Monday, February 15, 2010

From a natural point of view, sometimes headlines can look pretty stupid

Easier to prevent than repair. Industrial pollution dumped into the Hudson River decades ago arguably led to the whole environmental movement back in the late 60’s and 70’s. Still, nearly forty years later, the mess is being worked on. But dredging to remove PCBs from the river bottom is basically causing the harmful contaminants to be re-suspended in the water; a complication which is now being used by G.E. as a reason to suspend, stop or slow the clean-up. (I’m among those who would argue to the contrary; the complexity of this clean-up stands as proof that it should not be bequeathed to future generations to deal with.) See this story from the Poughkeepsie Journal.

The previous story makes me wonder how stories like this one can possibly be happening. A power plant in Vermont is apparently leaking an isotope that is “not as serious as some other isotopes are.” They don’t know where or why the material is leaking from the plant, and they have no intention of shutting the plant down while they look. Apparently, they’re afraid that if they shut the plant down, it won’t leak anymore, so they won’t be able to find…

Oh, never mind. For one of those stories that asks “how can this possibly happen,” click here to visit the Times Argus report.

I was struck by two articles in Sunday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune. One had to do with observations about the ability of some wildlife to hide in plain sight. The other was an example of people’s ability to hide their common sense and courtesy.

The first article was about an upcoming hearing of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District; the group will hold a hearing to discuss whether the size of docks should be regulated on the heavily populated Lake Minnetonka. The question is whether large docks are killing aquatic weeds and flora. It was not the story, so much, that was unnerving, but the comment section, where a number of readers left less-than cordial remarks. (Click here to read the story.) I shouldn’t be surprised; the comments found under many stories at that site are intended more to amuse the contributor than to add perspective to an issue. But in this case, the name-calling and rudeness cannot even be called childish, as children are generally more polite and intelligent than that.

As for me, the story simply states that the Conservation District is looking into whether they should see if aquatic life is being harmed by large or numerous docks. If there is no harm, no one should have anything to worry about. If harm is discovered, they the group is simply dispatching the care they are charged with. My limited understanding of the matter is that landowners do not own lake property in this case… just the land that is adjacent to that lake. Navigable waters and certain wetlands are under the public domain, and nobody has the right to use those lands or waters in a manner which could compromise the publicly-owned resource. Disagree if you will, but please be more civil than those who left comments at the Strib website.

So as to leave on a positive note…

Bill Marchel’s story about the natural camouflage of owls, weasels, the snowshoe hare and other regional wildlife was brief but very good read. (Click here to read the story.) Again, I’m reminded that of all the wildlife I’ve seen, the number of critters that have seen me on a trip down the river or a walk through the woods is likely far greater.

© 2010 Mike D. Anderson, St. Michael, MN. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment