James Pinsky: We vote everyday to support, neglect our future

James Pinsky


In a few weeks, there’s a pretty big election.

What many of us may not realize, though, is we already voted. We did today, and we will vote again tomorrow; and, the day after that. In fact we make a conscious decision to support or neglect our natural resource future every single day, sometimes multiple times.

Casting a vote, for the right, left or even the political magnetic center is just one way to exercise that power. Today’s column is devoted not to our next election, but to the countless other ways we as humans can and should influence our future before and after a trip to the ballot box. Why? Because the impact of the decisions we make every day toward conservation far outweigh the ones we make every four years.

In light of the upcoming elections, I ask you to review our own stances on conservation issues and how committed we are to being the protector-elect of the soils, trees, deer, dogwoods, bunnies, bears, bats, roses, rivers and streams we serve every day.

Let me help you understand just how incredibly powerful we are.

While the need for our democratic process of electing officials to carry out the will of the people should never be overlooked, the real power to control our future has always rested squarely on our shoulders.

You see, we are all appointed officials not simply of our domain, but of our planet and all of the trees, soil, fish, bushes, bats, bunnies and bears that reside in it. Nature is more than just the canvas of our world; the life which makes up our natural world serves as our constituents, and we are charged with governing it.

Wendell Berry once wrote “the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”

So before we vote in November think about what we want our political candidates to do and to be for us. Then, reflect upon our own roles as leaders – as stewards, of our natural resources. If the forest had a vote, would we be reelected?

Do we litter? Do we waste water? What about energy? Do we know who our leafy and furry voters would be if we meet them in a dark forest alley one day?

Generations from now will the forest and even our children think our time in office was noble or an utter failure?

Don’t wait for that one day in November every few years to make a decision about the future of our environment at the ballot box. Make the conscious choice every day to vote yes for Mother Nature’s health and well-being. After all, we’re the ones who need nature in the first place and if we fail them, getting voted out of office will be a lot more uncomfortable – and permanent – than we may realize.

James Pinsky is the Education and Information Coordinator for the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District.  Contact him at 540.465.2424, ext. 104, or james.pinsky@lfswcd.org.