Image for Where are you Michael Bound?

Leafing through the 1977 spring edition of ‘The Organic Gardener and Farmer’, published by the Organic Gardening & Farming Society of Tasmania Inc, I came across an intriguing letter. Its author was 10-year-old Michael Bound of Spreyton.

Read what that youngster had to say about our environment more than three decades ago:

“Air pollution is one of the main problems. Unless the factories can cut down on pollution, I think they should be closed down, because it’s us who have to breathe in the bad air and smog. Cars are pollution makers. Electric cars are now being built which do not pollute. If non-polluting cars can’t be built, I think we should all start riding bikes.

Sea pollution is the next problem. All the factories have pipelines leading to the sea. For a treat, parents take their children to the beach. The parents tell their children of the yellow sand and the deep blue sea. When they get there, they find that the sea is grey and the sand is a murky, muddy grey, and all the fish are dead.

Land pollution is caused by many things. Some people think that burning the rubbish is the answer, but cans and bottles can’t be burnt, and the smoke from the fire is pollution. Recycling is the best answer. To stop people from littering our country and parks, there should be a fine of $100 for anyone who drops litter. I know that there are not enough litter bins in the parks and streets, so the Government could make a rule that any type of public land should have one litter bin per one hundred square metres. There is too much wrapping paper on most goods bought. If we cut down on this (wrapping paper) we should have less litter and more trees.

The machinery in factories causes noise pollution. The men who work the machines usually suffer from industrial deafness. The planes are another noise maker and they leave a trail of air pollution behind them. Trucks and cars are among the main noise makers.

The pollution I fear most is radiation. America is dropping nuclear waster into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the fish in these areas are now dying of radiation. Now Australia is beginning to mine uranium. If we keep this up, the cities of Australia will be suffering from radiation.

I know some of these things are not problems yet, but if we keep going the way we are, they will become problems, so we can do something about them before they get too bad.

How right you were, Michael Bound.

I wonder where you are today, and whether you have changed your views. If you should read this, perhaps you would care to let us know whether, after all these years, you have any remnant optimism that we humans can still be persuaded — irrespective of what it is that is causing climate change, global warming, ocean acidification, carbon pollution . . . — to clean up our act and do our best to put to rights the awful mess we have made of our planet.

— Bob Hawkins