After several years in Africa I share that deep-rooted desire for my own piece of ground – the security, the illusion of persistence it provides for me and my genes. It is almost guttural. But it just doesn’t add up does it? 6 billion people now, 9 billion by 2050, land needed to grow crops to (over) feed us, and now for biofuels as well. Two thirds of the planet is covered by ocean anyway. What will give?
Well, land claims for a start. Some of us may feel quite unreasonably secure with several hundred years of legal tenure behind us. Others have seen their title deeds ripped up by Dictators (shame on you Mr. Mugabe). The Siulak people in Sumatra have a traditional statement that “where my feet have walked is my land and I will do with it what I wish”. Well, at least that has the virtue of unashamed honesty – and perhaps reflects the nature of humanity more than we might like to admit.