“You leave the cats to guard a coup of hen, for a few days. First they will wipe out the birds, then fight among themselves and perish.”
That sums up the hapless state of ecology and economy. In my journey to create food forests, there is one theme that persists: the cats come with best of intentions and end up harming the ones they were supposed to guard, be it rivers, forests, forests life or urban landscapes.
The examples are spread all over the landscape but let me take one closer to my senses. In the name of reforestation, billions have been spent , guards employed and plans made. A teak is cut in the forests and then replaced by a bamboo, as per the plan. Their cumulative intelligence cannot differentiate between the ecological function of a teak versus a bamboo, and particularly in the local context.
As a result, vast forests have become either dysfunctional by being monotonous, or have lost the regenerative capacity. Such forest neither provides shelters to diverse life, nor creates water, fresh air and hydrocarbons as earlier it used to. Yet, the humans promoting it get awards, and incentive to propagate cumulative foolishness.
Another case in point is planting saplings along the river bed, in summer time. The advertisers clearly know that rivers are a huge ecosystem, formed by coming together of many tiny streams which then fall into small rivers and so on. Each such stream is made from nearby forests, nurtured by water channels formed over millions of years. Those forests are gone or have become dysfunctional, and the water channels have gone to tilled farms. They are not coming back, unless there is a deeper change in how humans consume. Yet, instead of focusing on real issues, spending on publicity generating tasks is in vogue.
There are many many such tales, from killng of mahua wine to shifting of tribal villages from forest areas in the name of conservation. A foolish thought becomes a cumulative direction, by a few who have neither lived like Gandhi, nor Kant, nor any thinker worth giving a thought to.
Ultimately, move by move, we are writing our obituary. The chicken will surely vanish this way, but so will be the cats and their next generation.