I was forwarded the following letter by Mr Bob Komoll. Bob had submitted this letter to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Letters to the Editor. As to whether it was published, I’m not sure. However, Bob makes some excellent points which I am delighted to publish here:
18 May 2010
For over two hundred years, those who grazed stock on this ‘desert island’ knew a bit about carrying capacity. It is usually expressed as D.S.E. or dry sheep equivalents.
With the emerging bonanza of the new black sheep (fossil fuels) the feeding frenzy to dig up our best farming and grazing country should focus our attention on that other carrying capacity – how many people can Australia support while maintaining first world standards? Many would say we are already over.
With our capital cities consuming farms for housing, much of the eastern seaboard fragmented into urban lifestyles and retirement uses and increasing areas subject to soil salinity and acidity, good farmland is fast becoming a vanishing commodity.
One can’t blame the farmers for selling out at the prices the miners are offering. But as we cry all the way to the bank, having sold the jewels in Australia’s agricultural crown, we should realise that when the fuel is burning and gone there’ll be nothing but a hole where fertile soil and underground water once prevailed.
Recently I travelled through the Liverpool Plains. The crops, stock and pastures were a picture. To the south, the cancerous spread of the Hunter Valley open cut coal mines, although perhaps temporarily halted at Murrurundi, give stark warning of what’s to come.
Is the black sheep really a Judas goat? Maybe it’s time for a new D.S.E.