Optimistic outlook

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(HOST) Commentator Ruth Page offers some of her reasons for feeling optimism about the New Year of 2006. She suggests planet-wide resolutions are best.,

(PAGE) Y’know, friends, I think things are looking up for the environment in the United States in the New Year. Not only did the terrible disaster in Louisiana alert everyone to the dangers of tampering with rivers and deltas as we’ve been doing for years, quite a few families have decided not to return to New Orleans.

That gives us a chance to allow the delta to spread again, if we can manage to remove some of the dams along the Mississippi.The terrible flood also reminded people that clean, fresh water is a precious resource and needs to be protected. It was the first thing the newly-homeless needed and wanted. It was a case of “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” as the Ancient Mariner complained.

More folks are trying to save fuel. High prices are tough, but are also a useful reminder that we MUST limit our use of oil and gas. They’re disappearing resources; limiting their use also helps clean up the atmosphere, reducing illnesses and deaths.

In 2006 we also expect to get more of our soldiers out of Iraq. Things there appear to be looking up, since so many Sunnis took the trouble to vote.

Here in the Northeast, and in some other states, local and state governments are cooperating to reduce greenhouse gases whether the feds plan for it or not.

Conservation organizations everywhere have been cooperating with each other. They’re consistently working with local people in all environments, too. When the Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Federation, for example, pool money and human resources, they have a better chance of succeeding. And of course working with people in their villages, or in the rainforest, or high on South American mountains, helps assure success.

As soon as folks realize they can improve their incomes more by caring for the environment, rather than burning trees or cutting them down to plant vegetables, the faster things improve. Many more dwellers in both Africa and South America are learning this, through patient, long-term efforts by individuals. They’re working to protect resources that attract hundreds of thousands of tourists.

Eating bushmeat, whether monkeys or other small fauna, is like eating up the treasures that could improve your income for years to come. Many former poachers have learned this fact through the ceaseless efforts of environmentalists. In many cases, poachers are now policing and protecting the vast forests and animals they previously attacked.

Much of the devastation of the year 2005 – floods, droughts, the worst storms in years, was our own fault. Wiping out wetlands that absorb rising waters and prevent floods is an act of either ignorance or selfishness, and we’re learning that lesson.

This is Ruth Page, feeling that disasters have been teaching us some useful lessons. We’ll be wiser in 2006. So Happy New Year!

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