A warning from 1848

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James Logan was a visionary, back in the 19th century. Long before anyone had heard of climate change, he was already warning of the perils of a “war with nature” and its impact on the ecological balance.

This article from Himanshu Bhatt of theSun:

A warning from 1848
Posted on 11 July 2012 – 09:37pm

Himanshu Bhatt

WHILE controversy boils over the devastation of some of Penang island’s precious green hills by development projects, few are aware that warnings about this issue were sounded more than 160 years back.

The respected British lawyer and ethnologist, James Richardson Logan, had raised the alarm about the denudation of the ecologically rich forests and slopes while the island was still a relatively virgin frontier that was being explored and cleared by the early settlers.

What Logan expressed then must ring true as a forewarning for generations to come, especially those of us who today watch our hills being cleared for profit.

Logan’s views, published in the Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia in 1848, were highlighted by blogger Anil Netto in November 2009.

Here is what the journal, which Logan edited, said:

“It was remarked that the whole of the eastern front of the range [of a mountain in Pinang] has within a few years been denuded of its forest…. In Singapore the present zealous Governor has, in an enlightened spirit … absolutely prohibited the further destruction of forests on the summits of hills…. Climate concerns the whole community and its protection from injury is one of the duties of Government…

“Unless government will reserve at least the steeper mountain tracts, which are not adapted for permanent culture, there is nothing voluntary in the apprehension, for it has been realised in other localities, that in some prolonged drought after the naked sides of the hills have been exposed for a few weeks to the direct heat of the sun, every stream in the island will be dried up, and universal aridity ensue.”

“The great extent to which the plain of the mainland of Pinang has been shorn of its forest would of itself produce an urgent necessity for a stop being at once put to a war with nature, which must entail severe calamaties on the future.”

The journal further noted: “In those mountains of Greece which have been deprived of their forests, the springs have disappeared. In other parts of the globe, the same consequence has followed. The sultry atmosphere and dreadful droughts of the Cape de Verde Islands are owing to the destruction of forests….”

It added: “We are informed that the destruction of jungles on the mountains of Pinang has been allowed to proceed unchecked for the last 2 years. If any of the residents will bring it to the notice of the Governor we are sure from our knowledge of his opinions, with respect to the necessity of preserving hill jungle, that he will not only make an order on the subject, but what is essential, provide means for carrying it into effect.”

A memorial in his name – the Logan Memorial – today stands in front of the Penang court complex in Light Street.

As activists and the public today react with horror at the scale of hillslope clearing for new projects, the Penang Island Municipal Council recently declassified minutes of council meetings that involved approvals for hillslope projects above 250 ft.

The state administration has said that it was the previous government that approved 37 hillslope projects above the 250 ft limit from 1985 to 2008. Of these, 19 were classified as “special projects” under the Penang Structure Plan 2007.

The present government insists it cannot cancel the approved projects, without facing enormous compensation costs to the developers, and so has resorted to imposing highly stringent building guidelines.

Whatever may be the case, at the end of the day, we as a society may have to be blamed for allowing the warning from our predecessors a century ago to be forgotten. If it was not for the British colonial administration gazetting much of Penang’s hills as water catchments, our hills would have been cleared for construction projects, perhaps as in Hong Kong, a long time ago.

There may still be time to heed Logan’s warning of “a war with nature” and ensure that we never again allow any unscrupulous developer or authority to contribute to “severe calamaties on the future” that he foretold so many years ago.

Himanshu is theSun’s Penang bureau chief. Comments: [email protected]

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Andrew I

Gherks, pulling the age card? I thought you were Peter Pan and even your grand kids call you by your first name. Sze Tho is right. You can’t even remember what you said.

Gerakan K

Haha, but hey, I’m not yet pulling my playing card (poker). You know, I’m Genting loyal customer !!!

Yang

No wonder our coffer will be bleed dry

Yang

Now in Selangor, ALL races can buy PKNS properties with 7% discount

This is the REAL 1 Malaysia by PR.
Unlike the AMMO BN Nacheap shouting a TIPU 1 Malaysia

It’s the ACTION that speaks louder.

Yay!!! Long Live Pakatan!! ….. & ……. VOTE OUT AMMO BARANG NAIK

http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=36434:now-in-selangor-all-races-can-buy-pkns-properties-with-7-discount&Itemid=2

Andrew I

Haha, Tipu1. Hey, Gherkin, is your pants on fire yet?

Sze Tho

Does he even wear pants?

🙂

Yang

Who is in SOS.
Well Chua Tee Yong 1 billion mega blunder have been screwed left and right by Tony Pua. From 1 billion to 300 millions to 48 millions and down to 28 millions. The great stupid mega blunder.

The pornstar adulterer have been caught with his pant down and (allegedly) trying to do that using proxy in the Malacca assembly. He will have to shut his face down with that very same pant….

Gerakan K

Sorry anil, off topic sedikit. Pakatan in Selangor now REALLY under SOS mode. If election now, Pakatan 65% will lose Selangor. It is highly possible that Selangor MB will delay the state poll, if there is GE within 3 months.

Yang

Another imagination and lies of Geelakan.
Who is afraid and delaying the election.
Of course that AMMO Nacheap.
Wanted to bribe again with the RM500(?) and taking 40 years to recognize TAR certificate.
Geelakan, Your AMMO Nacheap PM and pornstar adulterer President CSL need to do better than that.

Sze Tho

Nice theory GK. We shall see. Just don’t get too emotionally invested. Your heart may not be able to take it.

🙂

kee

BN is all about tipu but still we have ordinary folk being (taken for a ride) by MCA and MIC, so pitiful !!!

Where is the 1Brim RM500 comes from? Use tax payers’ money to tipu all the si bodoh… EPF ???

ong eu soon

This coming winter solstice mark the ending of Gautama Buddha era and the beginning of Maitreya era. Is Maitreya already reincarnated as a modern human being? You will not realise until another 50 years to notice an immortal is walking in our midst.

Gerakan K

Act in haste, repent at leisure. This is what pakatan good at managing Penang. No hope for current term. I just hope no more insane approval for insane housing projects in Penang.

Selamatkan Penang. Tak Nak simen !!!

Andrew I

No worries. Insane approvals by BN are a thing of the past, thanks to my intelligent and handsome CM, LGE.

Yang

Is it not more insane to build a radioactive factory such as Lynas in our country, Kuantan of which it was rejected by their very own country. Statistics have shown that the residents of another rare earth factory in Tanah Merah were inflicted with high toxic and many were born with abnomalities. Is this how the Nacheap AMMO, MCA, MIC, Gilakan & BN care for the people without any concern for their health and well being http://pantaipanorama.org/component/mmsblog/1005-ppanorama-fw-remember-asian-rare-earth-incident-at-bukit-merah-perak-1985-every-malay First radioactive in Tanah Merah First, cyanide in Bukit Koman; And now, radioactive waste in Kuantan!!!” FOR A BETTER MALAYSIA We must make… Read more »

Gerakan K

Lynas is safe according to experts.

Andrew I

Thought you didn’t believe in experts?

Sze Tho

That was yesterday. This is today. The tune changes so often even he can’t keep his answers straight.

Rumblings of a hired gun. Or just the onset of dementia, perhaps.

Get well soon, GK. don’t forget your pills.

🙂

Andrew I

He needs more than pills. Maybe a brain transplant.

Gerakan K

Just a friendly reminder from a senior. We can exchange fires in comments but refrain from something like taking medicine, retarded, disabilities, contracted/have specific illness because our god don’t like it. I believe in karma or something bad return back to the original speaker. I care for you health, your life, your children. With your language capability, I’m sure you can use a better words for any personal attack, eg your latest good one i.e. ‘does he even wear pants’.

Take care young man. long journey ahead ~

Yang

Geelakan
God also don’t like LIAR & CHEATERS & CORRUPTURS & MURDERER..

Yang

does he even wear pants’.
I think that is a rhetoric art of speaking and of course you are not wearing pants.

But we have the MCA adun in Malacca hiding behind the SKIRT to enjoy immunity.

I think these are the most appropriate words for … cowards

Sze Tho

Point taken GK.
So nice to see you being civil for a change.

Practice what you preach and everyone will get along just fine.

sunnyooi

If you believe in karma then pigs can fly.

Yang

Safe by Nacheat AMMo experts. If it is Safe why their country Australia does not even want it to be located there If it is Safe, why the Australian government does not allow the radioactive waste to be shipped back to their own country. If it is Safe why their own country Australia and government rather lose billions of foreign exchange by locating Lynas in Malaysia when the raw materials are from there. Geelakan, you simply have no brains at all or is it it filled with … 1. Australia says it again: No to Lynas waste 2. One of… Read more »

Andrew I

Say no to Lynas and ministers with Aussie PR. Do you have Aussie PR, Gherks?

Gerakan K

Malaysia got better tax advantage vs their homeland plus our local plus points e.g. BN is the federal gomen headed by blue ocean strategist, cheaper land, labor, etc !!!

Yang

Yes good strategies by BN.

1. Cheap land
2. Cheap labour
and
3. MALAYSIAN life is CHEAP

Andrew I

Well, if only some ministers were as patriotic as you, Gherks.

kee

gila, expert asks you to makan … and says sedap.

ai ya, so long as the plant is not near me, who cares ya, gila?

because of this mentality penang had died 18 years !!! mau mati lagi ke another 18 years, gila ???

Yang

Records show that 37 insane approval were made by the Gilakan government prior to 2008.

Continue with the BN Nacheap AMMO, MCA and Gilakan and you will suffer
Continue with PR DAP LGE and you will have hope.

Gerakan K

See Mr. Ong Eu Soon comments and blogs. Stop tipu, ok ???

Yang

Go See BN Gelakan official classified document. stupid.

Soon blog and comments is just his imagination of his hate of LGE just like you, not the truth

Andrew I

Nice one. Killing two birds with one stone.

sunnyooi

Ah soon still haven’t apologize for his lies. Imagine the shame.

Sze Tho

Relying on Ah Soon’s half baked blog?
This is pathetic.

Ong Goo Kang

In 1848, nobody can predict that a muslim can own a liqour brewery and use the haram money to buy a petrol company. But it happened in 2012. malaysia Boleh.

ketuanan lanun

The development of civilization and industry in general has always shown itself so active in the destruction of forests that everything that has been done for their conservation and production is completely insignificant in comparison. – Karl Marx