Monday, April 28, 2014

Water, water, everywhere

Do you suppose that this week's weather has anything to do with the movie Noah? Oh, wait, that was 40 days of rain. Four or five days of rain just seems like 40 to some of us. We have a "wet spot" in the back yard that might be able to float an ark by the end of this week.

wet spot on the Anoka sand plain
 wet spot on the Anoka sand plain        © harrington

Speaking of water, have you seen the story in the Star Tribune about the lack of required buffer strips in Minnesota's farm country. I don't know about you, but I've heard one too many times "Just let us do this voluntarily, we don't need to be regulated." The Strib story fits nicely with one (which you really should read) from Minnesota Public Radio on our groundwater supply . We've previously written about the story of White Bear Lake "disappearing" and the idea that millions of public dollars should be spent to divert Mississippi River water to augment the lake. How does that compare with the fact that 10% of our groundwater pumping is to abate pollution. (You know, contaminants that shouldn't have been there in the first place but their disposal  wasn't absolutely prohibited.) How many of our leaders in environmental protection agencies, or, better yet, our legislature and governor, have heard of and try to follow the precautionary principle? Do you suppose we could pass it as a constitutional amendment requirement for public service? Are you getting as tired as I am of public policies that seem focused on millions or billions for cleanup, pennies for prevention? Emerson has some beneficial words for us on water, especially the last four lines.


By Ralph Waldo Emerson 

The water understands
Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.

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