The Pure State of Nature
ebook ∣ Sacred Cows, Destructive Myths and the Environment
By David Horton
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Since Tim Flannery's The Future Eaters, a new debate has developed about the fate of Australia's fragile environment. This book provides a provocative, alternative account of the history of the Australian environment, and the lessons we can learn for conservation in the new millennium.
'Aborigines did not cause the extinction of the megafauna . . . and it is unlikely that they have caused the extinction of any element of the fauna and flora.'
'If you want to practise control burning in order to protect houses or farms, then do it in the same way as you would use a bulldozer to clear a firebreak, but don't pretend that you are doing anything but damage to the environment.'
'If you commercialise an environmental resource you do so to make money. Don't pretend that it also benefits the environment.'
Spanning fifty thousand years and an entire continent, The Pure State of Nature presents a passionate account of the Australian environment. The myths that abound in popular and scientific writing, the 'theories' and fancies about the place of humans in the ecology of this vast landmass, are subjected to scrutiny. In particular, the author demolishes the widely accepted orthodoxy about the use of fire by Aborigines and their supposed part in the extinction of the Australian megafauna.
From the ruins of those myths The Pure State of Nature offers lessons for the new millennium. In turns provocative, humorous, impassioned and gentle, this is a bold book of ideas about the past and present, a book about how we can shape the future.
To The Pure State of Nature Dr David Horton brings many years' experience as scientist, farmer and archaeologist. Among his publications are Recovering the Tracks and The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia. He now writes and consults from his stud sheep farm in New South Wales.