Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wetlands, and Farmlands, and Food OH MY!

After doing some self required reading by Michael Pollan, I have acquired some feelings. I recommend you check this guy out, he has a website with all his articles posted, so there is no excuse of "I can't find them", I just told you how. Also I am sure you have all already heard of him, but I'm 21 and in no way educated on the environmental topic. The other day in the field my boss mentioned him prefacing it with, Oh and you know of Michael Pollan, right?...UM, no- BUT, I'm here to learn! So I googled, I found, I read.
One interesting point he brings up in his article "Farmer in Chief"  is the legislation protecting wetlands... which I found fascinating since I just took a wetland ecology class! And recently I've been struggling with the fact that many farmlands in the Midwest are drained wetlands. The one I am currently on is located right by a river, and I asked if they knew if their land had been drained. My boss said they have found tiles on the property which means yeah, it was drained.
SO, recently there has been a movement to protect and restore one of our most valuable resources- wetlands. Now you may be thinking "yeah ok, wetlands you mean bug paradise swamp city?" Well shut up, because wetlands are very important and full fill many roles from filtering our water, to storing carbon. Pretty good stuff, not to mention they aren't too shabby to look at.
Anyway, Michael Pollan makes the point that farmland should be protected and treasured just as our dissapearing wetlands are, because; if we are going to continue to eat food we need to start changing the way we farm, but we are also going to need more farmers. More farmers means we need to protect already existing farmland from greedy developers and suburbanites who plop their subdivisions on quality land.
After reading this article, I realize that lands that were drained in the 1800's and 1900's that have become farms are not evil, and we can't forever mourn the loss of what once was centuries prior. They once were wetlands, but we can't change it all back. We can however respect our Earth and our soil in another way. We can farm organically, we can plant poly crops, and cover crops, and put an end to CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and we can make sure the farms we have aren't turned into three story mansions. Farmlands around here, are for the most part drained wetlands and if we are protecting our wetlands because of their value why then are we not protecting their not so evil younger sister farmland? 
I think gradually we are learning that expansion is not the answer, bigger isn't always better, and we need to recognize we live in a community and what we do with our land, water, and resources effects our neighbors however broad that term may be. Now maybe we can't all sing kumbaya and sway, but we can at least be respectful.
My cousin once said people in their 20s are the worst because it is always all about them.  It is a time in one's life where mostly your world centers around yourself- you don't normally have a family to provide for, and you generally have some parentals paying for your bills while you prance around at school. The more I read about America the more I feel like we are just a big ol' selfish 20 year old prancing around demanding Mommy and Daddy can't cut us off yet. Well guys, its time to grow up.

JEEZ, bet you thought you weren't going to be lectured...Where is all the bug humor? Don't worry it won't all be heavy lifting!
Thanks for sticking with me,
-Egg salad and cheese extra mayo

1 comment:

  1. You are the best! Right on my radical vegetarian girl! Tell it!
    -I had a small bite of Gamma Alma's beef sandwich......