From our earliest descendants man has been trying to find better or more ethical ways to treat one another. My knowledge of ancient history is scanty at best. But I believe I can give you starting with the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ then to the Magna Carta that granted political rights to the people of England and then to our own people of the U.S.A. with our Bill of Rights and Constitution. We the people have always tried and continue to try to improve on the ethical treatment of each other.
But what we need for the survival of humanity is a paradigm shift (a fundamental change in approach or understanding) towards a more ethical treatment of land. A more community minded interest in the health of the ground around us. We have been pillagers since the beginning of man’s existence here on Earth. We the people have always been good at harvesting the low hanging fruit from our trees of plenty because they always paid off with the quick buck but invariably at the expense of our “trees of plenty”
Wait, I see a sinister looking fellow by the name of Law of Diminishing Returns. He’s always waiting in the wings to render all our gains harder and harder to harvest. So shall it be with the natural resources of our planet, they will be ever harder to find and then to mine while more and more of us are beginning to recognize the fraying of our planet’s cloth of life. Our top soils are crying out, “We need your help! You can’t just keep taking more than you put back.”
Is there an answer? I believe there is. What might it be? It must be a voluntary awareness because governments are good at recognizing a problem but the bureaucracy that emerges to solve the problem ends up being the problem’s best friend and why? Because no bureaucracy ever wants to be put out to pasture after the problem has been solved so they legislate themselves into immortality. What’s needed is a GrassRoots approach that most find more socially acceptable to the idea that we in some sort of subjective and objective way start to develop an ethical yellow brick path that is symbiotic in nature so that our human actions move away from plundering and then scattering all the plundered worn out, toxic, indigestible garbage to every corner of our Earth. Let’s instead, as we harvest our natural wealth when done, return the unused portion, the worn out portion and the obsolete portion, so that in an ethical world all our labors that produce all our stuff will have to disintegrate or morph into builders of soil no longer can our worn out baggage be left to deteriorate in a year or a century or a millennium. If human ingenuity built it, human ingenuity can return it in a totally land friendly disposable container. Our new ethical constitution says that we must pay for our obsession with convenience i.e. empty plastic water bottles, broken roadside refrigerators, and the aftermath of a Monday night football game with all the beer bottles returned in a manner that is planet friendly. Whoa!! Now you're talking money and commitment Jack. You might have raised caring for the land to Pollyanna status which like most good ideas gets beaten to death by good intentions. I hope not for our sake.
Oh look, there’s somebody else waiting in the wings, waiting to punish with ever more violent weather (climate change) because if you add heat to a chemical reaction the reaction becomes ever more volatile. And if you haven’t noticed our planet Earth is one giant chemical factory that is constantly manufacturing all matter of stuff like Carbon Dioxide and our chemical factory makes more than we need, so it sends its excess into the atmosphere which acts like a blanket to keeps us too warm so we must find ways to kick the covers off.
We the people, all 7,800,000,000 of us in this year of 2021 with our D.N.A., need for greed, and power have exhausted many of our most fertile lands. We present day stewards of our planet Earth, need only look at the country of Iraq then look at their land between the Euphrates and the Tigress rivers that were once the bread basket for the Roman Empire in fact the whole Mediterranean land mass was once a very fertile land teeming with wildlife and green growing things that today is mostly one big sand pile we call a desert. One day our planet will die to then be cremated in the Cosmos, the ultimate graveyard for all stuff. But we don’t have to worry about that funeral party as we humans can only see and comprehend about 20 to 30 years with some accuracy into the future so we’ve got some time to start righting our wrongs. I think we have to follow science and not our political leaders who have supported Smoky Bear’s method of “only you can prevent forest fires.” He could have said “only we can manage our forest and grasslands” which would have meant the grazing of livestock and logging and a whole lot of young people cleaning and thinning the forest floor and the outcome would be totally different than what is happening today. Hey dummy, that’s not how you get elected and re-elected. Our farm subsidies that encourage the tilling of poor soils, that without the subsidy would not be tilled. To water use and it’s conservation will be much more efficient if practices were adopted to slowing down water where it falls and not developed in Washington D.C.where ideas again to help get pulverized by ingrained bureaucracy’s then the final touch is to have lobbyists put their single minded input to the final piece of legislation and what comes out many times? The original good idea is almost unrecognizable.
So why don’t we start righting some wrongs? For starters, we have the Wild Horse and Burros Act from the 1970’s that said the free roaming of 22,000 horses and burros is an acceptable and sustainable number. What we find today is 100,000 horses and burros that doubles their population every four to five years so in 2026 we will have 200,000 horses and burros decimating large swaths of our high desert country west of the Rocky Mountains. Leaving many other wild things to have their futures destroyed and the landscape along with it. What happened to their rights? It has to downsize to its original sustainable number.
How can we justify putting a public relations cartoon bear by the name of Smoky in charge of our forest and wildlands since his birth in 1944 after a forest fire. Please say it isn’t so. I’m sorry but we need only look at the devastation by uncontrollable fire these past 10 years and any thoughtful person has to say “what’s wrong with this picture?” We’ve got to have a more realistic approach that uses Mother Nature’s ways and not Smokey’s.
There is a litany of our transgressions that our government supports. But leaving the status quo in place is no answer, we must be positive in maintaining a lifestyle that considers the whole picture. The whole picture is a pyramid in shape that first considers the soil under our feet that feeds all the green growing things, that feeds all the insects, that feeds the birds and rodents. Layer through various layers to the apex layer the large carnivores like the lion, each layer always fewer in number. So where do we fit in? Man shares a layer with the pig, bears, and raccoons for we are all omnivores who eat just about anything. So as you can see the layer above feeds on the layer below and it all worked very well until the development of our human brain that gave us the bow and arrow and then the gun and the wheel we went right to the top with no ethical law to satisfy our magnitude of wants.
At the start of paragraph four I said there are answers and awareness of problems governments are good at recognizing but because of their makeup and their needs and wants governments have for the most part, been ineffective in getting anything done. Boy o boy Jack you’ve got lots of words on paper with not many solutions. Please wait, I do know a few things. One, we absolutely can’t go on the way we have. Two, we must quit biting the hand that feeds us (our land base). Three, we must develop an ethical way to treat the whole, which is to say “our planet called Earth” and it will be done by cooperation, knowledge, and the best governments. They will be the ones that encourage all the ways to more knowledge then “step aside” and let all this new found enlightenment go to work to save a planet called Earth.