Monday, 5 November 2012

Arrogance Versus Nature

Can we say something about Hong Kong people's awareness when it comes to the environment? I'm not talking about the concrete jungle, but the au naturel one.

The Hong Kong government is planning to turn a coastal area called Lung Mei near Taipo in the New Territories into a man-made beach which conservationists have said will severely impact the some 200 marine and bird species there.

There was a massive protest yesterday at government headquarters in Admiralty where many of the protestors wore blue, but the government still insists on going ahead with the development even though environmental studies have been done by volunteers.

But what do the regular folk do?

They head out to this contested piece of land and try to dig up the fragile ecosystem to find creatures to keep as pets and destroy their nests.

Six-year-old Maggie Lam was spotted sticking her shovel in the sand like other children to see what they could dig up.

"We are trying to catch some [marine species] and take them home to keep them," she said yesterday. "We'd caught starfish before and had taken them home. But after two days, they all died."

Another eight-year-old girl collected some 20 little crabs and lobsters caught by her father.

People! What are you doing?! This is wild marine life that should be left alone! They are not domesticated creatures you can take home!

Dr Michelle Cheung Ma-shan, of the Eco-Education and Resources Centre was more diplomatic about it and said: "It is a good chance for parents to educate children on the importance of conserving nature but it has to be done with the correct attitude: just watch but don't touch."

Apparently there are more families who are visiting Lung Mei these few weeks creating more of a disturbance on the ecology of the area.

But really what's even worse is that the government is not even hearing the pleas of conservationists and the Taipo district council already passed a motion supporting the project.

There is no interest in long-term conservation even though there is a slow but growing movement of people in Hong Kong who are becoming more aware of environmental issues and realize the need to protect what we have left.

People need to understand that once something in the natural ecology is gone, it will not come back.

Even all the money in the world won't bring it back.

Hong Kong needs to think long term -- generations into the future -- about the kind of city we want to have.

Surely we can coexist with plants and animals, whose ancestors have been here much longer than us?


  1. The children mentioned in your piece -- and their parents -- need to realize that wild creatures are not (and cannot be) domesticated pets, and that nature is indeed wild -- even when it's just a bus ride away. Put another way: respect nature -- otherwise, risk Mother Nature's wrath or the whole planet will suffer!

  2. Yes! They don't seem to understand that nature needs to be left alone! Digging them up and taking them home is not "conserving" them!