A reminder that we have to look after Godzone
Somet things just seem bleeding obvious: eat lots of chippies and drink lots of fizzy drink and your body won't thank you for it. Mine coal to your heart's content, drive gas-guzzling cars, pour untreated waste into our harbours and let cows do what they do naturally beside our waterways and nature won't thank you for it.
So it makes you feel good, on one level, that New Zealand trumpets itself as being 100 per cent pure. I mean, 100 per cent pure-ish. Someone thought up 'the brand' in 1999 and it's taken a few years really for the apologetic 'ahems' to kick in. Even our Prime Minister hasn't been able to talk his way out of this one.
I liked the first episode of Prime's Sunday night six-part series Keeping it Pure because it sets out to give an overview of the whole sorry situation.
It starts on the defensive: we're better than most other countries. But that, of course, is not only relative but begs a retort along the lines of, 'Well, so we damn well should be, given our geographic position and our small population'. Then the usual suspects come on to the screen - those who fight pretty damn tirelessly, who never stop reminding us that we need to do things better. Kevin Hackwell from Forest and Bird.
The Commissioner for the Environment. The geniuses who set up Kaikoura's Whale Watch, who know that if we don't keep an eye on things then all will be lost. And people from all around the country who refuse to stop caring.
Possibly the best thing about eco-tourism is that it needs to be economically viable, and you can't take people brown-water rafting.
This means that when it comes to environmental issues, you pull in a wider group of people who care. Those who might mock the trousers-that-zip-off-at-the-knee brigade tend not to mind words like 'brand' and 'profit' - their shares in various companies do better if we astutely follow global fashions. And it would take a fool not to notice that environmental awareness is currently globally fashionable.
The publicity accompanying this series promises that it will provide an in-depth comprehensive picture of the current state of our environment, that it will explain the scientific basis of our environmental issues and the likely consequences for New Zealand if these issues aren't addressed.
Certainly the shots of various parts of our country in the first episode serve to remind all of us that we live in a place that simply must be looked after. It really is spectacularly beautiful and I say that as one whose idea of a holiday has never been clambering up mountains tied to the person in front of me, or even merrily flipping myself up right- way-up in my kayak.
ONE TO WATCH
Prime has the Downton Abbey Christmas Special at 8.30pm tomorrow. And tonight on Choice, 7.30pm, Caroline Quentin visits three of Great Britain's National Parks.
The Dominion Post