A few years ago I passed through an arid zone in our otherwise beautiful state of Tasmania. The area had once been a thriving copper mine. It now lies desolate. I saw natures beautiful colours, with the exception of dappled greens. And, in that silence no birds sang. The Midas touch had taken what was considered of value, leaving behind open wounds and piles of rubble to mock the nature we are master of. No Caesar could be more arrogant and ruthless.
The riches reaped made us blind. Digging giant holes in the ground seemed a good idea and we transposed it, repeating the success around the country. It has been a summer’s day of wealth, success and idleness. Blind greed and slothfulness too have diminishing returns. Mineral prices are tumbling. So are the economy and the futures of those who forgot the lessons of the grasshopper and the ant. The message “Go to the ant thou sluggard and be wise!”
It is a small reminder that our natural resources are finite and need proper husbanding. As fortunate custodians of all of creation, we are bound to nurturing this vast and bountiful world. If we fail in our duty to be creative, responsible and industrious our garden turns into a desert; a lesson learned many times over by the children of Israel. They were sold into slavery by powers that destroyed their cities and gardens. We too, today, face humiliating negotiations over sovereign rights with outsiders who dictate the terms of agreement. They’ll dig fresh holes and displace the locals with their own representatives and work the sites. For a little over thirty pieces of silver we sell our garden, our little piece of Paradise, and hide our shame with leaves from remaining trees.