By Peter Matthews
I’ve received a few emails recently in response to this column, all so far disagreeing with what I say.
People send me long letters full of references to scientific ‘facts’ designed to persuade me that climate change is a hoax, or that fossil fuels are, in fact, renewable.
I suppose you could say that oil is renewable – but you need vast tracts of undisturbed forest and a few million years for that, and I don’t think we’ve got either.
So far my opinions are intact. I still think climate change is happening and I still think it is caused by the actions of humans. I believe, on the evidence available, that the human race is wreaking havoc on the environment. I think the timeframe within which huge damage has been done amounts to the wink of a planetary eye. It is my opinion that it is entirely possible for Earth to become largely uninhabitable within a few lifetimes.
I also believe that the natural world has immense recuperative powers, which, given half a chance, could actually reverse the destruction which has occurred thus far.
You don’t have to look too far to see evidence of the re-wilding of any land which is not farmed, tended, maintained, concreted over, tar sealed, sprayed or otherwise barricaded against the advances of nature.
Cycling along the newly opened cycleway from Swayne Road to Victoria Road a few days ago I notice the rapid encroachment over the concrete path of a variety of grasses and weeds. Give that a couple of seasons without chemical herbicide and you probably wouldn’t know there had ever been a path there. Look at South America – it’s littered with evidence of ancient civilisations that nobody had a clue about until they started flying over the forests and noticing the formations from the air. Not to worry though, further along the track there was a man from the council dispensing plumes of death to all vegetation from a spray gun.
The stuff had a pink dye in it, presumably so he could see where he had been. I could see that he had been everywhere.
To be fair to the council, I do know that there is extensive planting planned for that area and they are probably just getting ready for that, so the long-term effect is for the good. It’s a shame they have to be so free with the chemicals though – it really doesn’t do anyone any good – just makes the job a little easier for them.
Anyway, please do send me emails telling me everything’s fine and global warming is no more than a natural cycle – it’s always interesting to hear a different view.
Ultimately, of course, it’s of no consequence since the sun will one day explode and take everything with it, but in the meantime I continue to believe it is possible for nature, if allowed, to recover.
Let’s hear about Waipā’s environmental heroes – contact Peter Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org