Monday, October 15, 2007
The Environment and Me
I haven't received an email from the organiser of Blog Action Day who said in his blog hours ago that he was about to send them out to all registered blog owners. Does this mean I am not registered? Did he think I didn't write "real" blogs? (He said they would all be checked to see.)
Never mind, I'm doing it anyway. In fact I have now posted blogs on the topic of the environment at all my MySpace blogs and my other Blogspot (see links at right). And have been involved also in an amazing interview Andrew has posted on his Blogspot and linked to from his MySpace. I even made a connection to my latest post on Writer's Resource Center. Oh I do love jumping on bandwagons! When I believe in the Cause, that is.
I've posted poems, I've discoursed on the importance of cooperating with Nature, i.e. the nature spirits, and given instructions, I've reminisced about specific experiences on that score in both Texas and Australia, I've collaborated on the aforesaid interview which deals with both science and philosophy ... and now it's much later in the day and I just want to have a spontaneous rant.
I grew up in Tasmania. It was so freezing in winter that as a child I once fainted from the cold. It was so parochial that I've never stopped being glad I got away in my teens, albeit not by choice. Last time I was there, already nine and a half years ago, many places seemed so seedy and economically depressed, I was glad all over again that fate ensured I didn't end up stuck there forever. (Even though Merbein, near Mildura, was in many ways worse ... but that's another story, and after two years there I escaped to Melbourne and never looked back.)
And yet, Tasmania in my younger childhood was a beautiful place to grow up. Its natural wonders nourished me in so many ways! Friends who visit nowadays tell me it's still beautiful. I can only say, "You ain't seen nuthin'." We used to have a lot more forests. Now, as you drive along the roads, they appear to be running through forests; but penetrate only six trees in and you're confronted with barren wastes where all the trees have been logged, nothing left but bare earth and some timber debris. People still exclaim over the beauty of the Cataract Gorge at Launceston, my home town. I can't see it myself – that shallow trickle over the rocks, which has pertained for decades now, was once a frothing torrent, a mini-Niagara. Now THAT was spectacular! And then much of the water was diverted for hydro-electricity. The same old arguments were used – jobs, money, economic stability. Hmmm, not so you'd notice. Over the years, the lsland always seems to sink back into depression. The very ground looks tired.
I remember when I was little how the water near Burnie was highly coloured as if painted in reds and ochres, bright but bilious tints, as toxic chemicals were pumped out into it. And I can still hear my parents approving ignorantly of the reafforestation program the Government began when I was young, planting acres of pine saplings instead of replacing the slaughtered indigenous trees. It all started way back then. Protestors and activists, often behaving heroically, saved the Franklin but not Lake Pedder.
And now "They" want to build a pulp mill on the River Tamar! That's the river where I learned to swim. Surprisingly for an island-dweller, I'm no good in surf. I grew up on the banks of the Tamar, some way from the sea. Do I really have to contemplate those waters, those beaches, those shores polluted by a mill, the wild life habitat changing, endangered species dying out?
A media release from the Wilderness Society on 13 September speaks of the huge appetite the mill will have for forests all over Tasmania, millions of tonnes, "according to maps and tables buried deep within Gunns’ Integrated Impact Statement ". In a media release on 14th October, they are saying, "Very conservative estimates of the carbon emissions generated by the logging needed to feed the mill indicate over 10 million tonnes of CO2 would be emitted each year. This is equivalent to 2% of Australia’s emissions or an additional 2.3 million cars on the road each year. Once more studies are completed and more understanding is gained about the amount of carbon stored in Tasmania’s forests, net emissions are expected to be found to be 2–3 times higher than this." I'm angry. This is not progress!
There's no going home again – but what if home could go forwards? We really don't have to put up with being dictated to by the greedy and short-sighted. The election's been called; let's boot this mob out while we've got the chance. The Opposition is little better on this particular issue; let's make our views known vociferously. Tasmania used to be a Paradise. Can it be one again? I believe so. Not the old one but a new, regenerated one.
We need to start now!