30% of NI’s rivers classed as good quality. What would a Brehon do?

The use of chemical phosphate fertiliser and concentrated foods for animals, together with slurry run off, are lowering the water quality in our rivers, according to the latest research.

Brehon law regulated people’s behaviour towards trees and fines were levied when trees were cut. I looked to see if there was a similar system of protection for water but my eyes became vibrating hexagons before I could find any references.

So I looked for taboos around rivers and found this belief from the Shona people:

“there is a causal relationship between the moral condition of the community and its physical environment” Or, a sick environment is entwined with a sick culture.

We have lost so much: so many trees, so many salmon and birds, so many wild flowers and of course our clean water. Yet there is so little discussion about how to respond to our situation. It’s like our cultural relationship with nature is so broken, we are unable to care for it.

The way the media portray climate change does not help much. Its  focus is sharply on the concentration of an invisible gas.  Whereas, if we were encouraged to fall back in love with nature, we might not only solve our environmental problems through deciding to care, but we could reinvigorate the values of our culture by focussing on those things that sustain life.

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