Once upon a time there was a young man who loved to garden.
He searched for a long time until finally he found the perfect spot. It had fertile soil, the grass was sweet and the water that ran through it was crystal clear.
Using all his skills he tilled and nourished the soil, planted seeds and plants, trees for shade and flowers for beauty.
His garden became a wonder. It produced food to sustain his family, provided shelter for a whole host of birds and animals and he felt safe and rewarded for his efforts.
The years passed and the gardener passed his skills on to his children. So engrossed were the family, in working the land and producing food, they failed to notice that all around them the landscape was changing.
Their home was no longer surrounded by forests and hills. Where once little cabins littered the hillsides, now monstrous high-rise buildings stood in their place. Winding dirt tracks had been replaced by four lane freeways. The sound of traffic drowned out the birdsong and the running creek had slowed to a trickle.
The people who lived in the high-rise buildings looked suspiciously on the family who lived a life so different from their own.
“Why do they need so much land?” they asked.
“Why do they use so much water from that creek?”
“Where is all the wild life that once lived in our forests?”
Having no answers to these perplexing questions, they began to blame the gardeners. They set up a committee to watch over their dubious activities. They made rules about the way the gardeners could use their land and the water on it.
“You need to listen to our committee. We are educated people,” they told the gardeners. “We will tell you what to plant and when to water.”
And they did.
Before long the once beautiful and cared for garden grew nothing but weeds; the olive grove and the orchard and the blossoming trees withered and died.
The birds left the garden because there was nothing to eat. The gardeners left because their hearts were broken.
The folk who lived in the high-rises went out for soy-lattes and congratulated themselves on preserving their environment.