Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Maintaining our unnatural environment

Many people have a great deal of interest in preserving and maintaing our natural environment - jungles, forests, coral reefs, beaches, mountain ranges and so on.  Some have a great deal of interest in preserving our heritage environment - old buildings and bridges and so on.  However, not many profess an interest in maintaining what I call our "unnatural environment", or our current "built environment".  

Our unnatural environment is mainly made up of bricks and mortar, glass and tarmac, steel and aluminium, plus manicured lawns, flower beds, hedges and trees.  It is an environment shaped and managed by Man.  

Again, many people care deeply about looking after the private aspects of this environment - they renovate their houses, obsess over their gardens and polish their cars, but they care much less about the public aspects of this environment - bridges, tunnels, pathways, street furniture, public schools, public hospitals, light poles and utility assets (such as telephone booths, letter boxes, power substations and water or sewerage pumping stations).

This environment is the "forgotten environment", ignored, neglected and generally treated as a problem for someone else to solve.

But they are not somebody else's problem.  We pay for these assets with our rates and taxes, we pay council employees and public servants and managers of government owned enterprises to take care of them, and we should expect to get value for money from them.  

This blog is about providing that some people care about these things, and that we will hold those who are entrusted with looking after them to account.  When we see a problem, we will not look the other way and hope that it goes away - we will not continue to treat these things as somebody else's problem.

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