Checks and Balances

by Amy Ephron
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unnamedlake.jpg Checks and balances.  Have you ever thought about how amazing those two words are?   In the simplest sense, writing checks and figuring out how much money you have left after you’ve written them.  In the larger sense, if something is depleted or out of whack, something comes along to reestablish order.

Which brings me to AANWR....

On the northern edge of our continent, stretching from the peaks of the Brooks Range across a vast expanse of tundra to the Beaufort Sea, lies Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. An American Serengeti, the Arctic Refuge continues to pulse with million-year-old ecological rhythms. It is the greatest living reminder that conserving nature in its wild state is a core American value.
                    (National Resources Defense Council)


In the ‘60’s, some forward thinking environmentalists designated a protected zone in and off the coast of Alaska where the land and sea is thriving. And our erstwhile President George W. Bush, (who doesn’t believe in checks and balances) is trying to convince us that it’s time to mine the protected zone of the Alaska Wildlife Refuge for oil (that may reach the market fifteen years from now) with no thought, as usual, to the balance of the world or that the real solution is alternative sources of energy.  And it seems like the Congress and CNN think that we’re in favor of this.  We’re not.  No forward thinking educated person is in favor of this. And I, for one, will be really unhappy if the representatives that we’ve supported pander for one second to a misguided, dangerous, skewed irresponsible administration and media outlet (that seems to also have no checks and balances....)     

dandelions.jpgWhich brings me, coincidentally, to poison ivy and dandelions.  As global warming increases and the amount of CO2 in the air increases, it turns out, poison ivy and dandelions will thrive.  (And coincidentally brilliantly convert CO2 to oxygen as they do.)  Checks and balances.  When something’s out of whack, something comes along to recreate a balance. 

Dandelions – those funny little flowers that blow in the wind and plant themselves everywhere.  Poison ivy, which for its preservation (and perhaps ours), zaps you if you come anywhere near it.   And maybe, just maybe, we should stop using herbicides on dandelions and poison ivy and let them do their job?  Maybe we should designate protected poison ivy and dandelion fields (and stay the hell out of them) so that they can, by propagating, reestablish through their photosynthetic genius, a balance in the air.  (Which, by the way, might help the bee problem because it would give them a protected area, away from pesticides and human pathogens, in which to propagate and recolonize.)

Bees, it turns out, love dandelions. 

But sometimes, in order to have checks and balances, you have to have a responsible person writing the checks.  And it seems to me, it may be time for an audit. 

 

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