Wednesday, September 22, 2010

John Brumby and his locust eradication campaign

The Thorax

(with compliments to Dr Seuss and his magnificent book 'The Lorax' (c) 1971

Here is a story we’ll long recall,
Of a poisonous campaign that was forced on us all,
And the wise old Thorax who warned everyone,
Because he realised why it shouldn’t be done.

He said "I’m the Thorax, I speak for the insects.
And all the wild creatures throughout country districts
I speak for the insects, for they have no tongues,
And I'm asking you, Grumby, at the top of my lungs,
What's that stuff you are spraying on our National Parks?"

And Grumby replied "There's no cause for alarm,
This stuff is organic, I’m doing no harm.
I’m being quite useful, I think you will see,
This stuff kills plague locusts. It's alright by me."

"I repeat" cried the Thorax "I speak for the insects."
"I'm busy" said Grumby "so have some respect."
He rushed 'cross the room and in no time at all,
He picked up the phone and he made a quick call.

He called all his friends in the chemical plants,
And he said "Listen here! Here's a wonderful chance,
For all chemical companies to get mighty rich,
To get rid of that stuff you thought you had to ditch.

We'll offload it on farmers. There won't be a hitch."
And in no time at all, in the chemical plants,
all the chemical companies were grabbing this chance.

Oh! Baby! Oh!
How their business did grow!

Some farmers were buying,
But now there'd be more,
All must spray this stuff now,
Grumby made a new law.

Yet again said the Thorax, “I speak for the insects,
And I am concerned about all of these districts
Which you want to spray just as much as you please,
With no thought for how it will kill native bees!

But I'm also in charge of the fat-tailed dunnarts,
Who live in the grasslands on farms, roads and parks,
And happily lived eating insects at ease.

Now...thanks to your spraying all over the ground,
There are no un-poisoned insects left to be found.
And the fat-tailed dunnarts are getting the crummies,
Because they have poison, not food, in their tummies."

Well, Grumby thought this was a sad thing to know,
His friends are in chemicals and their business must grow,
Regardless of crummies in tummies you know.

Grumby was draining the North with big pipes,
When that old nuisance Thorax came back with more gripes.
"I am the Thorax" he coughed and he whiffed,
He sneezed and he snuffled, he snarggled and sniffed.

"Grumby" he said, with his best Grumby glare,
"Grumby! You're making such poisonous air.
The poor grassland birds...why, they're dropping like flies.
And the health of our farmers has been compromised."

"What's more" he snapped, his dander was up,
"Let me say a few words about this fungus stuff.
Metharizium can mutate, some scientists noticed,
And it will kill far more than just the plague locust.

It can kill fish, frogs and other grasshoppers,
So please take away your planes and your choppers.
This fungus is not safe, to spray near the water.
So why are you telling the people they oughta?"

Grumby said "Look here Thorax, we have our rights too,
We intend to go on doing just what we do.
And, for your information, you Thorax, we're figgering
on staying in government
and biggering

Spraying more land with chemicals and fungus,
And there’s no one on earth with power to stop us!"
And at that very moment, there came a small sound,
A Plains-wanderer fell on the ground.

This bird was endangered, how could we let it fall?
The very last Plains-wanderer of them all.

No more birds. No more insects. No more monitoring to be done.
So Grumby and his cohorts went off, every one.
All went back to parliament, to their everyday lives,
Unconcerned for the damage they'd caused with their lies.

That was long, long ago.
And as years have gone by,
We see the results now and all wonder why,
This locust campaign was allowed to go on,
When the Thorax was warning of what could go wrong.

Through the years, the environment's fallen apart,
We've worried about it, with all of our hearts,
Our health's been effected, our children's health too,
And the fat-tailed dunnart’s only found in the zoo.

Unless someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better, it's not.
Love your environment,
Treat it with care,
Maintain its clean water,
Guard its fresh air.

Protect it from chemicals and fungus sprays,
So you can enjoy it for the rest of your days.

For a real perspective on locusts, have a look at

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