I have a head of steam!
Let me begin by explaining that for 80 years I have had extensive “grass roots” exposure to rural Australia from the Snowy Mountains (schoolboy) to the Murray Darling and Lake Eyre Basins and a year each in South and Western Australia.
I spent the second half of May this year travelling extensively (5,000 kms) across the MDB and well up into the Lake Eyre Basin.(See my Outback Opera blog post). I have never seen so much of inland Australia (eastern half) look so good at the same time. Lush green feed,wetland and watercourses in great heart and man and beast on top of the world. Water storages overflowing and the iconic Menindee Lakes on the Lower Darling receiving enough water to fill them three times over. As I write there are further releases being made from Menindee to allow room for the latest flood coming down the Darling and Lake Eyre is receiving flows down the Diamantina and the Cooper is on the way.
Against this background we have the release of the doomsday “State of the Environment Report” with the likes of Tanya Plibersek and that so annoying Senator Sarah Hanson-Young throwing coal/oil on the fire (that’s a good contemporary analogy), with their massively exaggerated dismal crisis adjectives.
I coined the saying, some years back, that Ecology had replaced Economics as the dismal science. I am also reminded of the debate,in the pages of The Bulletin (?contrived) between Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson (and others) about their respective attitudes to “the bush”. Banjo had the last word in his-‘Answer To Various Bards’-
“Well, I’ve waited mighty patient while they all came rolling in,
Mister Lawson, Mister Dyson, and the others of their kin,
With their dreadful, dismal stories of the Overlander’s camp,
How his fire is always smoky, and his boots are always damp;
And they paint it so terrific it would fill one’s soul with gloom —
But you know they’re fond of writing about “corpses” and “the tomb”.
So, before they curse the bushland, they should let their fancy range,
And take something for their livers, and be cheerful for a change.”