Last election, I voted. Relishing in my graduation from teenager to legal adult and captivated by Barack Obama’s smooth speeches and casual demeanor. He talked of “Change”, of environmental consciousness, of jobs. I hung onto the words of every debate between him and Hillary, letting my emotions get swept up in the political and social limits they broke together. That day I walked into a church and checked my decision on the flat computer screen of a quiet neighborhood church, and I was ecstatic. I was naive. Once upon a time I would unleash a fury on anyone who doubted the power of a single vote. I proudly paraded my first “I Voted” sticker in 2008. So what changed? Nothing but the weather and my making an active decision not to vote. Four years have passed, and I determine its a sign of becoming the wiser.
This year an extreme drought struck and still strikes the central United States, causing food prices to soar. Hurricane Sandy buried densely-populated communities of the Northeast into homelessness and darkness. Poverty is here in America, and it is alive and well..
There is very little government can do about it.
This year set the highest recorded temperatures, ever. Average temperatures increased by 1.5 degrees nationwide, mainly from carbon emissions heating the atmosphere. At least 70% of the corn crop was lost, affecting the prices of all corn products (fuel, flour, sweetener, animal feed). Also affected were the majority of pasture, like dairy cows. Lakes dried. Fires spread, reaching into even the grasslands. By August, damages were worse than the 1930’s Dust Bowl.
Rivers and lakes in the Midwest are undrinkable from run-off chemicals of big agriculture. More and more cities borrow, if not limit, water use. Ice-caps rapidly melt in the North from high Summer temperatures, depleting fresh run-off water for even the wettest and coolest of areas. What inhabitants of the “Heartland” are not aware is their ancient Ogallala Aquifer, that provides ground water throughout the Midwest, is reduced to critical conditions and essentially gone. (See The Ogallala Aquifer: Saving a Vital U.S. Water Source) The great underground sea was drilled and drained to produce wheat, soy and corn in the Great Plains. Fresh water that once stood accessible underground during those hottest months, is now reduced to polluted murky surface water. The area could soon be unlivable. Making matters worse, evaporation absorbs this extra surface water and the surplus of moisture in the atmosphere systemically contributes to the strength and frequency of super storms like Hurricane Sandy.
Conveniently, the actions of greedy food corporations have left people hungry. Mankind has a reputation of exhausting natural resources to oblivion before, reshaping the area for generations to come. (See DEFORESTATION AND DESERTIFICATION IN CHINA) (See Colorado River Basin Case Study) We have all contributed to the state of the world at present.
Climate change demands immediate attention. Reaching to the very depth of the most basic decisions of your daily lives: the way we transport, the way we eat, dress, and the dreams we wish to pursue; it all must change. Each life choice must be contemplated, and their ramifications considered. What is a life of liberty and happiness without life-sustainability? If the Great Recession hasn’t demonstrated the necessity to live within our means, then climate change ultimately will force it upon us.
Laziness and dependency were never traits of a surviving and evolved species, but signs of a species eventually wiped out by its environment. The fate of our children does not rely on immigration laws and job creation. It relies of whether or not we know how to survive. Even a job on Wall Street will not protect from the force of nature, and the survival of the fittest, as was clearly demonstrated by Hurricane Sandy. There is no excuse, with an incredible privilege like internet access, to not attempt self-sufficiency in every aspect of life. If you don’t, its pretty likely Mother Nature will sweep you away. Be prepared. Be knowledgeable.
The first step you can take in bettering this world is learning not to pass the responsibility on to someone else. The greatest need for any species is to acquire food. Are you in an area where you could naturally survive without urbanization? Think seriously about that. Did you know that the Earth is only large enough to sustain 1.8 billion people on this planet, given diet and materials necessary to modern lifestyles? (See What Is Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Humans? – McGraw-Hill) That is only 1/3 of the world population. Meaning as long as we are cheating the system of nature, you can be sure Nature will act in self-defense.
Learn to a) produce food for yourself, b) use natural water resources that are readily available. Don’t dig a pool, dig a well. Don’t buy a car, buy a mill. Don’t raise a parakeet, raise a chicken. Don’t plant roses, plant squash. Don’t spray your weeds, pull and use them. Most importantly stay strong, kind, generous, neighborly. Take immediate interest in energy-conservation, waste-moderation, natural preservation, and minimal consuming. These problems are outside the scope of control of the United States President, whoever it will be.
In the 17th century English naval traders dumped soil on North American land to balance out their ships with the tobacco imports. Because of this minor and seemingly insignificant event, we have the earthworm in the Southern United States.
You see? Every action echoes into eternity.
ever truly your favorite prairie muffin
❤ Nellie Ann
“… People like me (who) experience their gardens as familiar and timeless is a testament to the human capacity to adapt (or, less charitably, to our ability to operate in ignorance).”
– Charles C. Mann, 1493
To donate to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, visit www.redcross.org, call 800-Red-Cross or text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.