Wednesday, November 02, 2011
A lesson to be learned from the past
Remember the Koala who was burnt in the Bushfires of 2009. People around the world felt its pain. But in 1927 alone in Australia over 500,000 cuddly koalas were killed for their skins. And in 200 years of colonisation, hundreds of thousands of defenceless mammals and marsupials, like possums and platypus, have been killed while several native animals, like the thylacine were hunted to extinction.
In Tasmania, the colonialists not only wiped out the Aborigines who had inhabited the land for millennia, but almost wiped out its native animal populations.
But in their ‘wisdom’ the squatters introduced, FOXES for the sport of hunting, RABBITS for fur and food, SPARROWS to eat the insects, and BLACKBERRIES and Scotch THISTLES to remind them of Britain - to name but a few imported pests.
If I have learned nothing else from my course in Environmental History, it is that we should look to the mistakes of the past if we are going to cope with the future.