Posts Tagged ‘the lucky country’

A TV commercial that used to run here shows God handing out national assets. South Africa gets diamonds. Australia gets gold, and car manufacturing. New Zealand slept in arrives late and gets Pineapple Lumps. You can watch it here.

This is typical kiwi self-deprecation, yet still celebrating what is good about our country. We don’t have great oil or mineral wealth, we are not strategically located for trade (in fact, just the opposite). But we are lucky in another sense.

We have water. We look in horror to our nearest neighbour Australia – self-named The Lucky Country.  We look at their droughts, their forest fires and ridiculous summer temperatures, their huge country’s habitable zones around the edges, the fact that so much of their agricultural industry is ultimately unsustainable, and their campaigns for short showers with buckets collecting dirty water for reuse.  I for one don’t envy them, and wonder what will happen with the growing impact of climate change on their fragile environment.

Travelling to the Middle East last year reminded me that even Australia is lucky compared to many parts of the world.  The stark, barren landscapes of Qatar, Jordan and Israel were shocking to me.  The relentless sandy and rocky landscapes that continue for thousands of miles could not have been a starker contrast to New Zealand’s green pastures and forests.  There was a harsh beauty to these moonscapes, but I will admit a feeling of relief when we left and, coming in to land in Rome, saw the Italy’s green fields and vines.  It felt a little like coming home.

In New Zealand we have water. It rains here, falls from the skies, fills our lakes, waters our farms, powers our electricity stations. And as climate change becomes more and more of a reality, water is an increasingly valuable commodity. In the past we’ve taken it for granted, but increasingly we are recognising that our water is liquid gold, and should be valued accordingly.  We need to do much more.  But we’re moving in the right direction, I hope.

So next time it rains, I’m not going to moan and groan about the gloomy days or inconvenience.  I’m going to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to wash my windows, I simply have to wait for the next northwesterly storm.  I’m going to remember that I rarely water the pot plants on our deck, yet they’ve managed to survive and thrive for a couple of years now, and that our lemon and lime trees are largely neglected but produce fruit for us, thanks to the combination of sun and rain we get here.  And I’m going to reflect on the fact that we are truly a lucky country.

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