Preservation & Conservation

I come across calls for preserving the past or conserving nature or suchlike almost everyday. And I ponder..

A few years ago I read an interesting article about the Irish diaspora. It seems the infamous potato famine in Ireland forced many an Irishman to cross the Atlantic & seek refuge in the new world of America. A couple of centuries later, their descendants, now successful plutocrats in America decided they wanted to discover their roots in Ireland. So they set out to go to Ireland of their parents & grand-parents. Unfortunately, when they got there, that Ireland of their past had gone away. The Irish had given up the old ways for what they saw as the ‘success’ of the American Irish. And much as the Americans tried, they could not convince the Irish that the old way was the better way.

For those of us who live in big cities, the countryside seems idyllic and calm and we rush to its embrace every weekend. But for those who live in the country, the bright lights of the city beckon. I know many a gentleman-farmer who pines for the City all week and runs away from the ‘dead & boring’ countryside to the City every weekend. And their happiest moment is when Café Coffee Day opens a raucous & glitzy outlet in their backyard.

So, preservation & conservation is often a matter of perspective.