, but is allowed as it’s now a thriving business for some? Who cares if the nasses of poor people in Latin America starve? They’re expendable?

    LORIKEET Every time I hear on a garden program about spraying anything on food crops, is that you have to wait for at least several days before you harvest the crop, and of course, some sprays are just too toxic to use on food crops, full stop! Common sense in reading the labels are a must. I’ve also watched a program years ago on certain sprays used for domestic use to get rid of nasties, like flies and cockroaches. I won’t mention the name, but it’s been banned in the US for ages for domestic use, but allowed for export. It should be ‘gon’ here too?What is wrong with organic farming and companion planting? Not enough money for the wealthy agri-businesses?

  16. Naomi:

    I sponsored children in Central America (Honduras project) for 18 years. Yes, they mainly ate corn. We definitely need to keep ALL grains out of the mouths of both cattle and cars. African peoples are very dependent on them as well.

    At one time, Dolphins said if we ate less meat, the poor people could have it, but that wouldn’t be what happened in poor countries despite any good intentions. The people are victims of the double-edged sword – politics and poverty.

    The link I gave Feral was put up by people interested in keeping our food clean and healthy, but all he and Ken wanted to do was criticise.

    My understanding is that the weeds might become resistant to the herbicide glyphosate and the GM crops could also become transgenic (mate with other crops). EVERYONE could die of starvation eventually, especially if soil also became toxic/barren.

    I think people should be very careful of using one of the leading brands of surface spray, or any product that has a lot of “spray bounce”. I use a house brand product for a fraction of the cost.

    In one of the back copies of National Geographic, biofuels are discussed at length. You might be able to get it from a library.

    If they only used sugar cane as a biofuel, it would sequester carbon stones in the soil. Leaving bamboo forests alone would do an even better job. A man on TV said he lost 40 kg, just by eliminating most sugars from his diet.

    Last night on TV, someone from the banana industry said farmers did not want to touch GM crops. Quite intelligent, I think.

    I’ve heard of the following GM crops – soyabeans, canola, corn, cotton – but there could be others. Very recently, the ABC was pushing GM corn, as if it was the best thing since sliced bread.

    It’s just as well that we have plenty of synthetic fibres these days. Otherwise we might all end up running around naked!

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