March of the Ents

I’ve just come back from 3 days in Betty’s Bay, a particularly beautiful part of the country. Apparently the coastal road between there and Gordon’s Bay has been voted the 4th most beautiful drive in the world according to some or other survey. I can well imagine, as I’ve known this area well since childhood, and always been drawn to it. The village now is becoming a sprawling construction site as new plots are sold, and people build holiday houses on their plot. Most likely they visit it once a year, and in the meantime they’ve done their bit to destroying the area.

Perhaps that’s justifiable, some may say I should accept the ‘natural’ growth of a place so close to Cape Town.

But what’s not justifiable is developers conciously doing their bit to destroy a place, with the single-minded aim of making a quick buck. Focusing on money at the expense of all else is a disease, one encouraged by so many aspects of this society. So the developers are cast as successful business-people, while the protesters are backward-looking greenies with an unreasonable demand for the status quo.

It’s hard to verbalise the anger I feel when I see a piece of land devastated like this, and the desire to throttle the humans responsible. Today I read another story, of developers destroying an area of rare fynbos. But, when the anger subsides, I feel sadness at what I perceive of as a lack of humanity, an inability to feel what they are doing. Similarly, a murderer can block his feelings when he kills someone, perhaps as a result of past experiences causing this wall to go up. Our money-hungry society similarly walls people from nature, and, eyes focused on the Rands, safely esconced in some distant office, this developer probably did not feel the consequences of their action. Local government is doing a pathetic job. So what is the answer? The destruction seems one-way. Land is ‘saved’ or developed, it’s extremely rare for developed land to be restored.

Perhaps its time for another March of the Ents


  1. I totally agree with, and also feel that ‘a march of the Ents’ is immanent. In a way,oit seems to me that this is what global warming and so on is about – we’ve messed with the natural balance, and there’s going to be hell to pay. The really irritating thing is that nature is indiscriminate and won’t single out greedy developers for ‘punishment’. We’ll all suffer from an environmental cataclysm. Which means we all ahve to take responsibility for what we collectively do as a species. It is, unfortunately, up to us to stop inappropriate development and create alternatives.
    What is to be done?

  2. Of course, instead of the march of the ents we do have the return of White Buffalo calf Woman, don’t we?

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