ABC Shock

ABC says adaption to climate change can bring “joy”

Geraldine Doogue on the ABC RN’s Saturday Extra has a reputation for interviews with fuzzy left of centre commentators, whether sociologists, philosophers, environmentalists or global warming alarmists.

Yesterday, she spoke to Professor Glenn Albrech, director of the Institute of Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University. The professor specializes in carefully crafted eco-jargon research topics like “the ethics of feral buffalo control”, “the geographies and bioethics of the thoroughbred horse industry” and, wait for it, “relevant transdisciplinarity in the domain of sustainability”, all the better, one takes it, to mine the rich ore-body of tax payer dollars through the Australian Research Council.

In our brave new therapeutic society, the good professor has come up with a new syndrome, “Solastalgia”, the topic of Geraldine’s interview. Solastalgia is a form of “human distress related to the lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change.”

But help is at hand. If, for instance, you adapt to change — yes, you heard it first on the ABC — you have a solution. If I understood the interview correctly, for example, your garden can, due to climate change, be replanted with drought resistant sustainable plants. Hey presto, “through desire and planning … a garden can adapt to new conditions”, and with “great joy” we can “turn distress to advantage”. This according to the good professor, is an example of “solaphilia”.

Australian children these days have a more straightforward way of dealing with change. They will simply tell you to “suck it up”.

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5 Responses to “ABC Shock”

  1. Sean M Says:

    You spelled Murdoch incorrectly.

  2. Andrew McIntyre Says:

    Thank you. Corrected.

  3. Glenn Albrecht Says:

    “Geraldine Doogue on the ABC RN’s Saturday Extra has a reputation for interviews with fuzzy left of centre commentators, whether sociologists, philosophers, environmentalists or global warming alarmists.”

    My response:

    A person’s reputation is not always a reliable guide to what they will do today or tomorrow. Bertrand Russell’s inductivist turkey is a good example of the dangers of inductivism. I am not a left wing commentator and am very comfortable with libertarian traditions. Perhaps Andrew has not thought about the dangers of inductivist generalisation.

    “Yesterday, she spoke to Professor Glenn Albrech, director of the Institute of Sustainability and Technology Policy at Murdoch University. The professor specializes in carefully crafted eco-jargon research topics like “the ethics of feral buffalo control”, “the geographies and bioethics of the thoroughbred horse industry” and, wait for it, “relevant transdisciplinarity in the domain of sustainability”, all the better, one takes it, to mine the rich ore-body of tax payer dollars through the Australian Research Council.”

    My response:

    My name is Glenn Albrecht. I do study environmental and ecological issues in the context of human culture. The accusation that my work sits within the “carefully crafted” umbrella of eco-jargon is made without evidence or argument.

    The ethics of feral buffalo control was a research paper generated by an ARC Linkage Grant that funded work done in the field in Arnhem Land NT. The linkage partners included AQIS, NT NPWS, NT Dept Primary industries and the idea was to study feral buffalo population growth and the threat it poses to the NT cattle industry by introduced diseases such as TB and brucellosis, invasion into national parks such as Kakadu, the safety of Indigenous people and the viability of the buffalo meat industry. It seems to me that the only eco-jargon we are dealing with here is … eco-jargon.

    Similarly, the thoroughbred horse industry is a multi-million dollar industry and it is global. It happens to be located in specific parts of the world (geography) and has many features that raise ethical issues (jumps deaths, whips) that are being widely discussed in mainstream media. I doubt if Jerry Harvey would see the TB horse industry as implicated in “eco-jargon”. But perhaps we should ask him about such a claim.

    That I deal with issues such as the environment, health and sustainability that transcend traditional discipline boundaries does not worry me. Perhaps Andrew has a mission in life not to be sustainable … but wait for it … you hear it first from me … that is not sustainable!

    It is not easy to get an ARC research grant, however, it is very easy to make uninformed comments about such grants.

    “In our brave new therapeutic society, the good professor has come up with a new syndrome, “Solastalgia”, the topic of Geraldine’s interview. Solastalgia is a form of “human distress related to the lived experience of negatively perceived environmental change.””

    My response:

    The statement “brave new therapeutic society” is yet more eco-jargon from McIntyre. It is true, I have described solastalgia just as McIntyre quotes.

    “But help is at hand. If, for instance, you adapt to change — yes, you heard it first on the ABC — you have a solution.”

    My comment:

    As a matter of fact, I have made comments about adapting to change and repairing damaged environments for more than 10 years. You did not hear it first on the ABC last Saturday.

    “If I understood the interview correctly, for example, your garden can, due to climate change, be replanted with drought resistant sustainable plants.”

    My comment:

    Yes, if you face regular and severe drought, it makes sense to replant your garden with drought resistant plants. No claim was made that there are sustainable plants. Like bloggers, they live, then die. Resilient ecosystems in the form of carefully designed gardens can be sustainable.

    “Hey presto, “through desire and planning … a garden can adapt to new conditions”, and with “great joy” we can “turn distress to advantage”.”

    My comment”

    As a matter of fact many people find great joy in their gardens. Gardening is a multi-million dollar business in Australia. Having plants that can survive dry conditions is much better than having a garden die in the face of heat and dryness.

    “This according to the good professor, is an example of “solaphilia”.”

    My comment:

    McIntyre does not have any idea if I am “good”. Perhaps he has insight about me that I do not have?
    The word is “soliphilia” and it involves collective action on the part of people to repair damaged landscapes. I gave as an example of such collective endeavour, the voluntary conservation body known as LandCare. Perhaps Andrew is suggesting that LandCare is a left-wing organisation? Does this mean that major funders of Landcare such as Alcoa are also left-wing organisations?

    “Australian children these days have a more straightforward way of dealing with change. They will simply tell you to “suck it up”.”

    My comment:

    I am not so sure about this. Australian children might say that things that annoy them “suck”. However, no mature, well educated adult would say such a thing.

  4. Sean M Says:

    Nice blog btw. Good work.

  5. Andrew McIntyre Says:

    Glenn,
    So many things to say, but just a few points.

    Firstly, thank you for your long response.

    Secondly, the contemporary idiom about “Suck it Up’ does not apply to things that annoy, as in “it sucks”, but rather to”get over something that is a set back”, or “build a bridge” as in an intelligent response to worrying about climate change for instance. It actually means “adapt”. Now there is a message.

    Thirdly, if you don’t think that expressions like “ethics of feral buffalo control”, or “geographies” or “transdisciplinarity” have a ring of eco-jargon about them, all I can say is that we live in different worlds.

    Finally, there appears to be much misunderstanding by you of the thrust of my comments. Your own comments make this self evident.

    All the best,
    Andrew

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