Imposing Our Prejudices on the Value of Flood Waters: A Note from Cathy Green
WHEN nutrient rich water flows into Lake Eyre it is considered good for the environment, but when nutrient rich water flows into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon it is considered bad for the environment.
Indeed every time that Lake Eyre in central Australia floods, our oh-so-sensitive-to-nature journalists provide us with the sort of happy purple prose that we see on the front page of today’s The Australian, where Jamie Walker says:
“The torrents that swept down the swollen Georgina and Diamantina rivers, mixing in Goyder Lagoon before surging through Warburton Creek and into the lake proper, carry a bounty of new life: nutrient-rich sediments to feed the thirsty native vegetation that has erupted all around it, and in turn herbaceous native rodents; fish for the mass of birds tracking the flood; all the water the wild camels from the Simpson Desert can drink.”
Meanwhile, every time it rains hard enough in north Queensland for rivers to flood into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, which represents precisely the same phenomenon as the Diamantina feeding Lake Eyre, journalists at The Australian provide us with much lamenting and concern like the following:
“A MASSIVE surge of polluted water has spewed onto the Great Barrier Reef following heavy rains that hit north Queensland last week, environmentalists say.
The WWF estimated up to one million megalitres – enough polluted water to twice fill Sydney Harbour – entered the reef after a monsoon brought drenching rain to north Queensland.
Mr Heath said satellite imagery confirmed water flows travelled to mid-shelf…”
Nature herself simply doesn’t care about the big environmental impacts and changes, no matter how much birthing, killing or (from our perspective) environmental degradation they may cause – it’s all just part and parcel of being a dynamic planet.
Cathy has a PhD and lives in Far North Queensland.
The photograph of the pelicans was taken by Jennifer Marohasy below the Torrumbarry Weir, Central Murray Valley, in October 2007. Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) can be found in coastal and inland Australia – where ever there are fish. Some fishermen say that when there are floods on the land there is bounty in the sea.