James Pinsky: Do overs, conservation style

James Pinsky


Folks, we’re just getting started on a brand spanking New Year. In fact, 2017 is so new we might still be able to return it for a full refund.

Anyone want 2016 back? I’m a big fan of recycling, but 2016 might be better off 6 feet under.


Last week we learned that time isn’t renewable. This fact, somewhat depressing for some, is countered by one of the most remarkable truths about Mother Nature: she’s the queen of do-overs. Flowers grow, bloom, grow dormant, grow and bloom again. Some trees stay green no matter what, others grow, bloom, go dormant, grow and bloom, over and over and over again. Heck, some animals even cope with Mother Nature’s seasonal mood swings with a long cozy nap known as hibernation. We should be so lucky.

While Mother Nature and her band of critter groupies seem to handle ecological adversity well, we humans aren’t quite so successful. Why? I think it’s because we have a sense of earthly entitlement. Some of us think this entire planet and everything on it, in it, above and around it is here for us – and only us. It’s as if we’re biological snobs.

Oh no, he didn’t. Yes girlfriend. I went there.

One would think that if we consider this planet and everything in, on, above and around it ours, we’d take better care of it. Some of us do, but not everyone. Trees grow on planets, but planets certainly don’t grow on trees. This one, Earth, is the only one we have so we might want to take better care of it.

How? One way to start is to pledge to practice conservation in all aspects of our lives.

Author Thanhha Lai gets right to the point: “Do not waste….Don’t waste the vegetable-washing water, splash it on the grapefruit tree instead….Don’t waste anything made of glass or plastic because glass and plastic can be reused ad nauseam….Don’t waste…a string for retying, a rubber band for conquering dry noodles or hair, rice bags for dishcloths, fish bones for fertilizer….Anything that comes out of the earth must be returned to the earth….If everyone uses more than their share, how can the earth support us?”

We here at the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District can help you learn to conserve the natural resources you have and even make them healthier. We understand water and soil, the pillars of all life on Earth and we wake up every morning ready, willing and able to help each and every one of our district’s residents make their natural resource world a better place.

You need not be a farmer, rancher, local government official or even an adult to get our help. Live in a town, no problem. Live in a city? No problem? Even if the only soil you have was tracked into your house after you visited a park five miles down the road from your apartment, we can help you.

We love to help solve problems with erosion, poor water quality, and pasture improvements, and riparian buffers, and … I think you get the point. Even if you bring us a humdinger of an ecological problem we can’t solve, we have a treasure chest full of very capable friends like the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Cooperative Extension offices, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and of course Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality to help us and all of us love to collaborate when it comes to saving our planet!

The bottom line is we can help, and we want to. We’re a conservation snob free zone.

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.