09 April 2014

Sir Paul Callaghan - Vision of a Pest Free New Zealand

Before he died Sir Paul Callaghan promoted the vision that New Zealand could become vermin free. I was one of many skeptics and wondered if Sir Paul might have lost it in his latter days. I was not the only doubter but I heard later that most of those who attended a meeting to discuss the issue at Mt Ruapehu were all skeptical at the beginning of the meeting but changed their view over the course of the meeting. So have I. The trick is not to think about it in terms of what might be achievable now but what might be achievable in the future - not necessarily in 2050 as I hear some saying recently but some time later maybe. Look at what has happened on many of the islands of the world - eg Campbell and Macquarie Islands - already.  Think of the powerful pull of pheromones, the ability of biotechnology to create species specific poisons and attractants. Think of how, with a will, we put a man on the moon. And while I'm at it, how about we limit the numbers of the greatest predator of all - man. But first lets start believing in Paul Callaghan's idea. Just think about Stewart Island for now.

Sir Paul Callaghan

This is an idea whose time will come

"All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come." Victor Hugo
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/v/victorhugo136258.html#JVoKkIQ8xB1qGdEo.99

Going back to the idea of limiting the human population here's an idea.  What about the Department of Conservation develop a new trap - lets call it the DoC300 - lets shape it as a coffin! We wont talk about the way to eliminate this pest - heaven knows we have enough killing devices - kill bars, garoting devices, self-setting gas operated strike pistons, electrocution devices (we even use them now in some countries) and so on. But more interestingly what could be used as lures - think about it - chocolate, perfumes, food, fashion shoes, chainsaws, sexy attractants.  These ideas may not appeal to everyone - better to rely on contraceptives - and encourage birth control by taxation (relief or imposition). Some of the foregoing is said with tongue in cheek - just some.

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