Tragedy of our modern alienation from the natural world

From: Martyn L Scargill, Chantry Meadows, Kilham, East Yorkshire.

I REFER to the article in your paper (The Yorkshire Post, July 19) regarding the defence of natural meadows by the Prince of Wales. He is perfectly right to support the wonders of the British countryside in this way.

It is imperative that people support him in this matter. I have been concerned about the preservation of our natural landscape for years, and yet, amazingly, most people appear to pay little heed to this tremendous issue; being more concerned with materialism, “development” and how cheap they can get food.

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There remains but a tiny percentage of these grasslands, compared even to the 1940s, let alone to historic times. Clearly, this is not the way forward to turn more and more into arable, or building land. Why can we not have more attention paid to the natural world with its plants and animals in the school curriculum? Also more gardening, as is done in the more enlightened schools – after all, there is far more to life than developing the skills of cut-throat competition required in the world of big business.

The nature table was a very fine thing when I was went to school, and it helped to instil into me a life-long love of natural beauty and living things. Here again, we need more balance.

Modern life is becoming more and more alienated from nature and spiritual things. Technical wizardry is fast becoming a worrying demigod. One of its by-products being the dismal fact that many children are unable to name a few common trees and flowers.

The countryside is a refuge from the much admired hectic and frenetic lifestyles of the modern world. It is more important than ever, as a tonic physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

As Prince Charles says, much more must be done to protect the landscape, by saving it from destructive agricultural practices and urban development which simply means more blight and ugliness. The number of people working on the land has dropped from about 50 per cent in mid-Victorian times, to a mere handful today due to mass industrialisation and over-mechanisation, which is just not sustainable.

The old ways were much more in tune with nature and the rhythms of the universe, so it is of paramount importance to guard what is left with dynamic enthusiasm and dedication. As when it is gone it is gone, and life with any purpose or meaning will soon follow. Act now before it is too late.