Thursday, July 30, 2009

Is There a Difference?
I love wide open spaces and little green spaces that have retained their wild and natural look. I have marveled at the Grand Canyon and gone down the Snake River on a raft. All over this country, and in several others, I have seen natural beauty that my soul tells me must be preserved. I feel sad as I see all the cities around here merging into one megalopolis while the open and green spaces disappear at an increasingly rapid rate. All this, I believe, makes me a conservationist, and I welcome that label.
In addition, I hate seeing all the garbage floating in our rivers, signs warning about PCB's in the fish and smoke stacks belching heaven knows what into the air. I suppose that could mean I am an environmentalist, but that is not a label I would want to take on. I associate that name with the folks who have (for profit) brought ethanol to this area. Ethanol, a fuel that results in more air pollution, ruined engines and increased food prices. These are the folks that have now made it law that we will all eventually have to use an inferior light bulb that has to first warm up before giving off decent light and is an environmental horror should they break. But weren't there plans for ways to safely dispose of these little time bombs? New to the market, they are already appearing in landfill sites with their little packages of mercury.

Gaylord Nelson was once the Governer of Wisconwsin and went on to a career in conservation, but I don't think he was an environmentalist. I still struggle with the two labels. I want to keep the natural as it is and limit bad behavior that destroys what was once there for us all. That's good conservation. The environmental label, however, congers up (at least in my mind) thoughts of politics and power for power's sake. I don't see what good it does in the end.

Paddle safe...


steve said...

Take a trip to Cornwall UK, good kayaking too

DaveO said...

Got to this one late but I heartily agree. I would consider myself an Aldo Leopold conservationist. Environmentalist just has too much baggage and hard edged absolutes. I've been known to chain saw a tree as well as eat a few of my fellow woodland creatures but I still consider myself a conservationist. I think the phrase lost popularity about the time the old Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin morphed into the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine