Monday, March 2, 2009

Can't see the wood for the... State?

A map of Australia with the 'remote' island of Tasmania pictured bottom right. The miniscule island is only 90,758 square kms and sparsely populated by half a million people, who are hard to see amongst the old-growth forest trees.

I spent some time on the weekend reading a thorough yet accessible book on environmental science. As it's a 'self-teaching' book it's full of little self-teaching quizzes, my favourite so far containing this question:

12. IOTPF is an acronym that stands for
(a) Indoor Outdoor Tennis Players Federation
(b) International Octopus, Turtle, and Piranha Foundation
(c) International Oil Tanker Owners' Pollution Federation
(d) Indigenous Owls of Temperate Pine Forests

I don't know the answer, I must have skipped the IOTPF page, but I'm happy to live in a world where any of these four are a possibility (provided (c) is anti rather than pro).

Anyhoo, reading through the chapter on 'Ecosystems and Biodiversity' I came across this delightful little sentence:

"Old-growth forests are found primarily in northern climates, although there are small caches of untouched trees in remote locations like Tasmania."

I don't actually live in Tasmania but I live in the country of which it's a State, and I'm pretty sure Tasmania itself isn't, you know, 'remote' in the whole 'forget electricity, McDonalds and the wheel, all they have in Tasmania is old-growth forests' kind of way. I'm pretty sure it's, oops, got a State Parliament and a postal service, and even its own floral and mineral emblems.

I thought perhaps the book had been written many years ago, before the mythical Great Southern Land had been discovered? But no, it was published in 2005. Then I thought perhaps the author him or herself may have been living under a rock? But no, he or she appears to be connected to one of those big, Western university-type places (which, on reflection, doesn't exclude living under a rock).

But no matter. I will have to leave Tasmania to its bi-cameral parliamentary system as I've got a week of travelling and bits and bobs ahead of me so see you back on Saturday.


Miles McClagan said...

I would type a poignant response to said academic, but obviously there's a big tree in the way of the laptop...

Kettle said...

Ha ha! What is this 'laptop' that you speak of? How do you water it?