I have not had one grape off my vine this year; what little crop was coming after the awful summer, has been denuded by birds in the last three weeks. The evidence of blue/purple bird shit underneath the vine is damning.
I had been wondering which birds were doing this. In past years I've seen the blackbirds go for it, but not so assiduously. So today, when in the deluge of rain we are having, my local robin popped in to perch on the grapevine, to survey the food, I was faced with the human quandary.
The robin has been a constant visitor this year, you see, and has been my confirmation that my organic garden feeds nature and wildlife, naturally.
The human quandary is based on this: how can humanity feed itself, without taking food away from other living things?
If I had to depend on that grapevine for my food, that robin would have been soup months ago. As with many nature lovers, I would rather delude myself that I am making a difference: somewhere else, a farmer is growing food chemically and mechanically on my behalf and denying it from the robins, yet I am trying to grow food and letting the robins eat my food.
Perverse? Perhaps. But then, I can console myself that most people in London are not nature lovers, and so I am creating diversity of opportunity for robins: just as some farmers will still protect their strips of nature now that set-aside payments have been withdrawn.
Nonetheless, I am peeved that I have not been left with one grape! And the lesson is this: despite the stubborn ignorance of anti-Malthusians, the fact is that a planetary ecosystem will never support an unlimited population of human beings, without substantial eradication, near-extinction, and absolute extinction of most other forms of life.
Food for humans takes away food for something else, and to allow humanity to proceed in deliberate ignorance of the value of other living things, is to be accessory to speciocide. For example, who are we to decide that a slug is an unnecesary and undesirable form of life compared to a lettuce, when in fact the slug is a juicy meal to a hedgehog, a bird, and even a fox?
Which brings me back once again to the Global Human Economic Machine, which is the Juggernaut composite of global human civilization and globalized human technology. It grows with inexorable, deliberate ignorance, and even in this era of Global Financial Collapse, there are NO economists who give any space to Planetary Ecosystem Economics.
The futulity of my endeavour to expand consideration of Planetary Ecosystem Economics, or at least to evaluate and question the Global Human Economic Machine, has landed me in despair many times this year. Despair will always be available. Let this be my record of persistence despite despair.