Coastal water factories and millennial 'water dreaming'

Mercer, D 2009, 'Coastal water factories and millennial 'water dreaming'', Dialogue, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 57-70.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Coastal water factories and millennial 'water dreaming'
Author(s) Mercer, D
Year 2009
Journal name Dialogue
Volume number 28
Issue number 1
Start page 57
End page 70
Total pages 13
Publisher Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
Abstract A common theme running through environmental history writings in Australia has always been the tension between the so-called 'colonial' and 'ecological' images of this country.1 The former unashamedly celebrates human power and ingenuity in the face of adversity, and refers to the dominant, 'frontier' mentality, based around the narrative of 'conquering' and 'subduing' an alien environment. As Powell emphasises, this involves one overriding goal - 'to alter, not simply ignore or sportily challenge, Australia's environmental parameters' (emphasis added).2 The state has always played a prominent role here, with Walker identifying four, distinct phases of 'statist developmentalism' in Australia.3 By contrast, emphasising undeniable ecological constraints, the latter theme has long warned of the ultimate folly of this worldview. It has gained considerable legitimacy in recent times with the (re)discovery of the relevance of Indigenous knowledge and land management practices, exemplified in a recent study of Nyungar attitudes to water resources in the Perth coastal plain.4 Other milestones have been the publication of such apocalyptic texts as Homer-Dixon's, The Upside of Down, Jared Diamond's, Collapse, and Mary White's, Listen - Our Land is Crying,5 the subsequent rise to prominence of 'sustainability' in public discourse, and the growing recognition - often highlighted in rigorous, 'State of the Environment' reports - of the parlous state of many Australian ecosystems, not least in the coastal zone.
Subject Environmental Management
Keyword(s) Australia
coastal planning
desalination
water management
Copyright notice © 1999-2010 Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia
ISSN 1441-8460
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