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Somber Reality

 

 

 

By Ranger Steve Mueller

My life’s mission of wilderness protection has gone awry. All hope is not lost to protect the resources and life forms that make it possible for humans to thrive today and for generations to live well a century from now. 

Theodore Roosevelt advised a century ago: “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders. Do not let selfish men and greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches, or its romance.”

We are in a “Star Wars” type struggle to prevent planetary destruction by a leader that does not value scientific evidence or understand its importance for guiding behavior to ensure a healthy future. I hope to inspire others to cherish nature wonders by encouraging them to spend time outside exploring and having fun.

I made a decision early in life to follow supported physical evidence to protect my family and their offspring. I have an extended family that includes you, butterflies, cedar waxwings, brook trout, white pine, and cinnamon ferns in addition to my immediate family and grandchildren. Our actions should help all family members.

The Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah has known and unknown life forms in a fragile ecosystem. The monument is owned by you like the local Manistee National Forest, Shiawassee Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Each has unique species and nature niches that support our lives and economy. 

When Roosevelt encouraged us to “cherish these natural wonders” much of USA land acquisition was complete. Here at home water supplies your well, trees cool homes and provide oxygen on private and public land. Many people feel they should be allowed to do whatever they desire on private and public lands without regard to impacts on neighbors. If they desire to dump PFAS, fill or plow wetlands that increased flooding to downstream homes, or dump improperly treated sewage in rivers, they should not be restricted. 

I realized as a teen that many people were solely focused on “Me, Myself, I.” Many do not agree that personal actions should protect themselves, neighbors’ water supply, soil fertility, stream quality, sustainable timber, and fellow beings on Earth. To protect resources of wonder, enjoyment and essential need for sustaining society, my mission advocates for wilderness protection. Protection of biological and geological features in designated wilderness, national monuments, and parks maintain healthy ecosystems supporting our needs and livelihoods.

Mistakes like dumping PFAS, overusing fertilizers on yards that get into streams or groundwater, delaying the switch from fossil fuels that alter climate, not treating life on Earth as we want to be treated, and reducing national monument sizes is perilous. It lacks a sense of community and does not leave these lands unimpaired. 

Ask yourself whether dumping PFAS or dumping carbon into the atmosphere will result in greater loss of life. Which will create worse economic and health hardships? For many it only matters what is happening personally in the moment. They are the half that put President Trump in office. Pulling out of the World Climate Accord is similar to dumping PFAS. The negative long-term impacts are imposed on future generations for short-term economic gains. Impacts diminish sustainable economic, social, and environment health. 

Impacts of the tax cut will likely result in unfunded protection of water, soil, air, endangered species, and wilderness as well many non-nature concerns. Trump campaigned to deregulate Clean Water, Clean Air, and Endangered Species Act protections. Such actions will allow deregulating things like dumping PFAS. He has opened protected public lands like the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and monuments for mineral extraction. He supports fossil fuel mining and dumping of pollutants like carbon into the atmosphere. His supporters want this.

I have failed in the effort to help build a critical mass essential to protect Grand Staircase NM and other national treasures. Public comments were 98 percent in favor of protecting parks but Trump is ignoring public desires. He’s eliminating sustainable resource programs that protect generations to come. My mission is floundering. 

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

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