Monday, June 02, 2003

Environmentalists Vs. Traditional Cultural Practices

In the UK there are many (I can’t find out how many) figures carved into chalk hillsides. These are beautiful large-scale pieces of art that have become emblems of the regions in which they are found.

The most common figure created is a White Horse the origin of which is lost in time – some say that they were installed to honor a horse god in Celtic times. At least one of these horses is believed to date from 878 and additional horses were added to the landscape to celebrate a variety of events or honor different groups.

As a celebration for the millennium a beautiful white horse was carved into a hillside in Kent. The location was selected to be a great farewell image for visitors as they leave for the continent. The owner of the land thought the creation of the White horse was great and a British Judge gave his OK. After all, a new White Horse is but a continuation of a historical cultural practice – why not approve?

This is where the EU rears its ugly head. Evidently, this region is considered an important nature site and the new White Horse is considered destructive. No exception is given for the fact that this is a piece of art that continues ancient traditions.

I am personally in favor of the White Horse. I have seen a couple of White Horses and have to admit that they are lovely – it is rather amazing to consider how hundreds of years ago such a large image could be created in a natural environment and that it is still there for us to enjoy today.

It strikes me that in most of my conversations with lefty types respect for the environment goes hand in hand with a respect for traditional cultural practices. I wonder how they are going to be able to resolve this conflict?


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