Today's Star Tribune has an interesting opinion piece by Sean Kershaw, executive director of the Citizens League. It reflects many of the thoughts and concerns we've shared on these pages since, actually, since we started these pages. It's not that we don't agree with Mr. Kershaw, we just believe his assessment is necessary but not sufficient unto the times. More in line with what we believe is needed, and in line with Mr. Kershaw's assessment, can be found in yet another book, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman CONSERVATION HEROES OF THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND by Judy Stoeven Davies.
|shall we fill our cities with dairies and turbines?|
Photo by J. Harrington
We have been increasingly told about a growing urban/rural divide in this country. In part, this "divide" has been created by those whose livelihood is based on creating divisiveness, focusing on our differences instead of what we have in common, as a way to attract attention and sell advertising. While focused on this supposed divide, recently I was close to despair due to my frustrations about the relative growth in water pollution, not from urban areas, but from rural regions. After reading Davies' book, I now want to know how we better support her heroes and help create more like them.
They are deeply traditional and they harvest natural resources at commercial scale. What their stories reveal is the shallowness of the stereotype. Conservation has been a core American value since our founding, tied to values these heroes remain committed to, like self-sufficiency, faith, responsibility to family, community, heritage.Since before its founding, the United States was, and is, supposed to be a land of opportunity. Early colonists and settlers saw the world as a win-lose proposition. More for you means less for me. There are too many of us now for that to be viable. We need to cut each other more slack on how we attain our goals and spend more time figuring out how we can agree on goals to attain. Our world must become a win-win proposition, in which we share the increased value we have collectively created. Think of the value of one telephone; one fax machine, a market of one. Kimmerer. Harjo, Davies, and others like them, show us how to add value through groups. We need more, and better, examples of co-ops and employee-owned companies to help us find better ways to share what we create. Then the United States, and the rest of the world, will really have something to celebrate: independence based on interdependence. If you don't believe me, try putting sunscreen on your own back.
I Hear America Singing
Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.