As the Victorian bushfires continue to rage, so to does the debate over just who is at fault for the fires.
In today’s SMH, the always delightful Miranda Devine declares: “… it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.” ‘Greenies’ bare the responsibility, she argues, for stopping the clearing of vegetation which “turbo-charged” the blazes.
The Kinglake area was a nature-loving community of tree-changers, organic farmers and artists to the north of Melbourne. A council committed to reducing carbon emissions dominates the Nillumbik shire, a so-called “green wedge” area, where restrictions on removing vegetation around houses reportedly added to the dangers. In nearby St Andrews, where more than 20 people are believed to have died, surviving residents have spoken angrily of “greenies” who prevented them from cutting back trees near their property
Roger Underwood, chairman of the Bush Fire Front makes a similar (if somewhat less inflammatory) argument in The Oz, taking a jab at the Wilderness Society, but proposing a range of solutions for better fire management.
Meanwhile, writing in the Guardian, Tim Flannery points the blame at climate change and those responsible for it. He also acknowledges the role of dry and unabated growth, but seems to consider it more a symptom of global warming than a cause in and of itself.
So what do we think? Should environmentalists shoulder some responsibility, is it all just part of the wider effects of climate change, or are they all missing the point completely?