Thursday, 2 January 2020

The Greens must take some responsibility

for the current bush fire situation in Downunder, indeed they must take a good deal of responsibility for the situation.
I know the Greens are supposed to be the wonderful party which protects the environment. They aren't.
The Senior Cat and I had a visitor yesterday - my aunt. I have to explain here that my aunt is only six years older than I am. For years she and my uncle, my mother's brother, lived on a rural property. Some people would have called it a "hobby farm" but it was much more than that. It was a research project for my uncle.
One of the things that he needed to do was, as far as possible, "fire-proof" the property. He had to do that in conjunction with a tree planting program. 
The CFS - Country Fire Service - was also involved in the project. My uncle and aunt worked closely with senior people from there to set up a model that would, as far as possible protect properties from fire while still preserving the natural environment.
My uncle, who had retired, did a lot of the work himself. My aunt, who was still working, put in a lot of weekend and night work helping with the planting and the fencing and more. By doing most of the hard physical work themselves they were able to afford it. Over the years the CFS took thousands of people through to show them what should be done. It involved both planting and clearing and, because it was a rural area, water supply and industrial spraying.
What the project showed was that, if you put the work in, you could have "natural" surroundings  but still do a great deal to make those surroundings as safe as possible. My uncle wrote it up and it was used by the CFS.
It has not been used by the Greens. They were aware of the project but they ignored it. It was of no interest to them. Nothing could persuade them that it wasn't interfering with the natural landscape. As such it had to be condemned.  
That was forty years ago. Nothing has changed. The Greens still advocate for what they see as the "natural" landscape. Those party members I know, and I know more than a few, don't support basics like "back burning" - something designed to prevent fire from spreading. They claim it destroys animal habitat. It might but big fires destroy far more. When back burning occurs the fires are usually small enough for wildlife to move - with help if necessary. 
I know Greens who refuse to remove naturally fallen timber and other vegetation from their land. It's a fire hazard but it is "what nature intends". 
No, it isn't what nature intends. The first residents knew about the need to back burn. They knew about the need to remove undergrowth. Many of their descendants have forgotten these things. The  Greens have never managed to learn these things.
So what has happened is that far too many local government areas have used the  Greens philosophy of "leave it natural" as an excuse not to do, or demand that others do, the necessary maintenance of the landscape. The fuel load in the regions with the worse fires has been unacceptably high. It should have been cleared. 
If it had been cleared we would still have had some fires. There will always be lightning strikes, arsonists and idiots who do the wrong thing. What we would not have had is fires of the same severity. They would have been much easier to control because the fuel load would have been far less. 
We need to stop listening to the Greens and listen to those who really know. The CFS and other fire services understand the importance of these things. They aren't opposed to tree planting or the maintenance of green. They actually want these things but they want them in a way which works.
It can be done  - if we put the work in.


Jodiebodie said...

Have you ever been to the NSW south coast? That land is heavily wooded with state forests and national parks with escarpements. There are fire breaks but the fires are so ferocious they are jumping them. My family has connections with the region since the mid 1950s. At Lake Conjola, I don't know of any fires threatening that town in all of that time. These forests are drier than they've ever been and the old forests are super tall. The wildlife was abundant, arguably some of the most beautiful coastlines in the country. It is a huge loss.
I also feel that the physical and emotional trauma of these events are going to present significant societal challenges in the years to come. It disturbs me that fire services around Australia were not heard when they were imploring governnents (and particularly the Federal government) for more resources and to take preventative action well in advance of these events. What a false economy to deny that when the emergency and recovery costs now may outweigh any investment that may have been made earlier. The modern short-sighted governmental approach of "forest fighting" management strategies (pun intended) must change. We need a more long term outlook in this country from those who purport to be leaders.

Anonymous said...

Yes Jodie, I lived there for a while and Cat is absolutely correct in what she says. If the proper measures had been taken there would be fires but they would not be nearly as severe or as difficult to fight.
Fire fighting is a state responsibility. The fire services asked to be allowed to take preventative measures and the Greens did all they could to prevent it. My son wanted to do much the same as Cat's uncle did and the Greens on the shire council put a stop to it. He lost the lot in a fire that could have been prevented.
These fires aren't about climate change they are about people not doing the right thing and, more importantly, not being allowed to do the right thing because the so-called "environmental activists" are preventing the very action that needs to be taken to preserve the environment from being taken. Bob C-S

catdownunder said...

Hello Jodie
Yes, have been there. I know what the region is like.
One of the problems is that the Constitution divides responsibilities between the states and the Commonwealth. There is only so much the Commonwealth can do - not that the media has bothered to explain that. Hazard reduction and back burning (two different things) are a state and local government responsibility. Fire fighting is a state responsibility. Resources are also their responsibility.
The states also need to take most of the responsibility for any climate change policies for much the same reason. When COAG meets the self-interest of each state tends to take over and they end up fighting over things like water interests instead of cooperating.
We need to be rid of state governments entirely. Cat

Frances said...
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Frances said...
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catdownunder said...

I have removed two comments from this page, both by the same person. I don't want to stop people from commenting if they wish to do so but implying that other people are lying because they post anonymously is not acceptable.