Walter Starck's Blog
Walter Starck has a PhD in marine science including post-graduate training and professional experience in fisheries biology.
His reef experience includes some 50 years of fishing and diving on coral reefs including those in the eastern, western and central Pacific areas as well as the Indian Ocean and tropical western Atlantic region.
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Letters may be published online or in one or more of Baird Maritime or Ausmarine magazine.
|Green Slime: Our biggest environmental threat - Page 3 - Eco-salvation science gets it wrong|
|Tuesday, 19 May 2009 13:21|
Page 3 of 3
Eco-salvation science gets it wrong
Sadly, we now have a whole generation of managers and researchers thoroughly indoctrinated in eco-salvation ideology. They aren't just pursuing their own private gain. It's much worse. They actually believe they are doing the right thing and are saving the environment. Their funding is highly dependant on addressing purported problems in a climate of competition over the urgency and severity of various hypothetical threats. Funding predicated on threats never discovers them to be minor or non-existent. It always finds evidence for them and a need for further funding. Basic research aimed only at better understanding the world we live in has sadly become just a quaint outdated custom of the past.
Scientific right and wrong in this context is no longer a matter of correct or incorrect understanding of how things work. The old values of pre-enlightenment times have been restored.
Right and wrong is once again something determined by belief in accord with ideology, not something to be discovered from reason based on evidence. Current managers "know" environmental damage must be occurring because any human activity at all must disturb the delicate balance of nature and is by definition an unnatural "impact" amounting to a desecration. This is especially so if any profit or enjoyment might be gained by someone.
Such moral judgement is underscored by the fact that primary production and outdoor recreation is seen as "exploiting" nature for personal benefit. Right thinking greens condemn such terrible desecration when these people could just get their food and entertainment from a shop like they themselves do.
While some vestiges of science aimed at objective understanding do survive, the prevailing approach in environmental sciences is now one of providing a stamp of scientific authority to the green agenda. Any researchers who object to such corruption of science or who insist on presenting findings not in accord with eco-salvationist ideology are soon sidelined by lack of funding and scientific censorship via peer review.
Unfortunately, the situation for reform is not simply one of providing better evidence and argument but the much more difficult one of converting righteous, authoritarian belief to objective scientific reasoning open to uncertainty and revision. This will also entail a change in fundamental perspective, from humankind as an unnatural imposition on the ecosystem to a holistic view of an ecosystem which includes our own species and its many effects as an integral part of nature.
Probably one of the most effective and certain means of reform would be to index the budgets and salaries of government departments to the productivity and profitability of the sector for which they are responsible. This would indeed effect an immediate miracle change in perspective.
We now face a global financial crisis, a looming energy supply crunch and emerging food supply problems. Our national financial situation is also under serious threat from a combination of budget blowouts as well as chronic trade deficits and ever increasing foreign debt. The probability of a sovereign credit downgrading seems increasingly likely. This would result in difficulty in foreign borrowing and a steep jump in interest rates. This in turn would collapse the real estate bubble and result in disastrous, write downs and write offs for the banks. This is not just a remote possibility but a very real and increasing probability.
We simply can no longer afford the burden of a bloated unaccountable bureaucracy stifling productivity; nor can we continue to pander to the delusions of green non-producers.
The bureaucracy will have be pruned and made accountable for positive results. If the government won't do this, severe recession will.
Adding more and more ill-conceived restrictions on our producers is tantamount to treason in a time of war. It is time that positive outcomes be required, not just meaningless eco-waffle. It is also time that real evidence be demanded of researchers, not just unsupported opinions by a chorus of “experts” singing for their supper.
Above all, it is past time for the public to realise that we are all paying the price of gross resource mismanagement in our cost of living, our health, our freedom and in the broader well being of the nation.
The era of cheap abundant resources is also drawing to a close. Immediately beyond the current financial recession lurks a second blow from a resumption of steep energy price increases. The world faces tough ongoing economic circumstances. No nation is better situated that Australia to weather these conditions but doing so will entail making full use of our natural advantages.
Sanctimoniously sitting on vast stores of badly needed resources while mouthing platitudes about biodiversity, sustainability and our precious fragile environment won’t cut it. If we won’t make use of our resources, hungry others will. Having to scrape aside a bit of green scum to get at them won’t be much of a deterrent. The choice is ours.
Government of all stripes has repeatedly demonstrated over the past year that they are clueless as to the nature of the problems confronting us or what to do about them. Only the productive sector can create the productivity and real jobs necessary to prosperity. Government offers no solution. It has become a major element of the problem. The productive sector is going to have to get together a clear reform agenda and go over the heads of government directly to the electorate.
Last year this would have been unlikely; but, people are now worried about their mortgages, their jobs and the escalating cost of food. They are ready to listen to well reasoned solutions. The time is right.
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