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Carr’s Column – Who will speak for nature?

August 26, 2010

When I opened The Parks Forum Conference I used a quote from Prince Charles. He was asked by a TV documentary marking his 60th birthday about his support for environmental causes. He replied, “Well, who will speak for nature?” It is the question of our time.

I was able to help in an impressive campaign waged by conservationists to save the river red gums; good work by my friends in the National Parks Association. We were delighted by the decision of Premier Keneally’s government to create 107 000 hectares of new river red gum reserves and protect the Millewa forests, as well as all the forest along the Upper and Lower Murray, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan, and Wakol rivers.

I think the Charles quote is a good way of putting it. Who will speak up for the forest systems, the orangutans in the jungles of Sumatra, the Amazonian rainforest… who will speak for nature? I joked when I spoke at the Parks Forum that we may toy with delaying our decision about becoming a republic until Charles has served as king and then amend the constitution to make the governor-general the head of state (my preferred model, and on reflection the only one I think will ever get majority support). To have a constitutional monarch who speaks for the natural world would be no bad thing. Well, better than a president who’s a climate change denier.

See my article in the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/logging-river-red-gums-is-vandalism-20090723-duum.html

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