Wed, 05/29/2013 - 14:42 — Compost Stu

There is a permanent chill in the air, a cold sun glares askance over the slippery earth. The warmth is in the colours of Autumn, now falling to pave the orchard in a mosaic of rust and rustle. Small moments of sunshine are savoured in silence, as I wander through the garden, searching for blueberries the birds have missed. The wind whipped up in the Vale last week, cold and icy like it came straight from the Antarctic. At least there is never a shortage of windfall kindling just when we need it most. When I first came here 16 years ago I planted a woodlot, a selection of Eucalypts well respected for their burnability. Some of them are coming on line this year, and I’m thinning for my first harvest of home grown firewood. A bit of foresight is needed for sustainability to really happen. We use our common sense to help us provide for the future, and we have used wood to stay warm for thousands of years, so a woodlot comes naturally. But what about power, water, air and the many things we have changed to rely on more heavily in the last 150 years? Do we really have the foresight to manage those resources for sustainability? As individuals many of us do, but our bureaucracies do not. Just recently, Lismore City Council approved the application for new sheds at the Mountain Top Rd. piggery, with effluent from 550 pigs to be treated in a couple of ponds and then sprayed out over the paddocks, carcasses to be buried in sawdust until rotted. That is what passes for “industry standard” effluent treatment. If those pigs were humans, there is no way in a million years a couple of ponds would pass councils requirements. How can this be sustainable? Surely sustainability requires the MOST desirable outcome for the planet, not just lip service to “industry standards”. As a result of LCC’s shortsighted decision, there will be 550 pigs that do NOT generate enough bio –gas power to run the entire business, there will be saturation of the local soils ability to adsorb phosphorous over time, and excess nitrogen will leach through the soil profile into the ground water and into the creeks and rivers, lost to the estuaries which do not need more nutrients. I would urge the proponents of this development to re-visit the effluent management of this project, incorporate a bio-gas digester (which could take the pig carcasses), treat the resultant slurry to secondary level, then use less area for irrigating a much less smelly effluent over soybeans (higher N uptake) instead of sorghum, as the DA suggests. I am willing to help. At the end of the day, the proponents will be way in front, earning rather than spending for power, respect and community value.

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