The holiday-weekend photo of a corpulent governor lounging on a New Jersey state-park beach, closed to the general public through government shutdown, seems an apt metaphor for both our political and natural environments.
Greed can be described in many ways. A pithy one is, “He would skin a gnat for its hide and tallow.”
Aldo Leopold, a great adopted Wisconsinite, had the rare ability to go both short or long when describing our relationship to nature. He said, “Industrial landowners and users, especially lumbermen and stockmen, are inclined to wail long and loudly about the extension of government ownership and regulation to land, but (with notable exceptions), they show little disposition to develop the only visible alternative: the voluntary practice of conservation on their own lands.”
Whether one’s preference is brevity or a more drawn-out elegance, we see that selfishness and lack of community spirit keep business, government and individuals from working together on important things in life.
Public lands, Leopold, limited access, and pesky little critters are this week’s topics while recounting another jaunt along a section of the Ice Age Trail.