I write to you as both a citizen of the world and an individual. As a citizen I offer you my sincerest apologies for the awful behaviour of human society at large. The way we are depleting the ozone layer, destroying forests worldwide, and squandering irreplaceable natural resources is deplorable. For over three billion years you have been developing life in all its splendour. In under a century we are engineering its destruction. Despite recent tidal waves, draughts, floods and heat-waves, which seem clear evidence of your discomfort, we have yet to recognise the urgency of the situation. I fear the worst.
But in all this there is a more parochial aspect that needs addressing. As a householder and gardener, I find myself endlessly fighting against animals and plants who respect neither the wellbeing of my garden nor the integrity of my house. Your various agents are out of control, eating, pestering and/or colonising as they please. To this end, thistles and bindweed have overgrown and destroyed our once beautiful poppy meadow, weeds work hard to stifle our vegetables and break up our paths, and slugs and snails are nibbling their way through our plants. In addition we suffer from animals bent on destroying our buildings. The mortar in our walls is now weakened by a myriad of holes and tunnels built and/or inhabited by (for example) ants, bees, wasps, spiders, mice, bats, voles, frogs and small birds.
Faced with these incursions we retaliate. For years we have dug up weeds, and killed snails and slugs. Now we have started to use herbicides and pesticides. Their use is sparing, targeting only thistles and gastropods. Weeds on the path and in the vegetable patch are still cleared by hand and we continue to share the walls with the zoo. Nevertheless there is a principle at stake. As I see it, eventually without vegetables we would go hungry, without paths, gardening would become difficult, and without walls, we would be dangerously exposed.
There are no other sustainable solutions than the use of these poisons. But here comes the rub. Somehow, Mother Nature, your cause has taken on many of the trappings of a religion. Increasingly, friends and neighbours treat the use of pesticides and herbicides as though their application was a sin. Vigilantes point fingers, make hushed comments, demand explanations and even exact confessions. And whatever the rights and wrongs of the argument, we find ourselves caught up in this conspiracy. Accordingly, we now feel guilty when spreading slug pellets or spraying weed killer and have been forced to apply these in the dead of night, as a clandestine operation.
Clearly these issues raise very serious problems and need some sort of resolution. However, if you wish to win your case peaceably, and I think this is preferable, then in my opinion religious fervour must be removed from the equation.
PS I would be happy to help with secularisation if you felt there was something I could usefully do.
2 thoughts on “Open letter to Mother Nature”
‘The cut worm forgives the plough’ – William Blake
Dear Joe, money is often the seed, for society to grow greed into its only real tree. The worlds might be dying but we live in a world where the worst still only happens to the other person, still to mostly the poor and the poorer. To the third and the hidden worlds. Too many believe that in death we will be delivered to a paradise and thus while alive we can be forgiven our actions. So why bother trying to help dear sweet old mother nature. Let the kids pick up any pieces. But there will always be kids, always be people to pass the buck, always be too much money in suffering. And one person saying NO is one tiny voice in a crowd of Billions. Look on the bright side: those slugs, snails, insects, weeds and others pests will more than likely survive our downfall from mother natures grace.