I've been scrolling through some photos and fondly recalling how much I appreciated the local architecture whilst in Chile. Simple and beautifully executed carpentry appeared in abundance along the coast, and as a woodworking enthusiast it set my froth gauge on high.
Looking at these photos now however, I realise my opinions have gained some depth. Whilst the creative in me really enjoyed the craft involved, the environmentalist in me was (and still is) frankly horrified by what we saw in rural Chile.
You may recall from my posts at the time; the entire country is DOMINATED by pine plantations. More often than not, grid upon grid of monocultured trees extend literally as far as the eye can see in every direction. The forestry is absolutely off chops.
And whilst technically still a 'forest', these plantations provide virtually none of the associated environmental benefits that an equivalent area of native bushland would provide. Critical pillars of natural ecology like water regulation, soil fertility and habitat provision for countless species of fauna become totally absent as their achievement relies on biodiversity.
This being the case, it added a reasonably spooky element to the exploration process within these massive tracts of 'wilderness'. Whilst of course satiating to be out of an urban environment, the air between the pines seemed a bit... dead. Silent. Eerie.Perfectly manicured rows of enormous trees, no other flora or fauna to be seen, save the occasional horse slowly plodding its way through the perfectly polka-dotted landscape. For my brain, the sensory weirdness betrayed every tactile sensibility I had at my disposal to understand 'sustainability'.
In the wake of the fire it all became quite sinister as we began to hear a lot of murmurs about foul play.
Word on the grapevine was that arsonists had lit fires in a number of separate locations, all lying in the path of a strong and well-predicted wind. This deadly forecast saw the wind quickly link them all together as soon as it arrived.
It was allegedly this process that gave birth to one absolute mega-blaze, a fire that would go down in history as the worst Chile had ever seen.
Shit, I was so shocked seeing it up front. Of course I knew the answer must be yes, but I was still asking myself is such movie-level evil genius possible? Could someone out there actually orchestrate this and justify it as a "protest"?
Hushed conversations passed through the streets in low voices with raised eyebrows. No one seemed truly willing to credit such a terrifying potentiality.
It is this prospect that I still contend with today.
Is this is where 'democracy' has arrived? A time where disgruntled environmental activists believe they will enact change for the better by setting fire to the government's 'warehouse' and literally burning its largest stockpile? People who insist on making themselves heard at any expense, who consider death and destruction simple and justified 'collateral' of an acceptable standard. Scary shit huh?!
Anyway probably time to cease this dark tangent. It's just a train of thought I automatically find myself on when I look at photos from the time. The message I'm choosing to promote here is that if everyone does their bit and the global environmental situation improves, such widespread and disasatrous 'protests' like this can't be viewed by anyone as a necessity.
It's taken me a while to unpack this conclusion though! Much thinking indeed for someone who began as just another happy gringo admiring the architecture and thinking "isn't it great that they use locally sourced building materials" bla bla bla.
Hmm, not quite that simple Rolls.
Nice woodwork but!