Saturday, June 18, 2011
In the Summer Country...
"I can forgive you your long winter when I meet your summer", someone said recently about Denmark's climate. I don't remember who. No matter. It's true. I forget the long dark winter days, when summer arrives with the sunny days and white nights. The windy days with rain and thunder will hit you now and then, but the next day mother sun comes back and smiles at you.
The summer country is lovely - fortunately there are still lots of places to enjoy. I know so many places by heart, especially in Jutland, but something has changed. And it has changed radically. I saw the beginning of the change last year and the year before, but this year it is more striking. The fallow-fields are hastily disappearing; the land has been ploughed up.
I spent one day upon the island of Mors in Limfjorden in North Jutland this week. Each corner is now cultivated, almost to the edge of the lake and the river. There were some moist grazing meadows along the coast, but they are not fit for cultivating. They still lie there beautiful and flowering along the sea, peacefully grazed by cattle and horses.
When I came home from my vacation, there was some writing about this in the news. It is called the largest nature scandal in Denmark for 20 years. Denmark has lost wild nature in an up till now unseen extent. The agriculture has now with licence from the government ploughed up 1320 km2 nature rich areas from 2007 till 2010. This is almost 12 % of our whole nature area. "This is a colossal loss of biological diversity," says Carsten Rahbek, professor in makro-ecology.
It's depressing to visit the summer country knowing that there are now lesser space for plants and animals. Species of plants, butterflies and other insects disappear. They cannot find a place to live, when their habitats disappear. And they don't come back. They just die out.
But there is still some beautiful living nature in the summer country.
photo: grethe bachmann