I Want to Write a Poem
I want to write a poem about the pearly white pants of the Dutchman, flashing spring’s arrival across the crinkly-brown of winter, but last month . . .
It was reported there were 62% more facilities in the Great Lakes region in “significant noncompliance” with the Clean Water Act in fiscal 2019 when compared to the average number of facilities for years 2012-2017. In a report issued by the Environmental Law and Policy Center of Chicago, enforcement budgets for the Environmental Protection Agency are shrinking, staff levels are declining. and the drops in enforcement correspond with a rise in noncompliance by industrial polluters.
I want to write a poem about the serenading robin, perched on a branch dotted with the softness of early spring, but last week . . .
I learned in addition to fulfilling his campaign promise to scale back environmental regulations to make life easier for businesses and industry, President Trump instructed the EPA to forgo fines or other civil penalties for companies that fail to monitor, report or meet requirements for releasing hazardous pollutants during the coronavirus pandemic.
What good is legislation designed to protect us if it is not enforced?
I want to write about watching the red-tailed hawks “doing it” (no kidding!) on the branch outside our sunroom window, but last week . . .
I read that because of the climate-driven increases in precipitation that are overloading antiquated sewage systems and increasing nutrient runoff that fuels algal growth, “Do Not Drink/Do Not Boil” warnings will become more frequent across the Great Lakes region. (Boiling water does not treat algal contamination.)
I want to write a poem about the sandy beach I used to walk for miles before these same frequent and intense storms ravaged the shoreline and miles of protective rock embankments designed to protect homes became like walls. I want to pretend I didn’t read last week that this “hard shore armoring” actually destroys the natural beach over the long term, driving offshore the very sand needed to replenish the coastline.
I want to write a poem about the fumbling descent of the turkeys from the branches of the hemlocks, the red fox pouncing on an inattentive mouse, the silent ascent of the full moon over the valley.
Above all, I want to find words that will contribute to much-needed dialogue about how we balance our needs with that of the earth’s.
What do you want?
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