Better to be an ostrich..

Every now and again I haul my weary head out of the sand and tune into the ‘environmental’ noise above ground.

I do so very reluctantly as I know that when I really tap into the reality of what we are doing to our beautiful planet, I will end up having to dig my heels in very deep to make sure I don’t get sucked into that bottomless murky chasm that leaves me feeling bleak and ever so hopeless.

I popped my head out and shook the sand off recently.

A local shark attack has led to the inevitable slew of letters to the press filled with insane suggestions on how we have to make our seas ‘safer’ for swimmers and surfers. Tired, worn out arguments roll around and flop about on the letter’s page and on Facebook and I am left feeling so deeply saddened.

NO thanks to Mr Bright-Spark Cohen. He who chose to arrogantly ignore all the perfectly clear warning flags and sirens and entered the sea (devoid of all other sensible, intelligent humanity) regardless, head held high.
One singularly conceited decision to ‘go for a swim anyway’ could well toss yet another species closer to the edge of extinction.

In the eyes of your average Joe Bloggs FishHoek resident, it is now all about Sharks VS Humans…
The voices of intelligent ecological reason are drowned out in the cacophony of mindless ranting around introducing shark nets and hunting down ‘serial killer rogue sharks’…

And then there are the snippets in the press about our forthcoming COP17. Climate change talks about talks about ….well, talking again in a few years’ time…Plump hotel bills and many flights and big important suits drinking coffee and talking and negotiating. And a representative COP Minister who has a little temper tantrum about a handbag search and decides to hop on her own special jet to get home.

Bugger the CO2 emissions. Sorry for you polar bears!

And then the rhinos. The poor bloody rhinos. And another one down…and another one down and another Mum bites the dust….while her little one scurries about, blinded with fear and panic, panga slashes across her crumpled face.

I can no longer look at the images of bloated stiff-legged beasts with bloodied noses. More than 300 down in one year. How CAN we let this happen? How can we?

And then I read a book written by a young man who travelled to Kenya in the mid-60s to work with George Adamson, the lion man. In the space of a decade he watched as their insanely robust elephant and rhino populations were obliterated.

Now you see me, now you don’t.

And then I hear from someone who works with hotshot corporate types that he recently overheard an important Executive /champion of industry type say “We can’t see dinosaurs anymore, so why should I worry if my son never gets to see an elephant?”

And then my son gives a little presentation at his school about climate change and the one 7-year-old child starts to boo halfway through. He doesn’t believe in climate change. It is all rubbish. In the same breath, he says….WWF is all rubbish.

They start them young, these denialists. God alone knows what the parents are telling them over dinner at home.

SO….every now and again it’s good to clamber out of the quagmire and escape into the wilderness and pretend it’s not happening.

Last Thursday we did just that. We turned our backs on every bit of this madness and headed to the Kouebokkeveld mountains with a tent and our camping gear.

We spent a day exploring a beautiful mountain stream with glorious drinkable water that frolicked and chortled about the craggy Cedarberg rocks and was home to pointy-nosed frogs and fish and happy wagtails. We sat and watched a pair of Karoo prinia buzzing and flitting around a restios and disappearing within. Just spending the time sitting and watching the pattern of their movement led us to investigate. On closer inspection, we found a perfect little nest tucked deep inside the reeds, lined with soft fluff and holding two demanding little chicks.

We came across a bat-eared fox while out walking, sat in our camp watching robin chats hop right up to us and sat silently as bright-eyed striped mice came up to nibble crumbs around our feet…
We heard and saw a Freckled nightjar against a purple sky and watched a plump moon skim the ragged mountains above our tent.

And then we came home.

3 thoughts on “Better to be an ostrich..

  1. Speechless. This is so beautifully and poignantly written. Back to the sand for me and to the old familiar feeling of helplessness. If 7 year olds are already feeling strongly enough to boo a fellow primary school pupil, as you say, some parents somewhere must be feeling very threatened, and as a result, “protective”. Or blind and heedlessly optimistic. What a pathetic race we humans are…..

  2. Long live the brave few who do – and continue to – speak out against every type of injustice of any shape or form. Without them, we’d all be sinking deeper, faster 😦

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