Wounded Country: The Murray-Darling Basin – a contested history
Paperback | Sep 2021 | NewSouth | 9781742236780 | 432pp | 234x153mm | GEN | AUD$34.99, NZD$39.99
The Murray–Darling Basin – Australia’s food bowl — is in crisis. For more than a century, a series of environmental catastrophes have brought the ecosystem to its knees: soil erosion, sand drifts and dust storms, salinity, algal blooms, the threat to native flora and fauna and the drying out of internationally recognised wetlands, along with steadily worsening droughts.
Award-winning author Quentin Beresford delves into the history of the river system since European settlement and reveals Australia’s destructive relationship with the environment, and the willingness of politicians to ignore expert advice. The dispossession and marginalisation of local Indigenous people denied European settlers the cultural knowledge to manage the Basin sustainably. Instead, we’ve had waves of nation-building irrigation schemes and agricultural enterprises, all promoted by politicians more concerned with short-term profits than long-term sustainability.
We are now at a point of reckoning. Only an end to the centuries-old development-at-all-costs approach, along with a recognition of Indigenous water rights, an acceptance of science and the adoption of sustainable farming practices can save the once mighty Murray–Darling.