First something about the current wave of terror of the eco-fascists. Do I think that we have to treat our environment better than we do now ? Of course I do. Do I make an effort in my personal life ? Of course I do. But do any of you ecological gestapos think I feel guilty about flying to Indonesia on a 3 week diving holiday as long as you politically correct nitwits keep ignoring the elephant in the global warming room: the complete lack of any form of family-planning or contraception in most developing countries, courtesy of about all religions known to men? In Niger the birth rate is more than 7 children per woman, followed by Somalia at more than 6 children per woman. The human population is likely to keep growing until 2100 reaching an estimated 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100, while the 7 billion milestone was reached barely 8 years ago in 2011.
The recently published summary of the European green parties "Priorities for 2019, What European Greens Fight For" calls for the EU borders to be opened for migration. Now, that doesn't immediately encourage countries with high fertility rates to make behavioral changes does it, quite the contrary I would say. And so their and our problems will only worsen over time.
The powerful "game changer" for our planet will not be windmills or solar panels or fake solutions such as charity for Africa but the unassuming, unpretentious but at least as powerful as the wheel, fire, iron, concrete ... that modest sixties invention : the birth-control pill !
And you green smurfs want me to worry about turning the little light in my fridge off or sit in arctic gear in my living room for fear of turning up the heating in winter or slowly getting boiled in summer for lack of AC ? Well think again.
That point gently being made :-) back to Belgium then.
Like so many other things in Belgium, most of our nature parks are a confusing, jumbled patchwork of small parcels and plots of woods, prairies, ponds, lakes, … a hotchpotch transected and deeply scarred by highways, railroad tracks, houses, campings, farms, agricultural zones, … Not only is this unsightly but it is also very damaging to the environment and a threat to our remaining natural habitat. Clearly the Belgian spacial planning horror was and is being hammered together by an old blind man in the basement of his retirement home.
Flanders is - alas - already a lost cause as far as untouched and pristine nature is concerned. And with the ridiculously unambitious intention of our Flemish regional environmental minister Joke "the joke" Schauvliege (chased out of town by now in tar and feathers) to only call an “embargo on concrete” (no new roads, houses or industrial zones) by the year … exciting drumbeat - hold on folks here it comes … 2040 ! No that’s not a typo ! Does that christian-democrat nitwit actually think that 21 years from now there will be any nature left in Flanders to save from the concrete and asphalt barons ?
Fortunately we also do still have the Ardennes and the German-Belgian High Fens – Eifel Nature Park, a cross-border nature park with elements in the German federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate as well as the Belgian province of Liège.
United Nations created world heritage sites so that important cultural and natural landmarks could be preserved for all humanity for all time ... or at least until some religiously challenged Taliban or Daesh islamist barbarians blow them up. Plus, as an added bonus the UN gives the country's government a truckload of money, which can be used to buy the officials in charge at least a dozen shiny new Mercedes limos.
Well, the High Fens in the east of Belgium are not a world heritage site but with a total area of 2,485 km2 (959 sq mi) they are pure hiking bliss. It’s one of the few places left in Belgium where you can wander around for a few hours without seeing any houses, crossing roads, trailer parks, bungalow parks etc…
A multitude of scenic trails, castles, plenty of bird's eye views of the river valleys, mule tracks, sometimes doing the tightrope walk between abrupt gradients and steep slopes, valleys that become narrower and narrower, icy streams ... So definitely a must go and so worth the trip if you’re on the run from the noisy - smelly and overcrowded rest of Belgium.
Since my childhood days hiking in the woods must be one of my favorite activities to do in my own country when the sun is shining. So bring out those hiking boots, jump in your polluting cars, drive East and enjoy with me some of the marvelous vistas in the High Fens.