The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Dingoes and Dogs in Indigenous culture

This is a re-post of a piece first published by the Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC) who do some excellent work with dogs and people throughout the country.

It was originally published in February 2013 here.

There are many dog dreaming sites located around the Australian continent and each has its own and often interconnected story of creation and movement of the dingo through the country. Stories are told covering areas over thousands of kilometres and across different language groups.

Dingoes have been on the Australian continent for the past 4000 or so years. It is thought that they were brought to the mainland by Asian seafarers, with whom the Aboriginal people had extensive trade links.

During this time dingoes have been woven into the fabric of Aboriginal life, law and culture.

Little distinction is usually made between dingoes and more recently introduced dogs when applying Indigenous beliefs and law.

Aboriginal people in contemporary society own dogs for a variety of reasons.

They serve in the role of:

* Companion: as for most societies, this is particularly the case for the elderly and children. It is also noted here that elderly people, possibly because of a stronger need to obey law and culture, tend to give their dogs greater attention than younger people in communities. It is common for older women to give large amounts of their own ‘meals on wheels’ food to their dogs. Older people also tend to accumulate dogs in far higher numbers than younger people.

* Physical protector: the level of protection offered by dogs serves an important role for the family.

* Spiritual protector: dogs continue to be seen as protectors from spiritual interference. Sorcery remains a very real threat in contemporary Indigenous life in northern Australia. Dogs howling, barking or indeed being silent through the night are often interpreted in relation to the spirit world.

* Hunter: many dogs are known as the “good kangaroo dog” or the “good goanna dog”. These dogs are prized for their hunting prowess and strategic breeding of their lines occurs.

* Source of warmth: “two, three and four dog nights” are still very present in many Indigenous communities where relative poverty and overcrowding mean there is often not enough warm bedding to go around when the temperature drops.

Dingoes, and now to some extent dogs, are regarded as sacred animals.

They are incorporated into Aboriginal society via:

* Formal inclusion into family units: certain dogs are given “skin” names. This automatically positions the dingo into society, granting them status such as parent, grandparent, aunt, child, etc. In some cases dogs are considered important enough to attend rituals, acting as fully fledged lawmen. In certain areas dogs are also believed to be direct reincarnations of ancestors.

* Incorporation into creation and “dreaming” knowledge: the Dreamtime or Dreaming is that part of Aboriginal culture which explains the origin and culture of the lands and its people. There are many dog dreaming sites located around the Australian continent. Each has its own and often interconnected story of creation and movement of the dingo through the country. Stories are told covering areas over thousands of kilometres and across different language groups. Ceremonies that are based around the dingo and dog continue to be practised across northern Australia with relevant songs, dances and stories being very much intact.

* Individuals will carry with them “dog dreaming”, that is, they are the custodians of the law and history of dingoes and dogs.

For more information about Dogs and Dingoes in Indigenous culture see Conducting Dog Health Programs in Indigenous Communities: A Veterinary Guide.

Photo above taken by Angus McNab.


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Seed Grants Available for Co-ops

WBEX announces the availability of grants to anyone interested in forming or expanding a co-operative:

The Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers is offering reimbursement seed grants to groups interested in exploring or growing a cooperative.
Cooperatives are legal businesses that form when members of the group can do something better together than they can individually. There are many different types of cooperatives in Ohio. They range from farmers’ markets and local food hubs, to health care providers, industrial cleaning enterprises, and manufacturers.
Groups interested in forming a cooperative may request up to $1,500 for research and early planning, feasibility study, and formation services. Examples include legal and/or professional fees, focus groups, development of articles of incorporation, financial projections, and other feasibility and/or formation work. Continue reading


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Maleny – A Cooperative Place

Between the beauty of the place and its many cooperatives, tailored to the needs of its citizens, Maleny seems like a great place to live.

Kamala Alister writes:

Maleny is situated 100 kilometers north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. It is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, has stunning views of the Glass House Mountains, and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It has a population of over 7,000 people. And it is a cooperative place.

Maleny has a long history of cooperative enterprise. On the 3rd May 1903, settlers started the first dairy cooperative in the region, the Maleny Cooperative Dairy Association. During its lifetime, it built 3 butter factories. In the 1940?s, the community got together to build the Maleny Under 5?s Centre Kindergarten in one weekend.

Today Maleny has seven legally incorporated cooperatives and an even greater number of similar social enterprises, which work in most areas of community life. These include: a consumers’ coop, a cooperative bank, a cooperative club, a workers’ coop, a cashless trading coop, a cooperative radio station, a cooperative film society, 4 environmental coops, and several community settlement coops.


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Greens Announce $85 Million Plan to Allow Farmers to Sell Direct to Public

Exciting news from The Herald Sun in Australia.  Way to go Greens!

THE Greens have announced an $85 million plan to allow farmers to bypass Australia’s major supermarkets and sell direct to the public.
In Perth on Sunday, Greens leader Christine Milne said the $85 million in grants over four years would connect farmers and local communities by helping create more farmers markets, mobile markets and community food box schemes.
Ms Milne also hoped the creation and support for producer cooperatives, and a new regional food brand would ease the pressures on struggling farmers.
‘Farmers aren’t getting decent farm gate prices, and the supermarkets are putting downward pressure on farmers,’ she said.
‘In many cases they’re having to try to produce even below the cost of production. That’s just not right.’
The policy is based on a similar scheme launched in 2009 by US President Barack Obama called ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food.’
Ms Milne said the pressure on farmers had been produced by both the Labor and the Coalition governments helping Australia ‘develop the most concentrated supermarket retail sector in the world.’
‘Our food system as a result is highly centralised and increasingly reliant on importing cheap processed food,’ Ms Milne said.
‘There are significant barriers and little assistance for farmers wanting to sell direct to the public.’


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Scientists Detect Mysterious Radio Waves

Radio Telescope

A new article by Catherine Griffin in the Science World Report relays information on a single burst of radio emission of unknown origin detected six years ago outside our galaxy:

In order to find these radio waves, the researchers used the CSIRO Parkes 64 meter radio telescope in Australia. This allowed them to detect the waves and find out a little bit more about them. More specifically, they were able to locate four more bursts, removing any doubt of their existence. Lasting for just a few milliseconds, the furthest burst was detected about 11 billion light-years away.

“The bursts last only a tenth of the blink of an eye,” said Michael Kramer, Max-Planck Institute Director, in a news release. “With current telescopes we need to be lucky to look at the right spot at the right time. But if we could view the sky with ‘radio eyes’ there would be flashes going off all over the sky every day.” In fact, researchers believe that it’s possible that these bursts could be going off every 10 seconds.

The burst energetics of the waves indicated that they probably originated from an extreme astrophysical event involving relativistic objects such as neutron stars or black holes. It’s likely that they’re associated with some kind of extreme event involving large amounts of mass or energy.  That said, researchers still can’t say with certainty exactly what might have caused the radio waves.


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Fab Abs Found on Ancient Fossil Fish

Palaeontologists have discovered an ancient fossil fish that shows surprising signs of having abdominal muscles, previously thought to have only developed in land animals.

Mapping the oldest fossilized vertebrate muscles ever seen — in Gogo fish thought to be 380 million years old — researchers worked out the position of the muscles and the orientation of the muscle fibers.

The fossil fish, found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, are enclosed in limestone nodules and are known for their exceptional preservation. Continue reading


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97% of Scientific Community Agree – Humans Causing Global Warming

Scientific studies on climate helped establish...

Scientific studies on climate helped establish a consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scientists agree on a warming Earth
08 June 2013 Issue No:275

University World News

Researchers in America, Australia, Britain and Canada found an overwhelming consensus among scientists regarding human-induced global warming after examining the abstracts of 12,000 papers dealing with climate from 1991 to 2011. They say the number of papers rejecting the consensus was a “vanishingly small proportion”.

The researchers say the study was not only the largest peer-reviewed investigation of the topic undertaken but that the extent of scientific consensus regarding human responsibility for a warming Earth was overwhelming.

In fact, 97% of the scientific community “endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming”, the researchers write in a paper published in Environmental Research Letters.

“An accurate perception of the degree of scientific consensus is an essential element to public support for climate policy,” they say. “Communicating the scientific consensus also increases people’s acceptance that climate change is happening.

“[But] despite numerous indicators of a consensus, there is wide public perception that climate scientists disagree over the fundamental cause of global warming.”

In America, public opinion polls in the decade to 2007 consistently indicated that around 60% of the US public believed there was significant disagreement among scientists about whether global warming existed.

Similarly, 57% of the public either disputed or were unaware that the vast majority of scientists accepted that the Earth was very likely warming because of human activity.

The researchers say that contributing to this ‘consensus gap’ are campaigns designed to confuse the public about the level of agreement among climate scientists. A key strategy involved constructing the impression of active scientific debate using dissenting scientists as spokespeople.

The situation is also exacerbated by media treatment of the climate issue, “where the normative practice of providing opposing sides with equal attention has allowed a vocal minority to have their views amplified.


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19th Century Technology Fuels 21st Century Sustainability Project

By: Chris Vedelago

steamIt’s a bold 21st century sustainability project that will be fueled, ironically, by 19th century technology.

Excess energy from the powerful boilers that run the CUB Brewery in Abbotsford are being retasked to meet the energy needs of a nearby office building, turning it into a hub of environmental sustainability and design.

”We are in a really unique position – with the brewery and its existing co-generation infrastructure – to begin establishing a renewal energy community utility, which will the first of its kind in Australia,” said John Shone, chief executive of environmental research and education group Kunexion.
”This is part of the Yarra Energy Foundation’s strategy to establish a municipal style community utility and renewable energy business based around six industry districts in the City of Yarra,” Mr Shone said. ”We happen to have six large boiler rooms in our municipality that already generate electricity, hot water and heating and cooling for their host operation, be it a brewery, hospital, university or laundry. So we’re able to use, quite ironically, infrastructure from the 1840s – i.e. the steam engine – to generate renewable energy today.”

You can read the entire article here.