Recently Abby Sciuto, a beloved character on NCSC, spoke the line “How can something shiny and good grow if someone doesn’t help?” (or something like that.) When I heard it, I had to write this blog.
This morning I heard a oft-repeated conflict of “environmental consideration is anti-business.” We are facing the same thing here. The stories on NPR this morning were about “high tech disposal pollution,” which happen on Indian reservations and “remote Eastern Kentucky.” Then I heard a discussion about an attempt to get the oil/gas industry to pay for the steps needed to stabilize and rebuild the Louisiana coast. I actually heard one spokesman say something alone the line of “It’s true that when you dig canals to bring pipelines in, you do lose land. But the water is what made the additional damage, not the canals.” Really, do they now know basic hydro-dynamics? If water can get into a place, it will, and will erode any surface that it can, just because it is such a great solvent.
The “remote Eastern Kentucky,” and “Indian reservations,” are another way to say “places where the people don’t matter.” Well I can tell you, we do matter. And it’s not just us. It’s the plants and animals that surround us. We somehow have to find a way that computer graded examinations can easily assess the integration of ecology. No species lives in isolation. There is “no safe ground to destroy.” People who live in the country are not less valuable than those who live in the city. In fact, I would say that if you don’t have people in the country guarding the resources, carrying on traditions, holding the wisdom of our elders, good luck with the future.
I know that I am slow, and I like money as much as most other people, (not as much as some, though, Thank God,) but I do not understand why we must continually choose greed over grace, money over nature. I haven’t found a way to eat, breathe or drink money. I have never found staring at a pile of bills to be as thrilling as watching a baby animal learn to walk, or a seed sprout into a plant. I have found a group of people to be as astounding as a flock of birds finding their way “home” to place where many have never been before.
We need to regard our wild places, our remote spaces, as buffer zones that are the wealth of all. In my backyard we are facing a natural gas pipeline coming through our rock, many feet below grade. The only way to do that is to shake up our wells, our aquifers, our radon and arsenic deposits. We don’t matter? What if my son is the next “Confucius?” What if my neighbor’s daughter is the next woman to pilot a space ship? Do you all want to risk those gifts because they grew up in the fresh air, drinking clean water with space to run and play?
Abby says we need to help the good places grow through the darkness. I agree. We need places where people can share their wisdom; a site where alternatives can be explained, discovered and promoted. There is so much good all around us, but we have to help each other combine those pieces of sunshine into a brilliant space for a positive future. That’s what we’re trying to do at North Country Sustainability Center, Inc. This beautiful area is very much endangered because we are “remote,” and overlooked. Like our fresh air, and sparkling water, our people are the source of a better future for everyone. Help us grow our “brilliant place,” so we can help others grow theirs.