Un-sustainable management

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:54

'Future generations' are the reason all-too frequently given for conservation and preservation of resources. Indeed, the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment maintains that "conservation of resources for future generations" is explicitly required by the Resource Management Act's core principle of "sustainable management." It is mandatory. It is also stupid. I'll just say two things about both:

  1. Resources: 'Resources' are just so much dirt, rocks, trees and mud puddlesthat the ingenuity of the human mind has found a use for. But resources are only a resource if they can be used. If they can't be used they're not resources, they're just so much ballast. Conservation must at some stage give way to production, or else what are you conserving resources for? Which future generation wil be allowed to used them? When?
  2. Future generations: On behalf of my own generation, I'd just like to thank previous generations for building the roads, dams, abattoirs, reservoirs, power stations, powerlines, industrial and chemical plants, sewerage systems, pulp and paper mills, aqueducts, railways and mines that 'sustainable managament,' conservationists and the RMA have made it well nigh impossible to build today. Future generations will not thanks us for bequeathing them a woefully under-equipped future that's full of dirt, rocks, trees and mud puddles, but largely bereft of the infrastructure needed for human flourishing.

'Sustainable management' is neither sustainable nor real management. It is a pseudo-concept giving power to planners over landowners, while demanding the sacrifice of the present to a future that never arrives.

TAGS: Cartoons, RMA, Conservation, Environment, Ethics


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