Reflections on the Destruction at Hushan


You-cing Valley, March 3, 2008

It may well be true that nothing lasts forever. But the rate at which we are accelerating the impermanence of everything natural around us is breathtaking. In Huben, Yunlin County, a forest teeming with plants, insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and others, an entity that creaks and rustles, sings, swoops, sways and sighs with a life of its own, is already in the initial stages of being flattened, stripped and scraped bare of all its wealth, right down into its soil. The diggers are clawing at the outer edges, chainsaws are slicing through the trees, and already one hillside is bare.

Stripped hillside, March 3, 2008
The developers say that now that the Hushan Reservoir construction has commenced the aim is to chop down an entire forest and flood an entire valley in a way which causes the least possible negative impact on the environment.

Rescued trees, March 3, 2008

And here is how that miracle is to occur: in a small clearing beyond the borders of the reservoir-to-be a pitiful array of twigs, transplanted from the project site and erected in mocking compensation for the forest that is to be cleared, stand ready as memorials to countless more of their kind which are to be reduced to timber.

A box in which to catch the essence of
the forest, March 3, 2008
Meanwhile, water-filled containers lie as traps here and there on the off-chance that some animal may crawl in and therefore be retrieved and delivered to a new artificial facility, designed in an attempt to pacify the people who care and ease the consciences of those who try not to.

Whether or not these orphans of Huben survive, their new home will always be a place of shadows for those who knew the lush, magical homelands from whence they came.

But the battle over the Hushan Reservoir is far from over, particularly in the face of these cheap insults. The need to stop the ongoing destruction in Huben and elsewhere in Taiwan and abroad is highlighted all the more by the tragic comedy of man's presumption that he can replicate in any way the intricate webs of life he has disassembled, dismembered and disemboweled with his clumsy tools. Neither the wretched little conservation areas nor the mighty steel and petrochemical plants that the reservoir is to supply will ever make up for what will be lost if this project is allowed to continue.

More news:
Hushan Dam: NGO site visit (posted March 7, 2008)

You-cing Valley, March 3, 2008

Formosan Macaque

Huben, 2006.

Cutting down, March 3, 2008

Clearing up, March 3, 2008