Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning About the Environment

I have come to the conclusion that our children need to be soundly educated on the environment. I am all in favor of saving the owls, air, and land in the best ways! But what is the best way to do that?

Many years ago I was an environmentalist. I wanted to save it all and thought that the powers to be knew best how to do that. Sadly I have had to reform my thinking through the school of hard knocks. We need to take a realistic look at how our actions are actually damaging the ability for our country to have clean air, sustainable wildlife, and jobs.

Currently 45,000 acres of my state are burning up from lightning caused fires. Many of those fires are not being contained because of the inability of the firefighters to reach the burning locations.  My heart is saddened at the amount of wildlife being killed. Deer, bear, eagles, owls, chipmunks, and all of the other inhabitants of these beautiful forest are either burnt to death or scared into life threatening decisions such as dashing across busy road ways. Rivers and streams are being clogged with ash and burning debris killing off the fish. The air quality in large chunks of my state is in the hazardous category and people are being advised to stay indoors or suffer lung damage.

I volunteer with a local wildlife rehabilitation center and am sadden at the refugees that are being sent our way.  These burned and scarred victims may possibly never be returned to the wild as we fight to save them. If they can not survive on their own then they will stay with us for the rest of their lives.

In the recent past when the fires were finally put out and the land left in a charred state the forest service would offer some of the destroyed timber to be logged. These trees, if not harvested, become infected with beetles and other parasites helping to spread disease to the healthy trees in the area.  Environmentalist groups have filed court cases to stop these sales. So the timber is left to rot and further the devastation of the fire. Yes, some burnt trees need to be left. It is not an all or nothing deal.

When logging companies harvest the trees they open roads for further recreational and firefighting access. In our state the companies are required to replant the areas that they log! By replanting they help to stop soil erosion and replenish the environment with health trees. They rehabilitee streams and rivers so that the fish can survive. Habitat is restored in a balance that allows wildlife to resume living in the areas.  Jobs are created for the people. 

Our children need to learn about how to balance the environment if we are all going to live healthy lives!

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