Our visioneconomic and environmental sustainability
By VIRGINIA KENNEDY
Upon being asked to write this column Visioning the Upper Delaware River Corridor, that particular wordvisioninglodged itself in my mind. How do we see this land where we live? How will we see it in the future?
The seeing I refer to is more than a function of eyesight It is a function of meaning. What does this land mean to those of us who live on it and live from it? What is our relationship with it? How deeply do we think about those two vital questions, as we drive our winding rural roads or cross our lovely Delaware, the river the Lenape people call Lennapewi Siporiver of human beings?
As local communities all over America give themselves up to box stores, strip malls and sprawling acres of housing developments, the landscape becomes a reflection of what we prioritize. Frustrating traffic and the persistent noise of overstressed roadways reveal the way we spend our minutes, hours and days.
There is a wisdom in the natural land that we who are learning to live so far apart from it cannot access. It is a wisdom that guides us to an understanding of ourselves as we truly areas human beings stripped of cell phones, video games, reality TV and superstardom addictions; a wisdom that reveals us as people who dream and create and slow the pace enough to watch dusk spread itself slowly across the winter sky.
As we cut down our trees, fill in our wetlands, exchange natural vistas for malls of super-stores and fast food restaurants, we teach our children to desire $150 sneakers instead of a summer afternoon fishing in a cool stream, or the rush of video violence rather than the rush in ones stomach witnessing the majesty of an eagle in flight.
Most visioning columns prior to this one makes clear that we need jobs here, that people who want to live with the Upper Delawares natural tranquility and beauty need homes, schools and services. They make clear that we need to be involved in how our land develops and to work actively toward sustainable growth initiatives that protect whats special hereour gorgeous Northeastern forests, our excellent water quality, the vast numbers of stars we can see in our clear night skies.
In February, members of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and the Lenni Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania will meet with other concerned community groups to envision the future, our future on the land where we live, the land where Lenape people have lived continuously for millennia. Our roots go deep here, states tribal spokesperson Jim Beer. The land, the river, the past that people here sharethey have a lot to teach all of us about living in a good way.
The question is: do we want to learn? Environmental sustainability is the clarion call of wise, forward-looking business leaderscreative entrepreneurs who understand that environmentally healthy business practices and long-term profitability are intricately linked. The ecosystems supporting us will no longer sustain abusive practices, and economic costs of environmental recklessness are astronomical.
Environmental sustainability is also the cry from deep in the hearts of people who care profoundly for our natural heritage in the Upper Delaware River corridor. Where and how we live reflects who we are and who we desire to be. What is our vision of ourselves, and when we look at it deeply, do we like what we see?
[Virginia Kennedy is a teacher, activist and writer. She has been teaching at the University of Scranton and Marywood University of the past four years and is currently teaching in the English Department of Honesdale High School.]