Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

goodbye water dreaming « Previous | |Next »
August 24, 2004

I will be on the road for a few days looking at water and vineyard development in the Barossa and Clare Valley's in South Australia. Nobody has any time for the grand industrial dreams of turning the northern waters of Tropical Australia southward to the Murray River. They are seeking 21st solutions.

As Don Garden, an environmental historian at the University of Melbourne, writing in The Age says that industrial dream mindset viewed:

'...the landscape as a collection of "natural resources" that they believed it was their right or even duty to exploit.
Water was seen as being present in adequate quantities. It was simply in the wrong place and at the wrong time. This was a fault that human ingenuity and engineering could rectify. In due course we could make the arid wastelands productive. We could "make the deserts bloom"That approach was pursued from the middle of the 19th century and resulted in an enormous investment of capital and engineering skill that reached its high point in the Snowy Mountain scheme.'

In the Barossa and Clare Valley there is an awareness of the costs of that approach in terms of environmental exploitation and degradation. In South Australia:

".... there is scarcely a water system that has not been truncated and diverted...Vast areas of land have been cleared of their natural vegetation and are badly salinated. Native flora and fauna that once existed in millions are reduced to tiny remnants and, in many sad cases, are extinct or threatened. Most of our native woodlands and their inhabitants are gone...The legacy for our rivers is that many are dead or dying, including the once mighty Murray. They are increasingly salty...Aquatic life has been devastated, including iconic species such as the Murray cod. The river red gums that graced the river floodplains are dying of thirst because they are denied the periodic floods on which they depend for regeneration and reproduction.That other great source of water, groundwater, has been seriously over-exploited and is now starting to fail.

That is the legacy of industrial dreaming that was indifferent to ecology. That legacy is the situation within which wineries now have to work. It is realised that without a healthy environment there is no healthy economy and no healthy future for Australia.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:52 AM | | Comments (0)