April's Ag Advice by April Borders The care of our environment is an important subject to all parties concerned. It affects both urban and rural life. As we look at our environment we need to recognize that urban and rural issues are intertwined both in livability and sustainability.
Environmental education is an important start in helping us understand how all of us can be good caretakers and stewards of our world. We need to be good caretakers of our homes, schools and neighborhoods. We need to be good caretakers of our animals and our natural resources. (Natural resources include soil, water, sunlight, air, minerals, vegetation and forests.)
We need agricultural products in order to survive and farmers need natural resources to produce agricultural products. It is in the farmer's best interest to practice wise methods of conserving the land.
Good caretakers understand that we can exist more harmoniously with the earth if we recognize the connections between our environment and ourselves. We must become aware of how everything is interrelated and understand how the decisions we make affect the environment.
Caretakers recognize that limited resources must be used wisely in order to ensure a continuing supply. We try to improve the environment so that our growing numbers of cars, factories and people can exist in harmony with nature. Harmony is not a perfect state but is a balanced one.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a land use conflict, especially when the city and the country clash. When this happens we need to be informed. We need to choose to inform ourselves. We need to find a basis for common knowledge and understanding. Informed decision makers do need to understand the values and convictions on which major alternatives are based.
Participants need to sort out the problem consequences of the solutions to find where people agree and disagree, who gains and who loses, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
Often times we need to seek certain options that we can live with, even if they are not perfect. A lasting compromise most often represents the common ground on which we can act to support a policy that will accommodate the needs of the broader interests.
The more we are informed, and the more we listen to each other, the more likely we are to find and implement solutions that will help us all live together in relative harmony and progress.
We all play a part in being caretakers. It does not fall solely on one person or one group of people. We all need to work together, with a common goal in site. We must find common ground when dealing with environment issues. Over the next few weeks I will be addressing how farmers and ranchers, whose livelihood depends on a healthy environment, care for the natural resources in their care.
For more information please contact the Extension Office at 677-7111.