The case for saving one small island and its inhabitants: marine, terrestrial and aerial, even human. Keeping their lives enjoyable and peaceful. And for extending what works here to help a world which is sorely in need of ideas.
We will aspire to be a centre for ecological values, as the city of Florence was a world centre of the arts in the Renaissance, even with its small population of 25,000.
Brac Quarry … rock for export off our island?
Don’t get caught, new government, between a rock and a hard place. Some people here on the Brac have called for an Independent commission on the winding down of the aggregate industry, insofar as the export of crushed rock off the island is concerned. Such a commission would conduct confidential, private interviews with each resident family, with terms of reference calling for its report to be made public upon completion
It needs to stop – the rapacious blasting of our foundation limestone for shipment to Grand Cayman, where it is being used for further degradation of that fair isle. One island sells its birthright so the other can create an unholy mess, leading to the destruction of two islands at once. On their island arises beachfront sprawl with no relation to our heritage; on our small island the rock is gobbled up, robbing us not only of our forests and all its denizens but of the very limestone on which we’ve managed to thrive. “And upon this rock” the Bible states, but where’s the rock? Of many problems in the country this is the single existential problem. It is the single blasphemy being carried out, in the fashion of Nauru in the South Pacific – an unlivable place where sustenance cannot be raised.
“Our goal is a quiet, natural place to live and work and raise our families, surrounded by and respectful of nature as of each other”
How to get over that selfish, man-centered view of life.
Please take a moment to be a tree. Stop thinking like a man or a woman or a young person will you? Just for a moment:
A tree is not a “thing” to saw for lumber
Nor just put there for man to view in awe
A fish is not just edible name or number
Let it swim so no bone ‘jooks’ our craw
A slime mold –not just there for me to study
And mark for motion with a piece of chalk
Just as much as you it is my buddy
All of us together on our rock
Each is Life within the 3-D web
Of which we’re part with rock and air and bone
Humboldt knew a bit – a cause célèbre
For every bit we know there’s more unknown
Didn’t like that? For another take on the same subject (human pride) listen to this conversation among some forest trees:
Tree #1 “Just take your photo and move on, lady — the path is getting hard as concrete. I’m not getting any water on your side!”
Tree #2 “ Ahh, it only hurts a little: “Joe loves Sally” carved into my bark. I hope I don’t catch an infection.”
Tree #3 “Oh-oh, here comes a “human” in a hard hat, driving a huge yellow machine.”
Tree #4 “Humans? I’ve heard you mention them but surely there are none here, inside our forest deep.”
Tree #3 “Think again. I’m glad you enjoyed your seclusion, but they are breeding like rats and chewing up everything in sight.”
(Further reading: The Hidden Life of Trees by Wohllenben.)
Our own Prolongéd Armageddon
Sometimes in the night I wake and ponder
Could we keep the best and lose the worst
Can humanity improve itself I wonder
Or are we by our own delusions cursed
What can I contribute t’wards recovery
Or slow the onrush of the great decline
Fewer babies born— though no less loving
Or lemming-like we’ll drown ‘en masse’ in brine
We’re only just discov’ring whence we came
By land bridge then to kill off Mammoths (Wooly)
We’ve since appended “sapiens” to our name
While killing without understanding fully
We’ve devised the gears of mass extinction
(Are we not part of this great biosphere?)
Who’ll be here to say the benediction
When slowly, racked with pain, we disappear
Written in the belief that earth has entered, by man’s hand,
the “feedback loop” of the sixth mass extinction, this one by CO2. This is
the tipping point – the point at which global melting and ocean acidification will worsen even if we stop every mile we’re driving, and all else.
Yet there is hope
Is there hope for Cayman Brac? Yes:
- Government just opened two closed meetings – the Central Planning Authority for the big island of Grand Cayman, and the Development Control Board for the “sister islands” of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman
- A nature group continues to set aside land in perpetuity, for the forests and denizens of forests, like ourselves, against destruction and artificiality. Another ten acres was just protected on the Brac
- Government itself has joined this campaign
- If we study the consequences of unlimited growth we will preserve a portion of what should be preserved, before we’re lost in a brave new world of pollution and artificiality
We need population targets, similar to inflation targets and other policy targets held by governments around the world. In the Caymans we need to determine if we were not “already there” when we numbered 50,000.
We must re-double our efforts. We will never give up. We will preserve and enhance the ability to work together in a happier, simpler world, respecting all and choosing lighter modes of living. Living lightly on the earth, it has been called.
Local Question: What are we going to do with the gaping holes, once quarrying for export is stopped? Can we come up with a fix on our own?
World question: What can the world do for gaping holes called Gobi and Sahara, and others.
On the shores of Libya and in so many other places stand displaced humans in the millions. In the ruined places of the earth, we just happen to need millions to work, planting trees in the desert. Can’t we get these two together?
The Sahara Desert now stretches coast to coast. It is not the more compact oval that was bordered in green on the wall maps of this author’s youth. And our Brac quarries …. What do you say – no connection? What if “re-wilding” were brought to bear both locally and on a global scale? There, the starving millions could live in hundreds of NEW VILLAGES and be paid a wage plus education and housing to plant Acacia and other tree species (mix them up please) to re-green this area, mile by mile. (China is currently building 40 “new traditional villages” for tourism. These things can be done.) We can get a little practice here on our island, which so far has only been partly blasted into smithereens. Take the same money now spent on this and that and pay for traditional forest planting:
1) stab a hole in the earth; 2) insert a sapling; 3) stamp down the slit; 4) give it an initial dose of water; 5) move on to the next site (pre-marked and not in line – a forest isn’t a line of trees.)
Re-wilding is what it’s called. It is a ray of hope for the Earth, even at this late stage. The feedback loop can be reversed!
Do it for its own sake, not just to save our skins:
Evidence piles up that our inner beings are made calmer and more rational by the experience of nature. Yoga, hiking, meditation and other healthful practices, even burial… are best performed not only beside natural settings but in nature itself, where birds, bees, plants and trees interact and where we become one with this ageless process.
Check out the photos below. God bless us all.