Life is Good: Pass it On!

Support the outdoors by supporting candidates who do, too

By Don Arnosti 

2016-10-19-13-05-59A Minnesota fall – it doesn’t get any better than this. Warm days, cool evenings, fall leaves coming on. Canadian cold fronts drive waves of migrating birds through our backyards – the other day it was a flock of Kinglets and Brown Creepers. Geese “W’s” can be seen and heard at all hours heading south in their ragged lines.

The urgency of the season leads me to take care of chores I’ve been putting off all summer: painting, garage cleaning, working for candidates who love the outdoors as much as I do. Yes, that is an important and necessary “chore” – not just voting, but actively supporting candidates that will work to assure that all I love about Minnesota’s outdoors is available for my as yet unborn grandchildren to enjoy.

We have a real problem in our body politic – you could say a sickness. Partisan gridlock is celebrated by some who believe that a government doing nothing at all is better than one that involves itself in our lives in many ways.

In a year when we are celebrating 100 years of national parks, I heard some at the state legislature browbeating DNR officials who announced that because visitors to the state park system were hitting record levels – they needed more money for rangers and other staff. “Why are the parks losing money?”

When state and federal agencies were ready to work together to pay farmers for 100,000 strategically-located Minnesota River valley acres along ditches, streams and rivers for expanded buffers to improve water quality, the state failed to pass its share of the funds.

Just as Minnesotans have petitioned the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to intervene to assure the Minnesota mining industry is actually regulated under the Clean Water Act (the legislature persistently passes legislation hindering this) – we have a major presidential candidate promising to abolish the EPA if he is elected.

Elections do matter. And our action or inaction has consequences.

Put up your storm windows – check.

Take a fall bike ride to enjoy the colors – check.

Call up your favorite pro-environment candidate, tell them why you support them, and ask, “What can I do to help assure you can represent me?”

Then do it. Contribute that time to knock on doors, put up signs or to call your neighbors, even if it’s hard for you. Do it for your grandchildren.

Then vote on November 8th knowing you’ve done your part to share the beauties of future Minnesota falls with those who as yet have no say in the matter.