What they don't tell you:
- Prior to planting, all vegetation and little critters are killed with a double dose of Roundup - If you've never heard of Monsanto just Google or Youtube it. You'll soon get the message that they are the root of all evil. Glyphosate when it comes into contact with soil is adsorbed onto soil particles, binding to soil in a similar way to phosphates, remaining residual for many years . Adsorption of glyphosate is higher in soils containing clay and organic matter than in sandy loam soils. We are talking about thousands of acres here! And 22,000 hectares across Australia. I'm all up for planting trees but not if everything involved with the planting of said trees is killing off everything else in a wide proximity of those trees.
- Monoculture plantations: Old-growth forests are often replaced by tree-farm plantations that are heavily managed (including with chemicals and fossil fuel-intensive machinery) and do not offer the same biodiversity benefits as natural forests (David Suzuki). Exactly what was happening here. Mallee Gums is what we were planting. I asked why the land owners didn't just slash the grasses that were already there, building up the carbon in the soil. No money in that.
- Instead of contracting a local nursery to supply the seedlings, therefor creating jobs in the community, the seedlings are propagated in Bundaberg Qld and are trucked on a B-Double (see pic at the end) down 947km on a weekly basis. This doesn't seem very environmentally friendly to me.
- We were all made to supply our own hi vis shirts, (no biggy, they only cost $5), we had to wear proper work boots, wide brimmed hat etc etc. This wasn't for our own benefit, this was so that the company was covered...just in case. Every company has their own oh&s standards, I get that. What I didn't get was being told, if I needed to take a shit I would have to shit in the field. 14 workers, 10 hours a day and for 6 weeks, shitting in the field.
- The crew who came down from Queensland had just finished working for several weeks every day in the rain. We were told "it's the type of work you can do in the rain" - it was zero degrees where we were! They also received 12 cents per seedling but were told that the soil in Coona was nice, soft and creamy so they would only get 5 cents per seedling but they could earn at least $2000 a week. Well, the "soil" was rock hard, red clay with massive boulders that needed to be broken up before putting down a seedling. I don't mind hard work, was really looking forward to it, but we were getting shafted - big time! I earned $38.40, Dan earned $60.80 minus the $90 we had spent on accommodation = $9.20. Daddy's Boy (as mentioned in my last blog) kept trying to reassure everyone that "this was the worst field, the soil is soft and creamy over there..." By 2pm all tools went down. People were pissed off. So they piled us into the trucks to show us the rest of the paddocks but all we could see were rows and rows and rows of boulders.
- So I discovered that the earth was a bit softer along the sides of the boulders and started planting my seedlings there. Left, right, all over the shop I was.Then some guy from CO2 with a fat-assed attitude drives up in his ute and starts giving me a hard time about it because once the trees are in, the rows in between will be sprayed (more Roundup) on an ongoing basis. Those of you who know me, know what went down but I'm trying to keep this blog family friendly so I won't repeat what was said here.
- They lost 5 of us that day.