Tolstoy and biodiversity?

A small polluted river in Parma, Italy

You’d probably never expect the words Tolstoy and biodiversity in the same sentence and certainly no one could accuse Tolstoy of having anything much to say about the natural world.

Yet this most famous line of Tolstoy’s: ‘All happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way‘ echoed in my mind as I stood over this sad little river, yesterday, on the edge of Parma (Italy).

But here nature stands art on its head because all damaged rivers are alike whereas every undamaged river is different, each in it’s own unique way.

Here is the universal grey water, growths of algae, artificially shaped riverbanks and unnaturally deep channel of a damaged river.

Can we fix such problems? I am not overly optimistic.


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