Ugly black smoke rose spiraling into the sky. One of the newcomers was burning an ancient stand of breadfruit trees.
Mary Ann ran to stop him. "That's our food!," she cried. "You're burning our food!"
Other newcomers had made decisions she knew to be equally short-sighted. One had had Gilligan build a private road for him which crossed the village's only freshwater stream via an earthen berm, muddying and congesting their collective water supply. Another had had Gilligan dig a large open hole in one corner of his property, into which he deposited the rotting remains of the abalone and other sea creatures he harvested for their marketable shells; the powerful putrid reek of decaying fish fouled the air they all shared. Another had had Gilligan site his private sewage system so that it emptied into the same freshwater stream they all drank from, upstream from the village.
"Stop!," Mary Ann shouted, leaning over a barbwire fence next to a sign reading "Private Property."
The Old Ex-President's Wife happened by. In her patient way she smiled, saying, "There's no law against it."
Mary Ann was outraged. "He's burning our food!," she shouted. "He has no right!"
"He has the right," replied the Old Ex-President's Wife, patiently. "It's his property."
"It's not his property!," cried Mary Ann, indignantly. "How can our food be his property?"
"Why," replied the Old Ex-President's Wife, patiently, "by law, of course."
"The law is wrong!," cried Mary Ann. "He must be stopped!"
"You can't stop progress," replied the Old Ex-President's Wife, patiently. A slight ironic smile grew at the corner of her ancient lips.
"Our home is being destroyed!," cried Mary Ann.
"Our future is being developed," replied the Old Ex-President's Wife matter-of-factly, smile growing.
"We must nurture what we have!," cried Mary Ann.
"We must consume so that we can produce more," replied the Old Ex-President's Wife, patiently, teeth showing.
"The earth is our mother!," cried Mary Ann, indignantly.
The Old Ex-President's Wife threw her head back on her thin insect neck, cackling with glee.
"The earth is our mother!," cried Mary Ann, indignantly. "Our mother! The earth is our mother!" Mary Ann turned her back and stormed angrily away.