And people wonder why I’m hopping mad as hell! Native Americans lived here for 30,000 years and protected the environment of this country by depriving themselves of living in the excess and luxury that we enjoy today. Yet in order to achieve that luxury we are rapidly turning our beautiful country into a nightmarish toxic waste dump unfit for all life, including our own! Sixty years ago Rachel Carson told us about the dangers that we are facing in the modern industrialized world in her award winning and thoroughly researched book, Silent Spring. We admired her and awarded her for her brilliance, created a park in Scarborough, Maine in her honor, created the EPA and started to clean up some of our very polluted rivers and toxic waste dumps. This made great improvements in our environment and saved many birds like the iconic American Eagle, the symbol of our nation, from immanent extinction, and the results were stunning.
However, environmental laws and rules got in the way of our greed and need for profit so the me generation of the eighties decided that short term wealth, making big money in the stock market, and big bank accounts were more important than clean air and water, because only out of touch wacko ecohippie types care about such things. So that today the EPA and a healthy and clean environment are seen as a luxury that we can no longer afford, and now we have gone on to deliberately ignore everything that Ms. Carson has warned us against in every way possible, putting our lives, our children’s lives, and all life on this planet in dire peril.
To make matters worse, not enough people even care anymore. Far too many Americans are like my brother who can’t be bothered with any social problems whatsoever. All he ever says angrily whenever I ask him to consider caring about any serious issue concerning our planet or our society is that he doesn’t care about anything except being able to retire. The foolish thing as far as I am concerned, is exactly what kind of a world will it be if and when he ever does retire? Will it be worth living in at all? Will the water be safe enough to drink or the air be fit to breathe? What kind of climate hell will we all have to live in as earth’s temperatures and sea levels rise if we don’t take action now?
These basically good, but deliberately ignorant people that live all over America and dutifully go to work every day, trying to be good husbands or wives and good parents to their children. They do live very busy stressed out lives. They are understandably tired of hearing about problems every day, but they haven’t even bothered to educate themselves at all about the environment that we all depend upon because it is just unthinkable that they should have to give up their incomes from a lucrative fossil fuel, industrial, or chemical gravy train, or to think that they ought to get involved with taking even any small action to protect the very planet upon which even their very lives and those of all of their families depend. Therefore, when Trump says that global warming is a Chinese hoax, or that it is too dangerous for the public to hear about any research that shows that toxic chemical pollution is poisoning millions of people, they can look the other way and don’t want to hear about it. It is just those wacko environmentalist hippies at it again, and those liberal scientists with all of their pesky facts that we don’t want to hear about, that are trying to get in the way of their retirement again and putting a guilt trip on them for not caring. However, they don’t even want to know that we can’t afford to wait until my brother retires, or until I retire or until everyone on earth retires before we address these things, because by then it will be too late. This is exactly what the coal excectives and coal miners, fossil fuel and oil and gas people and the miners of toxic chemicals are thinking and saying to themselves, just wait until I get my money and retire and then we can think about the environment.
If we continue to do this as we have been doing, there won’t be anything left to retire to. Retire and go fishing? Not when all the water is acidic and most of the fish are dead and any that are left will be too poisonous to eat, as they already are in many places. It amazes me that in my home state of Maine where fishing is almost a religion, that most people don’t even know that it is unsafe and unhealthy to eat more than three or four freshwater fish or more than three saltwater lobsters each year because of mercury and heavy metal and PCB pollution from dumping toxic waste into our oceans or from the effects of coal fired power plants in the Midwest that should have been shut down years ago but for the lobbying powers of the coal companies over our federal legislature. Maine people just go on as they always have done, blissfully catching and eating fresh fish as if nothing could possibly be wrong. You see no one notices the long term effects from toxic pollution because it doesn’t kill you right away. Toxic pollution takes years to affect us and we don’t notice it until we get cancer or our child has problems in school, or until our organs fail, and even when that happens no one ever bothers to spend the money to find out the underlying cause. They just got cancer, or liver failure, or kidney disease, or neurological problems in some mysterious way and there are so many ways that this can happen that no one can ever gets to the bottom of it. Perhaps if they all dropped dead over their fish meal, then they would pay more attention.
Then what about enjoying wildlife when you are out fishing? Well you can forget about that because if this country is too toxic for humans it will easily be too toxic and kill the smaller animals. Loons live only on fish and loons have been poisoned by mercury so much that their brains and nervous systems can’t function and they die. I’m really going to miss them and their eerie songs over the lake when they are gone forever. I heard the last song of the white throated sparrow in Maine five years ago. The poor bird sang all day and then he strangely sang all night too. This never happens, but it did this time because he couldn’t find a mate. I’ve never heard one since, and it deeply grieves me. I miss their lovely musical songs. Sure, there are still some birds left, but it seems that they are less diverse types. Every year we see fewer kinds of birds and if this keeps up, then soon they will all be gone and it will truly be a silent spring.