Archive for Friday, October 26, 2012

Letter: Natural rights

October 26, 2012


To the editor:

The day the Journal-World reported that only 50 acres of the Wakarusa Wetlands would be “damaged” in the construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway (Oct. 20, 2012), I went for a memorial walk. As I walked, I thought of the infinite number of lives which would be disturbed and destroyed by the construction of the SLT— animal, reptile, insect — and I thought of the damage that would be done to the web of life that had been created over centuries: a web involving life forms from bacteria to beavers to trees. I thought, too, of the memories of Haskell people about this place and the memories of countless other Lawrencians, who came to the wetlands to learn and replenish their souls. I grieved that, as a community, we were not only losing a significant, natural treasure, which these wetlands are, but also that we are perhaps losing our respect for life itself.

Returning to the wetlands entrance, I was glad to see six cars lined up, signifying that others had come to enjoy this special place. I was glad to believe that perhaps a day might come when we could recognize, as recently did the people of New Zealand, that a natural place might actually be acknowledged as having legal and personal rights. On Sept. 17, 2012, New Zealand’s Whanganui River was given a legal identity so that it will be recognized as a person “in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests.”


notaubermime 5 years, 4 months ago

"...and I thought of the damage that would be done to the web of life that had been created over centuries..."

Obviously not familiar with the history of the wetlands.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 4 months ago

You mean, that it should have said millenia? The geological foundations for the wetlands were created during the Kansan Ice Age some 600,000 years ago when the presence of the ice sheet pushed the melting waters south of the Kaw river valley due to the fact that the Kaw valley was full of ice, scouring out the Wakarusa Valley from what must have been a little valley into the broad floodplain that it is now south of Lawrence. It has undoubtedly been wetlands ever since, some 13,000 acres in extent judging from the hydric soils that the valley contains, shrunk down to less than 600 acres by agricultural draining and cultivating, including 60 or 70 years of cultivation/haying within much of the current Haskell/Baker Wetlands.

So which kind of landscape is it: the 60 or 70 years of farmland, or the 599,930 years as a wetlands?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Facts, schmacts-- there's five minutes of convenience and $192 million in corporate gravy train to be had. We don't need no steenking facts.

notaubermime 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, facts like how these wetlands are not the same wetlands which existed in that location 200 years ago. That these are wetlands which have been reconstructed by humans. Or how the SLT deal will increase the size of land set aside for reconstructed wetlands.

It would be one thing if this were the original, undisturbed wetlands that were being replaced by reconstructed wetlands. The fact is that this is a case where a section of reconstructed wetland is being sacrificed for the chance to create an even larger area of reconstructed wetlands.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

It's still the destruction of wetlands, even if they are restored, and, more importantly, they are on lands that should be returned to Haskell, which is opposed to the construction of this ten lanes of pavement through there.

And the reconstruction of wetlands, while laudable, has nothing to do with highway construction.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

"Kansan Ice Age"


It's a disused flood plain. Thinking a flood plain is sacred is as valid as thinking a church is sacred.

justforfun 5 years, 4 months ago

Well Elizabeth sounds like a very depressing time you had on your walk!

Did you really write that with a strait face?
Because it cracked me up when I read it. Then I realized "I think she may have been serious"

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

Why am I hearing Born Free in the background ?

Brock Masters 5 years, 4 months ago

"I was glad to see six cars lined up"

Does anyone else see the irony in this? Elizabeth was glad to see cars lined up to mourn the destruction of animal habitat, but didn't care that those there drove on roads that destroyed habitat elsewhere.

Does anyone think that Elizabeth lives anywhere other than a house or apartment that was built on what used to be animal habitat?

It is hypocritcal to complain about someone's footprint when you've left two big ones yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Living in the world as it's been created for us doesn't mean that we can't advocate for a different way of living.

tomatogrower 5 years, 4 months ago

Well, I guess we could just pave over or astro turf over everything then, huh, Fred?

Brock Masters 5 years, 4 months ago

tomato that would be silly and counterproductive. We need to keep as much greenspace as possible.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

New Zealand would allow a river to have the rights of a person, yet not extend those rights to an unborn baby. Sounds logical to me.

oldmomxx 5 years, 4 months ago

The most important thing here is this (in my opinion): you can pave the wetlands and create a new wetlands but instinct will still drive the creatures who live there there, to that paved spot. This to me is tragic.

Michael Shaw 5 years, 4 months ago

Beth Schultz reminds us of the experience of the sacred. I don't know about others, but it improved my day.

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