Self-Sufficient Living and 145,000 Cats

Bealtaine Cottage Christmas CatA Salutary Lesson

To treat a malaria outbreak in Borneo in the 1950s, the World Health Organization (WHO) sprayed DDT to kill mosquitoes. 

But the DDT also killed parasitic wasps which were controlling thatch-eating caterpillars.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture As a result, the thatched roofs of many homes fell down, and the DDT-poisoned insects were eaten by geckoes, which were in turn eaten by cats.

The cats perished, which led to the multiplication of rats, and then outbreaks of sylvatic plague and typhus.

Bealtaine Cottage 008To put an end to this destructive chain of events, WHO had to parachute one hundred and forty five thousand  live cats into the area to control the rats.


So, what has this little story got to do with self-sufficiency, I hear you ask?

Bealtaine CottageWell, it’s all about circles and loops and asking oneself questions…

For to be self-sufficient it is important to engage with the World, Nature and develop awareness of consequences.

What will happen to this packaging?

Where does my waste water go?

Bealtaine Cottage 022Can I ameliorate the senseless pollution being washed down into the rivers and seas by choosing NOT to use chemicals?

In other words, make it your business to engage and understand why things are as they are! 

Bealtaine Cottage 015The clock ticks on our world.

Not the Earth, for that will go on, but humankind teeters on the brink of destruction…SELF-destruction.

And we are  part of it all the time we fail to engage fully with our state of living.

Bealtaine Cottage 013We cannot throw it away, for there is no ‘away!’

I listened to a woman berate a caller to a rather mediocre radio show here in Ireland.

The woman was stating that if people stopped killing animals, we would be over-run with rats…Veganism was being held up as a possible curse upon the country!

Bealtaine Cottage 009This is the kind of ‘closed-thinking,’ that the corrupt media has brain-washed us with for decades.

More and more people are trotting out banal statements without engaging with the problem they talk about.

Bealtaine Cottage 008As Rachel Carson once said…”The ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists solely for the convenience of man…

Bealtaine Cottage 030It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators.

But it can be seen many scores of nights in any year, and so the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead.

And because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.”

Rachel Carson


Missy, the ginger cat, has become a Bealtaine Angel…sadly missed in life, but a huge presence all around!


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  1. Thank you so much for sharing what happened in Borneo. Its so important for all humans to know that everything is connected. In Florida the Red Bay Trees are being attacked by a fungus. They think that the beetle that brought the fungus was in the packing in things that were shipped to the states. Now many shade trees which kept people cool are gone. Just a little thing can change everything.
    My best to you Colette.

    • And, of course, every time we spray the trees or the ground below with chemicals, we lower their resistance to fight off attacks of infection. We do the same to our children with antibiotics and to our farm animals. 80% of all antibiotics produced are used on farm animals, so we get that in our meat and dairy.
      Bright Blessings from all at Bealtaine Cottage,

  2. Such a fabulous post! I really like how you say that we cannot throw it away because there is no “away”. Your blog always inspires me to find a better balance between my lifestyle and nature.

  3. Hear hear!! You make great points. I had a little rant on another WP site today – “It behoves every thinking person to consider what is necessary for life – air, water, food. All of which are being contaminated by modern lifestlye practices. The individual who picks up a bottle of weedkiller to deal with the ‘weeds’ in the gravel on their driveway, is just as guilty as the CEO of Monsanto and the likes. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Ultimately it’s the consumer who is killing this planet – exposing the likes of Monsanto is a step in the right direction but in the end, our fate rests with each individual taking responsibility for their actions. And it ain’t lookin’ good……”
    Great quotes by Rachel Carson too.
    Many of us are yelling, but it seems the populace is deaf….

Your comments are welcome!