Eco-fundamentalists continually trot out their robotic, simplistic mantra: there will be no economy without "the environment".
It's not even a true statement. If humans obliterated the natural environment and chewed through natural resources lickety-split, there would still be an environment, and an economy, just not in a form we currently recognize.
It's long overdue to turn the tables on this simple-minding thinking, particularly in light of this:
"Controlled burning would be declared a key national threat to biodiversity under a new proposal before government that has been slammed as dangerous to life and property.
While Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday gave Victoria carte blanche to do all it needed to control its deadly bushfires, without review by federal environment laws, it emerged he will be asked next year to decide whether prescribed burning to reduce fuel loads puts plants and animals at risk.
A Department of Environment spokeswoman confirmed yesterday it had received a public submission to list controlled burning as a "key threatening process" - the same category that applies to climate change, land clearing and feral cats, pigs and foxes."
With an estimated one million native animals lost in the Victorian fires, and a landscape that will now take a couple of hundred years to resemble the maturity of the environment that has just been turned to ash, how about this: without an environment, there is no biodiversity.
Burnoffs save and enrich biodiversity, save manmade structures, and save lives.
Without burnoffs, sometimes, there's nothing at all.