Upper Taieri River
For too long we have taken our rivers for granted. We don't actually have that much water to go around. We are blaise about water and rivers, but we know that the real truth is our rivers are all degraded from what we remember even from a few years ago. We need to wake up. There are lots of rivers under threat right now, from all sorts of 'developments'. Keep your ear to the ground about what's happening near you and your rivers. There is alot going on. Part of the solution is to get tangata whenua engaged and empowered, working together with all interested parties like environmentalists and fish and game (I take my hat off to fish and game they are fighting hard to protect rivers – thank you) and anyone else who loves the rivers the way they are. Provide a united front, backed up with all the analysis and number crunching that is needed. All parts can work together for common goals. But base it upon tangata whenua that is the immovable foundation. Anyway i digress.
The chapter titles of the book tell the story.
“When rivers run dry,”
the crops fail
we mine our childrens future
the wet places die
floods may not be far behind
engineers pour concrete
men go to war over water
we go looking for new water
we try to catch the rain
we go with the flow
You see, the book is optimistic and we have to be – don't we.
We are blessed with great rivers in this country and we must protect them. Damming more rivers is not the way to go. Creating dairy farms in places where cows shouldn't be is not the way to go. Mining National Parks for their mineral wealth is not the way to go. Those three things and more affect our rivers and the rivers are here under our guardianship our kaitiakitanga our protection. We can chose what happens to them. And we must protect against as Fred says,
“... what environmentalists call 'the tragedy of the commons'. Everybody chases short-term wealth even at the cost of destroying their long-term collective future. Nobody can afford to miss out on the boom, because they will all share in the eventual bust. Some think it is what we are doing to the planet.”
Are we going to do that here? Are we doing it already? It seems hard to fathom. I can promise you there are rivers in this country still unblemished by fouling. Still undamed and untamed. And it is possible to save our existing rivers and protect them more from here on in. We just have to think about it a little.
I'm only 80 pages into Freds book and I already feel inspired.