The Sugar Bag Project
Mike Lewis from Charles Darwin University talks with elder Tommy George about stingless bees and hives. Learn how traditional knowledge and cool burning can positively affect the abundance of flora and the bees.
Please Note: This video contains images and video footage of Awu Laya Elder, Dr Tommy George who passed away July 29, 2016. Dr Tommy George was the last fluent speaker of the Kuku Thaypan language. He was awarded an honorary Ph.D with his brother Dr George Musgrave, for their extensive Indigenous knowledge. He co-founded the Living Knowledge Place, Indigenous Fire Workshop, and Laura Dance Festival. His influence extends throughout Australia and the world.
The Australian Business Roundtable members are jointly committing resources to work constructively with governments to deliver in five critical areas including community education, risk information, adaptation research, mitigation infrastructure and strategic alliances.
A summary of the theme could be “spend more on mitigation and less on mayhem”.
How quickly do we forget the past? We have failed to learn from Australia’s traditional land managers and we have not learned from our early explorers. We spend huge amounts of money being reactive instead of being proactive. Our post incident inquires make recommendations but we continue to ignore common sense and reasoning.
Roger Underwood shares the following historic accounts:
Endeavour journal, 19 July 1770
Joseph Banks was with Captain Cook in 1770, camped at what is now Cooktown while The Endeavour was being repaired after hitting a coral reef. The sailors had angered the local Aborigines by taking turtles (without permission and without offering to share) and revenge took place by the Aborigines setting fire to the grass around the camp. Banks recalled in his journal:
I had little idea of the fury with which grass burnt in this hot climate, nor of the difficulty of extinguishing it when once lighted: this accident will however be a sufficient warning for us, if ever we should again pitch tents in such a climate, to burn every thing around us before we begin.
On the 24 Jun 2016, ABC Rural published an article titled “WA volunteer bush firefighters will only support rural fire service independent of Department of Fire and Emergency Services”.
The article by Belinda Varischetti and Joanna Pendergast included two recorded interviews that are well worth a listen.
Never before in Australian history has bushfire fuel management fallen to such a low level that the majority of the countryside is classified as having “dangerous” fuel levels.
Never have our bushfire authorities placed such heavy reliance on firefighting as the answer to the bushfire threat, eschewing the “preventative medicine” approach of fuel management that was successful in the past. They ignore the fact that the suppression approach almost always fails when most needed.
We live in a country that needs fire and what happens is that we’ve stopped evolving with fire.
Our fire culture in Australia is totally flawed to nothing.
As before, even if you go back 100 years, pastoralists and people who were historically a part of land can tell you themselves there used to be fires all the time and even indigenous people would work in with them and burn country regularly, but we’ve backed up to a point of regulations, land tenures.
I sit at home and I watch the news and I see masses of country just going and it brings a tear to my eyes to see that country just being annihilated.
The Wambelong fire of January 2013, burnt out the Warrumbungle National Park, destroyed scores of surrounding properties and shattered the lives of many people in the Coonabarabran community.
The subsequent Coronial Inquest and Parliamentary Inquiry made 52 recommendations.
It has taken well over three years for the government to respond to the recommendations, this article looks at some of the local responses from the Coonabarabran community.
Feel free to add your comments.
This video (link) was sent to us with the question – sound familiar?
It would seem that they have similar issues in the United States. The video suggests that the U.S. Congress spends too much money on suppression and not enough on mitigation.
Again we say “Spend more money on mitigation and less on mayhem…”
Aboriginal custodians say a massive 2,000 square kilometres of eucalyptus viminalis, known as Manna Gum or Ribbon Gum, that has died on the Monaro Plains in New South Wales is the result of a lack of traditional burning practices.
Most firefighters will recognise the image (above), it is used in text books and in classrooms to teach the very basics of firefighting, you need all three sides of there fire triangle for fire to occur. We cannot control the heat of any given day, we cannot control how much oxygen is in the air but we can control many types of fuel loads.
Given that the fire triangle is such a simple and basic concept then why is the “F” word (Fuel) omitted from many news articles, papers and other references to the worsening bushfire threats to our communities. See the news examples in this post…