Warrigal Greens and Rockpools

We’re at the beach – the same beach we were at 3 years ago when we all started reading Tim Flannery’s “The Weathermakers”. You certainly can’t help pondering on life and its vagaries as you watch the tide move inexorably in and out each day, and as you gaze across the surging waters that link all of us on this planet.

The beach we’re at is Currawong – the “workers’ retreat” on Pittwater that’s become the catalyst for a state wide challenge to the NSW Government’s controversial planning laws. Changes to the Environmental Planning Act gave the planning minister the power to override laws such as the Heritage Act for development proposals made under Part 3A of the Act. According to the Environmental Defender’s Office:

In effect, Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (‘the Act’) dramatically reduces the involvement of the community in the original decision making process and seeks to reduce any risk of concerned individuals or groups delaying or preventing significant development, by limiting the grounds on which, or the circumstances in which, they can seek merits or judicial review. Instead, the Minister for Planning and Director General, Department of Planning maintain the power to make all key decisions regarding significant development, with advice from ‘expert panels’, limited input from other key agencies and little opportunity for effective criticism where the bureaucracy ‘gets it wrong’.
The assessment process under Part 3A of the Act will apply to the most significant types of development. These are also generally the types of development that will have the greatest impact on the environment.

Groups like RAID and The Greens have been challenging these pro-developer moves but it will be interesting to look back in another three years and see how things panned out.

Three Years with the knowledge of

Climate Change seems to have led to less action than 3 weeks with the knowledge of the global financial collapse. If only governments had pulled out as many stops for renewable energy industries as they did to bolster the banks and the car industries.

A change that has happened in the last three years is that the caretakers here now also have a vege garden.

It may be small but it’s most certainly predator proof! Located here in the middle of the bush there certainly aren’t a shortage of predators. From the wallabies …

to the goannas …..

But the one thing that none of these animals eat, as you can see behind the goanna and in front of the well protected vege patch, is the bushtucker, warrigal greens or New Zealand spinach:

These greens grow here in abundance AND THEY GROW IN BLACKHEATH and, despite the fact that they need to be blanched for 3 minutes before eating them to remove the soluble oxalates, they’re obviously a great backup crop so that you can always have greens on hand. If you’d like a recipe and information on other types of bushtucker click here.

Talking to a friend here yesterday we thought the Warrigal Greens would be perfect in the Greek dish Horta – the recipe she tried also had dill, oregano, garlic and whole broadbeans cooked with the greens.

But back to the beach and my ponderings ….. lots about my own mortality in the last few days. Which brings me, as I gaze into the rockpools, to think more about Judith Wright’s poem “Rockpool”, written shortly before her death. The ABC did an excellent discussion of the poem which you can read by clicking here.

‘Rockpool’, by Judith Wright.

My generation is dying, after long lives
swung from war to depression to war to fatness.
I watch the claws in the rockpool, the scuttle, the crouch—
green humps, the biggest barnacled, eaten by seaworms.
In comes the biggest wave, the irresistible
clean wash and backswirl. Where have the dead gone?
At night on the beach the galaxy looks like a grin.
Entropy has unbraided Berenice’s hair.
We’ve brought on our own cancers, one with the world.
I hang on the rockpool’s edge, its wild embroideries:
admire it, pore on it, this, the devouring and mating,
ridges of coloured tracery, occupants, all the living,
the stretching of toothed claws to food, the breeding
on the ocean’s edge. ‘Accept it? Gad, madam, you had better.’