In late summer, I would swim and stream-walk a small section of the Raccoon River. While sedimented for decades now, the water was clear in the shallows. For a few years now, the water is pea-green from edge-to-edge. For decades and worse now, this water has strongly contributed to a vast hypoxia zone in the Gulf.

In the 1980s, I wrote about the wisdom of the river, focusing on the Des Moines River as a living, very open metaphor for the essential streaming dynamic of the universe that is within us as well in the streaming of our body metabolism and thought.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Iowa Landscape As A Commodity, Not A Homeland

Why not an Iowa national park--Mid-section Des Moines River Valley?  Education does not really touch on the Iowa landscape--its bioregional essence, its rare soil fertility in the biosphere, and our commodity approach to landscape causing its rapid en masse exploitation/decimation/absence of protection.  Education for a homeland would be quite different.

Excerpts from Your 2 Cents Worth, Part 2 [selected reader’s submissions/Des Moines Register]:

Have you ever noticed the water tastes different in other states?  Do what I do.  Bring along a small salt shaker of nitrates!  Just a sprinkle in that glass of water, and you will have the taste of home.


Why doesn’t Iowa have a national park? Oh, that’s right, were not about conserving natural resources.

Of course, some Iowa farmers are doing what is needed to protect water.  The problem is that they are a small percentage of Iowa’s 86,000 farmers.  Good conservation by less than 3 percent of Iowa’s farmers doesn’t even begin to be enough.


In my area, some children learn more about rainforests in distant countries than they learn about the prairies, waters, and woodlands right here in Iowa.  There’s a direct connection between that and Iowa’s dirty water, and conservationists understand it all too well.

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