Fuzzy Environmentalism

When I tell other westerners that I am from New Zealand, they often respond with words of praise for the country’s scenic beauty, adventure sports, clean environment and sexy livestock . And they often say how great it is that New Zealand is a “nuclear-free” zone. I really don’t share this admiration. Personally, I have always felt the policy “triumph” to be a non-event.

New Zealand’s nuclear-free status, which was established soon after the 1984 election victory for the Labour party, was the culmination of years of campaigning by peace and – to a lesser extent – environmental activists. From that time it has been illegal to have nukes in New Zealand. Not that there were any nukes there to begin with. New Zealand never had nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons, and was never going to have them.

The only thing the nuclear-free policy changed was stopping the occasional American nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ship or submarine from making a brief visit to a New Zealand port. As I said, from an environmental point of view, it is a non-event. To give a domestic comparison, it would be equivalent to me declaring my kitchen a “shag free zone.” However, I have to admit that the nuclear ban has enhanced the perception of N.Z. being a clean green paradise, and it has therefore been a boon to tourism and food exporters.

The nuclear-free policy was a perfect cause for the left wing at the perfect time; it was anti-war, anti-American, pro-environment, pro-peace, and it could be played out as a David and Goliath struggle; gutsy little New Zealand standing up to America the Bully. French activities in the Pacific – conducting nuclear tests and the sinking of the Greenpeace boat in Auckland – increased public support for New Zealand’s stance.

The majority of New Zealanders agreed with the Labour government’s nuclear-free policy and many took great pride in it. For me, it was only of symbolic importance and I believe it was a distraction from other environmental issues, chiefly invasive species. I would much rather make New Zealand a “cat-free zone.” Cats – both of the feral and pet variety – are one of the biggest environmental problems in New Zealand.
Of course, this is not an attractive “cause” and the electorate is not yet ready for it.

Most tourists who visit Australia want to see the country’s unique wildlife, especially koalas and kangaroos. About 70 percent leave the country having seen these critters. Kangaroo Island, which lies 45 miles off the coast of South Australia, is a popular tourist attraction because of its plentiful wildlife. However, the koala population is out of control and destroying trees on the island and the furry little buggers may soon face starvation.

Koalas were first introduced to the island in the 1920s. Since then their numbers have grown quickly because there are no natural predators.

Authorities have already tried sterilizing the animals and moving some of them off the island, but their numbers continue to rise. The problem has been ignored for too long and there are simply too many koalas to catch.

The best method would be to shoot most of them and leave a few koalas in an enclosed area for tourists to see.

The problem is that culling native wildlife, especially cute and cuddly ones, is a very sensitive topic so the government doesn’t want to do anything.

Who is to blame for this sorry state of affairs? Animal rights groups, the general public, and business interests that rely on tourism are all guilty.

This is fuzzy environmentalism at its worst; because an animal is “cute” (not to mention being of economic value) it can endanger other fauna and flora. There are a lot of teachers on Forumosa - please try to spread the word that all creatures are equally deserving of our interest and protection.

For more mindless but no doubt “well-intentioned” Lefties, please read on about “global warming.”