The Indonesian Council of Ulama, the country’s largest clerical body, has issued a fatwa or call to action to Indonesia’s 200 million muslims to take an active role in protecting and conserving endangered species.
According to National Geographic journalist, Bryan Christy, the fatwa was inspired when a villager asked Muslim leaders on a field trip about the status of wild animals in the Islaamic faith.
The Muslim leaders replied: “They are creations of Allah, as we are. It is haram to kill them, and keeping them alive is part of the worship of God.”
The fatwa states that you can escape government regulations but not god’s. Under the fatwa governments would review permits for companies harming the environment and do more to conserve endangered species.
In a related story a woman in the Muslim nation of Malaysia is facing wildtrade charges following the airing of Al Jazeera documentary.
Cheah Bing Shee, recently featured in Return of the Lizard King, an expose on the post-prison activities of convicted wildlife smuggler Anson Wong, appeared in a Penang sessions court yesterday where she faces charges of illegal posession of totally protected tortoises.
By Mic Smith
Efforts to release a sea turtle from a tangle of fishing line in the Southport Broadwater has shown how much everyone values the well being of these Broadwater marine residents.
Divers first spied that the turtle was in trouble about a week ago, Dale the water taxi operator says.
The turtle had fishing line wrapped around one flipper but would not let the divers get close enough to help it.
The flipper was a bit mangled, Dale says.
Word got out that the turtle was in need of help so divers, Sea World workers and other Broadwater users kept an eye out for the injured animal.
Dale says divers were looking along the seaway wall as turtles often take shelter in caves along there.
On Thursday Sea World divers found the turtle resting underwater on the river bed near the gate entrance to the south wall.
They took it back to Seaworld and “unwrapped the line, removed a hook that was found embedded in his flipper, and gave him an xray to make sure he hadn’t ingested any lines or hooks”. The Sea World Research and Rescue Team released the turtle yesterday where it was found.
The 70 cm juvenile green sea turtle has earned the name ‘Twiggy’ because there was a stick tangled with the fishing line that was cutting into its fin.
Sea turtles feed on sea grass beds in the Broadwater and lay eggs on South Stradbroke Island. Green sea turtles, which are classified as endangered, always return to the beach where they were born to breed and lay eggs.
Originally posted on WordPress.com News:
Embedding images at the speed of a shutter
Imagery is a powerful way to communicate your ideas. Whether you want to profile a famous personality or share your passion for soccer, you can now do so with Getty Images’ photography. With this new embed feature, WordPress.com users can access one of the world’s largest digital archives in a simple and — just as important — legal way.
By Mic Smith
A new public service announcement by Education for Nature Vietnam has aimed at the results of recent research that a section of the Vietnamese people believe that expensive illegal animal parts are status symbols and make suitable gifts.
“The PSA [public service announcement] targets the perception by some consumers that tiger bone medicine is valued as both a medicine and a means to show off one’s success and status amongst friends and colleagues,” ENV says in an email.
By Mic Smith for Blank MagazineFollow @Micsmithy66
When nine boobook owls arrived at the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital around the same time, logic told wildlife veterinarian Michael Pyne that habitat destruction was mostly to blame.
The owls nest in old trees with hollows, so it was far more likely to be chainsaws or bulldozers than storms that caused their distress.
The boobooks didn’t come from one place, their homes were as far afield as the Sunshine Coast and New South Wales. But they were all brought in by people who share a strong compassion for living things.
Dr Pyne is a pragmatist, he knows development can’t stop, but he is part of the Australian society’s machinery that protects nature’s creatures when they are most vulnerable.
The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is another part of that machinery. It provides free legal aid on environmental issues.
When habitat is destroyed, people find boobook owl nestlings on the ground, they find koalas wandering lost on sporting ovals, they find whales and dolphins injured by boatstrikes, pollution or entanglements. If you are concerned that a new development is a danger to threatened species or ecosystems, there might be a legal recourse.
The Environmental Defender’s Office in your state will help you decipher environmental planning by-laws and legislation. They’ll point out the pertinent clauses in the legislation, and the relevant laws and precedents. With their free legal advice and 20 years of experience advising communities, you can make more than an emotional appeal. You can give trees, plants and animals a voice that is a command not a whine.
The Abbott government, however, just wielded the proverbial axe to the EDO and cut all its Federal funding in December.
Every EDO office in every state was stripped of the Federal money that they have relied on for 20 years.
It’s a double blow to the Queensland EDO because it also lost its state funding recently under the Newman government.
By David Grove
This eulogy of Maree Syron was presented at her funeral in Newtown Sydney by David Grove. It is presented here in Mic Smith Geographic not just as a tribute to a great lady who touched the lives of many people in Sydney, but as a valuable cultural document, that characterises the spirit and values of Darlinghurst life in the 20th century.
“I arrived at what I’m about to say by talking to people about Maree and remembering myself. Apologies if I got something wrong or forgot to mention someone”
David Grove, friend and former tenant/flatmate of Maree Syron
Maree Jane Syron. Dear Maree. With her big hair, her big boobs, those big eccentric hats she wore with those big long ornate hatpins… The big sunnies she wore when you took her out for lunch. We called them her Dame Edna’s and she’d laugh that wonderful raucous cackling laugh she had.
But mostly I think we’ll remember that great big heart she had.
Maree undeniably had class. A style all her own.
Maree inhabited herself with a sort of commanding presence you couldn’t ignore and naturally respected. She could be tough but compassionate, a very loyal friend. And no matter how long you left it, when you phoned it was always the same.
“Yes,” she’d say in that very offhand world weary way.
Then when I’d say, “Hello darling it’s me,” down the phone would come a huge, “Ohhhhh Hello!” and the biggest explosion of love over the line that you could imagine.
Unless… You phoned in the morning… She could be a bit grumpy in the mornings.
Maree was born in December 1926 in Brisbane. Her father’s occupation was listed as “Carter”. Maree’s mother died when Maree was quite young so she ran the house for her father and brother. Her father was quite strict. He would use the strap she said.
I remember Maree talking about Brisbane in WW2. American servicemen, fights in the dance halls. She was a young woman in those years. Did she sneak out, go to those dancehalls? She must have, being Maree.
In 1947 she married Neville a Naval sailor, both 20, Maree working in a milkbar. She had a strong right arm from scooping icecream. They had a daughter Loraine, she was living with her father still, she described hanging out nappies alongside her father’s work clothes. Bloody hard work with Neville at sea six months at a time. I wonder if she got much sympathy from her father and brother at this time.
And went to Sydney. Brave move for a young woman at that time. Lorraine stayed in Brisbane with family. The great great sadness of Maree’s life was the loss of Lorraine in a road accident while she, Maree, was in Sydney.
She didn’t speak often of Lorraine but she must have thought of her every day of her life.
Talk about the old days in Sydney with Maree, and I never got much detail. She seemed to know a lot about the Abe Saffrons and Kings Cross characters of the day. Glamorous and street smart she would have been quite a gal. She did mention dealing cards at a baccarat school. Story about climbing out a window and hanging onto a drainpipe when the place got raided.
Could believe it of Maree, very worldly, very accepting, nothing surprised her. Down in Sydney, Maree met the man who would become the love of her life, Brian Syron. Brian’s sister, Sue, tells the story of the first time Brian brought Maree home. She came home and said “Mum how come Rita Hayworth is sitting in our kitchen,” she was so gorgeous and glamorous.
Maree, older than Brian was probably called a cradle snatcher, probably called a lot of other things as well for moving in with an Aboriginal man. The measure of the woman was that she saw Brian for the man that he was. And a very good looking man too.
Sue tells of how Maree encouraged Brian to pursue his acting, helped him get to New York to study. Brian went on to produce the first Aboriginal play to be produced in Australia. And Maree never asked nor was given the credit due to her for helping Brian achieve what he did.
Maree bought a Ford convertible and Brian drove them round in it, what a beautiful couple they must have been swanning around The Cross, moving in the world of acting and the theatre. She knew John Hargraves and she had stories of being in a Jacuzzi with Robert De Niro.
So Brian and Maree jumped the broom together, shared a flat in Neutral Bay, and Maree became Maree Syron.
I first met Marie at Flinders Street her little boarding house oasis next to the Taxi Club. She made a fabulous eccentric landlady. She’d be out there poking around the garden with the massive monstera wearing one of her funny hats, she loved life around Darlinghurst, the gays, the eccentrics; She’d let the homeless people use her address for Social Security to send their cheques, but she saw through the ratbags and you couldn’t put one over her. The Dragon Lady of Flinders Street they called her.
(To be continued)
David Grove and Michael Smith had been friends for a year or so when David moved in to “Flinders Street around 1988. David is a sailor, songwriter and ukele player who now lives with his fiance Jo on their yacht.
Originally posted on The Analyst:
Click to listen to my interview with Mark Pearson
Earlier this week, Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) released its annual World Press Freedom Index, a ranking system of the level of press freedom in each country. Australia found itself at 28 on the index, two spots lower than the year before.
It’s so true. As a photographer and documenter my interest is strong in poverty and I have often wondered why. I guess its the unusual aspect plus the poverty stricken are often vulnerable to be photographed, ie privacy is not a right the poverty stricken can protect well.
Originally posted on Archaeology and Material Culture:
Westerners have long been fascinated by poverty, simultaneously enchanted by human resolve in the face of hardship and anxious about gross human injustices in the midst of affluence. In 1896, for instance, traveler H.C. Bunner noted that “I have missed art galleries and palaces and theatres and cathedrals (cathedrals particularly) in various and sundry cities, but I don’t think I ever missed a slum.” Bunner and many of the observers chronicling the lives of the poor often painted pictures of impoverishment that are patently ridiculous at best, and in many cases the representations of penury are simply reprehensible.
One of the most crass contemporary interpretations of poverty may be the Emoya Shantytown Hotel, a faux South African “informal settlement” in Bloomfontein borrowing the aesthetics of South African townships. The hotel allows guests to “experience staying in a Shanty within the safe environment of a private game reserve. This is the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access!” It is difficult to resist ridiculing such offensive enthusiasm for an overnight descent into poverty. Gizmodo, for instance, mocked the resort’s effort to “recreate the joys of slum living without the nuisances of crime, disease, or poor sanitation”; Atlas Obscura concluded that “Unlike the atmosphere of struggle and danger that exists for the millions of people living in real South African shanty towns, Emoya’s Shanty Town attempts to foster a warm vibe of back-to-basics community,” which “may be the nadir of class tourism, a place where people can pay more to pretend to have less”; and Stephen Colbert dubbed the odd resort “glamour slumming.”
“This ban is the best way to help ensure that US markets do not contribute to the further decline of African elephants in the wild,” the White House statement says.