Downstream. Or should I be talking about upstream? A recent photo shoot, and the fact my brother is a natural resources consultant, inspired this rant. As I watched the muddy water in the creek flow past I started thinking about cows in the creek, cow manure in the creek, what that is doing to the creek I was watching, and how it could be a metaphor for an important life lesson.
Here's the deal. Ranchers let their cows in the creek causing erosion of the stream beds and polluting the creek with urine and feces. Let's just say it, cows shit in the creek. The creek runs into a river, the river runs past a town that pulls some of the water for drinking. The river continues to flow into the ocean with all manner of bacteria, toxins, and other agricultural products like fertilizers. (Google Toledo water emergency) All this stuff makes the water muddy, stink, not drinkable and not very well suited to support aquatic life.
Ranchers can follow some simple guidelines and get help from several government agencies (including big $$$) to build riparian buffers and better watering systems for their livestock. Think about the cow in the stream relieving herself and and the cow downstream drinking that water; do you want to eat that burger?
Here is a riparian buffer. Trees and indigenous plants along the stream whose root systems cleanse the runoff before it gets in the stream. The livestock get water from a trough (fresh water with no pee or manure in it). The vegetation along the banks prevents erosion, fish and aquatic animals can flourish. The water becomes clear, wildlife benefits, cows benefit, people benefit, and the rancher benefits.
This riparian buffer has a muddy stream because the rancher upstream is too lazy to keep his cows out of the creek. His cows are indirectly, no, actually directly, shitting on the Chesapeake Bay and everyone else downstream. One rancher took the time to do his ranch and those downstream right, he put in the buffer. But the one upstream, even though he could get $$$ and help, has done nothing. I will be polite and just call him selfish.
Poseidon, please put your trident up that rancher's backside. If farmers and other polluters don't get with the program then this fisherman will have empty nets.
Here is the metaphor. What you do and say goes downstream. What I have said in this blog goes downstream. It may spur someone to action or just upset someone. But the consequences flow downstream. A nice gesture, in the spirit of "pay it forward", flows downstream. You don't know exactly who it will affect most of the time; but rest assured, things you do flow downstream. So don't let your cows in the creek. Make sure what you send downstream is good for those along the way.