'Dumbing down' of science killing genuine conservation

'Dumbing down' of science killing genuine conservation

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Environmental activists' uninformed claims seem to carry enough weight to dictate government policy.

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The saying "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing", although coined more than 400 years ago, is timeless in its perceptiveness.

It perfectly describes the popularisation of environmental science that lies behind the silly activism that currently seems to control the social and political agenda (think PETA, Extinction Rebellion, Dominion, etc).

Activist claims like "agriculture is bad for the environment", "cattle are causing climate change", "farm runoff is killing the Reef" are examples of how 'popular' interest in science leads to impossible claims.

Obviously, they are complete cowpats as far as legitimate, evidence-based science goes.

But unfortunately, if repeated often and loudly enough by a strident minority - and they ARE - they seem to carry enough weight to dictate government policy.

For primary producers, the most offensive part of this 'dumbing down' of environmental science is that we have been branded as 'environmental villains' - despite doing as much or more than any other part of society to improve business practices and ecological outcomes.

But the much more practical and detrimental effect is the imposition of layers and layers of government red and green tape that is strangling our state's $14 billion dollar agriculture industry.

Examples include the state government's Reef regulations and standards, vegetation management legislation, protected plant trigger maps, and proposed pristine rivers legislation.

They are all cases where ideology and pseudo-science espoused by urban-bound activists have been allowed to supersede practical experience and actual science.

And it's killing regional Queensland - at a time when agriculture has been deemed an essential service for our post-COVID recovery and regional communities are being promoted as the prime mover.

In coming weeks, the Federal Senate's inquiry hearings into evidence-based legislation of farm practices will provide bi-partisan insights into this particularly fraught field.

We are at a crossroads between scientific verification and ethical justification, a nonsense where government regulations require producers to apply for a licence to farm and change land management practices based on unsubstantiated models that have not been proven to improve Reef water quality.

A whole new approach is needed to build scientific and community trust in farming systems that are achieving high environmental outcomes whilst retaining economic productivity and the ability to feed the world.

If you, like me, care for the Reef and for regional Queensland and want to make a difference, visit at our Stand With Regional Queensland website: standwithregqld.org.au.

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