Saturday, 25 September 2010

Notes on an island

So what exactly is it about Tasmania that draws people here? Could it perchance be the pristine (in comparison to the rest of the world) environment?

Pristine-ness in appearance; pristine in purity and quality of soil, water and air. Which leads to products grown and produced by producers who presumably care about, and are aware of, the importance of these things to their market /client group.

With something ‘foody’I buy, it always feels better if I can think of its provenance as being a paddock in Cygnet or Wilmot, rather than mass produced in a factory in China. I think many people are the same. I think many visitors to Tassie are the same. They love the fact that they can see, visibly demonstrated in front of them, the landscape, the rivers, the farms, the shops, everything. There are no hidden secrets here in Tassie. It is what it is. An island – cut off from the rest of the world physically. A lovely, round-ish, compact size and shape. Manageable (you’d think).

We, as a population of the island, have opposing views about the management of our island. In the same way that people seem to divide the island into north and south, so do they seem to be divided between logging or anti-logging in attitude.

But looking at it from the outsider’s perspective it is simple. Whilst totally empathising with the fact that, for instance, timber industry people have lives and families to look after and provide for, whether it is now or in 3 generations time, there is going to come a time (if we keep cutting down trees) when all the trees for logging run out. When, somehow, timber people will be forced to find alternative means of earning money.

And that’s why tourists see us as being, to put it bluntly, dickheads. If our pristine-ness is such a saleable commodity for visitors, and given that once the uniqueness of Tassie (which is what draws people here, or persuades people interstate or overseas to buy our products) is logged, or dug up, or sprayed, or gotten rid of in some (human) way, we can never replace what nature has so generously provided us with.

Wouldn’t it be better the address the issue of logging/spraying/killing/clearing now, rather than in 3 generations time? To acknowledge the inevitable? To act now rather than later?

I’m a ‘live and let live’ kind of person. I don’t possess extreme opinions either way. But I DO care about my state. I care about my grandchildren’s futures. I care about the kind of life they might have ahead of them as adults in a Tasmania I know with certainty I won’t recognise.

I listened to the bulk of what I have written above, today, from a guest at my work. She was sensible and logical in what she said and the way she put it. She was checking out of her accommodation having loved our city, and indeed our state. But she observed that what she, and others, had come for, could soon be erased if we’re not careful. I agree.

Posted on by Rita


sir grumpy said...

Don't know about you, Rita, but I still get a little buzz coming back here from ANY trip away.
We can be an insular lot but even if we think things are getting worse here, that would be at a hell of a lot slower pace than just about anywhere.
I love old Hobart and get sad over the huge amount of time it is taking to replace Myer and get the Royal Hobart revamped.
I love our countryside and drives and roadside stalls.
The nice beaches on a warm day.
The great produce and many, many friendy and GOOD places that serve them up without Sydney prices.
The casualness of the place. The experts in MANY fields who grace our state.
The higgledy-piggledy nature of places and services.
The ``she'll be right'' attitude. Not the she'll be right because we don't give a stuff but the original sentiment behind the phrase which was ``because we'll make it right''.
But guess what? It's the people. They take a little longer over sizing you up maybe compared with other places but when they take to you, you know you have a real friend.
Great, eh?

Anonymous said...

We must use all the forests Rita, without them there will never be enough toilet paper.
Whilst were on it, harvest all those whales & dolphins before they eat up all the plankton. When that plankton runs out-they'll grow legs and come after us!

Tassiegal said...

That guests sentiments are exactly what my mate Charlotte expressed to me last year on our road trip around the state. Its something I feel but havent been able to express.
I get frustrated at people not seeing what is before their noses and not taking advantage of it. The government has ALOT to answer for.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rita.... Doubt Blue Skies has shut down as they were advertising for staff in yesterdays Mercury.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Blue Skie's lease is up and they have to relocate. Hope not.

Christina said...

I tried to find the right spot for this Rita, but have been unable to.
I'd just like to say Phil and I went to the New Sydney last night for a meal, and it was great.
The menu is excellent and, much to my surprise, exactly matched the one on the website.
I really suggest you go to the site at least and check it out.
We will definitely be returning, me for the slow braised goat shoulder, Phil for just about everything else.
A great pub meal!

Rita said...

Thanks, all, for your comments. I was at BS yesterday and both Anons are right - it is still there and trsding well!
Christina - I haven't eaten there myself for ages, but have sent a number of guests from my work there recently (when they have asked me for a recommendation of somewhere to eat nearby), who have all returned absolutely raving about the place! So even though I'm not going on personal experience, I will wholeheartedly agree with you. BTW - also had the same with Suwan in Galleria (Salamanca) - a couple who wanted to know where the best Thai, within walking distance, in Hobart was, I sent there, and they came back and bored everyone within earshot senseless for 30 mins about every detail of the Tom Yum, the Satay, the Massaman etc! I'm being silly here, but seriously, I was overjoyed that my recommendation was vindicated so enthusiastically, so that's another I haven't been to but will be making a priority to eat at as soon as I can.

Tango & Cash said...

Come on Rita - there are a ton of places to have coffee on a Friday afternoon. La Torta, Onbar, Pane Cucina, Piccolo, Solicit, Renown, Sweet Envy, Rain Check, State Theater, Juiced Up,(that's just a few without really giving it much thought) then there's Jam Packed, Timeless Way, T42,and many others. So I'm asking you now Rita, why was it so hard?

Rita said...

Hi Tango and Cash. It was hard because we had previously arranged to meet at Basket & Green having established that we both had a finite amount of time to spare to catch up, and other things to do. We both parked our cars in the area on meters, separately, and met there. Given that we had only x time for a coffee, we were trying to think laterally of places closeby so that we would be saved the pressure of driving elsewhere, searching round for a parking spot on a late Fri afternoon, then trekking to where we subsequently decided to meet, then maybe to find they were just closing, or whatever. We needed certainty, ease of access, and for the venue to be OK. We settled on Sweet Envy. We collected our cars, drove to Nth Hobt, parked in side streets, and re-met there. Went in - tables were full. We'd already lost 30 mins by then of our precious catch-up time looking for somewhere to just sit quietly and chat, so settled on sitting outside at Zum Nth Hobt, as that was closest!
Yes - you're totally correct in stating that there are plenty of coffee places round town to go to, but there were other factors at play in that specific scenario. Plus we ideally would have like the opportunity to check out somewhere neither of us had been to before.