darwin was there...
From Gunter Ratingaher (picture of tree regeneration, by Gunter Ratingaher).Translated from German by Gus Leonisky...
There is a sense of surreality in the way we interpret what happens in life... Recently I was in Australia visiting an old friend of mine. She is living in the state of Tasmania. Thus I had to go and fly to a place that few people know anything about... From what I gather, this is the place where the world "Green" movement developed and took hold in the 1980s.
Being an old man approaching the 90 twilight zone, I also know that many good worldly people of the late 1880s were more aware of the value of a good environment than most people, including the "Greens", are now. Then, by the end of the nineteenth century, even most "conservative" people were aware of the value of fresh air, of natural landscape beauty and of the value of the earth beyond the price of exploitation. Most knew preservation of nature before the word "conservation" came along.
Tasmanian fires at the beginning of this year (2013) were fierce and destroyed an enormous amount of property — killing too many people. One now can see the native forests and the plantations where the fires went through. Most young plantation trees did not survive. They remain like skeletons of the dead. Yet, already the taller eucalyptus (probably now used to fire storms) are regenerating. The new growth is still very close to the trunks and makes for weird eerie looking trees. But the next bush-fire season is only a few dry hot weeks and some lightning away. More damage can occur.
As one converses with some of the locals, the "greenies" are the first and last culprits to be blamed for the fires, as they did not allow nor encouraged councils to do some "back-burning" during winter... Back-burning is said to be designed to minimise the risk of wipe-out. Fire-fighters deliberately set the forest alight during cool days of winter, to eliminate the undergrowth and the fallen leaves, as to minimise the amount of "fuel" available should a bush fire be started by accident or by nature... It tends to annoy the local wildlife, but so what?...
Here one should be aware that, of course, the "locals" are either farmers (possibly descendant of those people who shot the last Thylacine — the Tasmanian tiger), are speculators on the world money markets, people for whom industrial indexes — for digging resources and/or cutting wood for toilet paper — "worth" a thousand times more than trees standing in a forest in which one can be in awe of nature, or are simply careless and ignorant about the way nature plays itself out. Some people don't want to know.
But one needs to understand nature beyond being impressed by its sheer presence... Tasmania has a place in its heart for Charles Darwin who — as a young man visiting the island — was already in search of the natural identity of mankind. The specific flora and fauna of Tasmania would have inspired him as much as those of the Galapagos... He would have seen Tasmanian Tigers, before they became "extinct".
Eventually any person with a tad of common sense would know that with strong winds and the bush being dry for many months, whether one did back burning or not, some major damage was going to be done should a fire be started. Tasmania being the place where the world Green movement first took office, the "conservatives" have lost hold of their marbles in regard to preservation. Conservatives now hate conservation... They hate people who try to preserve the future of nature.
It is a great shame that these people see more value in ephemeral money than in the longevity of natural habitats. Money comes and goes.... Trees and nature are too big to be lost, even to a managed mixed exploitation and preservation... It does not work. Nature always looses out to greed or compromises. Greed is like rubbish sold with an inflated glorious value designed to suit our selfish attitude and desire for customised illusionary meaning while "compromises" are the option of the careless people who fake limited) concern.
Of course in "Tassie", global warming is anathema to the conservatives... The words are not even mentioned in the bush fire origin or paradigm.
See, there were some fierce bush-fires (1967) there, way before global warming was ever mentioned. One has to realise though that human induced global warming started soon after the industrial revolution in 1850s, thus negating this lack of mention, considering the Hobart region should be surprising dry, unless an old person like me ventures into its now once-again "conservatives"- threatened wilderness — and it pours.