Caring for open spaces is our sacred duty
After 50 years as an independent nation we should be proud of our beautiful natural places and be actively working towards their protection. After all, the most important gift we will bestow to our future generations is clean air and water, our indigenous plants and animals, and green, natural places for them to enjoy.
I recently took a trip to Maracas Waterfall and admired the work put into enhancing the area — picnic tables, signage for trees, a car park. The waterfall was wonderful, refreshing, and a beauty to watch.
Yet the garbage bags were full to overflowing, some ripped by dogs, with garbage strewn throughout the picnic area, people were drinking heavily, bottles and litter could be found even on the rocks below the waterfall, and of course music was blasting in the picnic area.
It is time to be patriotic with regard to all our natural places, and build on the examples of environmental stewardship by groups like Nature Seekers, Asa Wright conservationists, and many others.
I suggest we borrow the idea of state parks and park rangers from our northern neighbours. At these parks there is strict adherence to littering laws, the parks close and open at certain hours, alcohol use is restricted as is blasting of loud music. How can you have a natural area where you cannot enjoy either the sounds or silence of nature?
Supporting parks and museums allows sponsors to get tax breaks and incentives such as special passes to park events.
Education is key because as people learn to identify and understand their local plants and animals they would want to protect them. Many people are interested in environmental studies and jobs as park rangers would be created.
What do we want the next generation to inherit?