Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Australian River Systems

It isn't that I hate farmers.  Rather, it just seems obvious that it is more important to avoid destroying river systems through overextraction of water, than it is to postpone the loss of some thousands of farming jobs in areas where farming is ecologically unsustainable in the long term.

Yet, the amount of complaining coming from farmers on the basis of a report that recommends doing the bare minimum (The Age) to sustain the Murray-Darling system makes it seem as though a whole lot of people do not share this intuition.

Losing jobs is bad.  But losing more jobs in a few years because we have carelessly destroyed a major river system through overuse isn't just bad, it is crazy.  Yes it hurts to lose jobs, yes there may be flow on damage to the wider economy, particularly in terms of things like food pricing, but these dangers are at least ones we are forewarned about, and may actually be able to prevent.  Unlike the harms that would come from losing major river systems.

The official report can be found here.

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