When you look at the wilful and wanton environmental destruction conveyed in these photographs you must ask yourself: ‘how could anyone do this in the name of environmentalism?’ After all the disturbance we’ve already inflicted upon this biosphere, how is this really helping?
In this example of willow demolition, the trees were cut down and dragged away and the stumps were poisoned. Then (for some unfathomable reason) a drainage ditch was excavated into the floodplain. In the photo below, the main flow-line is 40m off to the left.
Apart from the economic motives at play (a theme for a future post), I can think of only one reason why an ‘environmentalist’ might condone this kind of damage and disturbance. It must be to do with that old adage, ‘the end justifies the means‘.
The reasoning seems to be: ‘Sure, it makes a big mess and causes erosion, and nutrient release, and carbon emissions, and local temperature increases, and loss of habitat, but it’s necessary because we’re going to make Australia a place for natives-only again.’
So that’s the end we’re aiming for: a ‘native-only’ Australia. And these photos show the means we must accept along the way.
It seems we’re just going to remove all of the non-natives from this continent so the environment is back to ‘pristine’ again and then we can stop with the chainsaws and excavators and herbicides in the name of ‘saving’ the environment.
We just want 1788-Australia back. Presumably without the dingoes and without the previous intrinsic Aboriginal management; plus with a few minor additions like cattle; and sheep; and horses; and apples; and asparagus; and hops; and wheat; and rice; and trout; and tomatoes; and lettuce; and cats; and dogs; and goldfish; and maybe just one or two other things, but that’s it! And we want all the ‘invasive’ natives, like Cootamundra Wattle, and Sweet Pittosporum, and Kookaburras to know their place and to go back where they were when Europeans first arrived….And stay there forever and ever….And not move just because the climate or fire regime has changed. And this won’t happen by itself so we’ll need funding and legislation and heavy machinery. And we’re going to fix it all ‘real good’ without knowing what it was actually like or exactly what species existed in many parts of the country back in 1788. And….and…..
….And then again……When you think about it…..Are we ever actually going to achieve anything even remotely approaching a native Australia?…..really?
I doubt it.
And I’d doubt the sincerity (or sanity) of anyone who says that we could. Surely nobody actually believes this?
So, given this impossibility, it seems pretty reasonable to ask ourselves: ‘how can the end justify the means, when it’s clear there really is no conceivable end?’ If it just goes on and on forever, then how do we justify these means to no end at all? How do we live with this permanent state of expensive self-congratulatory environmental vandalism?
More importantly, given how well-supported the above activities currently are, how do objecting grassroots Landcarers begin to articulate new ways to work with the adaptive living-landscapes around us? And how do we influence the direction of our own movement so that participation in Landcare is not assumed to mean support for this destruction?