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Chapter 12 – Why? We thought we knew…
This adventure story has a beginning but it really doesn’t have an end. I hope you have the stamina to stick with us until it does. If all goes well, that will be NEVER!! The funny question so many ask is, “Why?”. Why do we do what we do? I thought about it while working in the wilds with Kristen yesterday and I think I have some vague idea of how to answer that question finally.
When we started, we began with a sense of purpose. We were going to make a difference. We were going to create beauty from ugly. We were going to be part of the solution – not run from the problem. In other words, we wanted to make the world look more natural by studying what is natural and then using that information (Kristen’s beloved data) to design “nature” after it was destroyed. Not destroyed as is the end of the world!! Destroyed by development, mining, grazing, farming, and a million other things.
What happened you ask? Well, we did that. We helped make some beautiful places out of mud. We made a clear flowing stream out of mine tailings. You know what we discovered. What looked like mass destruction sometimes was actually giving us the opportunity to fix something that was already really messed up. All of the times we looked at an old pasture and thought how awful it was that they were going to mine it – we discovered, after much nerdy study, the mining was allowing us to fix a problem that no one knew was there!
You see, there are about a gazillion things that can ruin a landscape. We can’t go into all that now, perhaps we can do a mini series. “Normal” people (cause God knows we aren’t normal anymore) look at the landscape and think it’s cute. IT’S NOT!! It’s severely affected by ditching, clearing, grazing, farming, compaction and those other millions of things. When they mine it – we can come back in and make it pretty! It didn’t feel so bad once we realized we weren’t helping to destroy the land – but, rather, to make it better.
Once we realized that we weren’t the bad guys and that the mining companies weren’t the bad guys, it made what we do much easier every day. Now I look at a dragline with a totally different mindset. It doesn’t make me want to grab a sign and campaign for them not to destroy habitat – that happened 50 years ago!! They will mine it – give us the resources we need to eat – and we can come in and design the world as it should be!
One day, it is our sincere hope, that you and yours will stand next to a flowing creek, remark at how nice it is that they didn’t mine this land, and we will be hiding in the woods (not in a scary way mind you) and smile knowingly – because THEY DID MINE IT!!
Flattered that you picked up this article…..I could write for days about what it is we see and do! Just waiting for the opportunity to make a book of it! Thank you for understanding our position! It isn’t always clear who the “Bad Guy” is. Sometimes Mother Nature does more lasting damage than any of us could ever dream up in a million mines!
Ideologues often have a habit of making things worse, but we do need to keep miners, farmers etc. on their toes. Decisions they take though are often to do with the bottom line and not the rehabilitation of damaged landscapes. I find your outlook on this refreshing.