Saturday, June 6, 2009

"The Value of Quiet Lands"

By L. Jonas

Many people regard land as wasted if it isn't producing farm crops, or doesn't have factories or homes on it. One lady, in a letter to the editor of one paper, suggested that we clear all wilderness and other forest land, and plow them to feed the world's hungry people. Since we're not very efficient yet at growing crops on slopes, or at preserving topsoil, it would be more logical to spend the time, energy, and money on plowing up our level lawns and flower beds. If each one-or-two family dwelling was torn down, and the rosebushes, bluegrass, tulips, and flowering dogwoods were thrown away, then grain or vegetables could be planted. We'd then have more food to give to the Indians and Pakistanians, who are increasing so rapidly that they can't possibly keep up with the demand for food (It took Pakistan just 35 days to make up for the loss of the half million people who were lost in the big tidal wave of 1970. There are also persistent reports of the sewers in Pakistan being clogged with the corpses of unwanted babies.).

Of course, the greater size of fields under monoculture (The raising of one crop only) would lead to a greater probability of serious plant epidemics, such as the Southern corn blight. Since that blight has been known to attack other grain crops besides corn, it could easily be that a super-strain could mutate and wipe out ALL grain crops. In that case, we hope the Indians, Russians, and Chinese will have enough extra grain in storage to tide us over until we can switch to eating potatoes, rutabagas, or whatever plant isn't affected by the epidemic.

Are quiet lands of any value? By quiet lands, we mean a spot where a person can go to get away from city traffic, the roar of jets, and other such afflictions. How important is a white oak, a magnolia tree, or a mountainside full of rhododendron in bloom? Are they of less importance than the Louvre, and the art galleries of Washington, D.C.? Or less important than the Smithsonian?

It depends upon whom you ask.I don't mind supporting art galleries with part of my taxes, even though I've been in one only twice in my life, and could have been quite happy if I had skipped those times. I'm willing to support the art galleries and the museums, because I'm convinced that culture is the big difference between humans and other animals. I'm happy to support parks, wilderness, and quiet country roads, because they are also needed by the truly cultured person. As Justice Wm Douglas said about wilderness, "Roadless areas are one pledge to freedom. . .The logistics of abundance call for mass production. This means the ascendancy of the machine. The risks of man's becoming subservient to it are great." We agree, that men and women are more important than the technology they have created.

(Ed. note: The rest of this unpublished article seems to be missing. Dad certainly had some interesting ideas on things!)

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I think you know our family is always looking for quiet lands. Sometimes I wonder if we are the only ones seeking this place out? We hope one day to have a home with some land but for now as we live in an apartment we will continue to wander the last of the urban wilds or as your father said we will be seeking out the Quiet Lands. Thanks for sharing his legacy ~Blessings Heather