CUTTING MAT­TER

Australian Geographic - - Your Say -

Your ar­ti­cle Size matters (page 28, AG 141) greatly con­cerned me be­cause of a sim­i­lar map I saw years ago in my grand­fa­ther’s news­pa­per cut­tings book. The item has no news­pa­per at­tri­bu­tion or date. How­ever, based on nearby cut­tings, it must date from about 1922, when Australia, with its small pop­u­la­tion, was feel­ing very in­se­cure and had wild dreams of be­com­ing far more densely pop­u­lated in or­der to play a big­ger part on the world stage.The map I saw pro­moted the idea that Australia could sus­tain many more mil­lions of peo­ple. Pro­fes­sor Thomas Grif­fith Tay­lor (As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor and foun­da­tion head of Ge­og­ra­phy at the Univer­sity of Sydney) pricked that bub­ble by sug­gest­ing given Australia’s arid­ity, its max­i­mum en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able pop­u­la­tion could be as low as 20 mil­lion. At the time he was ex­ten­sively vil­i­fied, al­most driven out of town, for his be­liefs.With so many bil­lions of hu­mans in the world to­day, maps of Euro­pean coun­tries fit­ted in­side Australia should be treated with care. Cur­rently, Aus­tralians over-con­sume their share of the Earth’s re­sources. Be­ing able to over­lay the Aus­tralian map in this way should not be used as an ex­cuse to over­pop­u­late a dry con­ti­nent like Australia. KEITH MAXWELL, SEVEN HILLS, NSW

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