Start with a grassland, maintained in a state of ecological diversity by human care for 5,000 years…
…and under human use for 12,000 years.
A productive grassland.
Then add cattle.
And horses. They can tear up grassland soil, too, the dears.
And they can trudge. They are very good at trudging.
Eventually, nothing is left but dust and weeds (deposited by cattle [and horses].)
Then plant an orchard. That’ll be a better agricultural idea. Yay! Good thinking! Hey, or a nut orchard on a 12,000-year-old village site!
And then, hey, I know, instead of cattle to kill almost all growing things, you can use weedkillers. Very modern. Nice.
And pesticides. That’s how to make healthy food!
Oh no, there’s no money in it!
Blast it, then cut the trees down
Cherry stumps help in that. Just saying.
Or, you can graze horses among the stumps. Nice, too.
Then declare the land unfit for agriculture, and declare agriculture a colonial endeavour anyway, and then … what do you think? Give the land back to its original people and say, “Ooops. Sorrrrrrrry? How can we help you, like, get something growing here again?” And be free of colonialism? You’d be right to hope so, but no, no, no, no, no, your hope is misplaced. You build houses on it…
…that’s what you do, and declare them environmentally responsible, because they have trees for birds, berries and nuts for birds…
…and flowers for bees that have nowhere else to go.
But then, oh dear, after 50 years, you do this:
Well, that’s 12,000 years of life gone poof. Nothing grows here anymore. Oh, wait, is that a Christmas wreath on the door? Well, that’s all right then. If the deer are hungry…
… you can leave some apples at the edge of the deer fence for them.
You can say whatever you like, in defence of any part of this crime, but it’s still colonialism gone rotten. The cows don’t even like it:
Best to give it back.
It’s time to stop thinking a good thing is being done here in the work of “civilizing” this social land, ie making it “civil” or a “city,” or a “beautiful landscape.”
This is another face of excess atmospheric carbon. Please look long and hard on it. And then plant something for the birds instead. At least that.
What a degradation of culture over just the last fifty years. The civilization here has left the Earth during that time period. Now we are 12,000 years back in time, but, hey, it’s a beginning. We can work with that.
Let’s be done with endings. Let’s begin again.