reminders of our heavy treading

I was thinking about our region reading Jack Matthew’s Sage to Meadow post this morn. An image of being a giant with one foot planted near Abilene and other near Albuquerque, rocking back and forth, the image of that aquifer underneath came to mind – one I learned about 20 years ago from a program on educational TV: The Ogallala Aquifer.

I wanted to see a map and found one on my computer at this good website:


Water level changes in the Ogallala Aquifer (Cunningham, William P. et. al., “Environmental Science, 7th edition, McGraw Hill 2003.)

And seeing this, realize that Abilene and Albuquerque are far from this aquifer, if I remember where Abilene is correctly. But the Ogallala is smack dab in between us. It is a huge and crucial life source.

It was good to read Kally Worm’s page (one listed above image) reviewing aquifer depletion. Thanks be to folks who pay good attention to the natural world and aim to depict it fairly – in the scientist habit. Kally Worm’s page, (which is : “Part of Water is Life, a class website on water privatization and commodification, produced by students of Geography 378 (International Environmental Problems & Policy) at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA, Spring 2004.”) states the simple fact: “The biggest problem facing people who use the Ogallala Aquifer is that they do not know how long the water supply will last.”
Oh, how we need to come together and DO something to live more lightly.

An old friend on facebook this morn copied these song lyrics from King Crimson song:

"Six billion ants crawling on a plate.

None of them give back as much as they take.

Six billion ants crawling on a plate.

It doesn't mean you should just because you can.

It doesn't mean you should just because you can.

Like Abraham and Ishmael, fighting over sand. 

It doesn't mean you should just because you can.

And that is a fact of life."
from "Facts of Life" by King Crimson

Next on my mind: one of the things I had to learn at my state Museum job recently: how to have a portable heater. I know, this is RANDOM. But it took up a whole hour at work and more. And hopefully I can tie this together with my angst at our collective insensitivity.


The heater in the Education office has been broken for a year. In the 25 year old building, it would take 1500 bucks to fix it – money not available in a budget that was sliced in half. Plus the person qualified to fix the heater retired last year, so an outside person would have to be brought in. The need for heat in a workplace is a given. And the purchase of a $39 oil/radiator heater would be a good solution. But permission is needed first …

When you work at a government job, you go by procedures and rules. And those rules told me something.

in the long recounting of all the agencies he was told to go to for permission, my colleague in charge of researching portable heaters lamented, “… and of course we are supposed to use both sides of the paper.” I just realized now the relief I felt to hear  State government regulations are based on the roundabout process of legislators hearing from constituents. Because frugality, safety, AND conservation (!) are values built into these hoops we have to jump through!

At any rate, I saw a fleeting glimpse of evidence that there IS an attempt to incorporate conservation values and tread more lightly in our own state government. And how it feels like a nuisance to some.

A giant not knowing why it breaks as it sits on the fragile chair.


2 Responses to “reminders of our heavy treading”

  1. November 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    The aquifer is so important and it seems to be draining downward. Such a deep post you have written. We’re experiencing so many budget cuts here in education in Texas. I don’t know where we are headed, but it isn’t good. There is so much pressure to save money, save money, etc., that the end results of why we teach are lost. We’ll keep teaching and your job at the museum will continue to instruct, but things are changing towards a uniformity of expression and core interpretations that our diversity in teaching is lost. On top of all this we have family issues and depletion of resources and our livestock that grows old. We’ll make it, but it will be tough. Krugman of NYT said April 2011 will be very crucial in budgets and the govt will probably shut down. I know I digress, but the republic seems ill at ease. Whether that is so or not, I certainly am.

    I very much want to use the map you found.

  2. November 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    On Truthout there is an article about Paolo Freire – reviewing his now 40 year old treatise on what important role education has in our society. As I read it today I imagined the Bush administration planning No Child Left Behind subversively. That the real reason to withdraw funding from schools for low test scores was to assure that schools would not be able to teach critical thinking skills anymore. So your comment here shows you are seeing the “uniformity of expression …” at the college level too? It is important that we continue to speak up and write it down. And continue to share our minds with younger ones.

    Your To the Light blog cheers me with its vision of action. The internet keeps us in touch with our communities near and far and we can use it to maintain sense of what’s right, what’s being lost.

    I need to start reading NY Times op ed again and Krugman. My spouse JB keeps up with so much news online that I depend on his good ferreting. JB for a while now hasn’t much faith in the old system recovering …

    Let’s enjoy our families and cooking! Happy Thanksgiving!

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