Like Sand Through an Hour Glass

HERD ABOUT IT?

by Ana Grarian


Aldo Leopold is famous for his book “A Sand County Almanac” published post-humously by his son. It is a collection of experiential, and philosophical essays that advocate a for a responsible relationship between people and the land. Aldo’s land ethic can best be described by this quote: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

It is ironic that Sand County was first published the same year that Halliburton fracked it’s first well (1949). It’s unbeleivable that Sand County, (actually Sauk County), which became a literary icon, as it’s author became known as the father of the ecology movement, is being hauled away, rail road car by rail road car, to feed the insatiable, industrial monster that Haliburton has become.

Sandra (Sandy) Steingraber has articulated it well in an article in Orion Magazine.

Isolated as most of us are in our concrete and asphalt jungles, we don’t see what we are doing to the world that sustains us. The “flyover zone” still looks pretty green to those who can barely see the sky, whose idea of a tree is that thing struggling to grow beside a sidewalk, and only knows a river as something too dangerous to swim in.

Bill Moyers recently had a conversation with Luis Alberto Urrea about life in the border towns of Mexico. Although I had heard of children who picked through the garbage dumps, I had though these were orphans, unusual, limited. Luis’ description of a man who was born in the dump, lives in the dump, and will die and be buried in the dump, was a shocking revelation. (if nothing else listen from about minute 30)

How can we allow this to happen?
We allow it, because for the most part it happens where we don’t see it.

If we believed that the existence of the world is rooted in mystery and in sanctity,

then we would have a different economy.
Wendell Berry