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What Do Greenies Want?

By Hugh Possingham

The conservation movement is often too busy stopping others from getting what they want, and doesn’t spend enough time trying to make its own progress. Maybe it’s time to create a clear set of objectives with plans on how to deliver those objectives.

Professor Hugh Possingham is Director of the Applied Environmental Decision Analysis centre at the University of Queensland.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Earlier this year I attended and spoke at the Queensland Growth Management Summit, an initiative of Queensland’s Premier, Anna Bligh. The summit was a bold move to start the dialogue on the why, how much and where of population growth in Queensland. There were many impressive presentations from people with diverse views and backgrounds.

Undoubtedly the most impressive speaker was Bernard Salt – one of Australia’s best-known demographers. During the dinner debate he spoke very passionately about the merits of growth. He also asked one very fundamental question, a question that had clearly preyed on his mind because he asked it twice with emphasis: “What does the environmental movement want?”

My feeling was that he was sick and tired of the conservation movement saying “no” to things that other members of society wanted: you can’t have that dam/road/port facility because there is a little brown frog there; we can’t have any more people because we consume too much water/land; stop expanding forestry and agriculture and mining because it destroys native habitat. And I agree with his sentiment, in part. I think the conservation movement is often too busy stopping others from getting what they want, and doesn’t spend enough time trying to make its own progress.

In general it’s true that prevention is better than a cure (and definitely cheaper), and I...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.