BIRDER AND NATURALIST
©Excerpted from Volume 1, Discover! America's Great
River Road by Pat Middleton, Copyright 1991. May not be reposted or reproduced in any
manner without permission.
[Please Click Banner
Below to Visit our Sponsor!]
My own philosophical approach to our environment is that Americans can
not continue to think like pioneers. It's been 100 years since Wisconsin was truly a
frontier, yet we continue to act as if our resources are unlimited: every last bit of
wilderness must be tamed, cultivated, developed, marketed, and sold for a profit.
This is what I call a frontier mentality, an emphasis on Individualism
that is no longer appropriate. It is unlikely that our economy can maintain the growth
rate we have become accustomed to and the economic slow down we are experiencing now is
likely just a preview. Personal restraint, the kind which the Japanese and others have had
to cultivate for hundreds of years because of their population, is new to us.
It's natural to think that we can do whatever we have brains,
technology, money to do; but we cannot continue to exhaust our resources. I don't advocate
`going back'--we can't go back--but we do have to restrain the way we behave. The more
intellectually informed we are about nature, the better we may adjust our expectations.
Birding is very different from going to a country club and playing golf.
One thinks of golf as being an outdoors activity, but it's still very much
INSIDE--cultured, well-mannered, cultivated. The best birding often takes place in rather
uncared for areas--areas that others often consider to be `wasteland' that should be