The summer of ’69 is still with us

1969 – the year the PLO appointed Yasser Arafat leader; Vietnam protests were raging; Yoko and John were bedding-in again; Apollo 11 lands on the moon; Woodstock opened; the Beatles released Abbey Road; two computers were first networked; and capital punishment was abolished in the UK.

The same year, an article by G R Fish* of the Fisheries Research Department, Marine Department, Rotorua was published showing that pollution in Lake Rotorua was worsening and that agricultural development was the most important cause.

We ignored it. 40 years later, and we’re now spending $9 million a year to try and fix the water quality in Lake Rotorua alone.

Imagine the future cost to the country if we keep waiting until lakes and streams collapse before acting. Classic ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff really. Time for action!

* Yes that is not a joke, he really is Dr Fish. Full report here.

12 Comments Posted

  1. The problem was political rather than scientific.
    Rotorua is a major international tourist attraction so the Rotorua Council said Government should pay to clean up the lake while Government said the council caused the problem (with sewage) so it should pay.
    Nothing happened.

  2. Farm-run-off is still a problem there, but perhaps we should call it run-through. The problem is that their rocks are hollow.

  3. Fertilizer runoff was a big part of the problem because of the susbidies.
    When I was in DFC and whiz was developing an electronic controller which would control the release to match the slope of the ground under the plane or spray or machine. Big efficiency gains.
    But no one was interested because fert was so cheap.
    Then the day after Sir Roger removed the subsidies we got a heap of phone calls from people interested in the technology and it is now standard.
    Suddenly it was worth using fert efficiently.
    The Europeans remain profligate.

  4. – “We ignored it. 40 years later, and we’re now spending $9 million a year to try and fix the water quality in Lake Rotorua alone.”

    This is simply another example of how people’s priorities change as they become richer. And it’s an on-going process: in a hundred years’ time, people’s wealth will be a multiple of what it is today, which will be reflected in still more people demanding a still cleaner environment. You couldn’t stop this happening even if you wanted to.
    But it’s going to be a very long century if green bloggers post smug and judgemental pieces every time they notice some of the effects of this process.

  5. Man on the moon – one of my earlier memories.

    And what opportunities we (mankind) have wasted in the subsequent years ! As an intelligent species we don’t have to repeat the mistakes of the past.

  6. I knew Dr Fish when I lived and worked in Rotorua.

    I remember when I was looking at a sewage technology (based electrolysis) for small plants, we were looking at the machinery and he said “Well that may solve half the problem for Lake Rotorua but we have to deal with this which is both a gift and a problem – (or words to that effect) and held up a bunch of clover bulbs.
    We did our best.
    And sixty nine was when I graduated from Berkeley.

  7. what i mean’t to say was…..i don’t zigzactly splash praise around……but doggone if you ain’t gettin good at this Writing Gig Frog…..I’m with the Fly here…this blog is shakin’

  8. “as well”, big bro? Its minus 3 points for an old lie, you know. Why not make up a new one and gain 5 points instead?

  9. ….well Bro; we’re all sorry for how the Sixties treated you…..’Look Back In Anger? …..perhaps; – I’d a’thought you a mite old for that schtick though
    pssst….they were all in that scrum together!

  10. “they year the PLO appointed Yasser Arafat leader; Vietnam protests were raging”

    What a crap year it was then, a terrorist is appointed and commies marched against freedom.

    Mind you, nothing much has changed really.

    By the way, was Locke a fan of Arafat as well?

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