In contrast to last year’s abrupt change from no winter at all to high summer heat, this year’s transition from winter to spring has been nicely gradual, allowing our sugaring operation some time to flourish. The winter’s weather was still erratic and fairly warm and didn’t even start, really, until about mid February, but no one remembers that. All they care about is getting on with the next season so they can show off their new pretty sandals. Or plant their flower gardens. Or ride their bikes. Or whatever their “I’m off work now” passion of the moment is. People have notoriously bad short term memories, but I’ve come to understand that they are even worse when it comes to the environment they live in. Someone recently asked me how sugaring was this year, and I replied that at least we weren’t having a heat wave like we did last year.
“What heat wave?” they asked, truly puzzled.
You know, that freaky, 10 day, summer-like weather pattern which kicked off a whole year of drought?
Okay, never mind. Sugaring is great, thanks for asking!
Given this weird blindness to the near term and long term environmental past, it doesn’t really surprise me at all that people still haven’t figured out that the environment they live in actually directly impacts their economic bliss or bust. A recent Gallup poll shows a majority of people think economic growth should be given priority over environmental protection, presumably because they believe that “environmental protection” is something that doesn’t directly affect them, like polar bears. They don’t live in “the environment” for the most part, unless they live in “the country,” and then I guess it’s all idyllic and pretty and campfires in July. The town provides them with clean water, so why should they care about that? The air they breathe has been filtered and air conditioned so who cares about what’s in it?
We are probably going to raise our per pound chicken price this year, due to the rising cost of feed, especially organic feed. The rising cost of feed is a direct result of the corn shortage due to the extended, ongoing drought, but our price increase will only cause short term grumbling. It may not cause any grumbling at all. Everyone’s food costs are going up, so naturally ours would rise with inflation too, right? That’s all this really is, anyway, an artificial balloon effect caused by the rapidly shrinking value of the US Dollar. It can’t possibly have any ties back to “the environment” and whatever it is doing in that wild and free mythical garden with endangered species those environmental activists are always going on about.
Here’s the thing, though; we’re talking about resources. Resources, like money, food, land, minerals, water, oil… these are the things that fill our bellies and our wallets, right? Ultimately, we’re all relying on the abundance or the rarity of these resources to provide us with jobs so that we can have money so that we can pay for food, water, oil…and, ultimately, these resources come from that environment thing, otherwise known as Earth, you know, that big globe thing we live on.
I haven’t lost you, have I?
“The environment” makes us those resources that we dig up and that we pay for. If “the environment” becomes sour, if the resources that we dig up become rare or dirty or disappear completely, then the jobs that depend on them will no longer pay us the money for the resources that are too expensive to pay for. In other words, the quality of our environment directly impacts the quality of our economy.
“Wait…. are you still talking about polar bears? I’m all for polar bears, you know, but they don’t pay my water bill. Which has gone up, for some reason.”
Okay. Never mind. I’m fine. How are you?