Monday, October 15, 2007

Cooloola walk and musings about the environment

Photos: 1 and 3: strangler fig - a parasite that starts as a seed blown on to the top of a tree, then spreads it's roots downwards, and gradually surrounds and squeezes the tree to death.
2: jungle fern amongst the paperbark trees
3,4 my view from the pier.

(click on a photo for a large version).

Went walking in the Cooloola National park – a large area North of Noosa that goes all the way up to Fraser Island. 2 days of beautiful views, and an evening totally alone in a campsite, where I sat on a pier on the large lake and went into spiritual communion with nature – as I do sometimes. It was a really recharging experience. In this I have something in common with the greens – the love and preservation of wild places for our sanity. Though I do not share most of their other views – Love of the top-down enforced commune and distaste of the self-organizing free-market and their fear that the green apocalypse is just around the corner. They’ve been predicting apocalypses in different forms (mass starvation, the coming ice age…) since the 60s, and have a track record of getting it wrong. It’s worth remembering that some of the most hideous pollution has occurred in communist countries – East Germany was appalling. And is occurring right now in China, with the most polluted towns on earth.

I noted that Malaysia had very few large national parks, and saw examples of illegal logging by small time loggers, and illegal burnoffs by farmers. Also tiny 2-man fishing boats going past with their noisy engines, the horizon lit up by halogen lights used by squid-fishermen…. Not to mention the beaches too often littered with plastic and polystyrene. You get much more of a wilderness experience 1 hour away from Sydney than in most Asian parks. In Nepal too, the hillsides are covered with terraced farming, erosion is a big problem. In Africa, poaching kills off endangered species.

In conclusion, the richer a country is, the less people have to scratch a meager living fishing with tiny boats or breaking their back on terraced farms, or poaching, and the more wilderness is preserved. This means that policies which get poor countries to a high standard of living as soon as possible are good for wilderness preservation … not exactly the aim of green policies, it seems. As for industrial pollution - the richest countries also have less of that - compare China to Switzerland, or Japan for example. As for man-made c02 being a problem - see my post later on global warming. (note that temperatures dropped between 1940 and 1970 - while co2 levels rose).

the creation of Rich countries can be achieved by encouraging good governance (democracy, lack of corruption, rule of law) and… the free market. There is a definite correlation between high standards of living and the extent to which a country has “economic freedom” – or a free market situation.

No comments: