Re: Albert Park &c

Subject: Re: Albert Park &c
From: Russell Woodford <>
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 10:53:01 +1000 (EST)
I know I'm preaching to the converted, but I've just got to get a couple 
of things off my chest.

The first is to quote a man who rang 3LO (Melbourne ABC) talkback and 
said that 'forests are a renewable resource, so we should log them'.
He made the all-encompassing statement that trees grow back in 40 years, 
so we should log everything only once in 40 years!  

Now, despite this man's utter ignorance of what really goes on out there 
(he wouldn't know a Nathofagus if it fell on him - I wish!) I'm afraid he 
probably represents a large chunk of the population.  People just don't 
understand how fine a balance most ecosystems are in: the experts barely 
understand it, so what chance does the 'man in the street' have?  Most 
people really believe that it's OK to log anywhere and everywhere as long 
as 'something' is replanted. They have no concept of niches and habitat 
dependency.  I would wager that most Year 12 Biology students would be 
unable to transfer what they learn in the lab to what they read about in 
the papers (those few who actually read the papers).

My second grumble is related to this, and was mentioned by John Leonard: 
the overwhelming and unquestioned priority of economics over environment.
Every time I hear a forestry worker claim that it's either 'trees or 
jobs' that must go, I have a sudden rush of anger.  Sure, they're 
correct, but how self-centred and short-sighted is it to say that 'my job 
is more important than keeping forest X or species Y'?  In 100 years time 
the worker will be dead whether he logs forests, enters parliament, 
retrains as a mechanic or teacher, grows dope or just goes on the dole.  
But if the forest is logged, how many lots of 100 years will it take to 
put it back, with all its infrasctructure and habitat diversity? And how 
many generations will have missed the presence of not just the forest, 
but the species associated with it? Just for the sake of a few workers 
staying in their greedy careers!!  I can't believe how much value the 
public places on the right of a few people to engage in destructive, if 
lucrative, occupations.  We don't allow people to make money by selling 
narcotics; we're not allowed (thankfully) to collect galahs and sell them 
to overseas collectors.  Why are our forests any different?  Ok, so we 
NEED timber for our 20th century lifestyles, but why can't we use only 
properly managed plantations in areas that have already been cleared? Why 
clear MORE areas?  To keep a few workers in their jobs?!!  What is it 
with the forestry industry?  What special right have they to choose to 
stay in an industry that is already over-supplied with labour? Should we 
accept loss of forests just to keep people in logging jobs?  This is what 
the industry wants us to accept!  It doesn't happen in law and medicine, 
and certainly not in education.  I want a tenured position in a 
university, but I can't demand that a place is created for me!!  But the 
logging lobbyists want this privilege....

Phew! I feel better now.  And my ire has subsided quite a lot, because I 
just rushed outside to watch a female Golden Whistler singing its heart 
out. The male was calling too, but I only got a quick glimpse.  This is 
what living is about!

Russell Woodford
Institute of Koorie Education
Deakin University

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU