Re: Seawalls, Korea and Binoculars

To: "Chris Lloyd" <>
Subject: Re: Seawalls, Korea and Binoculars
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 14:26:58 +1000
Chris you are 100% correct and my example was a poor one.
I also certainly wasn't trying to get on any environmental high horse either as was also said. (I did think i pointed out that we weren't
perfect either)
I was just trying to think outside Aus and as you say, get them to
those that can ill afford them and also where an interest in nature
is even more "nerdy" than Australia.
Apologies to all for writing a hasty and obviously ill thought out


On 16/04/2008, at 9:25 AM, Chris Lloyd wrote:

The construction of sea walls in Australia versus Korea is a little bit of straw person and stems from misconceptions of relative rates of development. This is implied in the idea that we send old binoculars to “poorer countries in SE Asia” like Korea. This is an economic stretch as Korea has been an industrially developed nation for many decades albeit shattered by a couple of wars and Japanese
colonisation. A quick look at the numbers of tourists leaving
Korean Air flights at Sydney or the name under many binocular
brands from the ‘90s such as Kenko indicates a society that is a
bit beyond a “salvos” exercise. Labour costs in Korea are now far too high for binocular production which migrated to China. The
Kiwis run an interesting program in alliance with Chinese high
schools on migratory waders some of the picture show a bus load of
Chinese school teen humping their spotting scopes over the dunes – no one could suggest this is common in all their school but then I
haven’t seen too many spotting scopes in a lot of Sydney high
schools either. So may be a little patronizing on our part but also a bit like sending coals to Newcastle. Countries like China (has
never been less than 25% of world GDP), Japan (sank the Russian
navy in 1911 and gave the yanks a run for their money) and Korea
are not really what we think they are – and then again maybe we are not what we think we are…….

There is probably little need to build seawalls in Oz aside from
retaining the foundations of high rise toilet blocks on the Gold
Coast and developments like Sandon Point in the Illawarra or Ralphs Bay in Hobart. But before we look down our nose at Asian economies
scrambling to have jet skis and dishwashers have a little look at
the Darling River and the allocation of water ‘rights’. Probably our most significant wetlands lie in river systems such as this yet we think nothing of strangling them to export 98% of a commodity to Asia – a commodity which is probably processed behind those very
sea walls. This is not some historical artifact created by well
meaning but scientifically ignorant rural communities – arguably
the Murray situation. No, the dramatic expansion of one of these
commodities occurs in the last 15 years. How many Ibis, Spoonbills, Snipe, Crakes, Rails ad nausea to a pair of cheap jeans from your
local hypermarket?

I heartily agree with the idea of binoculars going to those who can ill afford them (I might even have a pair) but let’s look at where these people really are. How about Tiwai or Thursday Island, Timor
Leste, Fiji or PNG. I remember a similar exercise with old
spectacles in Africa. Ciao

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