Apr 3, 2007

Where Has the Mountain Gone?

I'll tell you a sad story about a mountain that is losing its treasure.
I show you a picture taken by Japanese geologist in 1932. It's Banping Mountain. It looked like being chopped off by half.
When I was a child, I was curious about where the half of the mountain had gone.
My father told me a story about it.
A god sliced off half of the mountain, mixed it with the water of Lotus Lake to make large amounts of free dumpling for the poor people. Finally, the missing half of the mountain had gone to the stomachs of greedy villagers.
When I grew up, I became a student of Tsoying Senior High. I witnessed the changing of the mountain under the rumbles of blasting. The mountain got lower and lower while the city got more and more prosperous. I didn't really know where the half of the mountain had gone, but I certainly knew where the other half has. Part of the other half is composed of limestone. It was not sliced away by the god. It had gone to the kiln and was used for cement and steel making. It played a very important role in the miracle of Taiwan’s economic development. The missing part of Banping Mountain was exchanged for the increasing national income. The greedy people as well as the villagers in the previous legend have destroyed the mountain to satisfy their own needs.
The entire cliff and the limestone layer almost disappeared.
Limestone mining has removed the original vegetation, destroyed the natural habitat, and moreover, has changed the stable geology structure and caused landslide.
Now, I am a teacher of Tsoying High. I always take my students to Banping Mountain to study the plants, fossils, and geology. I'm glad that the limestone mining has ended since 1997. The greens come back to the mountain, and it means the habitat is expanding. Humans and animals also come back. It has recovered from quarries into Nature Park although the grand cliff returns no more. We can see the bright future of the mountain. After the battle between environmental protection and economic growth, it reached a new point of balance.
What do we learn from the missing Mountain?
We have to reconsider the question:
"How can human beings live with Mother Nature harmoniously?"
No doubt, the answer is "Sustainable development".
"Sustainability" means that we have to ensure our economy and society can continue to exist without destroying the natural environment on which we all depend. Achieving sustainable development is no easy task. The decision-making at the highest levels and our day-to-day behavior has to change.
As we look back at the missing Banping Mountain, have we ever changed our attitude toward Mother Nature?
In 2003, the government of Kaohsiung City decided to imitate the stubborn old man who removed mountains, which blocked his way in front of his house in an old Chinese legend. In early 2004, the southern end of the Mountain has gone and become a roadway. It lost the balance once more.
In the near future, the tunnel of the Mass Rapid Transit will do it again. Part of the Mountain will lose as usual. The battle seems endless.
What have we learned from the missing mountain?
Beyond the construction site, at the foot of the mountain, a grass does its best to break through the dried mud and grow strongly. When will the spring come back to Banping Mountain?
(Alan's C2 Speech)

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