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Biodiversity Speech Knocked by Tweed Council and local paper

The following presentation was made at community access on 16th July, 2010:-

Greetings. My talk today is about the treasures of the Tweed. I come as a representative of the animals who can’t speak and need people like me and others to speak for them.

I apologise for my last presentation when I spoke strongly against councillors’ decisions (calling them environmentally negligent and environmentally incompetent). The truth is every one of you has done something green and sustainable at least once – so please do more!

I would like to start by reaching out to you. It feels like there is an enormous gap between you and us. It feels like we are aliens from another planet in our way of thinking. Councillors have called us ‘morons’, ‘ratbags’, ‘two-headed’ and ‘dope smokers’ but we are just humans and, like the Na’vis in the movie Avatar, we care deeply about our environment and are increasingly distressed at the amount of development this council allows, much of it on land where threatened species live.

What happens to the animals is something I ask you to consider. For example, a bird raised from birth knows intimately every branch, every leaf, rock, hill, waterway. It has its territory that is its property. That bird knows every safe spot to hide, where to get food and water and where to sleep. When machines operated by humans come along and bulldoze the area, what happens to that bird? It is devastated. It has nowhere to live. Forced to invade another bird’s territory it will die a certain death. And it is so with every single animal. To me this is unfathomably tragic. I so wish you could feel it …

It is estimated that between 1972 and 2006 a total of 4 billion birds, mammals and reptiles died from land clearing. At the rate we are developing and overpopulating the land, in time we will have no wild species of animals left. Already 2/3rds of our species in the shire are at risk of extinction. Each death is a personal tragedy to that animal and its family.

You all have loved ones children and maybe even animal companions. It’s clear to see that animals have feelings. They mourn when their friends die, they are happy when they are having fun, they have fear when danger comes. They protect their offspring with their lives just like we do. Why wouldn’t their needs be as important as ours?

The majority of people in this shire do care about the environment and want it protected because Cr Milne who most represents environmental issues at every opportunity, received the highest number of votes in the history of this council. That proves we are not in the minority.

Councillors are the guardians of our unique ecological treasures and we would be so thrilled if you would protect this shire for a change and not develop it, especially where threatened koalas and other species live such as:-

• Kings Forest and Cobaki Lakes
• Not support car rallies through national forests and World Heritage areas
• Not try to dam Byrrill Creek which has 43 threatened species or
• Fill in natural creeks at Ozone St, Chinderah and
• Fully prosecute every developer who illegally cuts down protected trees
• Buy up land for wildlife habitat and corridors

It’s time we changed our direction away from growth and expanding populations. It’s time to put ENVIRONMENT before ECONOMY and SOCIETY as without biodiversity of fauna we cannot survive.

Next time you see the Treasures of the Tweed murals around town I hope you will hear the collective voice of the animals’ psyche calling out to you for help. They really need it.

Menkit Prince

QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR JOAN VAN LIESHOUT
"I would like to know if you personally feel that animals are more important than people".

Reply: Without biodiversity humans cannot survive so therefore humans and animals are equally important.

COMMENT FROM MAYOR WARREN POLGLASE
The Tweed Sun, July 22, 2010
"Community access is about allowing people the opportunity to talk about some issues, like the people who spoke about the IGA store and the iBar, but when you get inundated about a lot of other issues - and this is orchestrated by some people - I think it sometimes abuses the process" said Cr Polglase.

"We have the same people coming in talking about the same issues but I don't think that's what community access is all about."

"Some of the wildlife people seemed to expand on what the numbers are and what they aren't. There is a difference in opinion between various wildlife groups on numbers. When you get this sort of thing happening, as a council you start to think who is right and who is wrong and maybe both numbers are wrong. The whole system in that area is being abused."

Asked if the council would consider changing its access system, Cr Polglase said council should be looking at alternative ways of conducting community access if it meant getting meaningful outcomes.

COMMENT FROM THE TWEED SUN, July 29, 2010
A Tweed woman may have seen Avatar just a few too many times - which could explain its incredible box office takings. At a recent Tweed council community access meeting at Murwillumbah, Menkit Prince, a regular speaker on wildlife issues, compared the people of the Tweed to the Na'Vi - the tribe indigenous to Pandora in James Cameron's mega-hit. She spoke of developments destroying the shire's wildlife and fauna and called council to 'stop the destruction.' Later she was asked by councillor Joan van Lieshout whether she valued the needs of animals above humans, she replied 'They are both equal.'

RESPONSE FROM MENKIT

To Cr van Lieshout:
Asking personal questions of residents presenting to council versus questions related to the topic of discussion, seems unfair considering we are not allowed to ask any kind of question to councillors at community access!

To Mayor Polglase:
1. It's been 4 months since my last presentation. Is this abuse?
2. If I gave inaccurate information, why did you not inform me of this at the time? I would certainly like to know if anything I say is inaccurate.
3. If different wildlife groups have different figures does not mean they are all wrong.
4. The reason why I make presentations is not because I am trying to abuse the process but because something is not being addressed. Why is council not listening to us? Is this what you call a meaningful outcome, getting rid of community access?

To Tweed Sun
I am amused that you think I have seen the movie Avatar millions of times and have caused this movie to have raked in $2 billion (as if I had that much money and that much time to have watched it so many times!).
It may surprise you to know that I have seen Avatar only once. Do you think it's impossible for someone to 'get it' in one sitting just because you can't? If you were listening to my presentation you would have understood the analogy instead of writing this exaggerated piece of journalism.

Well, I certainly got some mileage out of this one!

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Comments

Menkit says above

“If I gave inaccurate information, why did you not inform me of this at the time? I would certainly like to know if anything I say is inaccurate.”

I really do admire
Those that do aspire
To lend passion to a cause they do believe,
It really is a shame
When honesty turns lame
When the passion for the cause inspires notions to deceive.

A cause is often lost
When, WIN AT ANY COST
Becomes the mantra of the masses in the fray
Cred is often ruined
For the MANY who are strewn
Lined up beside the loudmouth clown who care not what she say.

Your penchant for the fiction
Is a truly sad affliction
Though your tapping at the keyboard seems alright
You really could do better
Checking facts right to the letter
Offensive wording removed. - admin, 7 Aug 2010

Q. What does Menkit do when she has been told that her claims are inaccurate?
See http://candobetter.org/node/1695#comment-4047 28-01-2010
A.
Step 1
Character assassination, personal attacks, wild fanciful assumptions
See http://candobetter.org/node/1695#comment-4054

Step 2
Keep right on spreading the “inaccurate” information under the guise of factual evidence 03-04-2010
See http://candobetter.org/node/1924#comment-4473 where Menkit says

“More facts here this time from the CSIRO proving that kangaroos do not compete with sheep:” www.publish.csiro.au/paper/WR9740027.htm

Where have we heard that before?

Perhaps the Tweed Mayor has a point.

Editorial comment: you haven't convinced me that Menkit was wrong from what you have written in this post. I find your accusations against Menkit contrary to my own knowledge of her. Perhaps you need to at least include, with the links, brief excepts of what you are complaining of (although we also discourage full repetition of all comments.)

Apparently my post above went over the head of the editor

Menkit Prince is quite obviously a highly intelligent highly articulate individual. I don’t agree with all her views or ideals but as my poem says I acknowledge her passion and commitment to a worthy cause, that is the protection of wildlife.

Consistent with previous posts my comments above are to express my disdain for the deliberate misrepresentation of facts (regardless of the worthiness of cause) in part because when such untruths are exposed the reflection falls not only upon the individual making the comments or the claims, but also any organisation or affiliates of the person thus bringing the cause and potentially a number of people, many undoubtedly honest and well meaning into disrepute.

There is no shame in making mistakes, nor to acknowledge doing so, but to continue to knowingly make misrepresentations of fact is another matter.

I come to Candobetter.org because I support the preservation of our environment and other issues discussed here hold considerable interest. I continue to read Menkit Prince’s posts because she like many others does have valid points to make (though not necessarily every point). It is obvious that Menkit seeks a high profile and equally so (to me at least) that she does not respond well to criticism.

In summary at http://candobetter.org/node/1695#comment-4047 I challenged a claim that ‘Kangaroos do not compete with livestock for food’, in subsequent comment on that page Menkit challenged my challenge suggesting that

www.publish.csiro.au/paper/WR9740027.htm

supported the original claim, though she later acknowledged that the link she cited did not support the absolute nature of the claim I originally disputed. In her comment of January 29th 2010 Menkit also accused me of supporting and being employed by the Kangaroo Industry (all inherently false) and attacked my use of a screen name. This is the
”Character assassination, personal attacks, wild fanciful assumptions” that I refer to in my comment above. In April 2010 some two months later Menkit despite prior acknowledgment by her of facts to the contrary, is still promoting the same link to CSIRO research as “…proving that kangaroos do not compete with sheep” despite clear knowledge to the contrary and acknowledgment by her that it does no such thing.

My message in all of this is that I would like to see the fight to save our wildlife, environment and biodiversity carried out in an honest, factual and forthright manner. Leave the lies deceit and half truths to the people who threaten our planet and expose them at every opportunity thus destroying their credibility. When even a few bow down to this level it tarnishes many and only sets the cause back further.

I stand by my previous comment above and consider I have provided adequate links for interested parties to follow, to understand where I am coming from.

To the Cando editor who censored the last line of my poem

I would appreciate that you “activate” the links in my posts as seems your usual standard practice elsewhere.

On the censorship issue the only word in the last line (or the entire poem) that could be considered even moderately offensive was the very last word, thus I respectfully suggest that you review your decision and censor ( if still deemed appropriate post review) the word only and not the entire line.

The word apparently deemed offensive by the editor was an olde English derivative of a word in common modern everyday usage chosen to rhyme with “alright”. To substitute the word with faeces or faecel matter simply did not do justice to the poem.

I consider neither the word chosen nor its modern equivalent to be any more or less or offensive than the word “bloody” which appears in these pages frequently. I even saw quite surprisingly, the F word displayed on this site in a recent comment (not mine). Perhaps the instance of the F word I refer to slipped passed the keeper. In relation to my comment above I think “The Keeper” has acted a tad too precious or perhaps even biased or niave in censoring my comment to such extent, the move is certainly inconsistent and far from even handed.

I might troll through the pages of this site in search for “offensive’ words to prove my point but I consider my time and space on these pages could be put to far better use.

Very witty poem, Search for Truth. You may be interested to know that it's been two weeks since I wrote a letter to the Mayor asking for clarification on what my inaccurate statements actually were. His secretary printed out my email and gave it to him. As of today I still have not heard back from him and would not be surprised if I never did. My point is that he doesn't have a leg to stand on otherwise he would have replied. If any of my statements are in fact incorrect (and can be proved to be with valid links), I welcome correction.

"It’s embarrassing for Australia that we eat our own wildlife ....I’m here to tell you it’s just not right. Simply do not buy, use or eat kangaroo products”
~ Steve Irwin
Sign the most important petition ever created to help kangar

Searchfortruth has written three emails, very personalised to several candobetter.org authors.
Here is the substance of the first and second ones, for which we have conserved the original title of the first, but the text of which we are paraphrasing and summarising, because of the abusive style and personalised attack of the original words. The second email was entitled, "You have missed my point again." [This editorial version was edited again on 6-9-2010 to show that it included the second email as well.]

Searchfortruth accuses a specific author, M-, of missing the point [but (perhaps due to oversight) fails to articulate the exact point, making reading further an exercise in generality]. Further, he/she asserts that M- wants to present facts in a manner that suits her, rather than the whole truth. In this manner he/she is asserting that they know M-'s motives, but without proof of this. Searchfortruth refers to "the council" in a manner which leads on to believe that he/she shares the same council. He/she suggests that the council has become embittered because of their dealings with M- in the past, implying that the Council has the right to discriminate against a resident for personalised reasons. Searchfortruth suggests to M- that, if the principle of karma applies, others will mete out to M- the treatment she has given them. Searchfortruth describes M-'s articles in unflattering terms, asserting that they have no interest, that she should not be surprised if persons in 'authority' don't take her seriously, and that neither her 'ongoing correspondence' with the Mayor, nor other details of the way she lives, hold interest for Searchfortruth unless they cause harm to animals, which Searchfortruth implies M- might be causing herself. Searchfortruth shows no understanding of the value of M-'s right to publicise her concerns and to her opinion, right or wrong (Voltaire). Searchfortruth fails (in this instance) to avail himself/herself of the opportunity provided by candobetter.org to simply argue the facts. Searchfortruth indicates that he/she believes that M- is a radical and a ratbag and that her ideas are thus discredited, without saying which ideas. This is somewhat global condemnation. Searchfortruth claims that M- would do better to listen to useful criticism and implies that she might thus become more effective. No doubt this is true for all of us, but Searchfortruth's own criticisms are poorly expressed generalities so far, put emotively, and therefore not very useful. We here find them difficult to publish unedited for these reasons.

My problem with Searchfortruth's actual words is that they are repetitive in subject, in criticism, uncharitable, and, lacking substantiation, expressed emotionally, they risk making candobetter.org liable for defamation, if published in full. I don't think that our authors, who work without pay and who write on subjects that they care about, in the absence of enough being written on those subjects by professional journalists, should be subject to relatively unconsiderate criticism that amounts to abuse.

Searchfortruth is welcome to write considered comments and articles for candobetter.org. He/she is also welcome to criticise statements. He is not welcome to repetitively demand detailed responses to attacks on credibility - which we don't have the time to address. Searchfortruth should comfort him/herself with the idea that anything we publish by him/her that makes a point or expresses a (non-abusive) opinion will be here for all to read. He/she doesn't have to pepper his criticisms of articles with insults. Stick to the facts, Searchfortruth, and we will publish your comments, unedited.

If we have missed out some relevant fact here, we apologise. Going through this kind of thing is time-consuming. Please don't take it too hard; try again with an objective review of the data.
sincerely,
Ed.

Dear editor you have missed so much.

Implication is the tool of the writer; inference the domain of the reader, objectivity is the responsibility of an ethical editor.

Assumption of infallibility is the domain of fools.
Search For Truth 6th September 2010

“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” (Voltaire 1694 - 1778)

Dear Ed
I agree with your comments to SearchForTruth, It doesn't seem like anything has sunk in however.
Menkit

"It’s embarrassing for Australia that we eat our own wildlife ....I’m here to tell you it’s just not right. Simply do not buy, use or eat kangaroo products”
~ Steve Irwin
Sign the most important petition ever created to help kangar

Yet again Menkit you have missed the point, perhaps conveniently.

My online encounter with you (see valid links above) demonstrates your willingness to deliberately distort facts.

If your prior encounters with the council has embittered their assessment of you who can blame them for being sceptical on this or future occasions, even if on this occasion your arguments may have been accurate?

You will be judged by how you conduct yourself, one tends to reap what one sows. If the beast you release comes back to bite you, so be it, it’s the Karma concept.

Your online wailing when those in positions of authority don’t appear to listen to you is boring, tiresome and irrelevant.

I have no interest in your ongoing correspondence with the Mayor, nor how you conduct yourself generally unless it harms the wildlife you claim to represent.

If it quacks like a duck and behaves like a ratbag it could well be a sad, wolf crying, radical activist seeking attention to revel in. If you don’t like the ratbag label and the damaging division it creates don’t behave like one.

So long as you continue to undermine your own credibility with such finesse, your talents and passion are wasted. You are probably your own worst enemy, and perhaps you should look within before you lash out to attack those that offer constructive criticism or comment.

There is a form of insanity that people reach when trying to protect their "own" and enforce their own "ways", with extreme force.
It has been documented for thousands of years. It is called war.

The following links (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/war) ;
(www.brainyquote.com/words/wa/war238447.html ), will show you some historical meanings and etymological background to the word WAR.
War and insanity go hand in hand. What is happening here, in the Tweed Shire is,
in these terms of reference - WAR. WAR on biodiversity. It is shocking, documented by historical facts, scientific facts and photographic evidence.
War severely impacts on the innocent, women and children, male youths,
the un-armed and unprotected environment and wildlife. It leaves a deadly legacy of destruction and toxic outcomes.

This behaviour is called "insane". Unless there is someone out there who believes that it is sane to kill and destroy.(???)

What is the DEFENCE against war-mongering insane "generals" and "leaders" of environmental destruction (via habitat destruction, species extinction and ongoing "slight of hand" of scientific fact)?

Well, since people generally fail to learn from historical insights, the defence appears to be... more WAR.

New paradigms are now emerging. New ways of viewing our world. the old ways do not serve us, and the new ways are hardly any better.
Love, tolerance and understanding, compassion, remorse, forgiveness - ancient concepts, powerful tools in avoidance of war.

The planet is in crisis, and biodiversity is disappearing at an unprecedented rate due to the types of illogical reasonings that are employed by our industry, political and corporate leaders. This IS insanity, this war directed against biodiversity.

You, dear Menkit Prince, are very sane by comparison. Alison Polistchuk