Tuesday, October 9, 2007

THE BORROWERS

This entry was prompted by a comment Russ made on my last entry over in Pixels. I don’t hate the timber companies, but I am very, very, very irritated by them

Hopefully we’re coming to end of the “mining” of the forests era in the US. I truly hope so. I hope and pray that those who manage our resources will finally wake up and quit sniffing the shit. A forest isn’t just trees it’s an ecosystem. There is this attitude from the late 1800’s through most of the 1900’s that any tree that dies naturally, falls and rots is wasted somehow. Believe me, it isn’t wasted.

There used to be this old rotting stump by the bike path near where we live. The top of that stump was a whole little world of its own. There were a couple kinds of moss, some teeny, teeny mushrooms, and a few blades of grass. If you looked closely there were small insects, and maybe a miniature centipede or two trundling about in their own little world.

Back when there was less of me and my knees were more cooperative, I did some day hikes over on the coast. The Oregon coast has a network of state parks from border to border and there are trails of some kind in all of them. You come out of the trees into a little open space where a tree has fallen, and it’s like that stump, a whole little world of its own. That tree isn’t wasted, it’s just finishing its life and nourishing the new life around it.

The company that puts out this ad shall remain nameless. They like to remind us that the law requires that trees be replanted to replace the trees that were cut. But, they don’t plant every kind of tree that was on that clear cut. They only replant the trees they want to cut. They’re planted too close together, the natural fertilizer that would have come from the last generation of trees is gone, and they have to use herbicides to kill the competing plant life. The new stand is never properly thinned and when it goes up in smoke somehow it’s mother nature’s fault not ours. It’s always somebody else’s fault.

And let’s not even go into the sixties and seventies when most of the big company owned timber was exported as raw logs. They kept counting on timber from the federal and state forests to take up the slack. Federally owned and managed timber sold at cut rate prices. And I don’t know if this is still true, but half the time the sale didn’t include the cost of putting in the roads for the private company to use to haul out the logs. Funny how when it helps big business make a profit, it’s good for the economy but if a poor kid needs subsidized insurance it’s a drain on the economy.

Maybe someday, sooner rather than later I hope, we’ll see this little ball for the space ship it really is and begin to show it a little more respect.

“We don’t inherit the land, we borrow it from our children.”  Native American proverb.

“We’re spending our kid’s inheritance.” Seen on a bumper sticker.

And I'm repeating myself, but you can only claim to own what you create. Nobody can own the land. We can use it, abuse it, build it up, tear it down, leave something better for our children or leave a wasteland. Our choice. Not even the rocks live forever.

Just a some appetizers on the thought menu.

2 comments:

tenyearnap said...

Very well said. Have you thought about sending this as a letter-to-the-editor of your area paper? --Cin

toonguykc said...

Seeing a Hummer with a childseat in it -- and a mom on the cellphone makes me think future generations are screwed!  SIGH

Russ