From October 2002 till October 2009, I lived and worked in London where I started this blog so my family and friends in Belgium were able to know what I was doing in London (although they didn't follow the blog).
In October 2009, I returned to Belgium (forced by circumstances) and now I live in Brussels, capital of Europe. I finally start to get used to my life back in Belgium, the country where I was born but I never really loved.
Coexistence of humans and animals
A document has been
signed by many public figures in which they call to stop the import of anytrophies from trophy hunters, certainly when they kill
endangered animals. I agree, those wealthy trophy hunters should not abuse the
fact that many countries where these animals live are poor and need money
(sometimes for the pockets of corrupt politicians). But I think it should go
further whereby trophy hunters should know that they can't return to their own
country after their hunt because upon arrival in their own country they will be
arrested on charges that they are partly to blame for the extinction of animal
species, even when they're royal.
Relation developed versus developing countries
But I realise we
should not condemn countries where endangered but also potentially extremely
dangerous animals live such as lions and tigers, elephants and rhinos when they
decide the animal population became too large, certainly in the face of their
Indeed, when western
countries such as the Netherlands are not able to manage just over 2000 deer
and find it necessary to kill about 4/5 of the population then
yes, African countries may have much bigger reasons to control their wildlife populations, although often by transporting animals from one region with too many to another region
with too few animals and thus also potentially increasing the gene diversity. Of course, we should
try to convince them not to do as the West did with their past (and current)
wildlife but who are we to condemn those countries who kill, often to protect
their own citizens and food.
Magnificent deer in Richmond Park, London
Similar in the UK
where badgers are killed with the argument this must
happen to protect cows against bovine tuberculosis that may be spread via the
badgers although it's more complex as killing not sufficient numbers of badgers may even help the spread of the disease. Yes, scientists should be involved to find solutions so
both cows and badgers can coexist. Because, disrupt the natural order and something
else may come (such as overpopulation of animals that were kept under control by badgers) until a new
natural order returns. We know from history. And, to be honest, in the past mad cow disease infected cows and now bovine tuberculosis, the likelihood that our industrial farming methods with focus on a few species of cows (and other animals) that are most profitable and kept in overpopulated stables may be largely to blame whereby continuous inbreeding results in a group of animals that are all vulnerable to certain diseases.
certain areas have problems with growing numbers of wild boar that destroy
people's garden. Indeed, they were extinct but after their
reintroduction there are now too many and people want to stop them, a contraception may be a solution to control the population. When
this problem was discussed on the radio, the response to the journalist's
question why no fences are built around the reserve, the response of someone working for a wildlife organisation was that people want to visit the parks but a
fence would block their access and thus each individual household should have
its own fence. It almost sounded that this person wants that people ask dramatic
actions such as killing the animals.
In a fence doors can be included that open
inwards so people can enter the reserve at certain places (while the doors can close automatically) where also parking
can be present while animals can't escape the enclosure easily. I do accept the argument that boars (and other animals) can make holes under the fence
and thus can escape. Still, when sufficient space is available to find
food than it's more likely the animals will remain within their dedicated area.
Further and to enlarge the space for the animals, the fence can connect
different reserves, sometimes via narrow passages between two towns or a bridge over dangerous roads, even
between neighbouring countries so animals can move safely from one area to
another so they have larger areas to find food and as a result mix their genes
with other groups to prevent too much inbreeding while causing less damage so people's property.
In addition, as recently wolfs arrived in that area in Limburg, they can keep
populations of wild boar under control while fences will reduce the possibility
wolfs come in contact with humans or people will demand the wolfs are killed,
certainly when they kill cheep.
Of course, in regions with few inhabitants, fences are not necessary as is already in many countries because we
don't want to spoil our views with fences everywhere while we want to have a feeling there is still real
Finally, building permissions should take into account that
certain areas are for wildlife while others are for humans, a real challenge in
certain parts of the world. But if Western countries are unable to build fences in such a
way that sufficient numbers of animals can survive via the use of their natural
instinct, i.e. migration to find food, than we need to continue to kill large numbers of animals because they have insufficient space to find food while we should not ask developing countries to have large natural habitats whereby sometimes fences are needed to protect both animals and humans against each other.
Lungs of the earth
There are still a
few major forest areas (such as in Russia, Brazil, Canada, USA and China
although Australia follows closely) left in the world that produce our oxygen
although we should not forget also grass fields and even oceans produce oxygen
while remove CO2 from the air. Some of these can be found in Africa and Asia,
all with large numbers of living creatures large and small. I agree with people
who say that the rest of the world should also pay to preserve these areas as
these can be considered as wasted land for the concerned countries in terms of
our current economic models; newer models already take into account that
tourism, including to nature reserves, is a major contributor to wealth.
But, as the latest
elections in Brazil show, with each change of political leader we risk that a
politician rises who promised during the campaign economic growth at the
expense of what are one of the last remaining untouched nature. Therefore, we
may suggest some financial compensation to keep large areas of the Amazon.
Still, we should not only rely on regions elsewhere but have our own projects
to restore nature that has been destroyed by previous generations and this
includes both woodland and open areas. It all seems so easy while we know it's
so difficult in practice because each small project that stimulates the economy
is preferred above the longer benefit of more protection of nature. On the
other hand, due to new economies such as renewable energy and paperless
administration, less space will be needed for industry and thus what comes
available should be used to restore nature (partly because it's cheaper) than
to clean all polluted ground for housing (of course, too polluted needs
The circle closes
And thus, we arrive
back where this article started because one of our own projects should be the
prohibition of the destruction in other parts of the world of land and oceans and the lives they support (unless approved because they aim to protect people against for
instance flooding) by our own people and thus punishment for those who destroy
such as hunting endangered (but even other) animals. This way we decide to
contribute to the protection of life on this planet while we try to prevent
financially and by reason that other countries destroy their natural habitat
that should be from everyone but in addition to rebuild our own habitat (as we
already try to do) so we too contribute directly to life on this planet and
depend less on others.
Note: Art and
natural materials such as ivory
And remember, an
object is not art because it is from ivory but because someone sculptured
something out the original ivory. Thus, something remains art when someone
sculptured something out of plastic that looks like ivory. But I accept, mass
production of an object in plastic is possible while this is not possible with
the natural material that is ivory. But real artists want to produce art, whether it can be sold or
not as it is about being creative.
Brexit and the EU and possible troubled future relationshipSimon Jenkins is reasoning that PM Johnson may have to give in to the EU as he thinks that the UK's fishing industry depends on the EU to survive. However, EU consumers will be angry when fish becomes scares and expensive after EU fishers are no longer allowed to fish in British waters; indeed, the UK's own fish export may even increase. Or the UK may export its fish to the rest of the world. Similar to other farming exports such as lam of which a large part is exported to the EU.
Further, he writes [Quote]
"It may be that one day the EU’s economy so collapses that it really is worth Britain’s while to turn away and seek better deals elsewhere. There is not the remotest sign of that at present."
Really? Does he not read newspapers or watch news programs? Look to the border between Greece and Turkey. Turkey opened its borders with Greece because it's angry the EU (very likely) doesn't keep its promise …
Economies are restarting, a necessitySocieties are slowly restarting their country, including opening borders so people can travel again. In Belgium shops opened while schools for some students restarted. People can also restart non contact sports. But, we're also reminded to continue to keep a distance from others and to continue washing our hands regularly. Unfortunately, for many people this restart comes too late as the economy plummeted worldwide and companies need to fire people or close completely when they couldn't survive two months of inactivity. And, although many people acknowledge this lockdown was necessary, up to 25% of businesses say they won't survive a second lockdown; I also think "Mr Doom" is more realistic when he says that the recovery will be much slower than the IMF thinks it will. And yet, bars and restaurants still can't reopen in Belgium while also tourism that includes travel agencies, airline companies, hotels and others suffers a…
and video to explain
the statistics behind the coronavirus deaths but also to record illnesses. Excess
mortalityI'm in favour of
using excess deaths (excess mortality) as a starting point to determine the
severity. Of course, it doesn't need to be only death as the seriousness of
something can also be defined as numbers of people who can't perform normal
activities as is done for flu or heatwaves. But, as we're in the middle of a
coronavirus pandemic that kills, I'll continue with excess mortality i.e. how
many people die more compared with the average of the same months in previous
years (see figure 1 for explanation). This excess death (and if data is
available excess sick) informs quickly whether a day, week, month and year is
normal or not. Already this is done
in the healthcare sector when GPs and/or hospital doctors notice an increase in
patients and thus record the numbers of patients who are very ill or die to
know whether a warning should be giv…