Earth

Pine trees on rocky hillside. Karangahake Gorge, North Island, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Land and sky. Perfect afternoon on the blue planet. Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The Big T and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Karangahake Gorge. About 90 minutes from Auckland at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula, the area has some fantastic walking and cycling trails that we were keen to explore.

The Karangahake Gorge is a beautiful place; a place where the flow of water over millennia has scoured the landscape and created steep valleys where light and shade play tricks at every turn.

It is also a place where humans have entered the earth in search of wealth. The rocks which line the Karangahake Gorge contain gold and silver, and were once extensively mined.

Karangahake Gorge walkway, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Karangahake Gorge Walkway, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The old mines are disused now, leaving tunnels, rail lines and abandoned machinery as a reminder of how human activities change a landscape.

Tram track leading to old mining tunnel, Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Tram track leading to old mining tunnel, Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Disused cart for moving gold-containing quartz from mine to battery for extraction. Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Disused cart for moving gold-containing quartz from mine to battery for extraction. Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

All over the Earth, we see the effects of human activity; much of it damaging to ecosystems and to the planet; or at least to our tenure of it. Nature is reclaiming the Karangahake Gorge, and will undoubtedly do the same to Earth when we are gone.

Close-up shot of daisies growing around a disused goldmine. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Amidst the debris of human activity, nature reasserts herself. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

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While concern for human impact on the natural environment of Aotearoa-New Zealand has a long history, a defining moment came in the late 1960s, with a campaign to prevent the Manapouri Power Project raising the water levels of Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau, with devastating loss ecosystems and habitats.

Damn the Dam byΒ  John Hanlon was released in 1973, and although it wasn’t written as a protest song, it has retrospectively come to be regarded as something of an anthem to our country’s first nationally-fought environmental campaign.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is Earth.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Earth

  1. Pingback: Earth (Burst) | What's (in) the picture?

    • Actually, they have been incorporated into a few easy walks that even the relatively unfit could do. The walk we did followed the track uphill and through a series of tunnels. At some points there were “windows” in the rock where you could look down into the gorge. There are also side tunnels that can be safely explored, but we discovered that despite taking three torches, none of them actually worked very well so we kept to the main tunnels. I’m probably not explaining this very clearly: here’s a link πŸ™‚ http://karangahakegorge.co.nz/mainpage.html

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    • It is beautiful; and much busier than I expected. We got the last parking space. I remember ‘Damn the Dam’ but I’m not sure I really understood at the time what it was all about. The first “political” thing I really remember was when the HMNZS Otago and Canterbury sailed to Mururoa to protest the nuclear testing. That had a really big impact on me because my dad worked at the Naval Base in Devonport and we lived in Navy housing, so some of our neighbours were on-board.

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  2. Wow! Lovely images. First the header image was one I hadn’t seen – a bunch of bubbles – then the photos from your adventure, breathtaking. I especially love the photo of the train track leading to the mine. Great angle. The song is pretty groovy too.

    Like

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