Mining & Resource Security
I believe the Australian Beekeeping Industry has been concentrating on one single issue, almost tunnel visioned over the past 2 years. It is true that the Varroa mite is going to be a major threat to beekeeping in Australia when it gets here. It will cause immediate and damaging loss, which will change the way we work our bees. It will mean a major change to the management of beekeeping, but it can be achieved. The U.S.A has had Varroa for a number of years now and after initial severe bee losses, the number of beehives has started to increase, getting back nearly to the pre-Varroa invasion days.
Resource security in Australia, I believe, is under a more creeping but far more permanent damaging attack. The mining industry, particularly coal seam gas mining, will cause catastrophic impacts to the beekeeping industry lifelong. State governments, particularly Queensland and New South Wales have given unbridled access to mining companies, who are mainly foreign-owned, for permits to explore. The State Governments are broke, and they need a cash flow from anything that will provide it, with very little thought to people’s wishes or the environment. Mining leases have been granted on our most productive lands. The major food bowl growing areas, which are highly dependent on our pollination, and trees for our honey. The chemicals that are used in the mining process, particularly “fracking”, plus the subsequent chemical reactions that take place is very dangerous. The amount of water used in the process is enormous. We can’t sell it to the farmers, but we can give it away to the miners. If those poisonous chemicals gain access to the underground water aquifers and leach into our river systems, the life style we enjoy to-day will be gone forever. If the major river systems, inland and ocean running, from Cairns to Adelaide are contaminated from mining chemical runoff, where will we get our food from? If our rivers are contaminated, the farmer can’t use the water for growing grasses. No sheep or cattle? No water for irrigation, no wheat, oats, barley, canola, cotton, rice, fruit trees or vegetables. The pollination & honey Industries would be wiped out. All our food would have to be imported. There wouldn’t be a farming Industry of any type. If you think that the cost of living is high now, just wait 5 years.
New South Wales has 49% of the state covered by mining leases, how much has also been allocated for Queensland? If the beekeeping industry doesn’t get into the public arena to get the message out about food security, it’s going to be a long road ahead.
Maybe by getting behind the farming industries, we’ll get more bang for our buck, because there is certainly going to be a cost.
Surprisingly, while these major landscape decisions are being taken, the environmentalists and all things green have been deafeningly silent. It’s no surprise that there’s no environmental farmers getting their hands dirty and complaining about not getting enough water to grow their crops, but the miners can get as much as they want at no cost.
Food security has been a major contributor for world unrest over the past 100 years. If people have easy access to an affordable guaranteed food supply, most of our needs are met.
A loud voice must be presented to Government officials to do their duty to the people they represent, US.
(P.S. I first wrote this in November 2011 and then had second thoughts about it being a bit inflammatory, but after the floods in Queensland and New South Wales and the discovery that 36 mines had discharged contaminated toxic water into the flood water, it certainly gave me the courage to get my thoughts out there.)
Mike James, Townsville.