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.