Caring for your environmental assets

You are stakeholder in your local environment, including its plants and animals.

As a stakeholder I need to be responsible for creatures like this amphibian in Hilly Fields, Colchester.

As a stakeholder I am responsible for creatures like this amphibian in Hilly Fields, Colchester.

The slaughter of rhinos in South Africa and other nations has been a regular subject in the media, where rhino horn per ounce is more expensive than gold amongst ignorant people who think it has health giving properties.  Most rhinos now live in South Africa where they number less than twenty thousand, and are an asset of the people of that nation.  It is sad that South Africa has been allowing other nations to steal their rhino assets from them, the choice and responsibility is upon the people of South Africa to protect or lose their rhino population altogether.  South Africa will be less prosperous nation with no rhinos for their future children to enjoy.

The people of South Africa don’t care about Hilly Fields in Colchester, why should they? But I care about Hilly Fields, it is a local environmental asset of Colchester, and thus contributes to our prosperity.  I recently picked up bags of litter in Hilly Fields to keep it a healthy, happy and abundant place for my people.  I am a stakeholder of Hilly Fields, a haven of nature and history, the choice and responsibility is mine to look after Hilly Fields.  Rhinos in South Africa is not my responsibility, the South African people have a choice of defending or losing their local Rhino asset.

All plants and animals in our local communities need havens to exist in.  An ignorant blogger on Saturday wrote a blog claiming mowing grass is good for nature.  Mown spaces are good for the human eye, but they deprive wildlife of forage and cover.  It was evident on Hilly Fields that insects love to spend their day in the long grass and hedges, the rabbits need cover to run to from potential predators, even from people like me with a camera. Flowers need the opportunity to pollinate and disperse their seeds, insects such as bees need the flowers for food. Practically all animals need cover in which to travel through from place to place.

There are many people in Los Angeles in the USA who are critical of South American nations who destroy the Amazon Rainforest,, but in their own backyard last Christmas they allowed the Army Corps to destroy an entire nature park, filling in a lake used by water birds, cutting all the trees down, turning the ground into a muddy wasteland.  The Army Corps destroyed the park to prevent crime, but for nature it was a disaster, whilst the local community lost a local environmental asset along with all its plants and animals.

I argue that beyond doing no action that causes harm to the environments in other communities, we as stakeholders only need to look after our own community environmental assets.  It is no good crying about what is happening to the Amazon Rainforest if we are being ignorant and impotent about what is happening in our own garden or community.  Likewise the future of the rhino species is for the South African people, not the rest of the world.


14 responses to “Caring for your environmental assets

  1. Mowing grass is good for nature? Ignorant is a good word for that individual. I have to slightly disagree with you, Alex. While the rhino problem isn’t mine and I won’t waste my time on trying to change what happens there, plenty of the issues facing communities affect more than just that area. In the US so many of our waterways, for an example feed into another that may affect me and my community. The same way we are seeing radiation affecting the west coast of my country from the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

    Where I do agree with you is in the issue of needing to protect our own spaces. If we all did this we wouldn’t have to worry about e,functions, polluted waters and air.

    • Everything being interconnected on the web of life, you are right that what happens in one locus may impact other locations.

      My argument, which is the same I make with Bulldog, is that I am not God, neither is any individual, we have 24 hours in the day, and our resources are limited to what we can do. The priority of our lives would in my opinion be along the lines of self first, then family, then community. After community I would be surprised if there are any time, money or energy left for Rhinos on the other side of the world.

      The best an individual can hope for, where they have real power to do something, is to be good stewards of their community environmental assets. The individual can also do action that does no harm to other people’s assets such as not buying rhino horn and making sure such sales are banned in their own location. Often each day the individual is bombarded with requests to help other people’s environmental problems, but there is a price in that to give to the Amazon the individual sacrifices resources that could have been used for their own community. South Africa has millions of people capable if they have the will to look after their Rhinos, it is the same for the Amazon peoples and their forest. If such people are unwilling or incapable to look after their own assets then there is nothing you can do anyway, the asset is doomed.

  2. Sorry Alex, but in some ways I have to disagree with you… our Rhino problem is in fact ours, I do agree on that, yet it is other nations that are buying the product… should we ignore the fact that some of this is actually being transported to the end users via other countries.?? Should we not be trying to educate those countries as to the fact.?? Sure your responsibilities is to Hilly Fields, and it is just that local responsibility that needs the awareness of the local communities.. The Amazon Forest and their destruction is a local problem but all of these have international consequences…
    The loss of a single frog population to Hilly Fields, could have major consequences to the environmental balance in the localised area, that could snowball into a major disaster. It might sound farcical such a statement and probably is. But we must not forget the balance of nature, the loss of any one specie could have dire consequences to the fine balance of nature. Sure our loss of Rhino won’t affect the people of Colchester, but there will be a small knock on the local balance of nature that with time could affect many others.
    The loss of trees in the Amazon, might not have an immediate effect on us all, and could be seen as a local problem, but in the end it is going to affect the whole world. Climate change et al…
    One tends to forget the deforestation that took place in Vietnam during that war, agent orange (Monsanto product) being sprayed willie nillie to aid armies to be able to see the enemy, what effect has that had on the world today??
    Mankind is slowly killing that which we should be protecting, and I don’t agree that these are all localised problems.. these are problems that we should all be taking note of as it could save other specie elsewhere in the world…
    Leave Rhino to South Africa? I don’t agree.
    Leave frogs to Hilly Fields? I don’t agree
    Leave water pollution in America to them? I don’t agree
    Mobilise international concern for all things of nature can save the planet at a later stage…
    Okay had my ramble now…thanks for the interesting post and your perspective…

    • Hi Bulldog, you make great points.

      Yes, I agree that what happens in one part of the world impacts other parts.

      I agree that every individual has a responsibility to being a good neighbour, that is to take no action that might do harm to others, thus buy no Rhino horn, and make sure none is for sale in their own community. Colchester does play a small part in Rhino conservation via a Rhino breeding programme at Colchester Zoo.

      We are all human with limited resources. We give these resources in priority to self, then family, then community. There is nothing much left time, energy and money wise above the community level. We have to be realistic that we are no gods, and we can’t save the world. All we can ask of ourselves is to be good stewards of what is in our own community. The frogs of Hilly Fields are something I have the resources, the obligation and the ability to look after, though I have none when it comes to the Rhinos of South Africa, the reverse is so for you when comes to Hilly Fields frogs. If you send assistance from your own resources to help Hilly Fields frogs, it is at the expense of Rhinos in your own community. The priority is always community, the rest of the world will have to look after itself.

      If the community in which the environmental asset exists in are unwilling or incapable of protecting their asset then it is doomed, no matter what outsiders do or say.

      • I agree with you there .. sure we are all responsible for our own little bit in our own area… but knowledge is power..(or so they say) and it is this shared knowledge that empowers a lot of people to be able to get a lot done… it still surprises me that there are so many different specie nearing extinction throughout the world because ignorance is the name of the game…
        However we have delegations going over to Vietnam and China in the hope of educating the users of the waste of money that they are spending… it is not helping as poaching is increasing because of the money that can be made… yet we have thousands of horns in storage from lost animals over many many years.. and when we want to put these on the market for low low price to try and make it non viable for poachers the rest of the world jumps in and stops us… yet with the poaching they do nothing to help… a comedy of errors I’m afraid.. like the elephant tusks.. we have thousands in storage, but may not market them to stop the poaching… “The priority is always community, the rest of the world will have to look after itself.” a great statement.. but boy they need to keep their noses out of the others businesses then as well…

      • It is my opinion that if an individual or group is not a stakeholder in a thing they make noises about they can be ignored as irrelevant. South Africans are stakeholders in the future of their Rhinos, most of the criticising world are not stakeholders so they can be ignored. If you think selling your vast Rhino horn stock will help protect your Rhinos then damn the world and sell it.

  3. May all beings be awakening on their action! Cheers!

  4. If everyone on the planet takes care of themselves, their loved ones, and their community, and live positive, then there would be no problems in the world.
    Having said that, if each of us inspire only two people, chances are atleast one of them will inspire another two people, and so on.

  5. It’s terrible the way so many livelihoods depend on the destruction of nature and it’s magnificent creatures. There is no amount of money or desperation which will ever make me partake. Recently mail carriers here were complaining that too many people have signs on their mailboxes saying “no flyer’s please”, and the postmen were asking people to please take them down as they weren’t getting enough hours due to the reduced mail load from not handing out flyers that come from destroying forests.

    • There is a disconnection from nature that the individual forgets to take into account nature in their decision making and thus nature suffers. Ultimately humanity suffers when the environment sickens from abuse and neglect.

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