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Monday, August 28, 2000


Sun, Aug 27th, 2000
Posted in

To the Editor,

Earlier this spring during the course of the controversy over the Reilands plan to expand their dairy operation, I was disappointed to hear one of our legislators refer to some environmentalists as tree huggers and bunny lovers. Inflammatory labels such as these are, as a rule, meant to intimidate and belittle; and the use of such phrases are counterproductive to deliberative carefully reasoned argumentation. In addition such labels often end up offending a much larger group of people than the speaker intended. Im sure that most farmers in Fillmore County are responsible caretakers of the land and have strong feelings about those whose actions harm the environment. Isnt it possible that these emotionally-charged labels could also be offensive to them? And how about, for example, those who speak out against agricultural practices that are contaminating their well water with nitrates and pesticides? Could they, too, find these negative comments insulting?

Regardless of whether the Reiland dairy expansion is environmentally sound or not, we should be grateful to those who speak out and question any large-scale agricultural or industrial project as to its ecological impact. They serve as our collective environmental conscience helping to make us more sensitive and vigilant in the management of our natural resources. The Native Americans considered the land sacred and to despoil it in any way was to them the gravest of sins. People who ridicule those who voice concern over the pollution of our soil and waterways had best heed the words of an old Sioux Indian chief who, long ago, admonished his white conquerors when he said the land does not belong to man - man belongs to the land.
Herb Panko
Wykoff, MNTo the Editor,

Earlier this spring during the course of the controversy over the Reilands plan to expand their dairy operation, I was disappointed to hear one of our legislators refer to some environmentalists as tree huggers and bunny lovers. Inflammatory labels such as these are, as a rule, meant to intimidate and belittle; and the use of such phrases are counterproductive to deliberative carefully reasoned argumentation. In addition such labels often end up offending a much larger group of people than the speaker intended. Im sure that most farmers in Fillmore County are responsible caretakers of the land and have strong feelings about those whose actions harm the environment. Isnt it possible that these emotionally-charged labels could also be offensive to them? And how about, for example, those who speak out against agricultural practices that are contaminating their well water with nitrates and pesticides? Could they, too, find these negative comments insulting?

Regardless of whether the Reiland dairy expansion is environmentally sound or not, we should be grateful to those who speak out and question any large-scale agricultural or industrial project as to its ecological impact. They serve as our collective environmental conscience helping to make us more sensitive and vigilant in the management of our natural resources. The Native Americans considered the land sacred and to despoil it in any way was to them the gravest of sins. People who ridicule those who voice concern over the pollution of our soil and waterways had best heed the words of an old Sioux Indian chief who, long ago, admonished his white conquerors when he said the land does not belong to man - man belongs to the land.
Herb Panko
Wykoff, MN

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