The Law and the Lore

Publication, Environment, Owen McShane


If you have the good fortune to attend a conference on “The Sustainable Management of the
Central Forests” or “The Sustainable Management of the Chatham Fisheries” you will listen
to a fine collection of papers based on solid science and sound economics. The papers will be
delivered by practitioners with a stake in their business, or by experts in their respective

If, however, you attend a conference titled “Sustainable Development for the 21st Century”,
or ‘The Sustainable Development of Cities’ you will hear the declared dogma of a ‘deep
green’ secular religion and the depressive litanies of catastrophist theory. The papers will be
presented by people who are ashamed of our past, terrified of our future and who appear to be
quite out of touch with the present. Their papers will record the ‘findings’ of endless rounds
of committees formed by international conferences convened to meet in glamorous
international venues, all funded by the public purse.

Why should two conferences which sound so similar, be so different?

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