Rainforest/Dryforest

During my second day at Lamington National Park, Barry Davies, my program’s eco-guide, took us on a 6ish-hr hike on a few of the park’s trails. The hike led us to a 210-ft waterfall, Coomera Falls.

Mediocre footage I captured of the falls:


On the way to the falls and back, Barry shared some of his vast knowledge of the park. He brought up climate change and effects it’s having/will have on specific aspects of Lamington.

To be honest, I must’ve been intently soaking up the magnificent rainforest during the whole of the hike because I don’t think I can write an entire blog post just from what Barry shared with us.

Luckily, I found a 196-page assessment to compliment Barry’s discussion of climate change & the Antarctic beech (The good stuff is on page 93).

Base of Antarctic Beech @ Lamington

Yup – You’re correct if you guessed the Antarctic beech is vulnerable to climate change.

Here’s how it goes:

1. The Antarctic Beech has a disjunct distribution (Department of Climate Change)

This means the Antarctic Beech was geographically separated from its original home, and because of that, has endured a completely altered environment – In this case, the beech originates from Gondwana – a supercontinent consisting of Antarctica, Australia, South America & Africa (so Southern Hemisphere) dating back hundreds of millions of years ago.

250px-Laurasia-Gondwana

Upon researching this, I thought all flora must have disjunct distribution if Earth’s landmass was, at one point, all connected. I guess an easy answer to that discrepancy is that not all flora are old to be from Gondwana, Laurasia, etc.

2. The species can resist moderate fire but very little seedling regeneration occurs where frequency of severe fire is too great (Department)

3. Fire-tolerant species will invade and beech seedlings will not regenerate (Department)

So if we’re talking Lamington, the eucalypt tree would be an applicable fire-tolerant species. Although this tree burns, and is in fact very flammable, it’s able to regenerate after a fire.

Koala Eucalyptus

Koala chillin’ w/ some eucalyptus branches @ Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

4. Antarctic Beech will cease to exist


I tried ending my post with that last bullet point but figured it was too daunting. Below I share multimedia I captured at Lamington – Reminders of what we’re fighting to sustain.

Lyrebird Song
(You won’t see bird in vid – Click here for photo)

Sunset Lookout

Sunset @ Binna Burra Lodge lookout

Sunset Tree

Minutes after sunset @ Binna Burra Lodge outlook

Realtalk: Eco Tourism

For three days/four nights, I stayed at Binna Burra Lodge at Lamington National Park– 2ish hrs south of Brizzy. Here, Barry Davies, an eco-guide with a background in science, discussed the park’s history/wildlife, guided us on a few hikes (one of which was 6ish hrs) and even taught us a few bush dances.

Barry in Forest

Barry explaining Lamington’s flora at the beginning of the six-hr hike

After leaving Lamington, my program stopped in Gold Coast & Surfer’s Paradise (both names of cities, not beaches) for a lecture & lunch, respectively. Prof. Rob Nash discussed eco tourism – responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people, at his workplace, Bond University.

rnash

Prof. Rob Nash

Gold Coast, AUS

Gold Coast, AUS

Nash’s lecture took me for a spin as he claimed the ultimate solution for preventing problems related to tourism (mass tourism [overcrowding], destruction of natural environment, demise of local businesses, etc.) is to stay at home – He chuckled right after saying this, but obviously instilled truth in this message.

5308002

Bathers on Playa Levante Beach, Spain

02-SanMarcopier

Venice, Italy trying to keep afloat with all these tourists at San Marco Pier

Although much more in favor of eco tourism, he wasn’t hesitant in pointing out similarities between it and bad tourism– Most of which include westernization in primitive/undeveloped areas. This pertains to the introduction of modern/harmful technology (air conditioning, toilets, etc.) & ideology in primitive areas.

Three eco accommodations I will have stayed at by the end of my trip:

Western ideology comes into play when people from developed nations tell those from the undeveloped world what they should/shouldn’t do – hunt manta rays, work in eco tourism, etc.).

Do we really have a right to change the way foreign natives have been using their land for centuries?


I felt a bit unsettled by the lecture as it pointed a large, condescending finger at my program, which falls under the veil of eco-friendliness – especially as an environmental journalism course.

I genuinely believe Nash’s viewpoint should be taken seriously. Even before his lecture, I felt this program & my travels in NZ beforehand, enlarged my green thumb & drew me closer (physically, mentally, spiritually) to nature/the environment.

Small Waterfall Better

Spotted a small waterfall in Coomera Gorge during the six-hr hike

Nevertheless, staying at home isn’t a viable option Prof. Nash.

Speaking for myself, I want/need to go out and explore more of the world. I hope to do my best being as eco-friendly as I can on the way. Many people share this same desire.

I understand the true backbone of tourism is money – not exposure to different cultural experiences. Sure, culture may expose itself to you (LOL) during travel, but usually at a cost – inauthentic.

These days though, everything’s backbone is money related. Marriages for example are part of an enormous moneymaking industry. That being said, just like traveling, money isn’t the first value people generally take away from weddings.

Just because marriage is part of moneymaking industry, should people not get married?

From my current travels & Nash’s lecture, I gather the best traveling tip is to be knowledgeable of your impact. With this in mind, hopefully you’ll make conscious decisions on where you lodge, what you eat and how you spend your money.

Even when not traveling, I enjoy myself more at authentic, locally-based establishments. Hopefully you can too.

Safe travels everyone…

A somewhat strained smile at the Binna Burra Lodge outlook

A somewhat strained smile during sunset at the Binna Burra Lodge outlook – Photo Cred: Mindy Bloem