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Here’s a new post from Mr. Peter Marshall (see introduction and background here), in which he points out that even our most respected scientists are sometimes liable to provide poorly-reasoned nativist prejudice in place of rational ecological assessment and objective science.
Our Hero Nativist. (Or how the Australian Humanist of the Year 2005 has made my family miserable and set back riverine repair by decades)
Had yet another Field Day at our place recently. The usual inspiring, educational, well catered for gift of a day from my family to the Landcare world. But there was hostile body language and muttered comments from one group when viewing a stand of Heritage Cricket Bat Willows (single sex, non invasive, far from water courses).
As we were making our goodbyes the alpha male of the group stepped forward. He said, “Tim Flannery thinks you are a horrible person!” then turned and ran up the bus steps. A real downer for my hospitable family after an exhausting few days.
I’ve had similar comments for years but group dynamics never gave me a chance to ask why the Australian Humanist of the Year 2005 had an opinion on my character. Nor why he appeared to have shared this opinion with many others, particularly as he would never of heard of me.
Now I know whats going on and it really snits me.
The Professor has expressed his Nativist opinion, without reservation, on national TV. We just got caught in the headlights.
ABC DVD I got for Christmas: ‘Two Men in a Tinny’.
John Doyle and Tim Flannery travel the Murray Darling.
Having travelled for 30 days along the bare banked Darling our heros are cheered to find life on the Murray banks below Hume Weir.
Flannery: ‘More wildlife!’ (A big willow grove full of Ibis)
Doyle: ‘Almost an infestation of Ibis!’
F: ‘Wonderful! River coming to life.’
Good, thinks the viewer. They have noticed that willows are the only ecostructure for miles.
Wrong, keep watching.
D: ‘The Chief Culprit is the weeping willow. Pretty on the Thames perhaps but plainly stupid on the Murray.’
F: ‘We need a National Willow Action Plan. Yeah ‘
D: ‘Rewards for numbers of willows poisoned.’
F: ‘There will be no weeping or gnashing of teeth for the willows. Just get rid of the blooming lot.’
A hugely respected national figure has set the nativist agenda hard in the minds of several hundred thousand viewers.
Fair enough, even rigorous scientists can fluff it on camera. Lets give Dr Flannery a chance to make good by entering into a productive discussion, we thought. So I looked up the three high profile addresses for him on the wonderful web and sent the nice letter below to each.
Caxton Consulting: His lecture agents.
Macquarie Group: Where he tells us how to manage our water resources.
Climate council: Where he tells us how to manage our climate.
Not the courtesy of a reply. Either he has sloppy minders or is too famous to bother with dirty on-ground peasant issues.
Either way, a bloody disgrace.
Dear Professor Flannery,
Best New Years wishes to you from Braidwood, Southern Highlands, NSW.
I introduce my family as self funded land repair operatives, students of bioengineering, farm forestry and mycology.
We have followed your career with great interest, read all your books
and many of your papers and greatly appreciate your role as an educator . You are a bit of a hero to us.
However it might surprise you to hear that something you said on TV
years ago has contributed to making our land repair job very much harder
than it should be.
Your chat with First Mate Doyle of the Bismark helped inflame the War
The War has escalated beyond science and sensible land management to
become a well funded industry of carbon emission and erosion creation.
We have pleaded before the Landcare/Catchment Management/NRM
bulldozers for some restraint and proper planning before the next
kilometers of streambanks are torn open.
But the panic merchants always have a clinching argument. The deeply
respected Prof Flannery told us to do it!
Ben Gleeson has established a website to discuss advanced thinking about
Salix management. A crucial subject which deserves the attention of the
I invite you to read www.nonnativistlandcare.org
You would be very welcome to visit our demonstration sites to see how
Salix (and other exotic genetic resources) can be utilised as a
successional tool to speed up stream repair, rather than be a target
for ruinously expensive eradication campaigns. We would appreciate your
Very Best Wishes,