flora and fauna

G’day from Old Geehi in the Snowy Mountains,

The biodiversity argument is not winning. As perplexing as this is for logical thinkers, there’s a blockage in the transmission. It’s a strong argument, based on evidentiary science, but it’s not winning the argument. What’s happening is that a majority of the population are not buying it. And they’re not changing behaviours – or forcing governments to implement meaningful change. Time is right for a paradigm shift.

While the world hurtles towards mass extinctions, increasingly wild weather extremes and a serious depletion of resources, many people hold faith in the prospect of a solution appearing on the horizon. Consider the ingrained history of humanity. We humans want to fly like the birds, so Lawrence Hargrave invents the box kite. Bacterial infections are killing thousands, Alexander Fleming invents penicillin. There’s a shortage of food, and someone invents irrigation, or terracing, or hydroponics etc. Our lives are full of such examples. Our formative schooling was saturated with the concept. There’s a lot of people out there who dismiss climate change, on the thinking that science will solve the problem in the nick of time. No, we need a different way of thinking.

Swampy Plains Creek

Linda and I have ventured to Geehi, in the Snowy Mountains of eastern Australia. We are camping beside Swampy Plains Creek. This is four days of bliss. You don’t have to visit a beautiful natural environment like Geehi to heed these warnings. But you do have to agree with the premise behind that sentence: that nature can be beautiful.

What nature has provided is what is being destroyed by unbridled capitalism. Perhaps the environment movement needs to change tack and address this fundamental question: why is nature intrinsically beautiful?

the Book of Genesis

First obstacle is the religious element, which persists even where religion has been discarded. In the Christian world, adherents were told, God said “Let the Earth put forth vegetation” and “Let the water teem with living creatures and let birds fly above the earth”. Also from the book of Genesis, re humans: “Let them have dominion over the wild animals of the Earth of every kind.” Then, adherents were inveigled to “fill the earth and subdue it”. We’ve been aiming for this ever since.

Nature is the creator.

A secular look at the world doesn’t see a supernatural creator, but nature. By the movement of wind and water, by evolution and by adaptation, nature has created some pleasurable places as well as some weird and wonderful creatures and plants. They are wonders of nature. We can see some of these wonders in Geehi.

By venturing into a natural environment, some are viewing a lithosphere, a hydrosphere and a biosphere which have reached this point after millions of years. That’s millions of years of unguided action and evolution. It’s the passage of time, the wonders of flora and fauna, and the wonders of natural creation on which we marvel.

Live and let live.

Animals – including those which “creep upon the ground” – have a right to exist. Moreover, humans have rights alongside other members of the animal kingdom, not as distinct from. It’s the quietude of Old Geehi in the Snowy Mountains which allows for reflection like this. It’s a beautiful place, with flora and fauna existing free of human intervention. And most humans who visit this exquisite place want to live and let live.

When Peter Singer first published “Animal Liberation” in 1975, most were not quite ready for the concept. Since then, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been actively campaigning on the principle for decades. Perhaps it’s time the rest of us saw the right of animals to exist as something equivalent to any human right we can identify. Maybe we then have a chance of convincing the majority that habitats are worth saving, that forests are worth preserving and that beautiful places can be maintained without costing us anything. That’s our new paradigm.

Cheerio from the Snowy Mountains, where nature is beautiful


More photos from hereabouts

Image shows hut made of stone and mortar, surrounded by wooden fence and trees
Old Geehi Hut
Image shows a riverine landscape with both baks in view. Tall vegetation comes down to the bank and high rocky mountains are in the background.
Swampy Plains Creek

One reply on “flora and fauna”

One problem, Greg, is that we all find it hard to identify which point we regard as that at which “conservation” should be applied. The Kiwis have done tremendous work in attempting to save some of their environments and species and were some of the first in the environmental movement. However, one of their stated aims is to preserve (or restore) to the conditions prior to European migration, ignoring the massive damage caused to their country by the previous Maori migrations. In Australia, slash and burn together with hunting decimated species, again prior to the European invasion and yet conservation (or restoration) projects there only look at eradicating invasive European species.
In Europe, nearly the entire landscape is manmade, and serious attempts are made to preserve environments at preferred point. Walls and hedges around fields are considered beautiful and are conserved, but they are entirely unnatural.
I think it was Gil Scott Heron who said, we cannot prevent the change, all we can manage to do is to try to influence the direction of change.
I think that we need a road map that leads us down this route. Sure, we should preserve whatever we can, but we will also leave things and perhaps species along the wayside. To my mind, if we were to write off the giant panda, that would enable us to focus on many more of those species that slither and crawl along the ground that are of far greater environmental consequence that a single Chinese mammal.
I do agree with you, we need to change. However, as a species we will not lose our position at the top of the food chain by choice, all we can do is help to direct the change in a manner that is most beneficial to both ourselves and those other species on the ark.

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