LETTER: Planet ‘will not tolerate disrespect and massive manipulation’

March 31, 2019

For the six-plus decades of my life I have lived along the banks of the West Branch stream. The source of great pleasure, the creek has also on occasion been the initiator of havoc, but never more than in the past decade. When I was a child and for the first many years of marriage, each year would bring a spring flood and that would usually be the extent of flooding for the year.

For our first 24 years of married life our east-west gravel road never flooded. The first flooding of this road occurred in the summer of 2010 and since then the water has rushed over this road in 2014, 2016, twice in 2018, and now in 2019. Why no flooding over this road for at least 24 years and now six floodovers in the past decade?

We must examine our present land use practices: the extensive tiling of agricultural lands, straightening of creeks, removal of all permanent vegetative cover and nearly 100 percent row crop plantings. Rivers and streams run brown with topsoil, 50 to 60 percent of which has eroded in the past 150 years. These practices are the result of short-range thinking and planning and they are ushering our descendants into a world of degradation and deprivation.

Agricultural, water management and living systems must be based on respect of the land and will require a complete reorganization of thought and cultural norms. Our planet is a finely tuned organism and it will not tolerate disrespect and massive manipulation. - Paula Meendering, Hull, Iowa