Sharks, Native Plants and People

Are people less important than the environment?

Shark attacks appear to be increasing when compared with statistics of some decades ago when sharks were fished commercially. The article from The Australian newspaper discusses this issue.

protecting_sharks_not_people

A quote from the article.
“Almost everywhere one looks — the CSIRO, universities and the various departments of primary industries or fishing — one sees a higher priority given to sharks than surfers, divers or swimmers. This misanthropism springs from the common perception that humans are a blight on our planet and that a few casualties from interactions with nature are an acceptable price in the quest to save the Earth from ­rapacious humans. Such a deliberate lack of ­humanity is usually assoc­iated only with religious ­delusions or witchcraft. But, then, you “believe” in “saving” the environment or you don’t.”

What is interesting is that a parallel can be drawn between this situation and bushfire attack on people who live at the Rural Urban Interface, typically where native plants are in close proximity

In the example above, a case is made that human lives are treated as of less importance than those of the sharks. In the instance of bushfires, for those who are living in bushfire prone areas, having native plants (which predominantly are of high flammability with volatile oils in their foliage) near the house is plain dangerous. It increases the risk of property destruction and inherently increases risk to life.

merino_rd_3sep16_img_4422

Taken earlier this month in Margaret River, in Australia’s South West, noted for its wines, for surfing and unfortunately shark attacks, these homes have native bush close to them. Note the dry branches, much litter, many eucalypts – a fire hazard from November to April.

In gardening circles and throughout much of the popular media, residents are encouraged to “plant natives” or, indeed, are barred from removing native plants, to save water, to increase biodiversity or in other nebulous ways “to save the planet”.

Perhaps we should look at native plants like tigers in our garden, or sharks in our favourite ocean swimming spot. We need to recognise the dangers and make clear-eyed decisions to reduce the risk. And put people first.