Ignorance...Bliss?


The other day, someone decapitated my hosta plants with the weed eater.  My husband pointed the finger at Squints; Squints blamed my husband.  Today, in order to save what remained of the plants, I decide to expand the flowerbed in which they were planted, digging out six inches or so to allow the mower to pass by and leave my plants unscathed.  I go to my compost pile, full of worms and broken down fruits and vegetables, and incorporate a few gallons into the soil. 
Squints comes out and begins mowing the lawn.  I stand back and admire my work and move on to my tiny vegetable garden, sowing seeds into the soil: lettuce, cucumbers and Trail of Tears black beans, so-named because the seed line was carried on the trail by the Cherokee.  I pause for a moment thinking of the memories contained within those seeds.

The air cools.  I head inside.  I have another project.


I’ve had a set of old sheets hanging around.  And in my effort to be kinder to the environment, I’ve begun converting these sheets to cloth napkins.  This is a good project for me, a poor seamstress: It requires no measuring.  My seams need not be straight.  There are no pins.  There are no pattern pieces to match.  In fact, every napkin comes up unique, with its own jaunty personality.

My husband comes home.  I give him a tour of the gardens, pointing out the hosta, the black beans, the strawberries blossoming.  Inside, I hold up a napkin.  I am proud of my efforts.
* * *
This morning, I turn on my computer and am reminded that a former high-level Monsanto employee now works for the FDA.  I learned about it a few years ago.
http://365project.org/lesphoto

I did nothing.
In 2005, fracking was exempted from the Clean Water Act. 

I did nothing.
Millions of gallons of Pennsylvania fracking wastewater have been shipped to Ohio, to be pumped underground.

I did nothing.
And in a battle over rights and power and money, the state of Pennsylvania recently put Act 13 into law, giving the state—not its local communities—the final say regarding fracking.  Not only do the local municipalities lose power under Act 13, so may physicians, some of whom are treating patients whose illnesses they suspect are related to fracking.  While Act 13 does allow physicians access to the list of chemicals used in the fracking process, those doctors must first sign a confidentiality agreement, possibly preventing them from sharing information with fellow doctors, patients and researchers.  Also included in Act 13 is an impact fee, which is estimated to generate over 200 million dollars in this year alone.  Where will that money go?

I do not know.
Business and government have cozied up together for far too long.  And for too long I have been comfortable in my belief that once I’ve cast my vote, once I’ve got that sticker: I voted today, my job is done.  But voting is no longer enough.

It never was.
This month, the implementation of Act 13 was temporarily suspended by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, giving local communities 120 days to challenge it. 

Suddenly, my cloth napkins; my backyard compost; my Trail of Tears black beans seem silly.  They seem not enough; a token gesture where something much larger is needed.
Because water has memory, too. 

http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2012/02/06/here-it-is-the-impact-fee-bill/#more-6790
http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2012/02/06/estimate-impact-fee-would-generate-219-million-in-2012/

This has been linked to Yeah, Write and StoryDam.

Labels: , ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Ignorance...Bliss?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ignorance...Bliss?


The other day, someone decapitated my hosta plants with the weed eater.  My husband pointed the finger at Squints; Squints blamed my husband.  Today, in order to save what remained of the plants, I decide to expand the flowerbed in which they were planted, digging out six inches or so to allow the mower to pass by and leave my plants unscathed.  I go to my compost pile, full of worms and broken down fruits and vegetables, and incorporate a few gallons into the soil. 
Squints comes out and begins mowing the lawn.  I stand back and admire my work and move on to my tiny vegetable garden, sowing seeds into the soil: lettuce, cucumbers and Trail of Tears black beans, so-named because the seed line was carried on the trail by the Cherokee.  I pause for a moment thinking of the memories contained within those seeds.

The air cools.  I head inside.  I have another project.


I’ve had a set of old sheets hanging around.  And in my effort to be kinder to the environment, I’ve begun converting these sheets to cloth napkins.  This is a good project for me, a poor seamstress: It requires no measuring.  My seams need not be straight.  There are no pins.  There are no pattern pieces to match.  In fact, every napkin comes up unique, with its own jaunty personality.

My husband comes home.  I give him a tour of the gardens, pointing out the hosta, the black beans, the strawberries blossoming.  Inside, I hold up a napkin.  I am proud of my efforts.
* * *
This morning, I turn on my computer and am reminded that a former high-level Monsanto employee now works for the FDA.  I learned about it a few years ago.
http://365project.org/lesphoto

I did nothing.
In 2005, fracking was exempted from the Clean Water Act. 

I did nothing.
Millions of gallons of Pennsylvania fracking wastewater have been shipped to Ohio, to be pumped underground.

I did nothing.
And in a battle over rights and power and money, the state of Pennsylvania recently put Act 13 into law, giving the state—not its local communities—the final say regarding fracking.  Not only do the local municipalities lose power under Act 13, so may physicians, some of whom are treating patients whose illnesses they suspect are related to fracking.  While Act 13 does allow physicians access to the list of chemicals used in the fracking process, those doctors must first sign a confidentiality agreement, possibly preventing them from sharing information with fellow doctors, patients and researchers.  Also included in Act 13 is an impact fee, which is estimated to generate over 200 million dollars in this year alone.  Where will that money go?

I do not know.
Business and government have cozied up together for far too long.  And for too long I have been comfortable in my belief that once I’ve cast my vote, once I’ve got that sticker: I voted today, my job is done.  But voting is no longer enough.

It never was.
This month, the implementation of Act 13 was temporarily suspended by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, giving local communities 120 days to challenge it. 

Suddenly, my cloth napkins; my backyard compost; my Trail of Tears black beans seem silly.  They seem not enough; a token gesture where something much larger is needed.
Because water has memory, too. 

http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2012/02/06/estimate-impact-fee-would-generate-219-million-in-2012/

This has been linked to Yeah, Write and StoryDam.

Labels: , ,

29 Comments:

At April 29, 2012 at 11:41 AM , Anonymous Saleema Eileen said...

Wow.. good one!!!!!!

 
At April 29, 2012 at 5:39 PM , Anonymous Amanda said...

It's so overwhelming. I think that's why I feel so good about my own garden and my own space and cloth napkins. Thanks for posting this.

 
At April 30, 2012 at 5:11 AM , Anonymous Mary said...

I guess we're our own worst enemies, by letting government make decisions that impact the entire population without our involvement or permission. Perhaps that comes with turning a blind eye; this may be the time for individuals to get more involved...and not let large corporations and government dictate every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat, what we're allowed to grow... senseless laws and corporate greed, on and on and on.

We can no longer be apathetic; happily there seems to be a movement toward self-sufficiency and voter participation from the ground up.

...........

Do you need any hostas? I know where you can get some!

 
At April 30, 2012 at 5:20 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Would love hosta! And if you ever need cloth napkins...you know where to go. I have about 50 now.

 
At April 30, 2012 at 5:21 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Amanda - and thanks for the foward.

 
At April 30, 2012 at 5:21 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, S - I think I have that book for you if you're interested.

 
At April 30, 2012 at 10:27 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

It's terrifying how many of these issues there are to keep track of, isn't it? Activism is needed, but even when we try to take action, it always seems like something slips through the cracks.

 
At April 30, 2012 at 6:27 PM , Anonymous Coming East said...

It's so hard to know what to do when we are just one person. We think we are powerless. But when we joing together, we can become powerful. How do you band together, though? That is a hard question. Being concerned, like you are, and feeling the responsibility to do something about it are steps in the right direction.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:07 AM , Anonymous Keeping Time said...

Wow, I didn't know about any of this. I'm glad you're using your voice. (Now I just need to google the word fracking.)

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:15 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:16 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Susan. People are getting more involved near me, but just as many people in my neighborhood are unaware of what fracking is.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:17 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Annabelle - It's frustrating, but not impossible.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 6:08 AM , Anonymous Kristin Ireland said...

This was informative. And scary. Thanks for writing.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 2:08 PM , Anonymous Stephanie Brennan said...

Excellent! Information is power. I agree wholeheartedly that casting that vote is merely a step. We need to do more, in any small way. Enough with the obfuscation. As the psychologists tell us, but it applies to corporate greed as well, awareness is the first step toward change. Great post. And thanks for the tip on old sheets as napkins. I like that.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:07 PM , Anonymous Mayor Gia said...

Ooof! Very informational. Fracking is scary.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:26 PM , Anonymous katieross83 said...

Very informative and powerful post. You've definitely educated me!

PS - sorry about your hosta :(

 
At May 1, 2012 at 6:30 PM , Anonymous Michelle Longo said...

This is some important information. Thank you!

 
At May 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM , Anonymous WilyGuy said...

I like gardening. I like fresh red tomatoes off the one, warmed by the sun...

My dog likes green tomatoes. Ugh.

WG

 
At May 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM , Anonymous Kerstin Auer said...

Water has memory - very thought provoking. Great post, made me think!

 
At May 2, 2012 at 2:40 AM , Anonymous raisingivy said...

"Water has memory" -- beautiful. Important stuff, yes, but you gotta start at home. Keep planting those heirloom beans,and watch out for the little yellow bugs with black stripes who will come to chew them!

 
At May 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous Delilah Love said...

Oh no, your poor hostas. I have hostas too and so far they are the only thing I have managed to not kill. I swear I have a black thumb!

 
At May 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

Living along the Gulf Coast, in an area that was affected by the BP Oil spill, my little compost pile seems a little too little too.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 5:58 PM , Anonymous Megan Lawing said...

I have never heard of this term "fracking", but I like that you're wanting to stand up and do something about what you believe in.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 7:11 PM , Anonymous kdwald said...

Good for you! There are other methods - less quick, more costly - of extracting gas from our Mother Earth. It's not the only way. Compared to other countries, we have incredibly cheap heating oil and gas in the USA - and we ought to behave responsibly with the wiggle room we have.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 7:19 PM , Anonymous TreadingWaterintheKiddiePool said...

Sometimes it's terrifying what is being done right under our noses and we seem to have so little power to change it. Great post!

 
At May 3, 2012 at 8:01 AM , Anonymous Sisterhood of Moms said...

Damn, you wrote that perfectly. We do comfort ourselves with our small gestures when sometimes a larger gesture is required. Thanks for the education and the beautiful frame you put it in, Erin

 
At May 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM , Anonymous Sandrasfiberworks said...

Very effective post. I'll be back. Visiting, happily, from the story dam.

 
At May 5, 2012 at 7:10 AM , Anonymous C H Armstrong said...

I've signed up for the "Dare to Share" and I'm supposed to give useful feedback. I have to admit I'm stumped. I loved your post, but I can't pinpoint exactly why. It's not so much the subject matter, though I know that I should be an activist as well and do something about it. But it's not that. It's the writing...the style. It's truly beautiful. It makes me want to read more, even though the subject isn't among my normal interests. Very well written and I want to read more of your writing.

 
At May 5, 2012 at 9:26 AM , Anonymous Kim at Let Me Start By Saying said...

This was so perfectly put. Action is admirable, even if it took a while to get moving.

 

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