BY LARRY FRENCH
Have you ever seen the Far Side cartoon of the student trying to push his way in a door of the Midvale School for the Gifted? The door has a sign on it that says “pull.”
There’s another cartoon image we’ve probably seen at one time or another of someone sawing off the limb of a tree that they are sitting on. Their subtle messages also have a more serious side.
How many times do we see vast expanses of naturally forested land cleared away to create what modern living has devised as the perfect concept for community living?
If you happened to truly see one of these tracts of land before it was destroyed, you might have noticed the rabbits, deer, gopher tortoises, foxes, squirrels, various birds, and other wildlife that that area was home to. As you zoomed past on the roads we’ve cut through such places, how many of these creatures have you seen dead along the shoulder?
Now, as one of these natural habitats is destroyed forever, can you imagine yourself as that Midvale student pushing against that door? Perhaps as you wonder where all of those animals will be going to go after our newest sod-scaped spread of houses is done, you can see yourself as that person sawing off your supporting tree limb?
There is a cause-and-effect relationship that exists with all of these lands we so freely transform into voids disconnected from real natural-life processes. You chop off that limb you’re sitting on, and you fall down.
When we sweep away all semblances of the habitats and ecosystems that existed someplace, there’s bound to be a subsequent impact of some kind. Do you see more evidence of roadkill around our developments? There are consequences, many of which are not immediately seen or perceived.
Take for instance, years of development that don’t take into account changes and impacts that can influence rainwater and stormwater runoff. Does any of this ring a bell?
All of this should, but for too long we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we’re smart enough to know everything, except maybe understanding how natural things work.
— Deltona resident Larry French is a historian with an extensive background and knowledge of Florida. He is a Florida Master Naturalist and living-history re-enactor. French is the author of the book Grand Hotels of West Volusia County by Arcadia Publishing and the history-based fiction adventure novel Time Will Tell: The Awakening.