Wednesday, May 25, 2016

No more "Not Me!"

I came across some really good news this morning, at least I think it is and I'd like to see more of it. There's a farmer in Iowa who's experimenting with ways to improve his yield, reduce his input costs and the pollutant load carried by the water leaving his farm land. According to the story I read (follow the link above)
"He's already figured out that in his experimenting corn fields he's getting 15 more bushels per acre and it's costing him only $15 an acre, a fraction of more conventional options."
conventional cornfields can cause cloudy creeks
conventional cornfields can cause cloudy creeks
Photo by J. Harrington

This news was followed by some potentially good news from Governor Dayton's office, that Land O'Lakes will work with the state to establish a public-private partnership to implement better water quality practices on members' farms. I'm looking forward to deleting "potentially" when I see the details.

can cover crops create clearer creeks?
can cover crops create clearer creeks?
Photo by J. Harrington

It's good to see some positive movement instead of just reading about farmers pointing fingers at others saying the infamous "Not Me!," as sometimes found in The Family Circus and my own family when I was younger. In fact, I've noticed that the N- M- gremlin occasionally visits our house today, even though it's now inhabited by four supposed adults. Anyhow, if you look at the status of water quality in this country, it's clear that a, perhaps the, remaining source of pollution comes from agriculture (along with mining) and that we're not going to have "fishable-swimmable" waters until pollution from farms and mines is greatly reduced. That's not going to happen while farmers join climate change deniers by saying either "what problem?" or "we didn't do it."

I think we need, and believe we absolutely must have, a change in perspective and philosophy when it comes to producing our food and other feedstocks. We can no longer permit a perceived need by farmers or miners or loggers to be the lowest cost producer drive our political decision making. Having mine owners lobby our elected officials, instead of or even in addition to working with the professional staff of the relevant agencies, fails my idea of a transparency test. We deserve better from those we elect but we won't get better environmental quality, quality of life or political decisions unless we hold them accountable the bet way we can. Vote for those committed to protecting our environment. Quite literally, our lives depend on it. If miners, (industrial) farmers, and others in extractive industries were more responsible and proved themselves trustworthy, we might not need to push to prohibit some of their activities that have proven to destroy sensitive resources we're trying to protect because we depend on them, you know, like breathable air and drinkable water. There's a saying I learned back when I was a practicing planner: "More of the same never solved a problem." I'd much rather be writing about birds and bees and flowers and fishing but that all depends on the same environment we do, and, well, go read The Lorax, especially the last two stanzas.

2008, XII

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…
Hosea 4:6

We forget the land we stand on
and live from. We set ourselves
free in an economy founded
on nothing, on greed verified
by fantasy, on which we entirely
depend.  We depend on fire
that consumes the world without
lighting it.  To this dark blaze
driving the inert metal
of our most high desire
we offer our land as fuel,
thus offering ourselves at last
to be burned. This is our riddle
to which the answer is a life
that none of us has lived.

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