typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Germaine Greer gets it wrong on deadly Aussie bushfires

with 6 comments

Got to admit that I quite enjoyed Germaine Greer’s overtly pragmatic epitaph for Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. As a virulent pissing contest engulfed Australian and global semi-celebria, with each successive politician and MTV host proclaiming greater and greater love and admiration for a bloke that many thought of as a bit of a dickhead, albeit a freshly dead one, Greer was the sole voice stating the obvious, namely

What Irwin never seemed to understand was that animals need space. The one lesson any conservationist must labour to drive home is that habitat loss is the principal cause of species loss. There was no habitat, no matter how fragile or finely balanced, that Irwin hesitated to barge into, trumpeting his wonder and amazement to the skies. There was not an animal he was not prepared to manhandle. Every creature he brandished at the camera was in distress.

Which is why it is baffling that she should now display a brilliant lack of intelligence, proclaiming that the highly fatal and destructive bushfires still tormenting Victoria were caused by authorities failing to burn off and a lack of bush clearing.

The simple fact is that the Victorian authority supposedly responsible for forest management, the ironically named Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), are all about support for unsustainable forest practices. They more or less prostitute their taxpayer-funded services to the woodchip industry, which does nothing but clear bush – old bush, new bush, sick bush, healthy bush.

The DSE are in fact such vigorous fans of the hazard reduction techniques known as back-burning that it is barely eight years since ‘controlled burns’ they were overseeing (supposedly) did what fires do in the face of 30-knot winds, destroying roughly a million hectares of native forest. As a result, logging lobbyists secured a commitment from the Victorian government, enabling them to access massive stands of ancient forest, to make up for the volume of wood no longer able to be cut down for the simple reason that it had been turned to charcoal.

Far from adding what is usually a dissenting and radical voice to this particular discussion, Greer is simply, and ignorantly, piping the same shrill chorus soon to be sung by all the usual idiot lobbyists like Barry Chipman and anybody from Timber Communities Australia, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Liberal and National Parties, etc. Namely – that this tragedy wouldn’t have happened if conservationists hadn’t interfered with sound forest management practices.

Obviously, bushfires wouldn’t happen if humans could fight back by cutting down every bloody tree and killing every bloody native animal – a far cry from Greer’s anti-Irwin argument. Bloody human-hating Greenies f%&$ed us all again, they proclaim.

But the simple fact is that nature and forests can quite perfectly manage themselves, if just left alone long enough to functionally exist. The remaining areas of Victoria’s old growth forest – concentrated in and arounf the Otways and East Gippsland – still retain enough moisture to function not only as massive biodiversity store-houses, but as difficult-to-ignite fire buffers. Less human intervention, through irresponsible land clearing and corporate logging, is the answer, not the problem.

Greer would do better to understand this before firing one off on such a mishandled issue. She has done herself, myriad species, and all natural environments, not to mention the dead and damaged, a massive disservice with this fresh strand of vomit.

Better she had shut her mouth rather than emit it.


Written by typingisnotactivism

February 13, 2009 at 10:17 am

6 Responses

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  1. Nice to hear a voice of reason re who or what is to blame for current bushfires.
    Greer disappoints – but then she’s on the other side of the world most of the time.
    The idiocy has gone even further in NSW.
    The North Coast Nats are whipping up rednecks to blame The Greens political party.
    Blithely ignoring the fact that this party has never formed government in NSW and doesn’t hold balance of power.


    February 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm

  2. Any links you might have to specific stuff would be greatly appreciated CG, am writing about this at the moment. Usually, these dickheads get stuck into blaming all things green right away. Because of the degree of destruction, they’re sitting on their hands a little longer to avoid the most obvious charge of exploiting the misery of others, imho.


    February 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm

  3. Have a look at Miranda Devine’s little effort on Thursday in the SMH. And David Packham (?), an academic who is of the ‘burn or be damned’ school.

    Fucking idiots. And Greer I keep hoping knows better but her slanging match in November with Marcia Langton via the pages of The Age & The Guardian leads straight to her most recent stupid piece.


    February 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm

  4. My info came from listening to local conversations and also talkback radio, unfortunately none were transcribed.


    February 14, 2009 at 8:25 pm

  5. […] Germaine Greer gets it wrong on deadly Aussie bushfires « typing … […]

  6. Your headline for this one needs changing.

    It should read “Germaine Greer always gets it wrong”

    Her ‘always’ started when she embraced feminism and now that feminism has been proved to completely wreck the lives of “average”** women, the evidence is clear that Greer, becoming intellectually queer was merely the first of a long litany of her “ups” (i.e. cockups with the ‘c’ part – actually…without the ‘f’ part too, come to think of it. Maybe that’s why she’s so damn cranky lately. No sex apparently does that to people.)

    Alas, those Feminazis who would berate me for exercising my freedom of intelligent speech – if I say so myself – und vud lebble me der misogynist – ’tis not I who says this but official Australian Government data from a survey done on the state of modern women: **The Average** woman today is aged late 30’s, single, has at least one kid, has to work and is stressed out of her little brain by trying to be the “you are God’s gift so you can have it all and do it all and don’t need a man” kind of gal proposed by the likes of Greer and co.

    Case closed….

    Peter Forde

    February 20, 2009 at 8:57 am

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