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EDITORIAL: Look after the ‘pennies’

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017

It is hardly surprising that many people have brushed off as ‘irrelevant and boring’ news that a rare type of moth that calls the Wimmera home is still with us living near Nhill and Kiata.
‘Whoopee do’ we can almost hear some people say, continuing with: ‘surely it’s only a moth and little more than fodder for the household bug zapper’.
News that researchers have sighted and recorded the Golden sun moth, Synemon Planta, for the first time in at least two years, might fail to inspire or capture broad community interest.
But it is the type of news of which we should all take notice.
Ultimately the wellbeing of the tiniest of creatures, such as a humble moth, native ants and the many other types of insects and macro-invertebrates, reflect the health of the environment we humans call home.
Apart from a few circumstances, if an environment is good for indigenous bioindicating insects, then it is often good for everything else.
We’ve said it before but there is considerable truth in the old saying ‘look after the penny and the pounds will look after themselves’.
This especially applies when it comes to environmental management.
For the record, ecologists are delighted with the discovery of more than 50 Golden sun moths, listed as ‘threatened under Victoria’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act’ and ‘critically endangered’ under the Commonwealth Government’s Environment protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, at two observation sites.
We can be so blasé in our approach to understanding what research and environmental protection is all about.
It seems that it is only when other news filters through that one of our iconic and much-loved animals – the platypus for example – is in strife that we feel a need to be informed.
Sorry, but nature doesn’t follow that simplistic formula.
Everything is connected and as the apex predator we sit precariously at the end of the chain.
Again for the record, scientists suspect platypuses have become so genetically fragile in the Wimmera River’s upper catchment, beyond a small colony in the Mackenzie River, they are all but extinct in the area.
This means that at one end of the region, where rare moths are managing to survive, at the other end the habitat and tiny aquatic animal life needed to sustain platypuses is either missing or has been for lengthy periods in the past.
This subject is more than simple ‘greenie’ philosophy.
It is a regular reminder that we are custodians of our environment and have responsibilities – not only to look after a few bugs, but to also look after ourselves.

The entire December 13, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Dec 13 2017

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