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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: On the Environment

© Another Day in the Country

While I’d thought that living in the country would mean clean country air, I soon discovered “that ain’t necessarily so.”

I’ve had more allergies in Kansas than I ever had in California — due, I’m sure, to all this vegetation! However, some of it is caused by our excessive use of chemicals on crops and our penchant for air pollution. We don’t give a thought as we spray noxious chemicals in the air and all over the ground.

Remember when all your relatives smoked and thought it didn’t hurt? We’ve got to learn from this, folks. For every action there’s a reaction, and sometimes we don’t understand those reactions for years. We need to be wary, cautious, and careful around anything that’s chemically concocted and consider how it pollutes our environment (or our body).

Speaking of pollution, while burning can be a good thing, we have trouble in this county with people burning anything that will burn. Burning at night seems to be the country way of getting rid of whatever you don’t want — mattresses, dirty old couches, a defunct trailer, old tires — and the damage grows as the chemical-filled smoke wafts through town, if we’re lucky, and hovers, if we aren’t.

Some of this happens because of ignorance, I know. Sometimes it happens because of expedience. Sometimes it is desperation. This burning of junk and garbage needs to stop. We’re polluting the very air we breathe and fresh air is one of our natural resources.

The same goes for our streams. When I see a stream winding through a yard full of cattle, I just about come unglued. I know government regulates that kind of thing, and I know how much most of us like government involvement, but come on folks, “Where’s your common sense? Where do you think that polluted water is going?”

We need ecological education. We need the Koch brothers to get themselves out of politics, begin worrying about issues like pollution, and maybe use their super-PAC pennies to saturate our television sets with warnings about global warming and where we’re headed as we abuse Mother Nature.

In the middle of my fear for the future of our planet, though, I have a dream. I’d like someone to start an organic farm in Marion County that borders, maybe even includes, Ramona in their plan.

I’ve read about other places that do this. Most of those carefully developed spaces that I’ve read about are unaffordable for me; but what if we could do it here in Marion County in a place where all the houses didn’t have to be new and we could fix up the things we already have in place?

We’re not all that far from bigger towns that cater to a growing population that more and more has learned to value organic food. A garden business, such as this, promotes a healthier environment, is good to the land, and needs workers. I’d love to help out in the green house, in my dream.

A healthier environment, where the country air really was cleaner, the country folk neighborly and kind, would then attract newcomers whose values are similar. This would be an ideal place for families, a good place to grow children, too, which would mean we’d have more students at Centre — which is already a good school.

Maybe I could help start an artists’ colony where we had workshops during the summer and classes in the winter. I’d love to be part of a project like this!

We already have outdoorsy, nature-loving people trekking and biking through Kansas, following the Santa Fe Trail and exploring the Flint Hills. What could we do to attract them back, get them to stay longer, or even move here when they retire?

“Dream on,” it’s another day in the country.

Last modified March 17, 2016

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