James Pinsky: Mother Nature has her limits, like any good parent

James Pinsky

Conservation isn’t complicated.

However, people are.

Just about everything we do, or try to undo in the conservation world is because of us.

Over time, many well-meaning clans of people have tried to sweet talk Mother Nature into letting us misbehave, sometimes just a little and other times quite a bit to help further the success, pocket books or quality of life for people.

Like most good mothers, she lets the little things slide. Lately, however, she has done a pretty good job of letting us know she’s in charge and we, as intelligent a species as we sometimes think we are, very much are just one of her many children.

Her other kids, like squirrels, monkeys, sharks and birds behave like typical middle children. Seldom seen, heard or bothered with as they go about their day-to-day business of simple living, breathing and above all else not being a burden to their mother.

We are – a burden.

As humans, both purposely and through ignorance, we are quite possibly the most high maintenance children a mother could possibly have. Ecologically, we, for thousands of years, have consumed, destroyed, altered and manipulated a perfectly good home full of anything and everything we ever needed to be healthy, productive and yes, happy.

Many of us know we’ve pushed Mother Nature a little too far. Her anger is obvious and yet, like our human mothers, she always finds a way to teach us and still remind us that we are unconditionally loved.

The water we have polluted, the forests we have thinned, the air we have contaminated, and yes, the soil we have trashed can all be fixed. Some of us think cleaning up our messes is what mothers are for. And, most mothers do help, some, more than others. Still, considering the magnitude of the ecological messes we have made since the dawn of the Industrial Age, it seems to me as good children, it is incumbent upon us to do far more than watch our mother struggle to pick up after us.

Ask any mother what she would like to see more than anything else and chances are she will say seeing her children do for themselves – without help and without having to be reminded.

Now is that time for us to give Mother Nature that very thing. As humans, it is high time we give Mother Nature a break, let her take a nap, watch a television show or even have a glass of wine while we clean up our own messes.

Like I said in the beginning, just about everything we do, or try to undo in the conservation world is because of us.  The good news is we can stop our bad behavior any time we so choose. The bad news is sooner or later, there comes a time when even the most loving and patient mother has a child they want to help … and cant.

If that day ever comes, the look of disappointment on Mother Nature’s face won’t just be the worst thing we’ll see. It will be the last thing.

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.