The Environment of the Human Mind

This week produced one of those distressing stories where a local event comes to symbolise a global crisis.

A landowner in Australia destroyed one of the country’s premier wetland bird sites. An area equivalent to 750 football fields, with a unique variety of established bird colonies and many rare plants was simply leveled with bulldozers. Apart from anything else, it is hard to imagine, notwithstanding the laws that forbid this type of destruction on protected land, what economic benefit could exceed the potential of turning this site into an eco-tourism business.

The Sydney Morning Herald has covered the story – here and here.

So often the perceived short term economic gain overrides the increasing evidence that sustainability in general is better business. While some areas of environmental care obviously require investment – especially energy production and transport – businesses that embrace sustainable management report short term savings and increased long term profit. When hard numbers support action, irrespective of whether the motive is profit or the shear instinctive terror of seeing our planet under such immense overall pressure, one would think that good sense would prevail. Unfortunately, the human mind loves clinging to old habits.

For a background on the loss of wetlands, see the Action Bioscience web site.

The ‘bird’ below was made from mounting board and coloured tissue paper. The ‘trees’ were dried twigs and the image was constructed from a sandwich of two exposures. I built the set and made the photograph in my Wimbledon studio during the late 80s.


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