Eco-warriors having successfully trashed GM crops, are now turning their attentions to the profligate waste of natural resources by golf courses.
Golf courses are being told to cut their use of water, return part of their courses to wildlife, else direct action will be taken. One golf course has already experienced direct action.
'Most urban residents support strong environmental policies, but wealthy interest groups and corrupt officials often skew local political decisions'. -- Molly O’Meara
'... high quality public pedestrian space in general and parks in particular are evidence of a true democracy at work. ... Parks and public space are also important to a democratic society because they are the only places where people meet as equal ... In a city, parks are as essential to the physical and emotional health of a city as the water supply.' -- Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá
The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is proposing to spend £170,000 of local taxpayers money to install drainage and irrigation works on a municipal golf course. The question is: will eco-warriors take direct action against the Southwood Golf Course?
Golf courses in the West Country around Bath have been warned: that if they don't cut their water usage and return 10% of their course to wildlife, direct action will be taken against them.
These warnings came after one course, which had failed to heed the warnings, found part of its course had been dug up overnight.
As Ben Hoyle and Patrick Foster wrote in The Times (6 April 2006):
'They roamed the fairways in the dark, almost certainly broke the dress code and definitely flouted course etiquette by digging up the greens.'
The southeast is suffering its worst drought in a century. Everyone has been urged to conserve water, domestic users are subject to a hosepipe ban, effective from 1 April 2006, but golf courses feel they can get away with continuing to waste water.
Not content to waste water, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor is to spend £170,000 of taxpayers money to benefit the privileged few.
Southwood Golf Course has been built on a flood plain. Flowing through the golf course is Cove Brook. The brook rises in nearby hills, passes through Farnborough Airport, through the golf course, through Cove (part of Farnborough in northeast Hampshire) and on to join the River Blackwater over the county border at Frimley in Surrey.
Clearance of trees on the surrounding hills, drainage works on the airfield, have rendered the golf course unusable over the winter months.
The Council wishes to push this water down into Cove, an area already highlighted by the Environment Agency as at high risk of flooding.
The irrigation system currently installed is knackered. The council wishes to replace it with a new sprinkler system, the most inefficient use of water possible, cf drip irrigation.
The golf course should not have been created on the flood plain. Either it should be accepted that it will be out of use some days of the year, or returned to the local community as a park.
What we ares seeing in Rushmoor is an appalling waste of taxpayers money on the privileged few, a squandering of natural resources.
The area, if restored to nature, would be wet heath woodland and bog with areas of heath grassland, and during heavy winter rains, a temporary lake.
Contrast the disconnected thinking, lack of vision and policies for the privileged few with Curitiba, a provincial city in Brazil.
Curitiba had suffered flooding, canalisation of the rivers made the situation worse. Low-lying areas prone to flooding were turned into parks, rivers and waterways were turned into linear parks. The city now has 52 square metres of park per capita, more than New York, more than any other city worldwide, four times the UN recommendations.
When it rains, the parks become a little waterlogged around the margins, the ducks float a few feet higher.
The parks in Curitiba, unlike golf courses for the privileged few, are available for everyone to use.
A histrionic opinion piece in The Telegraph by Tom Utley compared activists calling for golf courses not to waste water with terrorists and their direct action with the Canary Wharf bombing campaign by the IRA.
No doubt his belligerent words went down well with his sozzled readers holed up in the club house at the 19th hole.
Unlike domestic users, who across southeast England are subject to a hosepipe ban effective from 1 April 2006, golf courses have been exempted from the restrictions
Lester R Brown, Plan B 2.0, Norton, 2006
James Burleigh, Protesters target golf courses over 'wasted' water, The Telegraph, 6 April 2006
Eco-group threatens golf club, Swindon Evening Advertiser, 7 April 2006
Ben Hoyle and Patrick Foster, Eco-warriors attack golf courses in bid to cut water waste, The Times, 6 April 2006
Keith Parkins, Curitiba - Designing a sustainable city, April 2006
Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, Indymedia UK, 5 April 2006
Keith Parkins, Council increases risk of flooding, Indymedia UK, 7 April 2006
Jen Rivett, Council funds golf course irrigation, Farnborough News, 31 March 2006
Tom Utley, Eco-terrorists are indulging in class warfare by another name, The Telegraph, 7 April 2006