Friday, May 25, 2007
Diversity, the Food of Life
Nice little stream, wouldn't you say? It could be one of the streams that made up the old Indian canoe routes that criss-crossed northern New England and my part of Canada in the old days. Last evening, my wife and I walked our dog along an old rail bed now converted to a biking trail that parallels the stream for a good part of its length. As pretty as it is, it's not really suitable for paddling on. It's full of nasties, some left over from industries now long since closed and today farms pump tons of nutrients into it by refusing to provide buffer areas along its banks. These nutrients were the major cause of the cyano-bacterial outbreak on my lake last summer which prevented whole towns from drinking the water.
The book cover pictured to the left is by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a wonderful read, but a sad one as well. It describes how we are ruining ourselves, depleating our planet of its diversity and its food sources. Like the stream, it tells the story of our greed and thoughtlessness. At the same time, it holds hope. The stream could be repaired and brought back to its pristine glory, if we want. Kingsolver talks about how her life and that of her family were enriched by searching out 'real' food sources, grown and bought locally, in season, then cooked and eaten for its taste. They discovered that eating food shipped from one side of the planet to the other was ill-advised, unnecessary not to mention, tasteless!
Finally, like this marsh, life can become rich in its diversity. The trend towards mono-culturism,
agri-business and long shelf-life vegetables for pill-popping couch potatoes doesn't have to happen. But it will if we do nothing.