Treasures Lost In Time

It is indeed a sad indictment of our times that so much of England’s beauty has been lost, perhaps for all time. I came across the above picture on the Internet and couldn’t believe my eyes. That such a thing could still exist!

When I was a boy growing up in England, woods like the one above were everywhere, dotted across the countryside in their thousands. They provided a home for the wildlife across Britain, and a visit on a Sunday afternoon was a pleasant outing. In Springtime it was such a pleasure to walk through the local woods and see the carpets of wild flowers between the trees.

Wild daffodils, primroses, and bluebells among others were everywhere, covering the ground with a carpet of vivid colour that seemed to stretch on forever. When walking, we were always careful to stay on the paths and not trample the flowers, because that was the way we were brought up.

These colourful displays were not restricted to the woodland either, you very often found them on the roadside verges as you travelled along. As a child I glorified in the diverse natural beauty that abounded throughout rural England. At that time, England was indeed a ‘Green and Pleasant land’. Even so, as a Brit, I have to say it is still a beautiful country.

Away from the woods, walking along country lanes, you could see miles of hedgerows enclosing the farmers fields, each with it’s own unique environment. Birds and small creatures like dormice, insects by the million, all contributing in their own way to Mother Nature’s plan.

Farmers complained sometimes about certain species that lived in the hedgerows, but when all is said and done, we did not need hundreds of gallons of pesticide per acre to keep down the pests because the creatures of the hedgerows did it for us. Nature was in balance, and the farmers still got what they wanted, a good crop.

Then along came greed!

With the Sixties came the farming revolution that we know so well today. Most of the woodland and hedgerows were torn out to make way for fields that now stretch for half a mile as you drive along. Huge tracts of land had all the vegetation uprooted and removed to make way for the super-fields of the modern era.

Even then, it was obvious to anyone with a tiny amount of intelligence, that these super-fields would in time suffer from major problems.

First and foremost, such large open spaces gave the wind the opportunity it needed to remove the topsoil every time it blew. Secondly, the demise of the hedgerows removed vital, and natural, pest control.

With all that bio-diversity gone, we now see tractors spraying crops with what to us, must be poison. Daily we eat produce from these mega-farms with little thought to what has happened to it while it was growing. Even the fruit, we supposedly don’t eat enough of, is contaminated with all sorts of chemicals that are good for the farmer, but not for us.

It’s fine for the pesticide companies to shout that their product is safe, and for the farmers to say it is necessary, but is it? I wonder.

As with everything else these days, sad to say, its all about money. Farmers have been squeezed by the big supermarket chains since they become so popular, and it is firms like Tesco, Sainsburys, Morrisons, Asda and many more that are dictating the market prices for what we eat. This has led the farmers to get as much out of their land as they possibly can. Hence the relentless destruction of the countryside as I once knew it.

It is indeed a sad indictment of our times that we have destroyed this natural balance that has existed, and worked, since the birth of our planet.

It is a fact that some farmers have tried to reconstitute the hedgerow environment on their land, but it will take decades before we can get back to how it was.

When the hedgerows and woodland were destroyed, all the birds, small creatures and insects that inhabited them were destroyed also. This has had a knock-on effect by reducing the number of these creatures alive today.

Another of my favourite memories of summers gone by is the swarms of swallows and swifts that made their home in the UK each summer. In town or country they could be seen flitting around the buildings or trees in their search for insects. They would make an abrupt change in their flight path as they spotted an insect in the air, and you knew they had caught something, for they rarely missed. Now the numbers have fallen dramatically, which would indicate a significant drop in insect numbers.

We have had significant progress in the last thirty or so years in food production, but eventually the time will come when we have to pay the price, and I am afraid that day may not too far away.

Why do I say that? Well for a start, scientists have for the last twenty years been meddling with the very building blocks of our food source. By that I mean of course genetically modified (GM) foods.

I admit right away that I am not in favour of such manipulation, and wouldn’t touch them knowingly with the proverbial barge pole. I know the scientists tell us they can make drought and bug resistant crops that will increase the yield of farms, but to me it sound dangerous.

Despite what they say, no-one knows the effects this DNA manipulation of our food crops will have over an extended period when it eventually gets into the established plant-life, as it is bound to do sooner or later. No-one can say with certainty that it will not have a long term affect on our health and well-being. To me, we are playing a dangerous game with our future and that of our planet.

I just thank God that I am living my life now, and will not have to face the world in fifty years time.

Doom and gloom forecast? Not really, but I am happy I saw England’s beauty as it once was, and knew the time when english girls were known for their beauty and slim figures. I’m also glad I can still get fresh vegetables that do not as yet have the possibility to turn my offspring into something inhuman.

As time goes by I am sure we, the human race, will continue on this planet, because eventually all the bad things we have done to our home world will come back to haunt us, and those that are left will be able to start again knowing where we went wrong. Let us hope our descendants are more intelligent than we appear to be.


Live your life to the full, it’s a one-shot deal!


Roy.

One Response to “Treasures Lost In Time”

  1. Phil Says:

    You changed your picture!

    Like

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