forefathers were forcefully brought to a foreign, fertile and virgin land (Dominica) where they worked the soil from sun up to sun down. Also, the early inhabitants (the Indians) of our beautiful land were driven off the most fertile and agriculturally productive communities all over the island by the European plantocracy.
Our enslaved forefathers were not allowed to remain with their families or to think for themselves. They were compelled to work the land mercilessly without compensation in the punishing blistering sun and during torrential rains. The Belles Combo band said it best in their hit song 'Yuo travail, por anay, Demache, Mecredie` evect Samdi'. They were not taught to respect the land and its delicate chemistry.
However, history indicates that they had much reverence and respect for the land and the environment. In their many rituals and festivals, great reference was paid to the land, animals, water and nature. Today the village feasts such as Fete La Sen Pierre, La Salette and others are legacies of these important and meaningful festivals.
In the 20th century and especially today, unfortunately, the repeated planting of the same crops on the same acres of land have helped to ruin the fertility of the soil. The woodlands and rain forests that provide nutrients to the environment have begun to strip away. If deforestation is not controlled, our beautiful nature island could be at risk.
Thankfully, visionaries and organizations such as the Dominica Conservation Association (DCA) are helping to turn around the nation's sensibilities and sensitivities about the environment, and preserving and coexisting with the land. These movements are slowly making the word 'environment' an everyday word by advocating the balancing of our man-made world with the natural one.
It is important that government, watch dog organizations, educators and the general public continue to embrace and understand the beauty, importance, fragility and delicate nature of our environment. The prosperity and well being of our country depend heavily on the environment. The idea and ideal are to blend the two big 'Es, the environment and the economy, in a responsible, respectful, friendly and non-destructive manner.
The natural beauty of our island home is not just a place for outdoor lovers to get high from nature. The wilderness and breath taking views along the rivers, ravines, hills, rugged coastlines and tropical rain forests are all 'Dominican'. The scenic highlands, steep cliffs and contoured valleys and ridges espouse great beauty. They show the fullness of Dominica's manifold treasures.
I love this land of wide, long, flowing mountain lines and rolling hills. The beauty of the mountains at dawn's early light when the early morning sun is slowly dissolving the gray left over shadows from the previous night is very impressive and therapeutic to watch. Another treat is witnessing the mountains loosing their definiteness at the end of the day when the sun is slowly disappearing behind them.
With the continued protection of wild life and the conservation of the land, hopefully a sustained awareness for the environment will continue in Dominica. These concerted efforts will ensure that Dominica's younger and future generations will have the knowledge, sensitivity to cherish, protect and respect the land and the environment that our forefathers knew so very well.