Friday, November 30, 2012

Land of 10,000? 9,999? 9,998? 9,997?

photo of Missippi River headland near Lake City MN
© harrington
Lake Pepin is disappearing from the bottom up, as it fills in with excessive sediment that belongs on farm fields. DNR is being sued for allegedly permitting the withdrawal of too much groundwater from the Jordan and Prairie du Chien aquifer, causing White Bear Lake to disappear from the top down or, more accurately, the edges in. Minnesota's impaired waters list is growing because a number of rivers and lakes can't support wild rice growth.  My Minnesota is a water rich state. Perhaps that's been the problem. We haven't been good stewards of our resources because there seemed to be more than enough to go around. I worked on protecting and improving water quality for many years. The issue then, as now, it seems to me is that we keep thinking there really is a free lunch and someone else will get more of it than we will. Washington isn't the only part of the country suffering from gridlock (iced in?). The Clean Water act Amendments of 1972 became law 40 years ago. Although we've made much progress in reaching the goals of "fishable, swimmable" water, it becomes increasingly clear to me that we haven't begun to do enough. There could, and should, be much more emphasis on resource conservation, especially water conservation. These days I'm working on environmental protection through green building. The technology is there and relatively inexpensive to reduce water and energy consumption. It seems we'd rather spend out money on granite counter tops. In My Minnesota, we can and should be wiser than that. Only magpies and pack rats are easily distracted by bright shiny objects. Look again at the photo above. Isn't it too valuable to lose through selfish indifference?