US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

6/9/09: Lesnes Abbey to Erith (part 2 - north of Eastern Way and along the sea wall)

Along Footpath 1, immediatly north of Eastern Way, were several Elders, heavy with fruit, and festooned with female Hop plants in cone, as here:

There was a Goat's-rue, several Sloe and a small tree with sweetish, round, miniature Plum-type fruits. A mixed group of Blue and Long-tailed Tits was active in Elders. A Heron was on a drainage channel bank.

Turning right at the junction of Footpaths 1 and 2 (opposite the Crossness gate, near the Wind Pump) I crossed the bridge over another drainage ditch and was delighted to find my first ever Strawberry Clover (Trifolium fragiferum). There were approximately three square yards of it covering the verge by a field gate.

Strawberry Clover - so-named because of the swelling red seed heads - growing on Erith Marshes

This Marsh OR Golden Dock (below - I am still working on identification from sample material collected) was nearby, along with Hoary Cress, Creeping Cinquefoil, Common Toadflax, Common St. John's Wort, 5 Tall Yellow Melilot and Sea Beet.

The Strawberry Clover was close to the track leading to this wildlife observation 'hide', from which one has a great :-( view of the new waste incinerator under construction. According to 'Once built, the facility at Belvedere will recover 62MW of electricity from an average of 585,000 tonnes of waste each year, brought in by barges on the River Thames from central London. Up to 85,000 tonnes of material can also be brought in by road each year under the planning consent.'

In other words a vast tonnage of resources will be sent on a one way trip to oblivion, and put beyond the scope of re-use by anyone alive today. It will also undermine recycling efforts by locking Councils into contracts to supply large amounts of material to burn for years to come. We are supposed to be impressed by a claimed thermal efficiency of 27%. There is no sign of a combined-heat-and-power link up. Oh, and don't we now realise that marshland is needed to accomodate flood water? So here we are, another grand example of the sort of crazed, disjointed, mid 20th century approach to economics and the environment that still hold sway in the parties currently represented in Westminster.

Looking back towards the 20th century. New waste (waste being the operative word) incinerator under construction on the marshes at Belvedere. Utter lunacy.

Taking the left fork as Footpath 2 headed up onto the sea wall, there was a Fennel plant, and then an extensive patch of Cypress Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias), seen here in the foreground with Crossness Sewage Works to the west (another patch was found further east):

Looking across the Thames to Essex (below) we see the two wind turbines helping power Ford's Dagenham car plant

This white-flowered Sea Aster (Aster tripolium) was in full flower still, whereas the usual blue-flowered specimens were largely running to seed.

There were, to me, surprising numbers of Wild Carrot on the bank on the river side of the sea wall, not too far above the high tide line. There were several mats of Sickle Medick sprawling over the footpath on the river side of the fence by the 'Tech Guys' and 'Currys' warehouses (sort of contiguous with the site where I previously found the species off Church Manor Way - see post of 12/7/09). Unfortunately it was now too dark to get a photo.

Looking south-east across the Thames on the approaches to Erith (Littlebrook Power station chimney and QE2 bridge to the right), your correspondent (shadow) shoots the moon over Essex.

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