Why So Many Houses?

We are on holiday. This morning my daughter asked, “Why wherever we go in the world there are so many houses? Why are there so little open fields with flowers?”

What have we done to this world?

I don’t care if all the houses are green. We’ve got too many of them.

We are in Aruba, a desert island in the Caribbean. It is a small island with lots of wind. The landscape is dry with cactus. About a third of it is protected park and the rest is overbuilt with tacky cinder block structures.

We like to hand out on a part of the beach that is undeveloped except for one palm hut built by the local kite surfer crowd. We spend the day kite surfing and chilling on the beach. The kites whiz silently back and forth on the water. It is a harmless sport and does not bother anything.

Behind us is open sandy land with gnarly wind blown trees and cactus. It is very beautiful. Yesterday I was wandering in the nature with my son and we saw a sun drunk iguana as long as my arm, a heron and a pair of wild doves. The little desert flowers are like jewels in the sun. It is a sleepy place and nobody bothers the animals.

We are staying at a humble bunch of cottages a couple hundred yards from the beach.

It is all very idyllic if you ignore the row of high rise hotels  farther down the white sand beach. The tourists there pretty much stay confined to their all inclusive area. They get drunk and burn themselves in the sun.

Yet like so many beautiful places in the world, our little strip of deserted sand has “high profit value” and a Ritz Carlton is slated to be built in the area of land behind our kite surfing hut. They will bulldoze the trees and cactus then build a lush “tropical paradise” with perfect lawns, imported plants and the largest room hotel on the island.

It will consume vast amounts of water and electricity and it will create tonnes of garbage.

The irony is that wealthy tourist will come to a paradise that is artificial. It never existed in nature here. Behind the foliage will be reams of watering technology, fertilizer and a team of gardeners.  At the end of the day all of that must be fueled by oil and natural resources.

The Ritz Carlton will further destroy Aruba but that will be the least of the destruction. The biggest damage on the planet will be all the resources (ultimately oil) needed to run the place. Places across the globe will be destroyed to keep Ritz Carlton Aruba running.

And for us who enjoy the area now it will be gone. The kite surfers will be gone because the building will destroy the wind on the water. And also gone will be the gnarly trees, cactus, herons and iguanas.

The owner of the cottages where we are staying is excited though. Being so close to the Ritz his land will go up in value. He has plans of bulldozing his perfectly fine cottages to the ground and maxing his land out with a large complex of two and three story condos.

In a couple years this area too will have a lot of houses and the fields with flowers will be gone.

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