A green woodpecker has been laughing at us for a couple of days now. Yesterday, as we enjoyed a perfect day in the garden, he seemed to be everywhere at once. It’s always the same with our Yeckle – heard but not seen.
Rob the Grass dropped in this morning to check the state of the lawn, and the woodpecker seemed to find something amusing in that too. He seemed to be just over the fence, but yet again we couldn’t see him.
“Trouble is, of course” I said to Rob, by way of starting a conversation on birds, “They feed on the ground, so you don’t get to see them.”
“Well, it’s ants, see,” replied Rob, “That’s what they like to eat. And there’s not many ant pastures around any more – all been ploughed up, see. So there’s not many woodpeckers left.”
So yet another little reminder of man’s imposition on our precious land. And it’s not just the fact that the old pastures that supported ant colonies have been ploughed up, it’s also the fact that the ploughed land is then doused in chemical fertilisers, followed by pesticides, fungicides and plant growth promoters. Despite the evidence of lush crops, much of our soil is already dead or dying, the microbial life gone and the insect life on its surface totally obliterated. The crops might look good, but they are chemically induced and supported and their nutritional value is poor.
It doesn’t have to be like that, as we two know from all the organic farmers and growers we deal with, but agri-business will tell you a different story. Why? Because there is money to be made and money is more important than insects and green woodpeckers. And thus we continue to rush towards the cliff of our own destruction, led by men whose desire for money overrides compassion, sensitivity, humility and an understanding of our place in nature.