Dr Mike Joy on ‘Clean & Green’ NZ

Dr Mike Joy, Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at Massey University, chastises New Zealand for not walking the talk on environmental standards in an article for the Dominion Post.

An excerpt (read in full here):

Face the facts – we aren’t so green

The enthusiastic response of Kiwis and many Government agencies to the Rena shipwreck disaster was heartening. 

A foreign-owned vessel messing up our environment and wildlife provoked a deep sense of injustice and motivated many to get involved in the clean-up.

But sadly, this remarkable response really just serves to highlight our denial of the real environmental disaster that we are increasingly desperately avoiding.

If only New Zealand’s real “worst ever” environmental disaster was so well publicised, officially acknowledged and stimulated such urgent action. And if only our real disaster was so easily fixed and even better that everyone could be involved its remediation.

Unfortunately, unlike the Rena disaster, the true environmental and biodiversity catastrophe is so pervasive it cannot be cleaned up by teams of volunteers; rather its cure will involve a total rethink of what we accept as being “good for the economy”.

At present, any economic gain is considered a great thing, regardless of the losses inflicted on the environment or society; neither of which are counted or even mentioned. To have a future, we must grow up as a nation and begin to take into account the losses inflicted on our natural capital.

Most Kiwis perceive our country as clean and green, and this perception is shared by the rest of the world, although doubts are creeping in.

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