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I live on the West coast...and recently flew to the East coast for a brief visit. Having just moved to the West coast from the East coast you can imagine the time warp and intense contrasts and emotional memories of "place" that I experienced.
Nature fluctuates from years of abundance to years of drought and scarcity. Years of abundance, such as we just saw with El Nino's excessive endowments of weatherfrom rain to tornadoes and snowscreated abundant vegetative growth. In Southern California that brings the danger of more and larger wild fires. In the Eastern Mountains, it brings the added weight of snow and ice that topple trees. In the cities it brings floods as well as unusually intense beauty in well-manicured landscapes. And years of abundance can give way to years of scarcity...and then years of abundance....and on and on.
Experiencing a broad range of natural environs reminds us that even though we have different terrain, different plant and animal species (or subspecies), we also have a lot in common. Weather is not a local phenomenon. It travels. Pollution is not a local phenomenon. It travels. Animals vary by subspecies and a few unique families in diverse ecosystems. Animals travel. And as a result, we share in the well-being of our environment that provides life-support through animals, plants, soil, mountains, valleys, and waterways.
The choice to conserve or consume is common to all ecological locations. Details can vary, but basic concepts are common to us all...such as
Waste and poor planning impacts hundreds or even thousands of square miles of habitat and landmass. We've learned that acid rain on our mountain top forests kills trees and a wide range of wildlife and plants depending on that habitat. We've experienced the strength of mighty rivers when they reclaim their downward paths in spite of our efforts to re-route them. We've learned that mining can pollute an entire ecosystem's water supplies with natural chemicals that are harmful when removed from their natural environs...and we've dentified the havoc that invasive or introduced plants and animals create for native species, and the balance of the ecosystem.
The self-protective sentiment of "not in my backyard" offers us new insight and motivation when we apply it to our community, our country's backyard, and our global backyard. But the counterpoint of "not in my backyard" is "Yes...in our backyard!"
We can prevent damage to the natural system, and take positive steps to rebalance nature when human activities damage the habitats and biomass that sustain us. We can create native habitat in our backyards...to counteract thoughtless or deliberate damage that has occurred.
First comes knowledge of nature's ways. By experiencing and learning from nature's variety, I have developed a healthy skepticism about the ever-changing "latest and greatest" human technologies, and an even healthier respect for the viability of "living lightly on the land" so that our water is clean, air is fresh and soil is productive.
Our life-support system is already in place and operational.
Let's protect it and safeguard our quality of life.
REMEMBER to take your nature break :-)
For more articles about ENJOYING NATUREBotanical Garden Links
California Poppy Reserve
The Botanical Garden and Montreal Insectarium
California Poppy Reserve