Here in Northeast Wisconsin there was a late season snow about two weeks ago. Here in East Green Bay, we got eighteen inches, nearly half a meter! The ground still has not thawed completely, but in the next few weeks or so the frost should be out of the ground. Now that we have found ourselves staring spring straight in the face, it is time to start working the soil. Our greenhouses are a buzz with activity, the seed catalogs have been parsed and orders compiled. Each year we try to add a few plants that bring long-term benefits to our gardens that will remain for years and give back without requiring more time and energy than to harvest their bounty. This year, I am planning to put in a few more rhubarb plants, plant more grapes and perhaps expand the asparagus bed a little. This will be in the gardens closest to the house, but further afield our tree planting will continue in earnest. The past few years we have averaged planting over ten thousand trees and this year might well be our busiest year yet. We have already begun the process of a new season’s seed collection and redistribution. With luck and a bit of good weather, we should have a great season ahead of us.
In our quest for sustainability, we have found that just looking more closely at our surroundings can have a profound effect on our knowledge base, our feelings of closeness with the natural world and provide us perspective on what actually surrounds us rather than what we thought we were seeing. On a recent job-site, I saw a giant pile of aluminum forming and asked what it’s ultimate destination was. It was a piece of scenery that had served one of the touring productions of Wicked, the musical for years. It was being replaced and the aluminum frame was pretty much useless to them. I spent a few hours hauling the waste, stored it for a month or so, then spent a full day cleaning the metal up so that the best price could be had from the salvage yard. I will know later today how much money will come back from the recycling of that waste.
My initial thought was to use the metal for expanding our grape arbor, or perhaps creating a larger chicken tractor, but the new grapes won’t need an arbor for several years and the chickens seem happy with the tractor that we have now, so the money that we raise at the salvage yard will be more useful in our work planting trees for the future. Just as in nature, our own efforts ebb and flow with the seasons and dependent on resources available to us at any given time. One of the most undervalued resources is the gift of time. Without the time it takes to observe and think things through, we can easily lose our perspective and make rash decisions based on expediency and over time these ill-considered actions can have drastic and terrible results. Taking a more balanced approach often yields better and more long-term results as well as saving time and money that can be reinvested in our ultimate goals.
Across the planet there is an awakening to ecological changes that we are making in our wake. Humans have always changes the environment in profound ways, but now, through the rapid expansion of remote sensing and the availability of that data through digital means, we can see the face of this change more clearly than ever. The combination of this long view and the intimate knowledge of our own backyards can help us to rediscover ways to recreate a more bio-diverse and sustainable environment that helps to feed, educate and fulfill us. This year it seems more important than ever to treat every day like Earthday. In fact, this month we all need to get back in touch with the relationship that we have with our Mother Earth. Japan’s earthquake/tsunami and the resulting nuclear crisis beg the question: Why? Why do we participate in this dangerous method for producing electricity? Why do we continue to provide corporate welfare for this inherently dangerous activity? Who will pay the ultimate price for our convenience? What can we do to change this course of action to be more understanding of and responsive to the natural world? How can we meet our needs with less damage to the environment? These same questions confront us in nearly every arena of human endeavor. Losing our way can be as simple as forgetting to ask ourselves these simple questions.
This month in Wisconsin, there is an opportunity to Walk for a nuclear-Free Future. April 23rd, there is a walk planned between two nuclear power generating stations, starting at noon, just north of the Kewaunee facility the walk will be just under ten miles, past the point beach facility and on to the shore of Lake Michigan. There will be a pot luck picnic on the shore of Lake Michigan at 3PM at the north end of Point Beach State Forest. Please let everyone you know about this important opportunity to stand together to put an end to nuclear power. Conservation and energy efficiency improvements could easily offset the power that would be lost by decommissioning these dangerous and costly facilities. In addition to putting a stop to nuclear power generation, this walk will be a rallying point for those who want to see a more sustainable energy policy for the planet.
The cities closest to the walk site are Kewaunee and Manitowoc/Two Rivers. The nuclear facilities are about thirty miles East of Green Bay, and three of the four “Red Findings” (the highest failure warning issued by the nuclear Regulatory commission) have been issued to the Point Beach facility. The Kewaunee reactor has contaminated groundwater, an employee, and been shut down as recently as 1996 for corroded steam lines. both facilities are nearing the end of their design life and their owners are requesting both extensions of their permits as well as increases in permitted electrical production beyond design specifications.
Come celebrate Spring, stand shoulder to shoulder with folks who are committed to stopping the insanity and share in an afternoon of fun and informative discussions about the past as well as the future of the nuclear industry in America and around the world. Our voices can and will be heard. If not now, when? If not us, who? for further informatio and printed materials for publicizing the Walk, contact: Nukewatch (715) 472-4185 or online at: email@example.com