Poppy Death. In Memoriam

Published in Highlights
I was delighted to see my first poppy of the season two days ago, and duly recorded my pleasure yesterday morning.
Passing by the same spot in the evening, just as I was about to point out the stunning red of the flower against an increasingly cloudy sky to my passenger, I saw with horror that it was gone. Only some tragic-looking grey strands and the unattractive concrete, now covered with the poppy's sad relics, remained to be seen.

Local Council workers had been on the scene during the day, resolutely clearing the roadsides in advance of the major Maundy Thursday Processions in about three weeks' time. The poppy had been growing in a crack by the base of a lamp post. It was not blocking a pavement, or indeed doing anyone any harm whatsoever. Just sharing its brilliant beauty with a world which proved to be unappreciative of the gift. Why kill it? Hardly a fitting sacrifice in honour of the Processions. Evidently there are different visions of what makes Hvar beautiful. I was not alone in regretting the poppy's passing: the lady whose yard fronts on to the spot came out to tell me how much her small children had enjoyed playing round the poppy. Not much joyful play left round the withered stalks.

Other victims of the viciously wielded strimmers were the road islands which just a short time ago were brimming with wild flowers, now reduced to stony bare earth interspersed with some rather sad-looking rosemary plants, cut back like victims of some brutal military-style bullying.

Left to flourish, rosemary plants are majestic at this time of year, attracting early bees. The plants in front of Jelsa's Bagy petrol station, just outside the town, which is also a very busy tyre-fitting operation, are a prime example:

Right now, the roadside verges which are not obliterated by pesticides or unnecessary strimming are alive with an ever-increasing variety of colours.

The red poppy is the first really bright red colour to appear in springtime, standing out among the profuse whites and yellows. Poppies have been associated with largescale human sacrifice since their adoption as an emblem of the First World War in Europe. Now in the 21st century there is no need to kill them off wantonly. Natural beauty is a gift Hvar should be nurturing, not destroying in this mindless way. Maybe the sacrifice of this one plant might lead to a re-think on the part of the local authorities and their workers. What do visitors to Hvar come to see? Nature sharing its abundant gifts of colour and life? - or the dead straggling shoots left after a mindless massacre? I think it's this:

© Vivian Grisogono 2014

You are here: Home highlights Poppy Death. In Memoriam

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Right to life is likely to be undermined alongside the rule of law, special rapporteur says

    The world is increasingly at risk of “climate apartheid”, where the rich pay to escape heat and hunger caused by the escalating climate crisis while the rest of the world suffers, a report from a UN human rights expert has said.

    Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said the impacts of global heating are likely to undermine not only basic rights to life, water, food, and housing for hundreds of millions of people, but also democracy and the rule of law.

    Continue reading...

  • The giant manta ray is at risk in the Pacific ocean, but the rise of ecotourism is changing attitudes among local fishermen

    Fishermen heading out to sea off Peru’s northern coast keep a keen eye on the turquoise waters below them, hoping for a glimpse of the elusive giant manta ray gliding by.

    Nowadays the boats are taking tourists rather than nets. The fish they once caught are now in decline, and the fish the visitors want to see now are worth far more alive than dead.

    Continue reading...

  • Major economies pledged a decade ago to phase out all aid for fossil fuels

    G20 nations have almost tripled the subsidies they give to coal-fired power plants in recent years, despite the urgent need to cut the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis.

    The bloc of major economies pledged a decade ago to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies.

    Continue reading...

  • Every stage of the plastic lifecycle releases harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere, contributing to global heating

    Plastics are among the most ubiquitous materials in our economy, our lives, and our environment. They are also among the most pervasive and persistent pollutants on Earth.

    In recent years, stark images of beaches, waterways, and wildlife filled with plastic have spurred demands for action to address plastic pollution. These calls are coupled with growing concern that plastic and its toxic additives pose serious risks to human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle. Far less attention has been paid to the impacts of this same lifecycle on the earth’s climate. This is a dangerous oversight.

    Continue reading...

  • Greater Manchester’s Bee Network has just £160m of the cash it needs, unlike a junction near Bedford

    Almost exactly a year ago, Chris Boardman – the Olympic champion turned walking and cycling commissioner – unveiled a bold vision: Greater Manchester was to turn itself into a Dutch-style cycling paradise by building a 1,000-mile network of walking and biking routes called Beelines, after Manchester’s civic symbol, the worker bee.

    A year on, the scheme has changed its name to the Bee Network after a rather embarrassing copyright infringement, and has expanded to cover 1,800 miles. Yet so far, work has only begun on one tiny section – a bit of towpath in Wigan known as the “muddy mile” – and the first wodge of money has already gone.

    Continue reading...

  • Floating boom is designed to trap 1.8tn items of plastic without harming marine life – but broke apart last time

    A floating device designed to catch plastic waste has been redeployed in a second attempt to clean up a huge island of garbage swirling in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii.

    Boyan Slat, creator of the Ocean Cleanup project, announced on Twitter that a 600 metre (2,000ft) long floating boom that broke apart late last year was sent back to the Great Pacific garbage patch this week after four months of repair.

    Continue reading...

  • Ana María Hernández says shifting society out of ‘comfort zone’ is difficult, but young people are inspiring

    The survival of the natural world upon which humanity depends hangs in the balance, according to the new chair of the global scientific body for biodiversity.

    Ana María Hernández said she did not know if society could make the major changes needed to stop the annihilation of wildlife, which some scientists thought was the start of a mass extinction. It would be very difficult to shift society out of its current “comfort zone” of business-as-usual, but she thought the much higher environmental awareness among young people was a reason for great optimism.

    Continue reading...

    • Protesters block avenue between Port Authority and NYT
    • Extinction Rebellion calls for better coverage of climate crisis

    A climate change protest orchestrated by the Extinction Rebellion activist group briefly blocked Eighth Avenue in New York on Saturday afternoon, between the Port Authority transit hub and the home of the New York Times.

    The New York police department (NYPD) said 70 people were arrested as they called for more effective media coverage of the dangers of climate change, in a dramatic demonstration that saw people stage a die-in in front of the newspaper building and disrupt traffic in midtown Manhattan.

    Continue reading...

  • John McDonnell aims to enhance party’s environmental credentials

    Labour will back measures deterring investment in fossil fuels as part of a new drive to stop the financial sector from funding global heating, John McDonnell will reveal this week.

    In the latest attempt by Labour to display its green credentials, the shadow chancellor will use a speech in the City on Monday to commit to using the “full might of the Treasury” to tackle the issue. He will commit the party to forcing the private sector into investing in the “green industrial revolution”.

    Continue reading...

  • Nation suffering disproportionately from climate emergency to phase in ban, believed to be world first, by December

    It is but a tiny speck in the Pacific Ocean, but the island state of Vanuatu is leading the global fight against plastic waste. The nation, which has already introduced one of the toughest single-use plastic bans in the world, is believed to be the first to propose a ban on disposable nappies, to be phased in at the end of this year.

    At a meeting in London this week, chaired by Patricia Scotland, the secretary general of the Commonwealth, Vanuatu was hailed as a “champion” nation, one of 12 who are forging ahead in tackling ocean and climate emergency challenges.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds