Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Greens and Knitting.


"The Greens should stick to their knitting and only comment about the environment!"

I don't know how many times I have heard that statement and it generally follows some success the Greens have had in another field. It is a sad fact that many people feel that the environment is something separate from everything else and has no relationship with the economy, our health or the way we do business. Even the Prime Minister promotes the view that the environment has to take second place to the economy. 

Pure Advantage has determined that around 75% of our exports are dependent on us having a clean healthy environment. Our environment is our economy and our economy is our environment and the likes of Federated Farmers need to recognize that simple fact. When less than 20% of our beaches can be considered "very good" for recreation, almost 50% of our fresh water beaches are rated poor or very poor this isn't very good for tourism and appalling for our supposed 100% pure image. 

If we want to future proof our economy we must be working towards having all our industries operating as environmentally sustainable as possible. We should be working towards an energy efficient economy, products of the highest quality and using the best possible technology. We should be supporting and employing as many of our own people as possible, before outsourcing, so that we are as self sufficient as possible and not so subject to the vagaries of external markets for basic commodities and technical support.


Only 6% of Australia is arable and yet the Australian government is allowing much of it to be dug up for quick profit. This picture above is the Hunter Valley and a Google satellite view of the area shows the extent of the farm loss. We are proposing to do the same in the Mataura Valley to access lignite. Whether it is coal, lignite or milk, if we don't take care of our environment our capacity to use our natural resources to support our economy will only diminish rapidly and there will be little left for the following generations.

It takes around 1000 litres of water to produce 1 litre of milk so when Russel Norman said, "No Water, no milk; No environment no economy" he was stating fact. We have to keep reminding ourselves of this simple truth when others are desperately trying to follow a path that supports short term gain for long term pain. 




14 comments:

Allan said...

How much is "much" of the 6% of arable Australian land being dug up?
30%? 50%? 70%? It certainly sounds like a lot.

bsprout said...

Alan it is still a small fraction, but rapidly growing. A better question may be about how much of the arable land is being effected by the mining. The effects on water impacts on surrounding farms and the noise and dust compromises farmland too. Here's a link to a satellite image of the Hunter Valley: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skytruth/4322005989/in/set-72157623203480773

Allan said...

The farms around Waihi don't appear to be adversely affected by the mining there. Why would Australia be different?

Allan said...

The farms around Waihi don't appear to be adversely affected by the mining there. Why would Australia be different?

bsprout said...

Because the extent mining in Australia is on a far bigger scale and the environment is very different. If Solid Energy were to mine the 5,000 hectares of farmland they have bought around Mataura and Gore the effects may be similar. Canada is having an even bigger environmental issue with the mining of tar sands.

Allan said...

Is the Mataura Gore environment more like Waihi, or more like Australia. Or is it simply the scale that makes the difference?

bsprout said...

In Australia the climate probably contributes to more dust being produced, but it mainly relates to scale. The low level noise of the huge machinery in Australia actually causes health problems, especially as they are 24 hr operations. The impacts of blasting on nearby buildings isn't dissimilar to earthquakes and the effects on the water systems can be catastrophic. Waihi is just a tiny operation in comparison and is a gold mine not a coal mine.

robertguyton said...

Anonymous @11:15pm understands where Allan is coming from :-)

bsprout said...

I was going to remove that comment, Robert, but after yours it begins to make sense ;-) We don't need mining, just taking viagra in multiple forms will lift our economy in satisfying and exciting ways (according to my German translator).

bsprout said...

Just incase people are confused with the comments above the spam detector missed a comment that described in German the many ways Viagra could be taken and it has since disappeared.

Shane Pleasance said...

Dave, you should certainly comment more on the economy.

bsprout said...

Here's something to chew on in the meantime, Shane:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1210/S00172/imf-shows-its-time-to-stop-fighting-yesterdays-war.htm

Shane Pleasance said...

Bah! Keynesian Kandyfloss! I need Hayekian Haute Cuisine!


As does the world.

Shane Pleasance said...

http://youtu.be/GTQnarzmTOc