Been away from home for the last few weeks, only a short distance but far enough to note the change in visitors. I had a flock of hoodlum Sulphur-crested cockatoos shout their way across the blue sky on two days. I admit I preferred their noise to the small helicopter that passed through their flight path shortly after. Somehow their noisy flight didn’t feel like trespass.
Back home, last week briefly, when I was called outside by the screech of a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets. It was not their screech in particular that made me go out, but the loud song of a currawong and the bully caw of our crows. Sure enough the big predators were after a lorikeet sandwich. Well, it's a bird-eat-bird world out there, but not today boys. The big birds had boxed in the lorikeets in the foliage of the Tulip Tree, which had attracted the parrots with a few blossoming flowers in the upper canopy. My big human presence sent the ever cautious currawongs and crows off and the lorikeets kept right on screeching as they ripped the flowers apart while giving me the evil eye. Never let a bit of life threatening danger stop a good feed. I never said lorikeets were cute. Pretty yes; cute, no. They are an aggressive species and will out compete native birds in bushland. Anyway, that day they lived to screech another day.
I remember hand feeding lorikeets a honey and water solution from plates at Currumbin wildlife sanctuary down the Gold Coast—a big tourist draw. I assume they still do it. Lorikeets have a feathered tongue and are nectar feeders, so imagine the surprise of biologists when they observed them feeding on insects. Just goes to show, humans don’t know everything. Anyway last week's pair of lorikeets dodged being eaten for the time being. They'll be back to finish off the flowers before the honeyeaters get a chance. If they didn't make so much noise I'd probably not have even noticed them in their green feathers high among the leaves. Maybe the crows would have missed them too.
(Thanks to Pexels Victoria Mangano for the photo of the Rainbow Lorikeet)
Well, here we are, basking on a warm day in winter. Pleasant, but slightly alarming when contemplating the Summer to come. Yet there is no reason to despair. I was reading an article in Vox by Mary Annaïse Heglar. Her impassioned call is to not give up. Not be overwhelmed by the changes to our Earth, to our future.
Every action counts. But don't just stop there with your own actions. Keep demanding systematic change too.
Tomorrow is today's promise - we can choose hope.
We can choose hope today. So enjoy the sunshine, buy less plastic, sign petitions, have conversations. Do all those things you do.
Just don't give up.
[Thank you Pinakeen Bhatt and Unsplash for the photo]
This morning the sky is blue, cold and fresh. The world is crisp and rustling with a wind that robs the sunshine of its warmth. It is a new day and all things seem possible. The sky paints hope with white clouds and the branches of trees reach up to touch the message. We have to keep hope, for without hope we shall never find the courage or strength to face today, tomorrow and all our tomorrows.
Visiting the Large Hadron Collider – or a picture of it.
Went to the Qld Museum's Hadron Collider exhibit. We had a great time but what a challenging concept for a museum. As we stood in mock-ups of large concrete tunnels and what could have been corridors of rooms from my old uni days, and watched a looped video of a scientist bunking out in her office waiting for the right readings to appear... I couldn't help thinking that this was not an exhibit that would capture the imagination of the masses. How do you show the excitement about the discovery of the Boson-Hicks particle? The work of decades of collaborative science, buried deep underground, working on the invisible, with physics and mathematics only a minute fraction of the population would begin to appreciate? We stared at an empty champagne bottle and tried to imagine the visceral excitement of achieving a lifetime's goal and a secret of the universe. We tried - we tried with all of our imagination. What a brave choice for a public museum, which must entertain even more than inform to remain relevant and funded. [Side note just a few years ago the city opened up the tunnel they had been building under the river for a walk through - one of the largest civil engineering projects worldwide in recent years. Don't know if folks would be impressed with a cardboard tunnel after that - even if was a scientific one. Just saying.]
Ditto for the exquisite colour back-lit astronomy photos downstairs. Even 10 years ago they would have been Wow - but in an age where I can watch a space walk live on my laptop or join a Rover on Mars ... well ... kudos for all of the parents who were dragging their squirming children through the exhibit. I think we oldies are way behind the times... sob for science.
Below: Me trying to imagine being 100m underground next to supermagnets accelerating particles thorough this (mock) concrete tunnel and wondering where the exits might be.
Tea-drinker, writer and editor. Ecologist, environmental scientist, futurist and student of irony.