In one respect, Melinda Pavey (Courier-Sun 4/7/18) is correct: koalas are not the central issue in the broader environmental debate. While she persistently calls attention to what she calls “mistruths and hypotheticals” in the Greens’ case for a Great Koala Park, she falls short herselfon documented evidence that current logging and forest management practices are sustainable or environmentally sound.
Her argument rests on the premise that the ethos of consumer demand and mass consumption on which current forest management practices are based is somehow intrinsically correct, immutable and justifiable, rather than questioning the economic thinking on which those practices are based. What has she or the government she represents done to curb public demand for timber products or modify mass consumption?
When it comes to political spin, Melinda can stand with the best of them: not all Greens (in fact, not many) are hell-bent on destroying the timber industry or locking up our forests. Green policy emphasises sustainability and environmental responsibility, as well as selective plantation logging, consumer education, alternative uses of forests and recycling of timber products.
An interesting assertion, also, in Ms Pavey’s vitriolioc diatribe, is that “the bush doesn’t look after itself”. I wonder what the indigenous peoples who inhabited this land for so long before Melinda’s ancestors arrived and despoiled the country with feral animals and introduced weeds would think of that? How much of the revenue she spruiks as being generated by the forest industry goes into rectifying the damage done?
On the bright side, it may be that history will soon relegate Ms Pavey and her neo-conservative cohort to the archives of a quaint and curious period before genuine long-term social and environmental responsibility by governments took hold in what she calls a ”global world”. Let’s hope so, for all our sakes.