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CHAPTER TWO

The Proposition

 

   For reasons which become apparent later, pollution started withwater. Rectifying the water position is the starting point for designing the eliminationof pollution. The City Forest refers to a specific area of the remedy. As a firststep, it is proposed that the filtered effluent from sewerage treatment works andother used waters of town and city, be delivered via pump and pipeline to selectedareas of land and not to the rivers and the seas as it is today. On the selectedland these waste waters would be re-used to grow forests in the likeness of Nature'srain forest. The growth stimulants of the effluents would stimulate the growth ofthe trees. The water would be cleaned and reconstituted in the natural processesof the forests and flow from the forest soil to join the common waters of the landand the seas as clear fresh water.

   While nothing which man has devised for either getting rid ofwater or for reconstituting used water approached the efficiency of the natural rainforests, the designed City Forest will far excel them in effectiveness for the purpose.

   This is the immediate action suggested for today's cities inorder to partly offset the mistakes of the past and the problems of water pollutionnow. But because air, water and soil are the trinity of life and indivisable, thisis also an attack on air and soil pollution.

   The prospects for tomorrow are brighter. A balance of the waterbudget in our take and return of good water would extend to balance and health inthe total environment.

   Cities on their own cannot be made pollution free; the problemis continent wide and world wide. The City Forest and a Strip Forest for every farm,would be an integral part of the new landscape design for city, town and country.New cities can then be made pollution free and function with a degree of efficiencynot now approached. The wide agricultural landscape can be redesigned economicallyand profitably in farmscapes with complete control of water, with trees planted toenhance and improve the land and with fertile soil to add the final elegance to thecountryside. Instead of farming land being the greater polluter it is now, it wouldbecome the perpetual guardian of the health and balance of the environment.

   Even great industrial complexes and large mining enterprisescan be designed to remain in balance with the landscape and not destroy and degradeit.

   Our Australia is a divergent land. It has landscapes and plantlife and animal life which are unique. Those who have controlled its land politiesand those also who have occupied so much of this land in the past, have not alwaysdischarged their responsibilities to it or to its peoples.

   Australia is a damaged land. There are places which few Australianshave seen where the surface to several feet has been taken by wind from thousandsof square miles.

   The tough land has proved to be a fragile land.

   The impaired landscapes can be recovered and made the most attractiveland on earth both for Australians to live in and for the world's people to visitand enjoy. But all our landscapes have to be guarded and enhanced, because even nowbig business interests are planning the "development" of land where thedestruction of all trees over vast areas, together with other orthodox agriculturalpractices, will inevitably lead to further wide landscape destruction.

   The acquisition of low priced land in Australia by overseasinvestors, has placed a value of a few cents in the dollar on our land, comparedwith similar land in their own countries. Already the areas lost in the North arethan the states of Victoria and Tasmania combined. This is a form of pollution bythe Establishment which needs to be reversed.

First, The Farm

   I became involved with the problem of designing a healthy landscapewhen I bought 1,000 acres of poor land in a region of unreliable rainfall in 1943and tried to farm it. The objective was to produce 1,000 acres of fertile soil ina landscape which was planned logically. I was singularly unsuccessful for a time.But eventually I found a quick way to convert very poor earths into fertile soiland a logical way to design a landscape.

   The relevances of these experiments and experiences on the land,which were recorded in my three earlier books and various papers, are many. For instance,the first special purpose landscape of man was the farm, where everyone lived onthe land. It was not only the place where the food was produced, it was also thehome of the arts and skills which were the foundation of the industries. Therefore,if the soil of the farm deteriorated and lost its fertility, or the land was wronglydesigned or lacked design altogether, thus weakening the balance of the natural landscape,there was little chance that later and far more populous landscapes would be better.On the other hand, if the farming of land was right and the design of the farm wasin balance, the wider landscapes of city, town and country could not be in such aplight today.

   THE FARM WAS AND STILL REMAINS THE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT LANDSCAPEOF MAN. However a healthy and well designed farm is almost as rare as the sensiblydesigned city--nevertheless it is on the farms where the problems of unhealthy soiland good landscape design must first be solved and where designs for health and balancemust be integrated. Many of the arts and skills of good farming are important tothe design and workings of the clean city.

   Fertile soil is a precious thing. it has also been found tovery temporary; its fertility can be lost by faulty management in a few decades.But it will be shown that the process can be reversed and the impoverished soil bemade more fertile and deeper than it ever was, and in a few years. The responsesof the disordered landscape to good design and management can likewise be rapid.The redesign of the landscapes for health and efficiency can be approached with optimism.

   The professions have produced many masterpieces of design withinthe environment but for the landscapes of town and country, which should have beenplanned to last indefinitely, there is no logical basis of design. The best of citiesappear to be Topsy planned--they just grew and grew out of a series of accidentsinto the malignancies they are now.

Landscapes

   There are two classes of landscapes. Class one is the Wide EnfoldingLandscapes of Nature. Class two is the Special Purpose Landscapes of Man.

   The landscapes within class one are the larger of the two. Theyare the landscapes of the great mountain chains and river systems; of coastal plainsand shore lines; of the great rain forests to the savannah type of grassland withits few scattered trees; of the wide grasslands of the continents of the world--thepampas, the great plains, the steppes and the prairies--of the marshes and the wetlands, of the semi-arid lands and the deserts.

   They are the landscapes of the geographer, the geologist andthe anthropologist; the landscapes of the migrating birds, of our emu and kangaroo,of the elephant and the giraffe, of the lion and the leopard, and of the herds ofthe grasseaters.

   The landscapes within class two--the special purpose landscapesof man--have been imposed on the natural landscapes of class one and now appear todominate them; even climates have been affected and land shape has been altered bygreat movements of soil and earth. These landscapes are the cityscapes and townscapes;they are the landscapes of the grazing properties and the farms, of the planted forests,of the rail systems and the roads, of the nature reserves and the parklands, andof the many smaller landscapes within them, down to the house block with the dog-housein the backyard.

   They are the landscapes of the city dwellers and townsfolk,of the farmers and the foresters; of the sociologists, the biologists and the doctors;of the industrialists and the miners; the golfers and the skiers; of the scientistsand the artists--of all of us. This is our world.

   These are the landscapes of mismanagement which are offendingNature and polluting the planet.



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