Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Loud, and right?

Why is it that the "Nay" sayers are always the ones that shout the loudest, do the least, and have no idea how to resolve the problem? Perhaps it is the fact that those who "Do" are busy doing just that, getting on with the job in hand.

In the vast amount of cases, when some individual or group wishes to obtain information, where do they look? It is human nature to first try the obvious, the obvious being the group or organisation that you hear about most. On a local level, this equates to going to one of the major supermarket's, who bombard us day and night with TV, Radio, newspaper, and any other form of advertising they can get hold of. This has and is to the detriment of the local high street, where small firms deal in a single product and are exceedingly knowledgeable about the products they keep.

A good example of this is an independent off licence, they keep a vast array of products, some well-known, others not so well known. They have an enormous amount of skill and are knowledgeable about not only what is on their shelves but also the myriad of other products available. Then counter this with a super market, limited amount of available stock, only stocking what will bring in a large return (profit) per unit, and from experience, staff that only know what they have been told to say, which often just saves you reading the label.

All of this applies to all the shops in a high street, and yet people have been convinced that the supermarkets are the go to people, why? Because they shout the loudest, we are cheaper, more convenient, everything under one roof, and many other claims. Prices may well be less, and times are hard for all at present, but through experience I've found prices at the local shops are equal and on numerous occasions, better than the supermarkets. As for convenience, well, using a pedometer to do my shop locally I covered less distance than I did when shopping at the supermarket, as I only went where I needed to go, not where they directed me, additionally, the shops have been in the same place for many years, butcher, green grocer, bakers etc., unlike in the supermarket where they move around on a monthly basis, but how much longer we will have our shops is in doubt.

Now if we look at things on a national level with slightly less tangible assets, who does the most work in looking after the rural idyll, the hedgerows, the flora and fauna, and the countryside in general. The countryside that provides for the nations larder, although nowhere near as much as it used to.The many countryside and welfare groups that exist all say that they do, but on closer inspection you have the same scenario as before, those that shout the loudest get the attention. And in these cases, their attitudes are somewhat blinkered, only looking at the areas of the countryside that they wish to address.

The countryside is a work place, it has few walls, rarely has a roof, but it needs constant maintenance. This maintenance takes on many forms from ploughing the soil, to vermin control, and a myriad of other tasks, all designed to make the countryside a safe, productive and pleasant environment to undertake business and keep as a nice place live and to look at; much like your garden at home, but on a much bigger scale.

For example there is an ornithological group, very keen on protecting our native birds and their habitat, a wholly commendable thing for them and the birds. But in their efforts to protect the bird life they fail to address the broader picture, to allow some form of maintenance for their endeavour, they need to manage the vermin, rats, foxes, corvids etc. that literally eat into their basic premise of protecting the birds.
In their efforts to protect the birds, they campaign strongly against those that do manage the countryside and the methods that they use to do so. And yet in the area where this group has full control of the habitat and environment, its success is limited.

Properly maintained and controlled habitats, where all vermin is managed in a humane and environmentally balanced way, has a much greater success rate. Good examples of this are places such as the moors of Yorkshire, where the ground is managed for grouse, the controlled burning of selected areas of moorland, to encourage new shoots on the heather, a process which occurs naturally, only less controlled and less often, provide cover for the grouse and many other birds, insects, and wildlife. In turn this rich and fertile area is now a pantry for those creatures that prey upon the increased number insects and birds. If left unattended too the predators would simply eat what is there and move on; much in the same way if went away for a week and left your dog a week's supply of food, they would eat it all on day one then go hungry the rest of the week, not being able to move on.

So who should we ask when it comes to the management of our countryside, one of the many blinkered single interest groups or those that are doing the work day in and day out? Going back to the dog on holiday, you either put your dog in kennels or get a friend to take care of your dog whilst you are away. They will provide your dog with its daily meals, and by working together there is enough food today and tomorrow to keep your dog healthy. Working together for the good of all, rather than just one group or individual is the best way to keep our countryside healthy and well maintained for this and future generations.

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