I'm a bit depressed today. You see, the thing is, I'm a farmer. In order to farm crops or orchards, you need to clear the land - that is, get rid of all the indigenous fauna and flora on it, so that you can put in your crop - most likely an exotic monoculture. This needs to happen, in order for humans to feed their fellow humans - whose population keeps growing at a ridiculous rate. Food needs to be produced intensely to feed huge urban human populations. (Its making me a healthy living, thats one positive)
Now the problem is, currently there is still quite a bit of "undeveloped" land left, ie land that is still in its pristine natural condition. (For the christians - as God created it) This land currently could quite easily be left alone - were it not for a few problems. One of these is that large tracts of previously productive land are now fallow due to land reform. Another problem is some farmers are sitting on land that used to be productive, and doing a half job of farming it. This could be due to financial problems, incompetence, laziness, or even having too much money.
So why am I depressed. Well I witness on a daily basis, the bulldozers smashing every last piece of pristine land. Often right next to the fallow previously cleared areas, as these are unavailable to the expanders due to my reasons given above. Trails through beautiful bushland that I used to ride my mountainbike are now gone, bare and bulldozed. The "development" is everywhere, it can't be escaped.
Why does it matter? Well I guess for me its just quality of life. We used to have Kudu and Red Duiker in those last little remnants of bush, they gave me pleasure, sharing the land with the creatures that used to dominate this landscape. I liked the huge wild fig that I used to ride past, the one that now is in a heap getting burnt as its the only way to get it out of the way. They're gone now, for me it leaves a feeling of emptiness, like I've lost something spiritual, deep, whatever you want to call it. Its made my life shallower - like I'm closer to living in a sterile environment of monocultures. The noise of birds in the morning is quieter, there are less of them.
My biggest worry is it will never be stopped, our continuous "development". Even if the land reform farms come back into production, there will still always be a point where more land is needed. The human population is not going to stop growing, what can stop it? It will grow to a point where it collapses, but by that time our planet will be so degraded it will be too late to ever recover the quality of life we had when our population was more "logical". I don't know why it worries me, as I have no children, so the future should not matter that much to me. But I do, regardless. A bit pointless really, as there is nothing any of us can do to prevent the inevitable, all we can do is stall it by caring.
Anyway, I hope my expression of my frustration cheered you all up a bit. I'm back to work to teach my brain not to worry about uncontrollables.