Friday, June 24, 2016

More, NO! Better, YES! -- MORE BETTER

Almost six months ago, we questioned why the environment didn't have a lobbying force as effective as the NRA. Since then, the members of the Great Lakes Compact approved a Waukesha diversion without, as I see it, a clear determination that there is not prudent and feasible alternative. On the other hand, the federal government appears to be seriously considering non-renewal of the Twin Metals mineral lease which, if the lease is actually voided, would be a very pleasant surprise.

Yesterday, Britain voted to withdraw from the European Union, whatever that actually means. I'm trying my hardest ("Do or do not. There is no try.") following this philosophy in an effort to have the sanest reaction I can to a world that continues to go mad. Next, some fool may propose an even greater fool, someone with no real political experience and a string of business bankruptcies as qualifications, should run for president.

But seriously, folks, I've come to believe that we, all of us on the earth these days, are beginning to experience the effects of not just climate change/global warming, but more and more, the effects of Peak Everything. We're embedded in an economy that is only sustainable in pursuit of "MORE," and we all know, that's not sustainable. Remember, more and more water in a river makes a flood.

waters flowing to the St. Croix
waters flowing to the St. Croix
Photo by J. Harrington

Here's an example of what I'm thinking about. Minnesota's Governor has proposed we adopt a water ethic. I'm all in favor of water conservation and improved water quality. What I want to know, though, is why should I conserve water. Is it so that someone else can use it or abuse it? Is it so more businesses can grow markets for water sold in plastic bottles? So the next CAFO can flush the barn floor into the manure lagoon? We need to have that conversation about "why" because many of us are angry because feel as though we're being played for suckers.

My read on the Brexit vote, on the Bernie Sanders campaign success, even on, g*d help us, Donald Trump's presumptuous candidacy, is that more and more people are tired of being shucked and jived by those their elected leaders. I believe we're noticing, more and more, that the rock and the hard place haven't moved, no matter what the climate deniers, their bought politicians, those who would have us believe that we can cut our way to success, or those for whom all "good" must be private and not public, tell us. Repeat after me "More is not the same as better."

This afternoon, I'm going to try to (Yoda, again) help teach some good folks a little about fly fishing and casting with a fly rod. I hope this means there'll eventually be more people who value our environment and our water quality. I'll continue to rant and rave here, but clearly that's not enough. It's past time for all of us to be the change we want to see in the world. It's one of the few things the earth can survive more of. We need to make things better.

In line with today's rant and my afternoon's activities, here's a "prose poem" we've quoted here before. It's still great.

"I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly; because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape; because, in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion; because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience; because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip; because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters; because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness; because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there; because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid; and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant - and not nearly so much fun." - Robert Traver (John Voelker), (June 29, 1903 – March 18, 1991)

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