Alone

January 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

My wife and I are an endangered species: morally conservative, financially conservative, balanced socialist leaning, and desiring urgent practical environmental conservation.  We find ourselves very isolated in the modern political landscape, but very grateful that at least we have each other in this.  At election time we grieve that there is no candidate that we can affirm.  Instead we are force to pick the one least disliked.  I guess there's no media attention for middle ground pollies.

 

We're down in Tasmania now for a few of months.  It's a great place to spend summer: fantastic weather, amazing scenery, friendly people, incredible abundance of mammalian life (attached photo related), and some interesting economics thrown in.  There's one thing though that's a challenge: the them versus us mentality down here regarding conservation and the environment.  Given the green movement was born here, and they hold the balance of political power down here, you'd think the general populace would have a greater consideration or empathy for environmentalism.  The reality is the exact opposite.

Macropus rufogriseus rufogriseusMacropus rufogriseus rufogriseusMacropus rufogriseus rufogriseus (Bennett's Wallaby)

Status: least concern

In Tasmania for a while, and you really can't do nature photography down here and ignore the mammalian life. It's everywhere! As soon as twilight starts they come out in their hundreds. BTW: these guys are a sub-species, endemic to Tassie.

I'm very much interested in having great photos on two levels:
1) Shots that are beautiful
2) Shots that capture the essence of the subject.
These two goals don't always harmonise, but when they do, the results are intensely satisfying.

Photography forms a big part of my life at the moment, and mostly I shoot natural history.  It comes up in conversations, particularly when I meet new people, as inevitably they ask "what do you do", or "what have you been doing"?  Work and the environment are in the mix straight away.  You never know where these conversations will go.  I've had discussions with good, well intentioned folk who sincerely think that:

  1. Tasmania would be better off without world heritage status over much of the State
  2. More mining should be done in the areas currently protected to benefit the local economy
  3. There are huge tracts of remnant forest locked up in the "wilderness" areas
  4. Forestry doesn't (or hasn't for a long time) clear fell and burn old growth / remnant forest
  5. Clear felling is better than selective harvesting
  6. The wet forests are quick growing
  7. The economic problems here are caused by the Greens hamstringing the Liberals in minority government
  8. Climate change is a lie.

With the exception of 5 and 6, I think these are wrong (to the best of my understanding).  The only reason I exclude these two is that I'm don't know the science, and though I'm skeptical, I like to consider both sides of an argument.  Therefore, until I get a chance to gain at least some semblance of understanding, I simply don't know.

 

We mostly move in conservative social circles, and as I've said previously: conservatives are the least interested in conservation.  The further to the right you go, the more this becomes the case.  People aligned to the far right honour wealth and the pursuit of wealth above everything else.  For example, conservatives lament government budget deficits as accumulating debt for future generations.  However, when it comes to the impact of "progress" on the environment, you'll never hear a conservative argue that a project should be shelved or a business sector shut down because future generations will have to deal with the environmental fallout.

 

Not to say the extreme of the left isn't also hypocritical.  They block projects that would be subject to strict monitoring and control and benefit the economy.  Yet, they are still consumers of the products (paper, energy, timber, food, etc) that are subsequently produced in foreign locations, to the benefit of foreign economies, and subject to much weaker controls.  Let's call this what it is: petty selfish NIMBYism.

 

Perhaps the real lesson is: beware of anyone who would hold their ideals above the practical good of a fellow human being, humankind, and the greater ecosystem we are inately part of.

 

 


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