Opinion / 26 September 2018, 2:00pm / Cicely Blumberg
The Cape Argus articles of September 3 and 10 by Eugene Moll and Jonathan Schrire on trees in Tokai refer.
There appears to be a deep underlying and ominous issue which has not been referred to, namely, why is nobody querying the status of the eco-xenophobic conservationists? Who appointed them to their positions in the first place? And who has given them the powers to be the only mouthpiece to implement their destructive and cruel “solutions” to both flora and fauna? They are paid with public money and therefore should not be allowed to be a law unto themselves.
South Africa’s apathetic public needs to ask the question: “Are we not to blame if we don’t stop the appointment of such people whom we permit to speak for us when we don’t agree with their methods?”
South Africa is an extremely violent country and so-called “solutions” by the eco-xenophobic conservationists are always violent, destructive and cruel.
They don’t take into account the sensitivities of the public which consists of intelligent evolved people who are horrified at their eco-xenophobic attitude towards flora and fauna. If conservationists, of all people who should know better, are unaware that trees are nature’s miracle and can knowingly ring bark and mutilate magnificent trees, they are the wrong people for the job.
They need to be replaced with people who seek and implement non-violent alternatives. I refer to the anguish and anger felt by sane, concerned and rational people when certain species of animals, birds and trees are vilified and exterminated by the eco-xenophobic conservationists, many of whom view the parks and nature reserves as their own private hunting grounds, having celebratory braais to rejoice the extermination of a species, instead of implementing non-violent humane alternatives.
No wonder there is so much crime and no respect for life in all its forms in our beautiful yet sad country. Fanaticism always rings a warning bell - the time is overdue for the brainwashed old guard to be replaced with young, educated and caring people.
Also, City Parks’s mandate needs to be queried. Their mandate appears to be to roam the streets of Cape Town with the sole purpose of mutilating beautiful trees on the sides of our road so as to fill their empty trucks. Branches heavy with green oxygen-producing leaves wilt on the ground and the once magnificent trees are left with bare limbs. They also specialise in mowing the daisies in the spring time.
What are these people paid? Answers are needed. Instead, trees should be planted in every available open space and left to grow as nature intended. A recent programme on CNN showed the success of greening cities, where concrete jungles are being transformed with trees and greenery and, when viewed from above, one can only see an expanse of green.
If our trees are viewed and treated with such disrespect, it is no wonder that hunting in general, and canned lion hunting in particular is encouraged officially, with their bones being exported to Asia; donkeys allegedly being skinned alive and their hides exported to Asia; baboons being shot in Cape Town instead of providing feeding tables and sterilising them to keep numbers down; rhino and elephant poaching being a daily occurrence for their horns and tusks - also aimed at the insatiable Asian markets. South Africa is now in a unique position as a member of BRICS to put pressure on China to implement severe penalties to deter the poachers.
Safe and secure sanctuaries were offered for the endangered Himalayan tahr, the fallow deer and the Sambar deer, but there was, and still is, a news blackout and these beautiful animals were, and probably still are, being ruthlessly exterminated, especially on Robben Island. Are we talking about the Ebola virus or are we talking about beautiful animals which are considered by some not to be worthy of life?
Are we just going to throw up our hands in despair and do nothing? It will be the children of the future who will be the poorer because of our apathy. This is why the NPO with which I am involved implements humane education and youth enrichment programmes in high-risk areas, promoting compassion, empathy and respect for all life, whether towards the non-human creatures which inhabit our troubled world or towards our fellow human beings.
Hands-on interaction with nature and animals, as well as other techniques, have undoubtedly been catalysts which have helped to bring down levels of violence and create a gentler society.