Thursday, May 16, 2013

Burning fields and mountainsides

Yesterday I went out with Padre German Navarro to the village of San Isidro La Cueva to celebrate the feast of their patron, San Isidro Labrador, Saint Isidore the Farm Laborer.

We were met by a small group of people waiting to begin a procession to the church, reciting the rosary as we went. Padre German insisted that they have a specific intention with each decade of the rosary. I spaced out and missed all the intentions but the third, which was for water.

It’s been hot and dry here, though it rained one day last week. It is a little cooler this week, but still no rain.

The rain is important for planting and though some communities like San Isidro will not plant until June, the lack of rain is a bit worrisome.

But worse are the fires and the scorched earth it leaves behind.

People, especially those with a lot of land, will burn the field to prepare them for planting, especially if they have decided to plant a new crop in an area that was formerly forested. This leaves the area vulnerable to land slides and soil erosion. At times the burning will affect other vegetation and I’ve seen dying pine trees because of the burning. The climatic effects – including affecting water sources – are very serious.

I saw some burnt areas in San Isidro but I was shocked as we drove from San Isidro toward El Zapote. The side of a mountain was burnt and trees had been felled. It was a black and grey wilderness. Near the road you could see that the fire had even affected some banana plants.

I was so shocked I didn’t pull out my camera to take a picture.

Whose land is this?

Who are those who are destroying God’s creation?

What can be done?

In some parts of Honduras municipalities have enacted “no burn” laws and, because the people were the ones who pushed for these laws, they are generally successful in eliminating the burnings.

Whether this could be done here is another question. Right now leaders, including Padre German, are talking to the people, urging them not to burn.

But the burning continues.

No comments: