Most times in life the things we most worry and fear over do not come to pass. This is one of the greatest self lessons I have learned in the mountains. Yet sometimes that fear and worry does appear, does manifest itself in real and terrible ways. I have alluded to in a few prior posts about my concern for the welfare of the Wild Places of Aotearoa, that they were under the eye of individuals, corporations, share holders, and those whom would alter them eagerly for the benefit of man. That has come to pass. Our National elected government has now clearly stated their intention to open up our publicly held conservation estate to mining and mineral "extraction". The battle is truly upon us, sides will be taken, and the future of the Land, and our children is at stake.
The Conservation Estate of New Zealand compromises 13% of our land mass. Within it lies the beauty and immense treasure of such gems as Aoraki, Aspiring, Arthur's Pass, Fiordland, Taranaki, the mysterious Urewera, Tasman, Nelson Lakes, Westland, Tongariro, and the newest and perhaps most susceptible, Kahurangi. There are , of course, other jewels at risk, such as my beloved Ruahine amongst other lesser known places. The contempt our government shows for any wild place makes these even more at risk should anything of "value" turn up. I use words like treasure, gems, and jewels, in the sense of the wealth they contain in their wildness, in their ability to connect to parts deep within us we seem to be losing even faster than I ever imagined. The wealth they represent in their Wildness is too much to ever comprehend or put at risk. Too many others see treasure, gem and jewel, as simply representing potential wealth in terms of money. And so these places become mere grid lines on charts and maps representing dollar signs. 13%!!! Is it too much to ask to just leave that much alone? To just let it be and let it represent what it can be to those whom chose to seek it, or even just dream of seeking it? To leave our children, and their children, just 13% of Wilderness! How they will hate us!
Our smiling and very rich prime minister, John Key, uses buzz phrases even better than his jowly servant Gerry Brownlee. Soothing utterances such as "sensitive extraction", "all New Zealanders care about conservation", lie next to the dark possibilities of "economic growth", "job creation", and bringing "wealth" to all New Zealanders. A very quick check on companies mining or hoping to mine, within Aotearoa will tell one 4 primary movers in this travesty have little connection here aside from its interest in our "wealth". As soon as the "wealth" is extracted they will leave the mess behind for our future generations to contend with. "Clean and Green New Zealand", "100% Pure New Zealand". It is the Big Lie my friends. We have already desecrated the areas outside the 13% left pure, now the time has come to move in on that as well. It makes me weep.
Edward Abbey has always been an inspiration to me. Though later in his life Ed wrote what I considered some far out offerings about the governments NOT wanting people to HAVE access to wild places, real wild places. A paved road leading to a look out some where would suffice the urge for us once the connections are truly severed. I used to think Ed might have had a few too many drams by then, he was indeed a heavy booze hound by that stage, and that there was no great conspiracy, that deep down governments are here for US.
Ed, I apologize, you always were ahead of your time, and the future is upon us. They really do want us to just care about our mortgage, our job, fitting in like everyone else, and just being a good citizen and not asking too many questions. Total Disconnection. Holy Shit!
Earth First! Kia kaha! Please, Let us fight these Bastards where we stand. We stand on the Earth.