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.

Monday, November 7, 2016

We Do Not Save The Earth; The Earth Saves Us

Great Blue Heron / Raccoon River, Iowa, [Paige Andreas photo, Nov 2016]

The Your 2 Cents’ Worth excerpts, Part 5 [various readers submissions/ Des Moines Register]:

NOTE: “2 Cent” folks are published anonymously in the DM Register.  With anonymity, you can say damn near anything, but that doesn’t guarantee you make the paper.   This “secrecy” brings out the cranky curmudgeon, sour, grip aspect of folks that is typically not our best side.  But, goddammit, sometimes something needs to be said, and when it comes to water quality--or lack thereof in Iowa water--these comments are often spot-on in fact.  

We could simply bow to the river or go there with quasi-shamanic drums and good intentions and, likely, and perhaps more realistically than trying to do something politically, we might eventually psycho-spiritually really clean the waters (in sort of the way of our Maharishi friends in Fairfield, Iowa try to do, by “just getting that right quantity of  meditative participants to tweak the universe in the right direction.”) 

I think the admonition that “We do not save the Earth, the Earth saves us,” is likely the real way things work.  When it comes to water quality, it is not really about saving the Earth, but rather about improving human life.

And yet, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to alter our approach, given the fact that our drinking water, cleansed of nitrates, smells like chemical.  Rather than hope in Iowa that our eternal governor Branstad will clean our water, we need to wake up and top being abused by total lies.  Go back, year by year if you must, and find his actions for clean water instead of legislation and support for degradation of water.  This is not just a Branstad-thing; it is the American way that needs tob e confronted.  The American “dust bowl” is the not the result of drought.  It is the result of exploitation and, literally, lies by money-makers that ruined folks lives.  We live in a time where science is a wondrous strategy that has literally made more people, but that is often disregarded as a fact when the facts do not support the reality.  In Iowa, the 2016 push is for a 3/8th penny sale tax to support physical changes in the farm landscape that would improve water quality.

We likely need to do much more than pay a tax that will not alter the industrial ag system.  We need to call them out for their deception.  Why? because it is harmful right now.  It would barely touch the problem, and has no expectations.  

While it can sound esoteric, we might begin to listen to the voice of water as if it is trying to tell us something important--not just for better smelling water or even for health.  Perhaps water is holy and sacred in a way that holy and sacred are practical and economically rich.  We have water in Iowa that is cloud-given, and fairly dependable, for which folks across the globe would give their eye-teeth.  The clatter or everyday life seems to overwhelm us.  It is a time to slow, listen, and see what appears.  It’s not for certain and “certain” is what we like.  Sorry, no certain, not ever.


Tim Urban, “Farmers are protected; what about other Iowans?,” Letters To Editor, Des Moines Register, 10/25/16:

A report on KCRG TV in Cedar Rapids revealed that “nearly all Iowa farms, about 154,000 enrolled in safety-net programs, are going to get financial assistance for the 2015 crop year.”  The programs are designed to protect against drops in crop prices due to market downturns.  The Iowa Farm Service Agency said corn prices are 32 percent below the benchmark price for the Agricultural Risk Coverage program, and soybeans are 27 percent below the benchmark price.

It seems the height of hypocrisy for farm interests to lambaste Democrats for too many government subsidies while they are protected from the vagaries of the market place.  It is even more remarkable that during times when farm interests were making large profits, they resisted conservation set-asides or other policies to mitigate against nitrate pollution.  I am in favor of price supports but I would like to see the farm lobby start to favor government spending on pollution mitigation, including the 3/8 percent sales tax increase approved by Iowa voters and taxation of fertilizer to pay for nitrate mitigation.

If Iowa farmers are protected from low prices, Iowa residents should be protected from farm pollution.
[bold, Kinseth]


Why do self-described futurists focus so much on technology?  It would be just as helpful to talk about what we’re going to do as global aquifers steeply drop and global topsoil washes away in massive amounts.  Not as much fun as driverless cars, of course, so maybe that’s why.


I have a three-year-old wetland on the edge of my land that cleans water from neighboring cornfields.  It gets too much pollution, and now two neighbors are adding drainage tile that will increase the pollution.  Iowa is not serious about clean water.


Terry Branstad saying he’ll lead the cleanup of Iowa’s polluted water is like Donad Trump saying he respects women.


Indians were the first Americans.  The white man drove them from their land onto reservations.  Again they are trying to protect the land given to them from the white man!  Water is, to them, the source of life and a pipeline is going to be built under the Missouri River.  Who is that callous and stupid?


A major Iowa farm group claims their recent poll shows most Iowans trust farmers to take care of the environment.  If so, I guess we're back to blaming the  Water Pollution Fairy and her evil magic wand.


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