In a conflict growing in bitterness, farmers across Australia each cut down one tree on their land. The farmers are threatening to raise the number of trees they fell each day, so that by the end of the week more than 128,00 trees could be cut down in one day. The cause of their anger is the government’s refusal to review the land-clearing laws that prevent farmers from felling trees on their land. The problem according to the farmers is that by banning them from clearing trees from their land, they are losing acres of usable farmland, making many farms unviable. The government response is that the trees are needed to soak up CO2 and without the law, huge areas would be cleared to make arable land.
This is a sensitive and difficult issue, with no obvious possible resolution. On the one hand, the trees are vital to help combat rising levels of CO2 and on the other the farmers’ livelihoods are on the line. The farmers claim that the destruction of their farming capacity will cause food shortages in Australia.
Even with the law protecting the environment, illegal land clearing is a big problem in some Australian states. A WWF study in New South Wales estimated that in 2006 alone, 80 million reptiles and 13 million birds were wiped out because their habitat was destroyed. Again this highlights the problem that is being faced by politicians everywhere, how to balance the needs of the planet with the needs of ever growing populations. This is an issue that will not go away and will need to be resolved at some point.
[Via The Times]