Tuesday, May 15, 2007

An Australian Environmental Warrior-Up The Creek, Without A Paddle

Very soon the realisation of months of hard ground work will begin to unfold. After a long time planning, lobbying, preparing and training, kayak4earth, driven by one man, will set out on the Odyssey of a lifetime. The aim is to paddle the length of the Murray-Darling River System, from Brisbane to Adelaide. Due to climate changes and drought directly experienced here, this river system is now in danger of drying up. Indeed, there are long stretches of the Darling River, in particular, that are no longer flowing. Steve Posselt has attached wheels to the kayak, so that it may be towed it on his back through these sections.

This is one driven individual, by whose example and tenacity, sheer determination to be heard and commitment to a cause could shame us all. The purpose of this gargantuan effort is to consult and educate the public, councils and farmers about the need to conserve and make better use of the diminishing waterways. Frustrated by the lack of Governmental commitment and aid in relation to this very real threat, the kayak4earth team has decided to take to the waters and do something positive to bring awareness to the public. This is not a protest, but a statement and an exercise in education.

The Murray-Darling River System, is one of the largest produce regions in Australia, particularly, those areas along the Murrumbidgee-Murray. At the moment, unless some much needed rain falls in these catchment areas, farmers face the threat of being disconnected from the water sources which irrigate their crops. We are talking about a massive economic impact on the Australian population, not to mention devastating losses for our farmers. We have already experienced the effect of crop destruction due to cyclones in Far North Queensland. If better planning and management strategies are not put in place, Australia imminently faces a food shortage the like of which we have never known before. Rising salt tables pose a huge problem from over use in certain regions, rendering them non-arable areas. Now we face the dilemma of no water flow.

Borne of a lifetime of living and working in the water industry, faced with continuous apathy and lack of awareness, the aim is to bring change to the thinking of the Politicians of Australia, to the regional councils and public in relation to Climate Change and water management policies.

Such a huge personal commitment from a citizen to rally and actively involve himself in the process of education and awareness, is an awesome undertaking. Were we all so personally driven and involved, perhaps our environment would stand a better chance of recovery and conservation. Should we not all have the impetus to make such a sacrifice?

Steve is another Australian Environmental Hero. One can only hope that his efforts are rewarded with recognition, both of the problems we face as a nation and the unbelievable stretch of personal endurance and commitment his odyssey will demand of him. The Australian Government will stand to learn a lot from this exercise. as scientific analysis and planning strategies will be formed along the way.

No comments: