Tuesday 22 December 2009

Steve Ryan of CAFNEC responds to "blowing up his office and shooting at greenies"

Steve Ryan from the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre attended a volatile meeting of the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, held at Crosswell Hall recently.

He was interested to hear CAFNEC mentioned on a number of occasions, and takes this right of reply to respond to some of the statements.

Whilst certainly not wanting to overreact to John Mondora's comments about people blowing up CAFNEC offices and shooting at greenies, it should be noted that these comments were made.

Two speakers on the night claimed CAFNEC doesn't care about people and the impacts of its proposals. As a community organisation we represent the views of our membership as best we can. Mostly, these members want to see the integrity of the natural environment of the region maintained for both its own sake, and to retain the lifestyle and surroundings that define our lifestyles. As our population increases there are ever more pressure on our natural systems.

CAFNEC's role is to ensure the changes required occur without dispossessing the greater community of our lifestyle and that natural systems of the region continue to function and provide for us all into the future.

Speakers at the Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party meeting commented on the changes they have seen in their lifetimes and the restrictions being placed on their enjoyment of the sea and bush. Speakers also claimed that CAFNEC sought to lock people out from the landscape and that we do this with "no science" to back us up. These are issues regarding the control of access to some areas, such as designated camping areas in National Parks, road closures and fishing restrictions.

CAFNEC would like to point out that most speakers were at least of an age where, in their lifetimes, they would have seen the population of the planet double with the regional population also doubling over the last 30 years, from 110 000 in 1976 to 221 000 in 2006. We continue to grow at one of the fastest rates in the state. This growth, together with the increase in 4WD and boat registrations, results in increasing pressures on our environment that have necessitated changes in how we view and manage our local areas.

Simply, the world has changed and so must our approach to it. Responsibility for the impacts of this continuing growth must be taken and there is a price to be paid by us all. The freedom to go anywhere and do anything is one we can now scarcely afford, and the places where we still can "escape" this world grow smaller as we continue to expand our presence.

The need for protected areas, such as National Parks and marine reserves, is now widely accepted in the scientific and natural resource management community. Protected areas are vital, but the job of ensuring healthy landscapes is too great for protected areas to achieve on their own. Through efforts such as Landcare, sustainable use principles are also gaining greater acceptance in land and sea outside protected areas. The science, and common sense, tells us that both approaches are required to succeed in preventing species after species from disappearing.

CAFNEC formed around the campaign to create the Wet Tropics World Heritage area and worked hard to secure greater protection for the Great Barrier Reef. At the time of their creation, there were those in the community claiming these proposals would lead to economic and social disaster. These two assets are now the backbone of our regional economy and enjoyed by residents and many others from around the globe.

Working towards the creation and better resourcing of protected areas is only one area of CAFNEC’s activities. The FNQ 2031 Regional Plan has been a major focus for the past three years, as has preventing inappropriate development in areas such as East Trinity, False Cape, Ella Bay and others. Community based climate change initiatives, regional sustainability forums, sustainable housing solutions, Cairns Central Swamp revegetation, natural resource management and a number of other areas are all part of our activities.

Funding is primarily via membership and donations from the community which is supplemented by fundraising events, and government and philanthropic grants. We are a lean and efficient community organisation which tries its best to cover this vast region with the meagre funding available.

The Coral Sea Heritage Park campaign is one of our current projects and is carried out as part of a national and international coalition of organisations working to a common goal. With over 99% of the world's oceans open to fishing, we feel a fully protected Coral Sea (starting far out, beyond the outer Barrier Reef) would make an invaluable contribution to the long term health of the Western Pacific Ocean. As the gate way to this region, Cairns stands to bear the most cost of creating this park, but also stands to gain most as the gateway to what would be the world's largest marine protected area network.

The costs can be managed and solutions to problems found, but to miss this opportunity risks to forgo many of the potential opportunities it will bring. The Coral Sea belongs to all Australians, not just the few with the resources to exploit it.


CBD Warrior said...

Dear Greenie Steve,

You are aware that we live on a continent the size of the USA, with a total population roughly equal to that of Southern California?

Claiming Australia is overloaded is mad thinking. Wait until our neighbours to the north decide that they need "lebensraum". We'll be at 100 million in no time, and then you'll have something to bitch about.

Greenies are Wacky said...

Here's a good read.

A former CTO with Microsoft has come up with a simple, cheap ($250M) solution to global warming.


Jock said...

Judging by the above comments, the idiots are taking over the asylum. Time to find some intelligent comments on teh intertubes.