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What do we owe the environment?


Fri, Jan 12th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

"Hey Sara, is this a real job?"

This question was posed to me as I was out recently with some students doing a winter pond study. At first, I thought that maybe the question was an unintentional insult in regard to my choice of careers.

Unbeknownst to that child, it is still difficult to explain to people that as an Environmental Educator I work at a real school - albeit one that teaches outside and, yes, it does pay including benefits.

Once I realized that the student genuinely wanted to know if catching and identifying pond invertebrates was a real career option, I tried to assure her that, indeed, there were quite a few opportunities available as a grown up if you really liked insects, ponds, or just liked exploring places to see what lives there.

What lingered with me after I answered her question though was how this experience was helping that student determine her path in life. The possibility that this child may be a biologist or environmental educator or water quality specialist could be a direct result of her time spent in this environment. Her environment was helping to determine her future.

While in college studying Biology, I came across an interesting school of thought called environmental determinism. It states that one's physical environment, rather than social conditions, determines culture and society. This idea was held mostly by anthropologists and geographers in the early part of the last century. The view was later abandoned due to its incorrect assumption about race. I was always intrigued by this concept though and I thought that something could be gleaned from the idea on a much more basic level. This concept was brought back to me that day at the pond.

I think it makes perfect sense that the environment, along with a few other factors, shapes our culture and communities and our place within them.

Take a look at our environment. The streams, bluffs, prairies, and woods are at the heart of this area. The first settlers immigrated here looking to make a better life; the life they were able to build was a direct result of the environment in which they found themselves. You don't see mines or textile plants or commercial fishing villages here. Milling, farming, lumbering, quarrying, construction and tourism were undertaken and continue today because of our environment. These same streams, bluffs, prairies, and woods are also at the heart of the hobbies we have whether fishing .....
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To rise high and roll onward

Fri, Jan 12th, 2007
Posted in Commentary



Surge, they are calling it.

Insert more than 20,000 troops into Iraq, deploy them in Baghdad, take control of security, stay a short time and get the hell out.

A linguist I heard on the radio analyzed surge as being a wave o ..... 
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The Swamp

Fri, Dec 22nd, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker to be, promised to "drain the swamp" of ethical corruption if the Democrats captured control. They did and the back tracking by the old bulls of the party has started all ready.

Here are some quotes pu ..... 
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White Christmas

Fri, Dec 8th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

The Iraq Study Group has issued its report, instilling some well-needed reality to the debate on Iraq.

The greatest accomplishment of the study group, given the political weight of its members, is truly a political one - changing the level ..... 
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Shop Fillmore First

Fri, Dec 1st, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Twenty years ago you used to be able to buy jewelry and clothes and shoes in our small towns in Fillmore County. For the most part, you can't anymore, those specialty stores are gone. You feel fortunate if your town has a grocery store, a hardware s ..... 
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So, what exactly is the problem?

Fri, Dec 1st, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Ho-hum. Another dire warning about the impending crises and calamities to be visited on us because of "overpopulation." Let's see, how many unfulfilled warnings does that make in the past century or two? I would guess that Herb Panko's makes somewhe ..... 
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Election hangover: Bipartisanship

Fri, Nov 24th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

"Bipartisanship is another name for date rape" Grover Norquist

For those who are not news and political junkies, Grover Norquist is a Republican guru and activist. His statement above, quoted in the Denver Post, is likely to be taken literall ..... 
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The U.S. impending population crisis

Fri, Nov 17th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

Recently we were informed that the U.S. population had just reached the 300 million mark. The announcement was made by most media outlets with little detectable alarm. It was stated as a matter-of-fact occurrence and supplemented with various popula ..... 
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Coup d' etat

Fri, Nov 10th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

When the people are afraid of the government, that's tyranny. But when the government is afraid of the people, that's liberty. Thomas Jefferson

One warm, sunny, tropical morning in December 1989, I stood in a refugee camp in the Phili ..... 
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