Published in Stevens County Times
Nowadays, whenever we hear about environmental issues, usually highly polarized, political images come to mind. With everyone so focused on incoming doom and huge political issues that need to change they aren’t even noticing what we need to keep. I suggest, when it comes to climate issues instead of always looking forward in fear of another degree increase, we take some time to look back, and remember the peaceful connection we have to our land. The United States is gorgeous and has so many diverse natural landscapes that are extremely important not only to our history, but to our health, happiness, and spirituality. Native Americans knew the beauty and value of the majestic mountains, wide open skies, and tall forests, and Europeans felt the same. The purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain were enough to spark a whole literary movement (Romanticism) detailing the endless power and beauty of the wild place that has become our homes. Ever since the foundation of this country, vast wilderness and the diverse ecosystems made people feel more free. Even to this day, I have met immigrants who say the pure size and wide open skies of the United States make them feel more free. However these things are at risk. Urban development, pollution, poor land management, and apathy towards these issues are making these places even more vulnerable. We don’t have to completely change our lifestyles, but we do need to at least remember the unique value of the wild places in our country and keep them protected.