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Which is excellent!

Wilding Pines in Canterbury
Wilding Pines in Canterbury
Because trees are kite's enemies.
Up until today I had believed that last year's almost genocidal chain saw massacre had scared the remaining ones here into behaving.
But yesterday, a few seconds into the first flight of my latest single skin single line prototype (SSSL16): BANG (broken line), straight into the upper branches of a large P. Radiata that had quite obviously been waiting years for just this opportunity.
This tree is now for the chop- and it's near neighbours as well (by the doctrine of collective responsibility)-as soon as the weather clears up a bit, and the chainsaw has had a sharpen (much as I crave vengeance, wanton cruelty has no place in a righteous crusade).

And I'm not a lone crusader: my anti-tree (I prefer to call it pro-kite) campaign has support from an unexpected direction : greenies and conservationists.
Yes, you did read that correctly: the tree huggers themselves
Here in NZ at least.
Strangely, the main reason that greenies have caused so many trees to be cut down in NZ is climate change. Some years ago, after a few years of save-the-planet rhetoric from the left, New Zealand signed up to the Kyoto Accords, a voluntary international treaty by which some countries (but none of the ones like Canada, the US, China, India or Brazil that could genuinely make a difference) agreed to reduce their net carbon emissions. This was by the somewhat believable theory that the amount of C02 in the atmosphere, now at more than 400ppm (parts per million), is a main driver of AGW (anthropogenic global warming). In New Zealand, legislation to give effect to this commitment imposed a tax/hectare on everyone cutting down trees. The immediate effect was that large areas of forest were cut down just before this tax was to be applied.
In our local district (and elsewhere), much of this ex-forest has now been converted into intensive dairy farms, so as well as reducing the menace to kites, Kyoto has helped drive a massive boost to our economy (NZ unemployment is 6% and falling, growth is expected to exceed 3% next year). Truly a win win!- and we have the Greens to thank for this, without them, quite a bit of it wouldn't have happened.
And even better, the Kyoto treaty is time limited, and because a replacement doesn't now seem likely any decade soon, the subsidies we were going to get for new tree planting are also not now going to happen. So, not only has the Kyoto Accord caused us to annihilate large areas of those evil trees, but the future looks likely to remain desirably tree free also. Kites of the world rejoice!
But some may be puzzled as to why the lefty greenies have turned against trees.
A theory is that it's all been a terrible blunder, an unexpected and unintended consequence of not having thought things through during policy development and implementation- rather like has happened in Europe with their astonishingly inept renewable energy program (last month's newsletter).
But this just can't be true. The people who have worked on these policies here at both the bureaucrat and political levels have been the best of our best; bright young things straight out of universities where they received wisdom from some of the world's top "sustainability issues" academics. And, by comparison to the common folk here, they've been very well paid for their efforts, (as befits such a ruling elite) so I don't doubt their diligence (the more overpaid you are, the harder you work?- right?).
Nor can forest clearance have been an unexpected consequence of their policy initiatives, somehow overlooked in the endless whirl of latte's, Chardonnay and cultural sensitivity sessions, because serious Shiraz drinking curmudgeons like myself had been vocal in warning them of this likelihood.

SSSL Treed
SSSL Treed
But wait, there's more; even the lefty greenie treehugger troops-on-the-ground here (lowly Department of Conservation workers and their volunteer helpers), have been doing their bit to rid the countryside of evil trees.
As things warmed up here when the last ice sheets receded, forests did not generally re-establish on the plains and basins of the east coast, largely because the dominant nothofagus and podocarpus species could not adapt readily to the drier climate in the shadow of the alps . But species such as Pinus that had already adapted to these conditions elsewhere (like in California) have found this open tussockland very much to their liking. In fact, left to themselves, pines would happily take over a few 1000 square kilometres around here. What a wonderful thing this could be; not only would a significant part of the surplus C02 we are now producing by burning fossil fuels be sequestered (stored)- to the extent of millions of tonnes per year - but this would happen without it's costing a single taxpayers (or anyone else's) dollar, and by taking over land that is susceptible to erosion and largely unproductive at present. Currently it only supports a few stock units/acre and even this is under threat from an explosion of the rabbit population should the current 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) poisoning program stop. Trees secure the land against erosion and are not a suitable habitat for rabbits ( though they are for birds and other fauna).
And along the river and stream beds, where pines don't thrive, willows quickly establish and spread, when they are allowed to.
But what do my new found lefty greenie (supposedly) tree hugger friends think of this wonderful planet saving opportunity?
Not much it seems, because they're conducting a war against the wilding pines - not just attacking the adults with chainsaws but digging up every little baby tree they find as well so that none will ever grow up. And they're poisoning the willows - leaving behind a wasteland reminiscent of WW1 along the streams and watercourses of the backcountry. I can't bear to go there any more, it's horrible.
Nor is this just a minor local enterprise, it's nationwide: the area that they have denied to forest cover by these coordinated actions already exceeds hundreds of square kilometres.
But why?
Willows and pines are not the right sort of trees apparently.
But this can't be the rationale; it's completely at odds with the left's very often expressed pro-immigrant equalitarianism, tantamount to racism even. And it's interfering with nature; and by the use of chemical poisons and fossil fuel burning chainsaws (not to mention all their latest model SUVs), the very antithesis of greenism.

I'm puzzled. It's like when your kindly parish priest turns out to have been a serial paedophile.


But on the other hand, my enemies enemy's are my friends: Whatever their reasons, they sure are saving a lot of kites from future pain and suffering.

Sincere apologies to all my new lefty greenie treehugger friends therefore, it's all been a misunderstanding. We're on the same side after all and I've been wrongly maligning you all these years. I can only applaud that save the whales has become "save the kites".
It's a far far better thing that you do----!.
But I may need to have a quiet word to you about taking a little more care of our planet- just between friends.


Robert van Weers Slinskins #1
Robert van Weers's Slinskins #1
PS: The Single Skin Single Line, (SSSL) series are now doing everything kites should do. And I'm sure that further improvement and simplification will be possible- not least because Robert van Weers's SSSL (see photos) is much simpler, and it flies - and it's origins predates my attempts by some years. I'm itching to try it and fly it myself, but it's best to keep these two development streams apart to give evolution more starting points. SSSL 13 is now in Dusseldorf with Peter Rieleit (who has also been working on SSSL's for years) so I expect rapid speciation there now too. Next: SSSL style leading edges on the Skins (4 line single skin traction kites)?

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