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  • iaindryden1

go on, you can

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it!” Robert Swain.

We came to the edge of a broad valley reaching into the land of legends, the Somerset Levels. History is here. Upon that rise, or isle in the swampy sea of Avalon, King Arthur routed the Vikings; iconic Glastonbury Tor standing above the bubbling landscape; Neolithic genes handed down through the generations remain in certain families who have never moved. Saxon villages still stand, old, old manors, farmhouses lost in time, cottages hundreds of years old litter this bucolic scene. Local ciders are world class; Europe refuses to recognise that Cheddar Cheese originated at the foot of that escapement, which is fine for the refined cheeseboards of we who live here.

The tranquility is astounding, it reaches into your heart, stilling you. The view is poetic, ridge after ridge of trees, between these waves, trees stick fields together, creating a magic green-brown carpet spreading from our feet. Beams of light split the dense clouds, pouring gold in to a vale, magnifying a church tower. We are stunned; England at its best.

Rural England absorbing carbon dioxide from the busy A303 ripping the rise we stand upon. This fair land sculpted over the centuries now a delicate balance between nature and greed. We tear about, sprinkling noxious gases over hedgerows where delicate ecosystems struggle to continue. And beyond, brown fields grow pulses to feed the growing number of vegans (3% of the UK population) and flexitarians (35%). Vegan/vegetarian demand is devastating ecosystems as nature is cut back to grow beans, nuts, grain; intense, unnatural, factory production devoid of life. The Amazon comes to mind but it’s happening in Indonesia, Africa and many more places.

Here at our feet the fields of earth are hammered to death by over-heavy farm machinery, flattening our unrecognised friends, earthworms, ploughing in fertilisers, sowing unnatural ‘improved’ seeds, spraying chemicals, harvesting into huge trailers, every weighty machine shaking those old cottages they speed past. Within twenty years these fertile soils will become unproductive. Everywhere in this fragile world this scenario is repeated.

Thirty years ago, at the foot of the Indian Himalaya, in the name of charity, a friend of ours encouraged the rape of hundreds of square miles of ancient swamp, telling farmers to plant trees which would sup up the groundwaters so they could farm the pristine land. Devastation in the name of what?

But there’s farms which are planting trees, letting the edges of their fields turn wild, allowing nature in, using old methods, not monster machines and chemical craziness. There’s such a farm near London’s busy Heathrow airport. Without the huge loans needed to repay banks for all the ‘essential’ modern equipment and junk, their profits are sufficient per-metre, sometimes as good as those gained on industrial farms. Their land is teaming with creatures.

Yet is it enough when population growth is out of control? We all need to eat. Perhaps if we were to each absorb the quote at the start of this blog… and find local, sustainable solutions… and change our diet to suit, it could be possible to stop this utter madness…. Go on, it is worth it.

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