Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nature's Disappearing Act - Fishing Tale No. 5

We have heard so often that more species are disappearing, that we have endangered nature's balance, that millions of acres are burnt each year in the rain forest, that now we are no longer shocked by it. Many times when it is in the news we no longer hear it. Something akin to ad blindness occurs. Or perhaps it is that we are now vaccinated against emotional commitment or against righteous indignation.

But then that is human nature.

We get saturated very quickly and, specially with this fast paced society that wants quick answers, before we are bored. If you see images of starving African children once, you are shocked. If you see similar images a hundred times you may actually feel annoyed. The truth is you stopped seeing them many times before.

If you ask an old fisherman if nature has changed in his lifetime, he will most probably say it has. There could be many observations about the water levels, the size of the fish, the abundance, and so on, but the answer is bound to be "yes".

The problem seems to be that the changes are now happening at a much faster pace. Fifteen years ago I went fishing in the Andes mountains. I recently returned and not only had the fishing worsened, but also the forest was less, the shacks were more and the grazing land was larger. This year at least, the talk was about the delayed rainy season, so the rivers were dryer, and in one particular place trucks were wading in the river removing many, many tons of river rock to be used for construction. The trout, all but disappeared. The noise pollution very high.

Even my elder children notice the difference when we go out fishing. They tell my younger ones of the changes, but they, the youngsters, are missing something that they will never experience. They understand what they hear - they understand both emotionally and intellectually, but they will never be able to experience it.

In the long run, in a geological time frame, this always happens, but now I fear that it is happening within the span of one generation.

This, I believe, has two very strong implications.

The first, to take an active part in saving nature; starting by being aware of what is happening nearby. Not in the next continent, or country, or even county. But right next door. This also means water ways and grazing rights, and water sucking cities.

The other, and this is much more enjoyable, is to go fishing. And preferably take your children. Make sure they have a real nature's experience, not the Disney one, the real one.

Philip Robinson is a happily married fisherman and a father of five. He has various on line projects and you can visit his latest website on fishing tackle boxes that has a special mention on fishing tackle bag (as well as other fishing accessories). As someone with a large family he focuses on fun, creativity, making ends meet and all in a loving environment.

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