Call Me an Environmentalist
I used to say, “I’m not an environmentalist. I just think we should take care of what we have.” Over the past several years, I have learned a lot more about not only the condition of the various areas of our planet, but also about the potential to restore damaged areas.
I am not a scientist or a farmer. I can barely keep up with my simple backyard garden and a couple of dogs. But what I have noticed is that what environmental groups have been claiming about the devastation from over-farming & over-grazing of animals, as well as the ability to restore areas through the re-introduction of native plants rings true. Even as children, weren’t we taught that erosion happens when areas lack vegetation?
The thing that has changed a bit for me is the idea that great good can be accomplished in a relatively short time frame. Today, I visited Dr. Mercola’s site and watched a video featuring the work of Dr. John D. Liu, who is a pioneer in the area of restoration. All over the world, Dr. Liu is helping to raise awareness and restore lands that have been barren due to many years of unbalanced farming & grazing. Click here to see this post of Dr. Mercola’s.
Dr. Liu also has a film called, “Hope in a Changing Climate,” which you can watch on YouTube by clicking here. He observes that vast amounts of land can and should be rehabilitated in order to restore communities where drought, flooding, and famine have dislocated many people. He also emphasizes that this is a global issue. “The entire planet must be functional,” Liu says.
This morning, I saw footage taken in Jordan in which a large area of land had been fenced off and protected for a few years. Next to that was land which was not protected. The difference was astonishing! Native plants had become lush and plentiful in the protected area. I also saw video taken in Ethiopia, where a community had been able to move back into their home land after a few years away, since vegetation was being restored. The growing plant life allowed rainfall to be absorbed back into the land, instead of running off and washing away.
It’s not that complicated, really; but it’s something I did not think about for a long time. In Rwanda, wetlands are recovering and hydro-electric power is once again replacing dirty diesel generators, which had to be used when the rivers became depleted. Clear streams of water are again being seen in Africa, and also in China, where Dr. Liu was first inspired by a project to restore depleted and eroded hillsides. The success of the Chinese delighted Dr. Liu and provided a model for his work.
As I watched all of this, I couldn’t help but think of driving through our own Midwest a couple of summers ago. Scott & I drove for 22 hours, from Colorado to Northern Michigan. We saw almost nothing but fields of corn and soybeans. It made me frustrated and angry to think all that represents in regard to our food supply and the way we do farming. But what I saw today gave me hope that perhaps attitudes are really changing. Perhaps we can begin to see more clearly the impact we are having on our country, our health, & our planet. Maybe we can work together to do better.