I can’t imagine a parent’s nightmare of watching a child gasp for air as asthma constricts their airways. This chronic disease causes more than 14 million missed school days and sends 728,000 children to the emergency room every year. Air pollution plays a nasty part in making asthma worse.
The bottom line for me is we only have one home. My ancestors believed that Creator put human beings on this Earth to take care of it. And if we took good care of it, we would be provided with everything we needed. When I was young and looked at the surrounding miles of wooded areas, I could not imagine anyone keeping all that clean. I figured it was a myth.
Later, I saw a photograph of my mother’s cousin torching a dead spruce tree in the winter. That was one of the ways they kept the Earth clean. It assured that there wouldn’t be forest fires when lightning struck, or beetle infestations. They were nomadic, always traveling to different parts of the country, taking care of the forest as they went.
I recall driving my mother down the Glenn Highway several years ago. She looked at the side of the road after a raging winter wind. Trees were laying everywhere, like Pick Up Sticks. She was angry and said, “Those doggone officials; won’t even let us cut down a tree, and they won’t clean up this mess. Kids could chop up all that wood. And they could make a few bucks by selling it to keep people warm.”
“The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” is what my Gwich’in relatives call the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I love their title. Caribou migrate there to give birth to their babies. Birds fly to The Sacred Place from 50 states and six continents. If drilling started now, it would be many years before any oil was pumped out of the ground. In the meantime, destruction of habitats would abound and people would be pooping in the nest, so to speak.
We cannot “fix” our energy problem by ruining The Sacred Place Where Life Begins. In my opinion it will hasten the perils of our animal relatives … winged, four-legged, and fish.
I hope someone steps into the Oval Office who understands that we have the technologies to solve our most critical environmental problems, and they don’t involve digging into and destroying more of our beautiful Mother Earth.
– Patricia Wade