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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Last Postage Stamp

Many years ago, at some point during my college days or not too long thereafter, I read an op-ed type article about some far-off day in the distant future when environmentalists and the fossil fuel industry would be locked in mortal combat over the fate of the last remaining postage stamp-sized parcel of wilderness on the planet. From what I recall, the idyllic yet ill-fated battleground was far to the north near ANWR.
I truly cannot remember much beyond that, and could not find the article online as it probably was in print years before Al Gore invented the Internet. I do remember thinking that I would never live to see that day, but also knew more than likely, it eventually would come to pass.
Fast forward 35+ years to 2013.
Although there’s more than one postage stamp-sized parcel of wilderness out there, that far-off day I read about decades ago is a lot closer than we realize. Fracking, pipelines, tar sands and/or Fukushima: name your poison. Acre by acre, and at an ever-increasing pace, our planet is being degraded for profit.
Every process in nature and every symbiotic relationship has a tipping point. The fish in our rivers, the dolphins in our oceans, and the disappearing honeybees that once blanketed our fields are the modern-day canaries in the coal mine. And they are dying a slow death right in front of our eyes...provided we bother to take a break from our smart phones to look around us. Something is amiss in our biosphere, yet the people trying to raise awareness to the undeniable are demonized as fear-mongering and uninformed by those whose profits would suffer should the truth become known. Although it’s smacking us in the face every day, we appear – for the most part – to be sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it goes away. It won’t.
For those of us that have been around the block a few times; think about how much our lives have changed in the last forty years. And our neighborhoods...and our cities.  I then ask: Can our planet really be too far behind?  
The sullied fabric of our downward-spiraling culture and the fragile fabric of our global ecosystem are intimately intertwined and, try as we might, the outcome cannot be separated for our convenience.
I’m probably 2/3 of the way through my life’s journey right now. I fondly recall the past, I’m making my way through the present, but with the folks leading us in Harrisburg and Washington right now, I’m not feeling too optimistic about the future.
We…ALL OF US, need to step up to the plate and do whatever it takes to elect new leadership across the board that will not only represent US, but will elevate US above this morass we are currently wallowing in and lead the way to a forward-thinking and sustainable future. Think about it: Do you know anyone that you would follow into the breach? Do you really believe that lawyers or professional politicians are the only folks qualified to represent and work for YOU?  
I don't.
Remember how this country called the United States of America came about? To that end…a little revolution now and then is a good thing.
 "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
--Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:429

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