THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Save our iconic Pohutaka tree - a Taita icon in danger of destruction by the chainsaws of the Hosanna Church

Save our Pohutakawa tree - a Taita icon in danger of destruction by the chainsaws of the Hosanna Church...

The following was sent today  as a letter to the local newspaper, The Hutt News, in Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

Last weekend a group of current and former Taita residents and identities met in High Street, Taita, to discuss and protest at the proposed destruction of the 150 year old iconic Pohutakawa tree which was planted long before there was a suburb called Taita; long before the old Taita Hotel itself was constructed in 1890. There was only farmland and later market gardens in this district. High Street, one of the main arterial routes through the City of Lower Hutt for many decades was just a horse track through which the stage coach from Wellington passed through on its way to the Wairarapa. They changed horses just up the road from the site of the former Taita Hotel, now the Hosanna Church, at the original Taita hotel which later burned down.

The new owners of the Taita hotel site, purchased some years ago by the very last of the hoteliers, Ricky Briant and Huia Gordon, are in the process of redevelopment work on the site. The new owners have in the words of some Taita residents, arrogantly and ignorantly disregarded the feelings, sentiments and sense of history of the area and residents. Taita is the original name for the area which includes Taita North ( including the community of Pomare and the industrial area of Wingate) Taita South, Avalon and Naenae. This explains why the cemetery in Naenae is called the Taita Cemetery. Avalon Park is the site of the old Taita speedway. But once the Avalon area was subdivided the owners of the new houses there did not want to be associated with those state house tenants in the north. They were described in the Hutt News a few years ago by one well known Taita identity, as a "bunch of snobs". Words he still sticks to!

Technically under New Zealand law, the Hosanna Church owns the Pohutakawa tree because it is on the site; but morally nobody owns such an iconic tree that precedes the Taita borough and suburb of Lower Hutt City. This tree was played on by children waiting for their parents, and used in a variety of ways over the years. The tree has also been hacked around and defaced by contractors in recent years. A story in the Taita Times mentioned how the tree was used as an early post office - people used to leave and collect letters in a box nailed to the tree. No stamp being necessary those days.

We were told at Sunday's meeting that there had been no support from the Hutt City Council or interest from the media. I hope this addresses that problem. The local Labour MP has allegedly only taken interest in the tree protest when he found out that a National candidate had pledged support. We hope there will be some real cross-party support from our politicians and potential candidates at this year's local body elections. Come on over for a talk Mayor David Ogden.

This tree has mana, and is a symbol of generations past. While the busy working class suburb has fallen on hard economic times since the unfortunate 1980/90's, many people remember that in the early days of the suburb it housed returned servicemen and their families. While it has changed over the years and now houses the economically disadvantaged as well as the working class, the spirit of Taita still burns brightly in the hearts of those who have, and still call Taita home. I'm mainland born from Christchurch and Canterbury, but Taita has been my home and suburb since 1972.

Imagine if you can, the late Sir Walter Nash, former prime minister of New Zealand, stopping under the shade of what was then a much larger and widespread Pohutakawa tree during his campaigning in Lower Hutt. The old gentleman would turn in his grave if he found out the Taita tree was under attack from Christians armed with chainsaws. Sir Walter was a devout church going Christian from the old school; those from the Hosanna church would undoubtably learn much from him, regarding Christian charity and regard for the feelings of their neighbours. They could simply read their bible and find an appropriate story there. The future is in their hands. I sincerely hope that they will initiate some dialogue with those who want the tree saved.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

20 best Ted talks on the Environment - from The Computer Gizmo Blog

Chris Anderson is the curator of the TED (Tech...Image via Wikipedia
20 Best TED talks on the Environment

Introducing the "The Computer Gizmo Blog" this week.

20 Best TED Talks on the Environment

The non-profit TED is a small organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It began in 1984 as a conference which strived to join people from the three worlds of technology, entertainment, and design. Shortly after, it became well known for the talks given by experts in each of their respective fields. Since the inception of the internet and video streaming, it has grown into a gigantic site, with a huge database. Best of all, it is free for the viewing and completely ad free.

If sifting through the net, or even TED itself, for expert information on the environment, stop here. Below are the 20 best TED talks on the environment loaded with experts, scientist, and well-known environmental activists. They are listed by current number of “most favorite all time.” Averaging about ten to 20 minutes in length each, a few hours can have you seeing the Earth in a whole new light.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Have scientists really created artificial life in a test tube...

Purposeful DesignImage by jurvetson via Flickr
Scientists have succeeded in creating artificial life in a test tube, in a development which promises to revolutionise biotechnology.

The research opens the way for scientists to create new life forms that can be genetically programmed to carry out a variety of functions, such as producing carbon-free fuel or made-to-order vaccines and providing new forms of food and clean water. However, the study also raises ethical concerns about the technology falling into the wrong hands, and, for instance, being used to make biological weapons, or by scientists to "play God" with life.

The research team, led by Craig Venter, who previously directed one of the teams which decoded the human genome, said it had created synthetic life in the form of a new species of bacteria that operates entirely under the control of a man-made set of genetic instructions, originally stored on a computer. They synthesised the genome of a bacterial cell and used it to "boot up" the empty cell of another species of bacteria, which then replicated freely as if it were carrying its own set of genetic instructions instead of a set made in a laboratory.

"This is the first synthetic cell that's been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesiser, starting with information in a computer," Dr Venter said.

"We start with a living cell but the synthetic chromosome totally transforms that living cell to this new synthetic cell," he added.

Dr Venter dreamed of creating artificial life 15 years ago when he led a study that produced the first decoded genome of a microbe. After years of trying to work out the minimal set of genes necessary for life, and many more years trying to overcome the technical difficulties of constructing an entirely artificial genome, he has finally succeeded in realising his vision.

"This is both a baby step and a giant step. It's a giant step because, until this was done, it was only hypothetical that it could work. It's a baby step in terms of all the distance we have to go before you can buy fuel made from carbon dioxide or have new medicines or new sources of food," Dr Venter said.

"It's a new enabling technology, but it tells you as much about the definition of life as anything else. We consider it a philosophical leap, being able to start with information in the computer, build the chromosome chemically and have it active. That has never been done before. It has changed my definitions of life and how dynamic it is - simply by putting new software into the cell, the cell starts producing the new proteins coded for by that software and creates a new cell. So life is much more dynamic than most people envision and the dynamic process is totally controlled by the software of life, which is the DNA," said Dr Venter.

And there is more...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pre-dinosaur predator unearthed by Brazilian palaeontologists...

Federal University of Rio de JaneiroImage via Wikipedia
Pre-dinosaur predator unearthed...

Brazilian palaeontologists have discovered the world's most complete fossil of a pre-dinosaur predator.

The creature, called prestosuchus chiniquensis, is nearly seven metres in length and would have weighed more than 400kg.

It roamed the earth approximately 238 million years ago and belonged to a family of reptiles called thecodonts.

It had a large, deep skull, serrated teeth and a long tail.

The fossil was found by a team from the Lutheran University of Brazil, about 250km from Porto Algere.

Pre-dinosaur predator discovered Dinopolis (

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Singapore in land grab...

Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Cambodia. *Depict...Image via Wikipedia
Singapore in sand grab...
Cambodia is devastating its coastal areas by dredging vast quantities of sand to export to tiny Singapore for reclamation, a watchdog group has reported recently.

Cambodia has become a prime source of sand used to enlarge Singapore's territory now that several other nations - including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam - have banned sand exports.

Singapore has reportedly increased its surface area by 20 %  in recent decades through reclamation. London-based environmental watchdog Global Witness has also noticed that the wealthy island state claims to be a leader on environmental issues. Yeah right. Some people will believe anything!


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Down by the HuttRiver

Down by the HuttRiver

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Japan restarts costly fast-breeder nuclear reactor...

Fast Breeder Reactor Monju in Japan FukuiImage via Wikipedia
Japan restarts costly fast-breeder nuclear reactor....

Japan has restarted a costly fast-breeder nuclear reactor for the first time since it was closed down fourteen years ago because of a major accident and cover-up.

The experimental reactor Monju in the northern fishing town of Tsuruga, uses plutonium instead of the conventional uranium and produces radioactive substances that can actually be reused as fuel.

Monju's startup in August 1995 lasted only four months after it leaked volatile liquid sodium. No one was apparently hurt in the accident and no radioactivity escaped, but the operator's came under fire for concealing the extensive damage that was caused to the reactor.

This type of reactor could become more acceptable because it reuses waste product in its operation.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Labels: , , , , , , ,