April 23, 2011 in Washington Voices

Earth needs protective stewards

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Will summer ever make its way to the Inland Northwest?

There are days I wonder if we’ve made such a mess of things that Mother Nature is through with being fooled with. Not that I would blame her. But when the die-hard winter buffs start looking forlorn and singing “Here Comes the Sun,” I seriously get worried.

A couple of years ago, former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was on television. I kind of wanted to see it and kind of didn’t. A documentary, after all, is pure snooze material. In some ways, I wished I had zonked out because the message was indeed a bit uncomfortable, a tad problematic and yes, way too inconvenient.

I’m not a tree hugger or an alarmist; I am a realist. My rose-colored glasses have long been cracked by my constant weighing the validity and accuracy of any statement. I’m also kind of a pain in this “weigh,” according to my husband. Still, I gotta be me, and I gotta weigh fact with fiction. Conclusion: We’re mucking things up pretty darn good.

Global warming has long been poked and prodded at with some saying we’re in trouble, others calling it balderdash, but it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that yesterday’s predicted environmental catastrophes are today’s realities.

Humans aren’t copacetic with the environment particularly when there’s money to be made. Yes, business, prosperity and expansion are decent and necessary goals in our survival structure. The backbone of capitalism has been diligently fused into our anatomy. Its meritorious concepts continue to inspire inventiveness, ingenuity and competitiveness.

But step back for a moment and take a look at the big picture: Money and the making of it will be of no use if the core of our survival can no longer replenish, renew and sustain itself.

In his book, “The World Without Us,” Alan Weisman wrote a provoking and well-researched theory on what would happen to the Earth if the relentless interference by humans suddenly ceased today. (Small hint: water would begin the Earth’s reclamation.)

We’re cautious and eager stewards of money, devising endless ways of making and spending it to ensure financial survival yet that same cautious and eager stewardship bypasses the one thing that must be protected to ensure our own survival – the environment.

Mother Nature appears a bit miffed lately, and she’s sending warnings in the form of holes in the ozone, melting polar ice caps, killer hurricanes, tornados and tsunamis.

Perhaps it’s the oil spills, wars, the drill-baby-drill, build-baby-build mentality or the excessive indulgences that are dumped into landfills or transfer stations, bulldozed over and made into parking lots.

Perhaps it’s our misunderstanding and total disregard of wildlife and its habitat of which naturalist Henry Beston, author of “The Outermost House” eloquently wrote: “We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.”

Perhaps it’s all of the above and much more, but whatever’s causing Mom’s panties to bunch, it’s obvious that environmental destruction can’t continue to run amok and not expect a show down. Trust me; we won’t be victorious in that battle.

There are no easy answers to survival of the all. We have become better stewards of nature because of the tireless efforts by scientists, ecological groups and wildlife organizations, but that’s just the tip of a melting iceberg.

We can pretend all of this doesn’t exist. We can link environmental cautions, charts and studies to some political scam. Or we can do the research, decide and take action based on the knowledge gained.

The choices are yours, but remember, it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.


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