Who understands the countryside ?

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at gn.apc.org
Wed Aug 7 01:25:13 BST 2013

I'm not sure if I "understand" your query, but allow me to redefine the
terms of the inquiry so that I may answer it.

On Tue, 2013-08-06 at 19:16 +0100, Simon wrote:
> To my mind there are 2 possible visions of the countryside. One, which goes back
> to the Highland clearances, enclosures and feudal system, sees it as the private
> fiefdom of landowners, which other people are only allowed to enjoy under
> sufferance. The other sees it as a community resource.

Unfortunately "nature"/"countryside" doesn't fit into either of these
models as a conscious or autonomous entity!

If you are arguing that one species (us!) may wholly possess another,
then that assumes the primacy of humans over other species -- in which
case the model would not recognise the interconnected nature of all
plant and animal species required to maintain a dynamic balance within
the global ecosystem.

Thus unless human consciousness accepts that we are but one "of" many,
rather than one "over" many, then we will fail to give the proper
protection to the ecology of the biosphere of which we are an innate
part. In either model proposed above, humans are the constant, and it is
nature which changes its objective value as a result of our abstract
thoughts. Therefore the tendency with either approach would be to
reflect the need of humans over an abstracted role filled by nature.

Unless we accept that it is we who must adapt to fit within the natural
ecological balance from which we derive our own existence, I am sure
that, eventually, that ecological balance will tilt against our
continued existence in our current form (assuming, contrary to the
available evidence, that it hasn't done so already).

Irrespective of how we might socially allocate dominion over nature, the
absolute ecological relationships upon which human existence is based
will always be subservient to that greater whole -- irrespective of how
we organise our own social and economic constructs to manage our needs
for natural resources.

Actually, what I've outlined above is really an updated form of William
Cowper's original assertion that, "God made the countryside, man made
the town". In reality, whilst we might argue whether a bear or a
bacterium is owned collectively or exclusively, both will happily feed
upon us given the opportunity -- demonstrating that human economic or
social sovereignty over nature is but an act of ill-conceived hubris.

Peace 'n' love 'n' positive thoughts...



"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
tel./fax (+44/0)1295 261864
email - mobbsey at gn.apc.org
website - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/index.shtml
public key - http://www.fraw.org.uk/mei/mobbsey_public_key-2013.asc

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