The beauty of the African south coast – but for how much longer?

in TravelFeed5 months ago

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Flowers are to me like the gemstones of a landscape. They appear like the jewels worn by a person to decorate themselves. The flowers that grow wild and freely here on the southern coastline of the African continent are a natural opulence and a treasure, even though they are free. In a sense they are priceless. Nature provides them spontaneously and they decorate the landscape, embellishing it with beauty and uplifting the viewer at each new glance. Flowers of the Cape south coastFlowers of the Cape south coast

Overall, green and blue is the general setting for much of the planet, as any astronaut will tell you after their space walk. Mostly it’s a blue planet and consists of plenty of ochre-colored desert, though in places like this southernmost shoreline of Africa, plenty of green foliage proliferates like a carpet over the rocky terrain. And to see the smattering of bright flowers dotting the drab olive green certainly does wonders for all concerned here on the ground.

Upper section of the stream on a windy dayUpper section of the stream on a windy day

We are at a time in history where indigenous flora and fauna might be receding as civilization encroaches ever further upon nature. The population is expanding and natural surroundings are being used up for the building of towns and the agriculture required to feed the masses. Add to that the dying off of crucial little insects due to the toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in our artificial lifestyle today, and it’s likely that the planet will lose most of its flora and fauna diversity soon.

Wild and windswept, adding to the dramatic Indian ocean swell on the south coast of AfricaWild and windswept, adding to the dramatic Indian ocean swell on the south coast of Africa

This is the price we will pay due to our current leadership in politics and industry globally. The future is looking more and more artificial by the year. Therefore I aim to bask in and capture as much of the flora and pure indigenous natural environment that I can, while it still exists here in my particular stretch of the African coastline. The indigenous “fynbos” floral kingdom is one of the most prolific in diversity in the world, yet also the most delicate, so the pre-historic looking little plants will perhaps only be a memory in years to come as they disappear one by one.

Slightly further upstream to a sheltered spot in the gorgeSlightly further upstream to a sheltered spot in the gorge

The environmental protection departments of government only have a relatively small effect compared to the giant wheels of industry and trade that only see the bottom line in true capitalist style. The cost of the environmental impact has seldom been priced in, though some are gradually awakening to that cost. Some of the losses incurred will never be recouped by future generations. We are now using up their natural environment and poisoning it with our foolish and ignorant attempts at engineering nature. Also we appear to be placing profit above preservation in a seriously distorted perception of reality, in my opinion.

More of nature’s gems aplentyMore of nature's gems aplenty

Nevertheless, I am blessed to be surrounded by vast swathes of indigenous vegetation on the southernmost shores of Africa – for now – so I bask in its healthy beauty. Already 95% of the once prolific indigenous forest along this stretch of the coastline has been decimated over the generations, including beautiful indigenous Yellow-wood trees which were hundreds of years old. They will probably never return. Europe has also lost most of its forest due to timber demands for ships originally and then furniture or house building I presume.

A single ray of hope in a gloomy landscape with an uncertain futureA single ray of hope in a gloomy landscape with an uncertain future

I’m no longer able to take nature and my natural surroundings for granted. Every year that goes by brings more loss of global forest and poisoning of vast swathes of natural environment, on land and sea, due to those who put profit above preservation in an unsustainable way, fueled by insatiable greed. We can easily feed the world without killing or poisoning the environment to do it. We have the intelligence, but not the political will or conscience or wisdom to see our way out of our predicament. Maybe our descendants will see the error of our ways and make the change. I certainly hope so, for their sake.

(photos my own)

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