27th blog, August 29, 2019
Everyday we read in the news that the Amazon is burning, or as other say is being burnt. Precious trees are dying due to fires or being cut down. All of the sudden everyone has an opinion on this. Presidents and world leaders start criticizing politics in Brazil.....Here's what I think of this.
The burning Amazon and the hypocrisy about protecting nature
In April this year it was the first time in my life that I did not hear any thrushes sing in the morning. This silence was so strange, that I woke up with a shock. When I realized that the silence woke me up, I felt incredibly sad.
A few years ago the council of the city where I live decided to slowly but steadily – in a way that its citizens wouldn’t notice – remove all the bushes and replace them by grass. They also cut down many trees. They are selling every last piece of green space – where we used to be able to walk and enjoy nature – to project developers who build ugly houses or apartment blocks. Money speaks in our city, while our birds are being silenced.
Then June came. Since I live here – 15 years already – I always heard common swifts. You know, those birds that fly 10 months per year? Again, there was a silence. The way the project developers build our modern buildings does not allow birds to build nests below the gutters. The developers do not want birds like sparrows, starlings, swallows, swifts or thrushes.
In July I realized there are very few bees and butterflies left in the city. I do not know why, but almost all flowers are removed from the remaining green spaces. Everywhere is grass, grass, grass. As soon as flowers try to grow in the grass, the city arrives to mow them down. My city’s nature policy is one of ecocide.
My city looks green, but in fact it is a green desert: there is no habitat for birds, butterflies, or bees. We have some animals. We have “flying rats” such as pigeons and crows. We also have mice and real rats. Lots of them, eating the garbage that so many people discard on the streets. The singing of the crows sounds like the sound of death. Hollywood movies use the sound of a crow if there is a scary scene where death is lurking. Well, death of nature is indeed lurking in my city. This phenomenon is not only happening in my city, it is an intentional ecocide that is happening all over the world.
In 2006 a bear arrived in Germany, the first in 170 years. It was shot within a few weeks, because the bear killed some sheep. In 2018 the first wolf returned to The Netherlands, after 140 years. The director of our National Park ‘Hoge Veluwe’ now wants to have the right to shoot the wolves, so that he can protect his sheep and mouflons…
Every day we read that the Amazon is burning. I am disgusted about this ecocide in Brazil, but the world is incredibly hypocritical if we condemn this. Europe and the United States have removed most of their virgin forests in the last 500 years, and created subsidized monocultures of corn, wheat and sugar beets.
If our cities have removed bushes, trees, and birds, if our agriculture has removed forests and wildlife, then why do we have the moral right to deny Brazil from doing the same? Should we not apply equal rules: if according to us Brazil needs to maintain the Amazon rainforest, then should we not be obliged to restore our forests and wildlife? In my next column, I will set out my ideas about this subject. But for now, let’s stop being hypocritical.
My previous column was ‘The Treesolution is finally happening’. Every day great news arrives: the Treesolution is accelerating at an unimaginable pace. I selected a few messages that I read last week:
- New Zealand is going to plant one billion trees;
- India will plant 21 million hectares of degraded land with trees;
- India allows the private sector to rehabilitation of degraded forests;
- Ethiopia is going to plant 4 billion trees.
When I wrote my book The Treesolution in 2008, I did not expect it would happen so soon. Now it does - and it fills me with pleasure. This development balances some of the bad feelings that I have about the disappearance of nature in our cities and countryside. I am sure that if we can implement the Treesolution on a global scale, we’re going to get it right by the end of this century.
Let’s get to work, we just have to plant forests faster than others burn them down!
In my next column: “How we can protect the Amazon”
Ps: if you want to support our work then visit https://groasis.investments/en/