THE Borders is a deafening place to be at 5 o' the morning at this time of year, when all and sundry decide it's time to make merry and host a rave as they rejoice the break of day. That the arrivals fly 6,000 miles and choose the same spot of gable to nest in – it doesn't look much to me but eye of the beholder and all – is a source of perpetual wonder. And of course there are the year-round residents.

Is it our garden, or theirs? The male pheasants are unequivocal. It's theirs – we're just a nuisance to be tolerated, with our ugly great nests. Especially since we have two cats – evil to feathered folk – the usual gift upon returning home from holiday (remember those?) being a decapitated body, and feathers gathered under the kitchen table.

A huddle of brown pheasants hurries across the lawn – a standard sight in these parts. To an unaccustomed eye, a couple of questions surface: what are they doing and where are they going (for clearly they're on a mission)? Then all becomes clear. Wait – and there he is, Mr Fancypants himself, strutting along, chasing them tirelessly until he finally wears one down and she surrenders, for perhaps three seconds. That's all he needs though: mission accomplished.

We need a balance in news

Out walking today, I saw deer, buzzards, pheasants, ducks, a heron, springy new lambs – hurrah – and one lesser spotted human driving a bright red tractor. I'm friends with farmers. I have deep respect for several. But all the planning decisions shouldn’t consider landowners and farmers at the apex, and everyone else as an afterthought.

A case in point: a local beauty spot beloved by walkers. There is a river. A year ago, it was tranquillity itself, an antidote to the busier stuff in life. Then the farmer built a big ugly barbed wire fence right along the riverside, and stuck in 16 cows. Beauty spot transformed to eyesore. People complained, but the answer was clear: we all need to stop our petty moaning and respect the farmer’s need to graze his cattle.

Now, the riverbank has subsided, the fence is trailing in the river and the whole place is a mess. The effect of fenceposts being driven into sandy soil has sliced that soil clean away into the river, like cutting a slice of cake. Had trees been planted instead, the roots would firm up the riverbank, the river would narrow and deepen, there would be more fish. Birds and wildlife that feed on fish would increase, tree-loving and scrub-loving wildlife would increase to nest, feed or shelter, and the whole ecosystem would work and be restored.

This is just one small example. We need to consider the bigger picture when we consider land use, and give greater incentives for measures that promote wildlife, biodiversity and responsible management. The farmer needs to protect his livelihood and meet the demands of a meat and dairy loving public. But a balance must be struck.

I find myself considering that the more we venture down the road of individual rights, the further we stray from collective ones – the ones that overall lead those individuals to live more connected, happier lives. Individual rights matter hugely – of course they do – but with rights come responsibilities, and that important fact seems often forgotten in any discussion of rights. If we're preoccupied with our individual rights today, what about the people of tomorrow, inheriting a broken world with broken soil, broken ecosystems and little biodiversity – a few dominant species prevailing. This isn't survival of the fittest; it's biocide.

Jason Hickel, author of Less is More, argues shrinking economies is the way to avert climate catastrophe, mass extinctions and an increasing inability to produce enough food to feed the world. Light reading it is not, but it's certainly persuasive. I would add rewilding to that, and Scotland is in the perfect position to lead the way. Some organisations – The Scottish Rewilding Alliance members and others – are already doing a sterling job. What they need is political backing and profile.

Indigenous cultures inherit culture and myth, with rivers and valleys having agency, as well as animals, birds, fish and trees. Stories weave these elements into a whole, of which humans are part. Some may consider such peoples and their beliefs a curiosity, but who are we to cast judgement, when our system ¬– the dogma to grow and progress our economies – has proven such an abject failure? The main difference is respect. They respect the land and what they find on it; capitalism sees it as resources; as other; as something to use and exploit to our benefit. This works fine short-term but as we're seeing, finally it catches up with you – or your grandkids.

We look with excitement to Mars but perhaps we ought to get our stewardship of this planet in better balance before contemplating another.

Covid has become a narrative of fear over sense.

A final wee dose of nature: I'm saving a red velvet mite from our pond, although I have no idea whether the tiny walking strawberry can swim. It could be world class – Duncan Goodhew eat your heart out. I should probably have updated my brain's swimmer prototype by 30 years and said Michael Phelps but confess I had to Google him, whereas good old Dunc is firmly wedged in the grey matter, along with Sharron Davies. Velvet mites love to sunbathe, and chaps entice ladies to a 'love garden'. If suitably impressed, she will oblige and sit on his spermatophore (sperm packet), unless another male got there first, wrecked first chappy's packet (ouch) and deposited his own instead.

If it was a calculated shortcut it was taking across the pond, it was no doubt cursing this interfering human.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.