Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Clear Stream and a Moose Calling

Back in 1972 I went to college for a semester in a remote part of Wisconsin.  They had a good music department and a Moog Synthesizer, which was the main reason I wanted to study there.  When I wasn't in class or playing the piano I could be found walking in the wooded hillside where the campus had been built.  I loved being surrounded by nature. 

On one of these sojourns I came upon a stream.  I thought, how lovely and I was just about to take a sip of water from its moving waters when something strange alerted me.  There was no life in this stream.  No plant life and no fish either.  When I stood and looked upstream, through the bare branches of a forest that usually hid it from view, I noticed a factory.  What had they produced that had destroyed this stream, which not long before had been a source of life?

One silvery night, after the snow had fallen I heard a sound, a calling.  I went to my window and saw the moonlight and sun a forest of lace and limb and then on a distant patch of undisturbed white I saw a moose.  As big as a horse I'd say.  And then I heard him bellow.  And in the far off distance I heard another answering its call and off it went.

We have done so much damage to our rich earth here.  Mountain tops have been laid bare, the acid rain that erodes it further echoes the wanton destruction we have left as a wake in our path to an easy more.

No life in the water.  A great lake caught fire from the massive pollution of industry that dumped its charges in her until she could hold no more.

And now, instead of appreciating what little is left, and trying to put people back to work to fuel passive sources of energy like solar and wind power, the big money is trying to push our politics toward feeling okay about fracking for more.  Even though fracking causes earthquakes and destroys the last vestige of fresh water that runs under our polluted earth, and contributes its own fuel into our Aquafir.
Aquafir, Natural Gas and an Earthquake

I recognized the area of Wisconsin I referred to above, it was a coal burning plant.  I completely agree with this YouTube report except for one thing.  Nuclear power is not a clean resource of energy.  Most plants have a life of maybe 70 years.  How long does radioactive waste last?  Scientists estimate 10-20,000 years.  That means that we are betting on the planet not changing in the next 10-20,000 wherever a power plant is located.  That means that we are betting that there will not be any natural catastrophies that effect an area where radioactive material or waste is stored.  And that means we have to keep that dead plant from heating up for the next 10-20,000 years.  They are expensive to build and as we have seen in Chernobyl and Fukushima, not at all a safe and clean source of energy when a natural disaster or a human error occurs.

We need jobs, yes.  But we also need to think about the kind of jobs and industry we are promoting to employ people.  We need a military, yes.  But we don't need it to be the only hope someone who lives in rural parts of this country has to get a job.  We need a national guard, yes.  But we need it to only be used for helping the American people when we have natural disasters or when we need to document the condition of our water, air and land. 

We have lots of work to do.  Giving people who have the time, the opportunity to chart our natural resources would go a long way to making people aware of these issues in real life and it makes good sense.  Maybe someone involved in one of these programs would come up with an idea that would help to solve some of the problems we are facing.  It would be great if we encouraged people to spend a year volunteering with Americorp after graduating from high school.  Programs like this could be done all over our country and would do so much good for young people who need a little time before deciding whether they want to go to college, a junior college or become part of an apprentice program in a union.  If someone wants to be a teacher they could volunteer as a tutor or a reader.  We need to work on education and job skills that will help us stop pollution and give us the skills we need to do our best to clean up the mess we've made.

We can see where concentrating on destruction and commerce above all other considerations has led us.  We need to change our direction and start focusing our attention and our minds on offering opportunities for people that will help us build a better future for this planet and the generations of people, plant life and wildlife to come.

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